Postdoctoral Scholar (Dept. III Working Group “Visualization and Material Cultures of the Heavens in Eurasia and North Africa (1400 BCE–1700 CE)”)

April 07, 2024
Department/Research Group

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) is an internationally respected research institute of the Max Planck Society (MPG) with three research departments, several research groups, and a graduate school. At the MPIWG, around three hundred scholars from all over the world investigate the sciences past and present, working together on a collective, collaborative, and trans-disciplinary basis. The MPIWG is renowned worldwide as a hub for reflection on the role of the sciences in politics and society. It is located in southwestern Berlin, close to the campus of the Freie Universität Berlin and other research institutions.

Department “Artifacts, Action, Knowledge” led by Dagmar Schäfer, seeks to appoint a

Postdoctoral Scholar

– for three years, with employment contract, TVöD-Bund pay scales (E13) –
starting on September 1, 2024

Department “Artifacts, Action, Knowledge” studies the history of knowledge and action considering the changing role of artifacts: texts, objects, and spaces. Our research collectively examines the processes and structures by which people grappled with the materiality of existence. Through the analysis of everyday actions, we interrogate the boundaries and intersections between the inner workings of objects and all domains of life. Together these approaches allow us to pursue inquiries into historical epistemologies of action.

For more detailed information, please visit the department website.

Your responsibilities:

  • Support collaborative research initiatives within the department.
  • Conduct an independent research project as part of the “Visualization and Material Cultures of the Heavens in Eurasia and North Africa (1400 BCE–1700 CE)” working group, concentrating on the East Asian context until 1400 (pre-Ming).
  • Enhance the working group's database and play a key role in devising innovative methodological approaches for image analysis.
  • Engage actively in the research pursuits of the Institute, participate in departmental activities, and deliver presentations on your own research findings.

Your profile:

  • Hold a Ph.D. degree at the commencement of employment.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in Classical Chinese or another East Asian language relevant to the candidate's period of interest (preferably Japanese), with English being the primary working language of the Institute.

What we offer:

  • Flexible working hours; the opportunity to work from home as arranged with your superior; the opportunity to work part-time
  • Annual year-end bonus; occupational pension (VBL); subsidy for public transportation within Berlin or Germany (“Jobticket”); paid leave on Christmas Eve (December 24) and New Year’s Eve (December 31) in addition to regular annual leave
  • Weekly in-house yoga classes; regular information on occupational health management courses offered by our partner health insurance companies
  • Access to the wide range of training courses offered by the MPG’s Planck Academy
  • Close contact with all research and research-support units with the opportunity for direct, personal dialogue
  • An international setting with staff and guests from more than forty countries

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer that strives to foster an inclusive workplace. As an institute of the MPG, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science supports a working community for all free from discrimination and harassment. We explicitly encourage applications from qualified individuals who belong to groups that are often underrepresented in the workplace due to age, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender, nationality, race, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, or religion.
Please follow the links to find out more about the MPIWG’s policies on gender equality and hiring practices for people with disabilities, as well as Germany’s anti-discrimination laws as outlined in the General Equal Treatment Act.

Your application:

Please submit your application with complete documents, preferably without a photograph, through our application portal:

To apply, please submit the following documents:

  1. cover letter;
  2. curriculum vitae; including publication list;
  3. research prospectus in which you outline your planned contribution to the theme and questions of the working group (maximum 1,000 words);
  4. one published piece of research;
  5. names and contact details of at least two referees.

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

Applications must be received by April 7, 2024 (23:45 CET).

Applications will be reviewed by late April 2024 and short-listed candidates will be interviewed by early May 2024. Only successful candidates 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 (

Further information on the MPIWG can be found at


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