PhD Position on Indigenous Heritage-Ethnozoology

The Department of Heritage and Society of the Faculty of Archaeology has a vacancy for a

PhD Position on Indigenous Heritage-Ethnozoology (1.0 fte)
Vacancy number 17-228

Project Description

This PhD position is part of the ERC Starting Grant Project BRASILIAE. Indigenous Knowledge in the Making of Science: Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (1648).

BRASILIAE takes the book Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (HNB), published in 1648 by Willem Piso and George Marcgraf, as its central focus and proposes an interdisciplinary study of the role of indigenous knowledge in the making of science. Situated at the intersection of history and anthropology, its main research objective is to understand the transformation of information and practices of South American indigenous peoples into a body of knowledge that became part of the Western scholarly canon. It aims to explore, by means of a distinctive case study, how European science is constructed in intercultural settings. This PhD will be working together with the BRASILIAE team, consisting of a Principal Investigator, a Post-Doc, and one other PhD candidate, along with partners from Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Leiden) and the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi (Brazil).

This PhD position focuses on the zoological knowledge contained in the HNB and centers on Tupi indigenous perceptions of human-animal interaction in the past from an anthropological-historical perspective. Furthermore, it aims at analyzing how Tupi indigenous terms for fauna are used in European (scientific) classification systems. In recent years, much anthropological scholarship has focused on perspectivism as a theory that best explains human-non-human relationships in the Amazon. Using the zoological information in the HNB and connecting it to present-day human-animal relationships by means of fieldwork investigations, this PhD project attempts to go beyond the rationale of perspectivism to question which other forms of conceiving human-animal relationships are possible within indigenous knowledge systems. This project likewise reconnects the zoological knowledge and images in the HNB with the Libri Principis iconographic material, presently kept in Krakow.

Selection criteria

  • MA, RMA or MSc Degree in Anthropology, Biology, Ethnozoology, or a related discipline;
  • An explicit interest in Brazil, early modern history, animals, and indigenous peoples;
  • Research and writing skills demonstrated by a master’s thesis and/or publications;
  • An excellent command of either Portuguese or Spanish as well as English; knowledge of the Dutch language is considered an advantage.;
  • Some experience of fieldwork in tropical countries is desirable.

Our Faculty/Institute

The future of the past begins in Leiden. The Faculty of Archaeology is internationally leading for its research, home to a broad array of specializations and notable for the strong connection it fosters between teaching and research. Home to over 500 students in the multidisciplinary world of Archaeology, the Faculty and its researchers from all areas of the Archaeological field determine the future of archaeological research. Information about The Faculty of Archaeology can be found at

Terms and conditions

We offer a position for 38 hours per week. The position is available from 1 January 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter. The appointment as a PhD student will be for a period of four years (initially for a period of one year with an extension of three years after positive evaluation of progress and skills development) leading to the successful completion of a PhD thesis. The appointment will be under the terms of the cao (Collective Labour Agreement) of Dutch Universities The gross monthly salary is set on € 2,222.- in the first year, increasing to € 2,840.- gross per month in the final year.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end- of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at


Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


Enquiries can be made to dr. Mariana De Campos Françozo, email


To apply for this vacancy, please send no later than 30 August 2017 an email to Yvonne Haring Please ensure that you upload the following documents quoting the vacancy number:
• A cover letter stating your motivation for this position;
• A short research proposal, written in English, of up to four pages, in line with the ERC - BRASILIAE Project (for a copy of the project, please contact Dr. Mariana de Campos Françozo);
• A cv;
• Your master thesis or proofs of your English academic writing skills;
• Copies of your academic transcripts;
• The names and contact addresses of two academic referees. No letters of recommendation at this point.

The selection procedure will take place in September, and selected candidates will be invited for a(n) (Skype) interview in late September or early October. You are kindly requested to be available in this period.

Acquisition following this advertisement is not appreciated.

Laatst Gewijzigd: 06-06-2017