ETH Zurich

Research Assistant with the Professorship for the History of the Modern World

Unspecified
Opslaan als favoriet

Over de werkgever

ETH Zurich is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research and for implementing its results directly into practice.

De pagina van de werkgever bekijken

Research Assistant with the Professorship for the History of the Modern World

The Professorship for the History of the Modern World invites applicants to apply for a six-month position as a research assistant, starting 1 April 2023.

Project background

SYNOPSIS OF THE RESEARCH PROJECT:

Shaping future generations: Playgrounds and outdoor games in colonial Asia (ca 1900–1950) This research project is concerned with the spread of the playground in colonial Asia during the period from ca 1900 to 1950. Focussing on a wide array of transnational actors and internationally circulating ‘scientific’ theories on education/pedagogy about children and outdoor games, it reconstructs how playgrounds became politically significant in moulding children’s bodies and minds using specific notions of morality, obedience and discipline. In doing so, this study intends to fill a glaring research lacuna in childhood studies and the history of ‘informal’ education while shedding light on the important question of the construction of children as citizen subjects. Representing the telos of the social order, children have consistently been experimental sites for ‘modernity’ and ‘progress’ in the vexed contexts of imperialism and nation-building, serving as both potent metaphors of hopes and anxieties at the global level. Increasingly perceived as a new category of politics influenced by wider moral, social, political, cultural, and economic factors as well as sentimental and/or emotional elements, childhood acquired a new place as an object of protection both in projects of imperial ‘rescue’ as well as in nationalist reformist agendas across Asia in the early 20th century, especially from the 1920s onwards. While the concept of age was made ‘natural’ by a transnational humanitarian discourse, the treatment of children became a marker of civilisation and a new indicator of a nation’s political legitimacy, modernity and measure of development. Recent scholarship has highlighted the global significance of the playground for shaping the bodies and character of children to make them ‘worthy’ citizens of the future: the playground was very often perceived as a key element in the building of a new society. These works have shown that the playground acquired importance in the Western world at the beginning of the 20th century as a political domain where ideals were instilled, and deviant behaviours stigmatized and punished. Through imperial highways and improved worldwide communication, such ideas reached different Asian colonial contexts and found enthusiastic supporters in these settings where childhood was deeply bound with imperial civilising missions and with the quest for self-government and national credibility. Different historical actors, such as governments as well as non-state agents like missionaries, philanthropists and nation-builders, began to focus on the need for playgrounds as crucial spaces to ensure the protection of children and youth from the allegedly moral and material corruption of modern/urban life. Considering inter-Asian and inter-imperial interactions and connections beyond empires, this project intends to investigate how the discourse, notions and practices surrounding the playground were appropriated and transformed in colonial Asia and the main actors involved in advocating the spread of playgrounds to inculcate morality, obedience, discipline. It does so not by adopting a diffusionist paradigm postulating the spread of ideas from the West to Asia, but by analysing how ideas travelled multi-directionally between regions and by reconstructing the global conversations through reciprocal relations and intellectual exchanges. This study, which considers childhood as both categories and lived experience, adopts variables like class, gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality as cross-cutting analytical lenses at both the conceptual and empirical levels. Some specific questions that this study will attempt to answer will be: How did the physical experiences in the playground help reproduce hierarchies of power and diffuse adult worldviews to children and young adolescents? How did children experience the physical space of the playground and what role did more traditional spaces, like the maidaan and the adda in South Asia for example, play in the new attention to childhood? To what extent and in which ways could children exercise their resistance and agency?

Along with colonial India – an important region for this study as shown by preliminary research – another relevant regional focus will be identified during the preparation of the final proposal so that the multidirectional impacts between regions as well as the transnational and trans colonial significance of the playground will be better brought to light.

Job description

During the six months, you will be preparing an application for an SNF project tentatively titled Shaping future generations: "Playgrounds and outdoor games in colonial Asia (ca 1900–1950)". You will not have necessarily to move to Zurich since ongoing interactions will be ensured through regular Zoom meetings. 

Your profile

The student, who has completed her/his MA or MPhil or is about to complete it and is willing to pursue a PhD, must have an area of expertise in South, Southeast or East Asia and a reading knowledge of a relevant Asian language.

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

You can send their CV and motivation letter to elena.valdameri@gess.ethz.ch until 10 January 2023.

The date for interviews will be fixed between mid-January and beginning of February. If the project is successful, you will be granted a four-year PhD position starting from May 2024.

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

Informatie over de vacature

Functienaam
Research Assistant with the Professorship for the History of the Modern World
Werkgever
Locatie
Rämistrasse 101 Zürich, Zwitserland
Gepubliceerd
2022-12-01
Uiterste sollicitatiedatum
Unspecified
Soort functie
Opslaan als favoriet

Meer vacatures bij deze werkgever

Over de werkgever

ETH Zurich is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research and for implementing its results directly into practice.

De pagina van de werkgever bekijken

Dit vind je misschien ook interessant