0,65 Research Assistant PhD "The Cold War's Clash of Civilizations" (FU Berlin)

Freie Universität Berlin
01.10.2018 - 30.09.2021
Timothy Nunan

research assistant (PhD Position)
with 65% part-time job
limited to 3 years (30.09.2021)
Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L FU
reference code: Cold War's Clash of Civilizations Freigeist Research Group/2018

The Freigeist Research Group "The Cold War's Clash of Civilizations" investigates interactions between the socialist world and Islamist movements during the twentieth century. Historians have long understood the Cold War as a global conflict that transformed not only Europe but also the Third World. The conflict between the USA and the USSR influenced the competition between socialism and Islamism. It also shaped sectarianism among Sunni and Shi'a Islamists themselves. During the 1960s, Sunni and Shi'a Islamists like Sayyid Qutb, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and Ali Khamenei engaged in an ecumenical debate about how to rid the Islamic world of its secular, socialist, and often pro-Soviet regimes. These Sunni and Shi'a thinkers were divided on theological matters, but united in opposition to socialism. The following years saw the reinvention of Islamic internationalism through the Shi'a clergy and the World Islamic League. Groups like these delegitimized Marxism and forged new transnational networks of authority. They also contributed to the defeat of the Soviet Union and socialists in Afghanistan. Yet after Shi'a Islamists seized power in Iran in 1979, the Sunni Islamist networks built to challenge socialism were repurposed to contain Shi'ism. Studying "the Cold War's clash of civilizations" between socialism and Islamism reveals how Muslim intellectuals encountered "the West" not only through the guise of Euro-America and liberal capitalism. It also sheds light on the Cold War origins of today's sectarian struggles for leadership of the Islamic world.

Job description:
Successful candidates will develop a PhD dissertation in the field of international history in the twentieth century as well as contribute to the activities of the research group more generally. Successful research projects will connect with the themes of the Research Group leader’s research agenda while also making a discrete contribution to debates in international and global history through the dissertation. Successful projects will combine archival and primary source research in the countries of the former socialist bloc (here broadly understood to include the former USSR, the Eastern Bloc, China, Albania; "countries of socialist orientation" such as Tanzania or Mozambique; and socialist parties like the Iraqi or Indonesian Communist Party or Maoist groups) with similar primary source research into Islamist movements. Possible themes include, but are not limited to, Soviet-Kurdish relations; local actors’ response to the Islamic Revolution in Iran; or the foreign affairs of socialist states like South Yemen or Soviet-aligned states such as Libya or Syria. While writing the dissertation, students will be integrated into the lively community of scholars of global history at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Center for Global History in particular. They are also encouraged to develop their language competencies through courses at the universities in the Berlin area, and to take part in the wide range of colloquia and research seminars at the Freie Universität Berlin and area studies institutions in Berlin.

MA degree in History with a significant focus in non-European history (Russia/Eastern Europe, Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, South Asia or Southeast Asia) or area studies with a strong historical focus; very good knowledge of English; knowledge of languages relevant to the research proposal.

Familiarity with recent debates in global history and area studies; interest in acquiring a working knowledge of German; experience working in relevant archives.

Interested candidates are asked to apply by submitting the following documents as one PDF file to the address timothy.nunan@fu-berlin.de by the deadline. Cover letter; Curriculum vitae Abstract of MA thesis (maximum one page single-spaced); Research proposal (maximum five pages double-spaced) including a brief explanation of how your project fits into the framework of the research group; Letter of recommendation by MA supervisor (with the option to name one additional reference). Please ask your supervisor to email their letter directly to the above address with a subject line that reads “Letter of Recommendation” and your full name.

All aplications quoting the reference code shall be addressed no later than June 18th, 2018


Freie Universität Berlin
Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften
Arbeitsbereich Globalgeschichte
Herrn Dr. Timothy Nunan
Koserstr. 20
14195 Berlin (Germany)

Or as an e-mail to: timothy.nunan@fu-berlin.de


Timothy Nunan
Freie Universität Berlin
Koserstraße 20
Berlin 14195


0,65 Research Assistant PhD "The Cold War's Clash of Civilizations" (FU Berlin), 01.10.2018 – 30.09.2021 Berlin, in: H-Soz-Kult, 16.05.2018, <www.hsozkult.de/job/id/stellen-16531>.