4 grants for Ph.D. students "Estrangement as a learning process", MLU Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/Saale (Germany)

Oliver-Pierre Rudolph's picture
February 19, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Humanities, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Law and Legal History, Social Sciences

The Graduate School “Society and Culture in Motion” (SCM), Halle (Germany) announces the following openings:


  • 4 grants for Ph.D. students (EUR 1050/month) for 24 months with the possibility of a 12 month extension


Applications must be received (not postmarked) by February 19th, 2016


Beginning: April 1st, 2016


Ph.D. Grant Descriptions:


The guiding subject matter of SCM is the study of the motion and transformation of ideas, artifacts, and models in space, time and between social fields. New technological, political, judicial, as well as economic frameworks have increasingly trans-local and quite often global meanings due to their translations into local contexts. GS SCM aims to devise concepts that allow for the description of these translation processes, paying particular attention to creative strategies of adaption, transformation and redeployment of travelling epistemic or normative elements. Thus, we aim to understand the reflexive and stimulating potentials in experiences with unfamiliar cultural or social orders.

Consequently, our primary concern goes beyond the migration of people as an economic and political process in order to focus on the challenges and chances that symbolic and normative elements in motion bring about.

From this perspective, we expect interdisciplinary research projects on aspects of creative resistance, adaptation and camouflage that can be identified as forms of translation of travelling ideas and models. The focus could be on historical and social as well as transdisciplinary movements.


Central research topic for the granted projects:

Estrangement as a learning process: Experiences – Institutions – Reflecting Strategies

Estrangement is a topic intensively discussed in public within the context of contemporary global migration. It is also prominent in academic discourses such as sociology, ethnology, economics, law, philosophy, literary and educational sciences, among others. SCM has conducted extensive research on the topic and  strives to connect its research progress with real world practices and issues, thereby generating a context in which to apply its innovative results.

SCM proposes to analyze estrangement as a contradictory, yet productive learning process in which epistemic, symbolic or politically non-integrated elements encounter a given order. Its scope encompasses constellations which initially appear to be enigmatic and require categorical and social re-organization as well as (self-) reflexive learning processes in order to be integrated into existing orders. Within this frame-work, SCM invites research projects that explore potentially fruitful ways of dealing with strange-/otherness in the sciences, legal systems as well as public discourses, thus disclosing opportunities for social re-organization and integration in existing societal constellations.


Who can apply?

Potential Ph.D. students must hold an MA degree (equivalent to the German MA) in social sciences or humanities, or an equivalent degree entitling the holder to take up Ph.D. studies in Germany. In order to fully participate in and take advantage of the GS SCM’s activities, continuous presence of the students in Halle is required. Applications must include the following documents:

  • Cover letter
  • Copy of  M.A. certificate (English or German)
  • Transcript of Records (if available)
  • CV
  • Outline of a research proposal together with project timeline (3.000 - 5.000 words). This proposal should relate to the general topic of “Estrangement as a learning process” (see above for a description of central research topic). Furthermore, we ask that you include details of your research progress (if any) up to the time of application.
  • Letter of recommendation written by an academic supervisor from the previous university.
  • Proof of adequate knowledge of English (if a non-native speaker).


What we offer Ph.D.s

The GS SCM offers in particular:

  • Transdisciplinary seminars and workshops on various subjects.
  • Presentations and talks by visiting scholars.
  • Workshops related to key skills training.
  • A framework for discussing dissertation projects.
  • In addition to the grants, the SCM offers additional financial support for grantees with children.
  • The GS SCM can also contribute to field work expenses (if applicable). If this kind of support is required, then it should be stated and explained in the research proposal.

The GS SCM programme is not only directed at the SCM grantees; a number of other Ph.D. students and junior researchers are continuously taking part in the programme.

While the working language of the SCM is English, we nevertheless request that students acquire an operative knowledge of German (for everyday communication as well as reading skills in scholarly literature). German language instruction is available through the university.


What is expected from participating Ph.D. students?

  • We expect a sustained effort in the Ph.D. work, together with
  • a willingness to actively take part in the SCM schooling programme. This involves giving presentations and papers at the trans-disciplinary seminars, workshops, as well as on other occasions
  • a general interest in methodological and epistemological enquiries.
  • Successful completion of the degree (Ph.D.) takes place according to the guidelines and regulations of the corresponding faculty.


Please send complete applications as shown on the SCM website:


by e-mail to: verwaltung@scm.uni-halle.de

and/or by ordinary mail to:

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Graduate School “Society and Culture in Motion”
Reichardtstr. 6
D-06114 Halle/Saale

Contact Info: 

Oliver-Pierre Rudolph M.A.

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

Graduate School “Society and Culture in Motion”

Reichardtstr. 6

D-06114 Halle/Saale