Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Senior Researcher position AGR-ARA/VUB - FED tWIN mandate

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1 - Working at the VUB

The FED-tWIN programme is a federal research programme to support sustainable cooperation between the ten Federal Scientific Institutions (FSI) which fall under Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO) and the eleven Belgian universities.

About the VUB:

For already 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you’ll find a diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators and especially people who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3.500 employees, we are the largest Flemish-speaking employer in Brussels, an international city with which we are all too happy to be connected, and around which our four campuses are located. Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research with an eye on human progress. We disapprove of every purely authoritative argument and guarantee the free formation of judgement that is necessary for this basic principle to be incorporated in the community.

The research group RHEA is committed to the development of scientific research on gender, diversity and intersectionality and the valorisation of this knowledge. We are an interdisciplinary, interfaculty and internationally networked research group committed to the development of scientific research and the valorisation of knowledge in education, external and internal policy-making and public debates.

About the State Archives of Belgium:
The Belgian State Archives is a federal scientific institution that is part of the Federal Science Policy (BELSPO). The institution consists of the General State Archives in Brussels, 18 branches of the State Archives spread throughout the country and the Study and Documentation Centre on War and Contemporary Society (CegeSoma) in Brussels. 
The State Archives acquires and preserves (after selection) archives at least 30 years old of courts and tribunals, public administrations and notaries, as well as of the private sector and individuals (companies, politicians, associations and societies, notaries, influential families, etc. who have played an important role in social life). The State Archives ensure that government archives are transferred according to archival standards. 
Making these archive documents available to the public, while protecting the privacy of certain data, is one of the main tasks of the institution. In its 19 study rooms, the State Archives makes infrastructure available to a wide and varied public. The direct service via the Internet (the digital reading room) is one of the priorities of the institution (www.arch.be). 
One of the main tasks of the scientific staff is to make the immense quantity of barely accessible archives in the institution accessible by providing scientific tools (search guides, archive overviews and guides, inventories, institutional studies), which should enable the researcher to find the desired information fairly accurately and within a reasonable time.

2 - Position description

Teaching area/research area:

History of Colonisation, the African Great Lakes, sub-Saharan Africa (Research profile Prf-2021-032_GUSANGIRA)

Education tasks:

  • Participation in educational activities: supervision of Bachelor's and Master's theses;
  • Co-lecturer of the research seminar 'Belgen in de Wereld’;

Research tasks:

  • Writing of grant applications (e.g. FWO, ERC, BRAIN) on subjects related to the Rwandan/Burundian colonial history;
  • Collaboration: development of colonial / African history and collaboration with existing research expertise & centres (HIST & RHEA);
  • Development of an independent research project resulting in international publications on the colonial archives of Rwanda and Burundi, more specifically on:
    • reterritorialization and reproduction/removal of African experiences in the archives;
    • who speaks, and the ways in which local/subaltern voices are mediated through the archives;
  • The inventory of the archives of the mandate territories of Ruanda and Urundi;
  • The development of a source guide on those archives;
  • The dissemination of those archives to both academic and non-academic audiences (NGOs, associations, secondary schools, ...);
  • Conducting pioneering research in the history of collective identities and colonial governance in Rwanda and Burundi;
  • Strengthening and building on long-term research expertise and methodological innovation on the use of colonial sources within the VUB research group RHEA, with attention to new methods in digital humanities.

3 - Profile

What do we expect from you?

You have obtained a doctorate in history, based on an original dissertation.

  • Your PhD has not been defended for more than 12 years (to be counted from the day the application was submitted);
  • You have demonstrable experience in the (colonial) history of the Great Lakes (preferably Rwanda and/or Burundi);
  • You hold a Master in Archival Studies or demonstrable experience in working with colonial sources and/or in colonial archives. Familiarity with working with the 'Africa archives' is preferred;
  • You have successful experience in developing, applying for, implementing and coordinating research projects;
  • A good knowledge of English, French and Dutch required, passive knowledge of German necessary;
  • You have a strong academic CV and publication history, preferably a publication history that shows expertise in colonial/African history;
  • Experience in collaborating/organizing activities with socio-cultural sector, heritage and civil society is encouraged;
  • Experience in historical fieldwork/oral history, especially in the Great Lakes Region, is a strong plus;
  • Demonstrated teaching skills are recommended, especially in colonial/African history.
  • You subscribe to the university’s vision of education. The full text in relation to this is available on the university website.
  • Every first appointment is dependent upon the successful delivery of a teaching session.
  • Members of the academic staff who, as title-holders, are charged with teaching assignments, must be able to demonstrate the required knowledge of the language of instruction for the relevant course units. Example: When a course unit is taught in English, the candidate is required to have the appropriate certificate. More information about the regulations concerning the language proficiency you can find via https://jobs.vub.be/content/Regulations-concerning-language-proficiency/

4 - Offer

We offer a full-time senior research position for an initial period of 5 years, renewable for 2 years terms of 5 years after positive evaluation.

The appointment takes place in the form of two half-time contracts at the General State Archives and the State Archives in the Provinces and Vrije Universiteit Brussel respectively.

At the ARA, the 50% appointment takes place at SW2 level (senior researcher) with a contract of indefinite duration. 

At the VUB, the candidate is appointed as a 50% ZAP lecturer (bar scale 600) with a temporary appointment. for a period of five years, renewable after positive evaluation. 

5 - Interested?

Is this the job you’ve been dreaming of?

Send us ONLINE and at latest on 06/02/2022:

  • your motivation letter, including your vision on education and research, and an explanation about the development of your future research;
  • your curriculum vitae, including you academic dossier;
  • your degrees and diplomas (not applicable for VUB alumni) and language certificates.

Do you have questions about the job content? Contact Benoît Henriet (VUB) or Sébastien Dubois (AR-ARA) at benoit.henriet@vub.be of sebastien.dubois@arch.be.

Would you like to know what it’s like to work at the VUB? Go to www.vub.ac.be/vacatures and find all there is to know about our campuses, benefits, strategic goals and your future colleagues.


Senior Researcher position AGR-ARA/VUB - FED tWIN mandate
Boulevard de la Plaine 2 Brüssel, Belgien
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The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is the offshoot of the French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) that was founded in 1834 by a Brussels la...

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