Postdoctoral Fellowships (Dept. III, "Visualizations and Material Cultures of the Heavens in Eurasia and North Africa")

September 30, 2022

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Department III: Artifacts, Action, and Knowledge, directed by Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schäfer, seeks, one Postdoctoral Fellow for three years, for the Working Group “Visualization and Material Cultures of the Heavens in Eurasia and North Africa (1400 BCE – 1700 CE),” with a 100% employment contract, TVöD-Bund pay scale (E13). The earliest starting date is January 2023.

The successful candidate will support collaborative research (50%) and conduct their own research project (50%) within the framework of the Working Group.


The Working Group seeks interdisciplinary candidates with a specialization in East Asian history and culture, particularly in astral imagery on objects from East Asia before 1500 CE. The successful candidate will contribute to the next phase of the project: Geographies and Economies of Celestial Visual Representations in Eurasia and North Africa. This endeavor is centered on an annotated database of visual material related to the knowledge of the heavens (astronomy, astrology, divination, magic etc.). The aim of the project is to evaluate and analyze the database in order to understand the geographical spread of its images across different time horizons and their economic contexts and relevance.

The successful candidate will work on their own research theme within the framework of the project of the group and will contribute to the following group activities:

  • A monograph or an edited volume on geographies and economies in Eurasia and North Africa,
  • A conference on geographies and economies,
  • Grant proposal writing,
  • Engagement with Digital Humanities tools,
  • Exploration of new methodological approaches to understanding images (imagery analysis, compound objects, etc.).

Candidates are expected to be proficient in Classical Chinese or another East Asian language of their period of interest and have a good reading command of at least two of the following languages: French, German, Russian. Knowledge of a central Asian language in use before 1500 would be an added plus. A doctoral degree must be in hand by commencement of employment.

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) is an international and interdisciplinary research institute. The working language is English. Postdoctoral fellows are expected to participate in the research activities of the Institute, the departmental activities, and to present their own work.

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer that strives to foster an inclusive workplace for all. As an institute, the MPIWG encourages applications from individuals regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, and/or disability, particularly where underrepresented in our workforce. Visit these webpages to learn more about MPIWG’s policies toward gender equality and hiring practices for persons with disabilities.

To apply, please submit the following documents:

  1. cover letter;
  2. curriculum vitae;
  3. research prospectus in which you outline your planned contribution to the theme and questions of the Working Group (maximum 1,000 words);
  4. two published pieces of research in English;
  5. names and contact details of at least two referees.

Applications must be uploaded to the following link on or before 30 September 2022 (23:45 CET):

Please note that only complete electronic submissions uploaded to this link will be accepted. Applications sent via email will not be accepted. Applications may only be submitted in English.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed before 1 November 2022. Finalists may expect a decision by 31 October 2022. Only the successful candidate will be notified.


For questions concerning the Working Group and Department III, please contact Stamatina Mastorakou ( For administrative questions concerning the position and the Institute, please contact Rand El Zein ( For technical questions regarding the application portal, please contact the Department secretary (


Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Deutschland