Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy
16 October 2020

Open position in SNF project

Researcher in research project led by Prof. Spyer 

The Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy and the Department of Anthropology and Sociology (ANSO) are recruiting a



for the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) funded project:

Images, (In)visibilities, and Work on Appearances





Full-time if doctoral researcher, part-time (70% to 80%) if postdoctoral researcher




Swiss National Foundation (SNF) Scientific Project: “Images, (In)visibilities, and Work on Appearances” (IMAGEAPP)

This ethnographic project investigates how image-makers in three Indonesian cities (Ambon, Ternate, Makassar) address and redress a crucial dimension of sociopolitical change by making and deploying images: the (partial) invisibility and lack of recognition corresponding to asymmetries of, among others, religion, ethnicity, and race. Understood as part of the work on appearances inherent to sociopolitical transformation, these visual images circulate on social media as photographs, comics, memes, graphic journalism and art, in (digital) archives or as interventions in urban space like street art and graffiti. They are deployed to make marginalized histories visible, eliminate (in)visibilities that foster exclusion, and intervene in the visual environment to enable more equitable and sustainable life worlds.

General description of the positions:

The appointed postdoctoral researcher (or PhD student) will work closely with the project’s Principal Investigator, Patricia Spyer, Professor at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and Faculty Affiliate of the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy. S/he will be fully integrated in the life of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute ( Committed to theoretical innovation, robust empirical research, and fine-grained ethnographic fieldwork, the department and its doctoral program foster the study of contemporary issues in global and transnational terms. S/he will also be affiliated with the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy ( which gathers scholars conducting research on the everyday practices of democratic politics.

Specific research position (Makassar, South Sulawesi)

This project focuses on the new, often ambivalent claims to the city and to a visible public presence as Chinese among Makassar’s ethnic Chinese population. Field research will investigate the perceptions and negotiations of (in)visibility among the city’s diverse Chinese-Indonesian inhabitants, paying special attention to intergenerational differences in the experience of ‘being Chinese.’ Image-making includes digital sites and online performances of Chineseness by young image-makers, projects linked to contested space (historic cemeteries), and the interiorized spaces of (family) temples, gated communities, and homes. The candidate should have some working knowledge of Indonesian.


  • PhD/MA in Anthropology or relevant sub-disciplines/fields (e.g. visual anthropology, cultural studies)
  • Demonstrated ability to carry out ethnographic research
  • Highly organized and capable of working independently
  • Knowledge and experience with visual and digital technologies is an asset.
  • Excellent written and oral communication in English, some familiarity with Indonesian is necessary
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work with others

Application procedure

We look forward to receiving your application including 1) a CV 2) letter of motivation 3) two letters of recommendation 4) a writing sample (PhD/MA Thesis or article published or preparation) 5) transcripts of BA and MA/PhD education


Informal inquiries and applications are to be sent to: Please cc all messages to Ms. Daniela Renggli:

The PhD position is dependent on acceptance to the Graduate Institute’s Department of Anthropology and Sociology’s PhD program. Acceptance to the program requires a separate application procedure (due 15 January 2021). Details on the procedure will be provided at the interview stage (2nd half of February). The Postdoc position depends on the approval of the ANSO department but does not entail a separate procedure on the part of the applicant.