Postdoc: Big Data

The Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington (UW) Seattle seeks an ethnographer of data science for a 36 month (2.5yrs) postdoctoral research scientist position, starting January 2017. The hired candidate will work with Prof. David Ribes in Seattle, and in collaboration with Geoffrey C. Bowker (and an additional postdoc) at the UC Irvine School of Informatics.

The postdoc will collaborate in the investigation of the Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs and Spokes program (BDHubs), an NSF funded "umbrella organization" for US Big Data and data science. This project will investigate the ongoing activities at the BDHubs and its partner institutions, their emerging plans for the future, and will tie these to the history of research infrastructures. The goal is to understand the rise and institutionalization of 'the data sciences,' including organizational, methodological, epistemological and infrastructural transformations at the nexus of science, industry and state.

The ideal candidate will be trained in the social and/or information sciences and have a grasp of the field of Science & Technology Studies (STS); have good communication skills; have a strong background in qualitative methods; and be able to navigate a highly interdisciplinary field of investigation. Additional methodological skillsets welcome!

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Post-doc: Critical Peace and Conflict Studies

Two Post-doctoral Research Fellowships in Critical Peace and Conflict Studies are available at the Centre for Peace Studies the University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The two vacancies are fixed-term positions for a period of three and two years, respectively. A Post-doctoral Research Fellowship aims to qualify the researcher for work in senior academic positions. A candidate may not be appointed to more than one fixed term position as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the same institution.

Description: Critical Peace and Conflict Studies is concerned with interdisciplinary and critical theoretical and empirical understandings of peace and conflict dynamics. It promotes critique of the conventional debates about the nature of conflict and peace formation. To understand how local structures and actors can contribute to a fair and just peace, it interrogates concepts such as post-liberal peace, critical localism, hybrid peace, local peace infrastructures, and alternative, bottom-up and grassroots peacebuilding. The applicants are expected to submit project plans that are theoretically rooted in Critical Peace and Conflict Studies.

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Post-doc: African Studies

The Africana Research Center invites applications for a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in any aspect of African, African American and Diaspora Studies, beginning August 2017. During their residency, fellows have no teaching or administrative responsibilities, though they may request a teaching assignment. They will be matched with a mentor, attend professional development sessions and other relevant events, and be expected to be active in Penn State's community of Africana researchers. Successful applicants must have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. within the previous four academic years. Salary/benefit package is competitive.

To be considered for this position, submit complete application packets including cover letter describing your research and goals for the fellowship year, a curriculum vita (6 page maximum), and a writing sample of no more than 30 double-spaced pages. Apply online at Review of applications will begin on November 15, 2016, and continue until the position is filled. Three letters of reference should be addressed to the attention of the ESSS Selection Committee and submitted as e-mail attachments.

Post-doc: Rural Health

Summary of Research: The Rural Dementia Action Research (RaDAR) team is seeking applications for a postdoctoral research fellowship in the area of rural health service delivery for individuals with dementia and their caregivers, with a focus on primary health care. The interdisciplinary RaDAR team is based at the U of Sask, with members in four provinces and the UK. The proposed research is linked to the CIHR Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging.

Qualifications: At minimum, candidates will hold a recent PhD (less than 3 years) in a health discipline, psychology, community health and epidemiology, public policy, public health, or related discipline. The successful candidate must also have experience with grantsmanship and manuscript preparation, and a demonstrated ability to work with other researchers, support personnel, and students in a collaborative research environment. Candidates must possess strong organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills. Strong written and oral English communication skills are required.

Ideally the candidate will have background/experience in dementia research. It would be an asset for the candidate to have experience in rural health delivery issues, program evaluation, quality improvement, integrated knowledge translation and exchange, participatory research methods, implementation methods, and primary health care. The intent of this position is to build capacity in rural health service delivery for individuals with dementia and to support development of a career path in this area.

Conditions: The position is available immediately. Initial appointment is for one year at first, with possible renewal for another 1-2 years upon mutual satisfaction and funding availability. The suggested salary is $45,000 CDN with $5,000 research and travel allowance. Candidates are required to present their research at relevant local and international conferences and other venues as appropriate. Because the recipient is a trainee and not an employee of the University of Saskatchewan, the recipient is not entitled to employment benefits. Deductions for Canadian income tax will be made from the monthly stipend, but the stipend is not subject to source deductions for Employment Insurance or Canada Pension Plan.

Close date: Applications will be reviewed as they are received, until the position is filled. Only those selected to be interviewed will be notified.

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PhD Studentship: Public History of the Middle East

The Public History program and the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies at NC State University are looking for a Doctoral Candidate in the Public History of the Middle East to start in fall 2017 for a period of three years. Acceptance into the program includes a competitive stipend, full tuition waiver, and health coverage.

The topic of the candidate's scholarly interest should broadly be in the Public History of the Middle East and ideally will complement the research undertaken in the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, although we are open to dissertations that explore other Middle Eastern peoples beyond the Lebanese. Study will be in the Public History doctoral program at NC State University.

We are looking for a doctoral student who is interested in issues of public memory, commemoration, cultural heritage, cultural resource preservation, museum or historic site interpretation, museum education, digital research and presentation methods, and/or other public history theoretical and methodological approaches. The dissertation should reflect interest in the diasporas of Middle Eastern peoples as historic, cultural, and socio-economic phenomena. The candidate should be creative, visionary, and self-motivated. We are unaware of other comparable studies, so the student will be contributing to the development of historiographical and theoretical frameworks for the study of the Public History of the Middle East. The candidate is expected to undertake archival research as well as fieldwork (financed). The candidate is expected to widely share research with academic and public audiences.


By January 15, 2017, all application materials (letter of interest including explicit description of anticipated dissertation topic, C.V., academic transcripts, writing sample—preferably master's thesis, and proof of language skills) should be submitted online at

PhD Studentship: Northern Food Systems

​Lakehead University, in partnership with the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems and the Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged (FLEdGE) project, is looking for an exceptional candidate to undertake PhD research on issues of northern food systems sustainability. We are offering funding of $10,000/year for four years (providing satisfactory performance). Additional funding may be available through a Graduate Assistant position and/or scholarships, as determined by the admitting program. Given the scope and potential impacts of northern food systems, it is particularly critical to understand their dynamics as they emerge and evolve in response to their surroundings within a context geared primarily toward the dominant agri-industrial system. Issues of focus may include, northern food policy, diverse governance systems, alternative food networks, Indigenous food sovereignty, regional agricultural and land-based identity, and harvesting, forest and freshwater foods. Familiarity with and/or interest in complex adaptive systems theory would be considered an asset. The successful Ph.D. candidate will be expected to actively work toward establishing a strong publication record, assist in seeking external funding, and work effectively in the multi-disciplinary field of northern food systems sustainability including stakeholder/community partners.

To apply for this position, please send a letter of interest, a CV, transcripts and the names of two references via email to Charles Levkoe by no later than December 1, 2016.Candidates will also need to apply (by the appropriate deadline) to undertake their PhD in either Forestry Sciences or Psychological Sciences at Lakehead University. The student will support ongoing research on northern food systems and research from the Food Security Research Network starting in September 2017.

Essential Reference on Food Security

For those interested in, doing research on, or teaching about food security, Mark Gibson's "The Feeding of Nations: Redefining Food Security for the 21st Century" (2012) is an essential reference to have. The book is a hardcover 640-page academic work, and unfortunately not cheap. There are a couple of ways to access the ideas if the cost is a barrier, one is via Google Books, which offers some parts, and the other is on the archive of a discussion Mark lead on the FAO's Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition on the topic of food security. I was fortunate to find a used one.

In many parts, the book is a high level review, such as its overview of nutrition and malnutrition, and is not ground breaking. But, as a reference book for important considerations related to food security, this is one of the few places that attempts to bring it all together. However, in other parts, it is quite detailed, such as the history of food security related concepts. Unique to the book, I believe, is the inclusion of a wide range of topics, often covered in topic-specific books, including linkages to: agriculture, forestry and fisheries, science and technology, socio-cultural aspects, natural resources, health and nutrition, governance and politics, etc. The author also offers thoughts on redefining food security for the future.

There is a downside to an author who has been thinking and writing about a topic over such a long period of time – the references and content can be recycled and get dated. For example, some sections are largely cited from works published in the early 2000s (2000-2004 period), and it is clear that some parts were first written some time ago, even if published in 2012 (e.g.: "it was once again recently reaffirmed at the International Scientific Symposium on Measurement and Assessment of Food Deprivation in 2002", page 16). I suppose "recently" could be a relative term. Nonetheless, a recommended reference work on food security – particularly for those seeking a key resource on the topic, or those looking for relatively condensed and readable content for undergraduate students.

Postdoc (Multiple): Patent-oriented Health Research

Canada's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) puts patients and caregivers first, to foster "evidence-informed health care by evaluating innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, and bringing them to the point of care." Since its inception, SPOR has supported the development, implementation and ongoing evaluation of provincial Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units.

Saskatchewan's SUPPORT Unit, named the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR), in collaboration with the College of Nursing (University of Saskatchewan), College of Medicine (University of Saskatchewan) and the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina) are accepting applications for Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Patient-Oriented Research. Interested candidates should hold a completed PhD in a health-related discipline. Ideal candidates will have produced work with relevance to health systems and/or clinical research. Prior experience with patient-oriented research is an asset.

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Enemies of Innovation

Dr. Calestous Juma's new book, "Innovation and its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies" (2016), explains that this is a book Dr. Juma has wanted to write since his early engagement with innovation. That includes his founding of the African Centre for Technology Studies in 1988, being a former Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and co-chair of the African Union's High-level Panel on Science, Technology and Innovation and his current role of Director of the Science, Technology and Globalization Project at Harvard. He is an avid Twitter user, for anyone interested to follow his work.

For some readers, this book is bound to be cause for (critical) self-reflection. For example, Juma opens with the introduction of mobile phones – technology that has potential health risks, yet has been universally adopted and enabled additional innovations in a range of sectors, from banking and health to education and communication. He contrasts that with biotechnology and transgenetic crops, which also has potential health risks, but "has been marked by controversy that resulted in international treaties negotiated to regulate trade" (p. 2). Juma explains that the book "argues that technological controversies often arise from tensions between the need to innovate and the pressure to maintain continuity, social order and stability" (p. 5). The book is about technology and innovation, but also the socio-cultural and economic structures that enable or deter innovation, and why these exist.

The book covers a range of different technological innovations (farm mechanization, printing press, coffee, margarine, electricity, refrigeration, recorded sound, transgenetic crops, and genetically engineered salmon). The focus is not for or against, or weighing costs and benefits, of technologies, rather it is the broader context within which these innovations exist that Juma focuses upon: "Many of these debates over new technologies are framed in the context of risks to moral values, human health, and environmental safety. But behind these genuine concerns often lie deeper, but unacknowledged, socioeconomic considerations. This book demonstrates the extent to which these factors shape and influence technological controversies, which specific emphasis on the role of social institutions' (p. 6).

Juma concludes each chapter with lessons learned about each innovation, ranging from policy to regulation and politics and economics. As such, it may have appeal to a range of audiences. Consider this reflection: "Margarine represents one of the best examples of incumbent industries using legislative instruments to curtail or extinguish new technologies" (p. 117). Or, "the case of refrigeration shows that, contrary to popular belief, regulation can serve as a stimulus for innovation. In this case, many of the advances that made it possible for consumers to access safe and mechanical refrigeration resulted from regulation and new standards" (p. 198). The historical cases are less contested, as the debates have long since ended. I found the last two examples Juma presents (transgenetic crops and genetically engineered salmon) particularly interesting as they are yet to be settled. While the presentation of the issues and Juma's broader work situates his own positionality, these two chapters explore multiple sides of the on-going debates (not only the pro/con positions, but also the challenges faced by regulatory bodies and economic impacts related to export markets). On these on-going debates, Juma concludes that as "the world leader in biotechnology research, innovation and commercialization, the United States could set an example in the regulation of biotechnology innovations to ensure that society derives the highest possible benefit from these technologies in the safest possible way" (p. 277-278).

One component of the argument that Juma do not entertain in much detail is that of choice, and here an interesting analogy could also have been drawn to transgenetic crops. For those opposed to GM food crops, one of the key issues is choice, and thus advocacy for labeling to have the option to purchase GM or not. Embedded within this debate is that GM crops cannot be contained entirely, and spread (and therefore entire bans are advocated). While there are important considerations to be addressed regarding these concerns, it is interesting that mobile phone technology was not given as a parallel: one can choose not to purchase a mobile phone, but it is almost impossible to avoid exposure to electromagnetic radiation because of societal choices (the level differs, as it would with labeling options that allow for a small percentage of GM to be present in non-GM items).

The book concludes with notes on leaders and leadership: "The next frontier of leadership will focus largely on how society is prepared to respond not only to global grand challenges but also to new social problems generated by technological advancement and engineering applications. Leaders will need to be more adaptive, flexible, and open to continuous learning. They will be called upon increasingly to take decisions in the face of uncertainty and amid controversy" (p. 285-286).

Postdoc: Migration & the Humanities (Harvard)

The Mahindra Humanities Center invites applications for one-year postdoctoral fellowships in connection with the Center's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seminar on the topic of migration and the humanities.

The current refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East has made it clear that migration plays as critical a role in the moral imagination of the humanities as it does in shaping the activist vision of humanitarianism and human rights. The conceptual framework of the humanities is particularly relevant to interpreting and analyzing the cultural and political lifeworlds of the migrant experience. Too often, the humanities are summoned merely as witnesses to the spectacle of the significant currents and crises of contemporary life. Literature and the arts are viewed as iconic presences whose primary aesthetic and moral values lie in their illustrative powers of empathy and evocation. Yet the intellectual formation of the humanities—their very conception of the nature of meaning, knowledge, and morals—is deeply resonant with the displacement of values and the revision of norms that shape the transitional and translational narratives of migrant lives.

Built around pedagogies of representation and interpretation—textual, visual, digital, political, ethical, ecological, etc.—the humanities engage with the "deep" history of shifting relations between cultural expression, historical transition, and political transformation. They play a mediating role in this three-way process. Humanistic disciplines articulate the changing, contingent relationships between cultural meaning and social value as they shape "agents"—individual, collective, institutional—who participate in the creation of public opinion and the definition of public interest. Although they are not activist in a traditional sense, the humanities are actively involved in studying the impact of the displacement of cultural values and trajectories of knowledge-systems as they migrate from one historical context to another, moving across discursive and geographic territories, and establishing hybrid disciplinary borders.

Terms and Conditions

In addition to pursuing their own research projects, fellows will be core participants in the bi-weekly seminar meetings. Other participants will include faculty and graduate students from Harvard and other universities in the region, and occasional visiting speakers. Fellows will be joined at the Center by postdoctoral fellows from Germany, who will be coming as part of a collaboration between the Mahindra Humanities Center and the Volkswagen Foundation. Fellows are expected to be in residence at Harvard for the term of the fellowship. Fellows will receive stipends of $65,000, individual medical insurance, moving assistance of $1,500, and additional research support of $2,500.

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Logan Cochrane

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