Doctoral Research Fellowship in The Biopolitics of Disability, Illness, and Animality in Literary and Cultural Texts University of Oslo, Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages

Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages


Doctoral Research Fellowship in The Biopolitics of Disability, Illness, and Animality in Literary and Cultural Texts


A Doctoral Research Fellowship in “The Biopolitics of Disability, Illness, and Animality in Literary and Cultural Texts” is available in the Department of Literature, Area Studies, and European Languages, University of Oslo.


The successful applicant’s dissertation project will explore representations and discourses of disability, illness, and animality in American literature and culture. Proposals that include comparative studies between American and other Anglophone cultures, including Norway and other Nordic countries, would be welcome but are not required. The project should engage with the interdisciplinary theoretical field of biopolitics and intersectional approaches to gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, disability, and animality, situated in particular historical and cultural contexts. The historical period is open, but the original language of the primary texts to be studied must be in English. The dissertation must also be written in English.


This PhD position will be part of a larger project funded by the Norwegian Research Council, BIODIAL: The Biopolitics of Disability, Illness, and Animality: Cultural Representations and Societal Significance. The primary purpose of the overall project is to investigate how some human and nonhuman lives are socially constructed as more or less valuable than others, and how such constructions are informed and troubled by cultural, literary, and social representations of disability, illness, and animality. Biopolitics is a term that refers to how social constructions of “life” have become politicized terrain, particularly when groups of living beings are controlled through what is seen as good for the population as a whole. In this way, ideas about what is “natural” or “normal” circulate among people who then concur about which forms of life should live or die and which populations are more or less valuable. This kind of discourse has significant implications not only for justifications of state violence and the suspension of civil liberties, but also for the lives of human beings with disabilities or illnesses and nonhuman animals in various contexts. The PhD project could thus engage with societal debates and policies related to discrimination, speciesism, accessibility, euthanasia, assisted suicide, abortion, prenatal testing, health care, vivisection, factory farming, animal welfare, and veterinary medicine, among others. The Doctoral Fellow will also be expected to contribute to the research group ILLREP: Representations of Illness and Disability in Literary and Cultural Texts.  


The person appointed will be affiliated with the Faculty's organized research training. The academic work is to result in a doctoral thesis that will be defended at the Faculty with a view to obtaining the degree of PhD. The successful candidate is expected to join the existing research milieu or network and contribute to its development. Read more about the doctoral degree.


The appointment is for a duration of three years. All PhD Candidates who submit their doctoral dissertation for assessment with a written recommendation from their supervisor within 3 years or 3 ½ years after the start of their PhD position, will be offered, respectively, a 12 or 6 month Completion Grant.



  • A Master's Degree or equivalent in English-language literature or cultural studies. The Master's Degree must have been obtained by the time of application.
  • Personal suitability and motivation for the position.


In assessing the applications, special emphasis will be placed on:

  • The project's scientific merit, research-related relevance and innovation, specifically in relation to the theoretical and methodological framework of the BIODIAL research project
  • The applicant’s relevant research experience and publication record
  • The applicant's estimated academic and personal ability to complete research training and to complete the project within the time frame
  • Good collaboration skills and an estimated ability to contribute to interdisciplinary academic communities generally and the ILLREP research group specifically.


Applicants who have recently graduated with excellent results may be given preference.


We offer

  • salary level NOK 432 700 - 489 300, depending on qualifications
  • a professionally stimulatinging working environment
  • attractive welfare benefits


Applicants must submit the following attachments with the electronic application, preferably in pdf format:

  • Application letter describing the applicant’s qualifications and motivation for the position
  • Curriculum Vitae (complete list of education, positions, teaching experience, administrative experience and other qualifying activities, including a complete list of publications)
  • Transcript of records of your Master's degree. Applicants with education from a foreign university are advised to attach an explanation of their university's grading system
  • Project description, including a detailed progress plan for the project (3 - 5 pages, see Template for project descriptions)  


Please note that all documents must be in English or a Scandinavian language.


Educational certificates, master theses and the like are not to be submitted with the application, but applicants may be asked to submit such information or works later.


Short-listed candidates may be invited for an interview at the University of Oslo.


See also Guidelines for the application assessment process and appointments to research fellowships.


Following the Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) § 25, Chapter 2, demographic information about the applicant may be used in the public list of applicants even if the applicant opts out from the entry in the public application list.


The University of Oslo has an Acquisition of Rights Agreement for the purpose of securing rights to intellectual property created by its employees, including research results.


The University of Oslo aims to achieve a balanced gender composition in the workforce and to recruit people with ethnic minority backgrounds.

  • Region:

  • Oslo

  • Job type:

  • Contract

  • Working hours:

  • Full-time

  • Working days:

  • Day

  • Application deadline:

  • 18 April 2017

  • Reference number:

  • 2017/2586

  • Company homepage:



  • Contacts:

  • Administrative Head of Department Karina Kleiva 

    Telephone: +47 22856827

  • Project leader Michael Lundblad 

    Telephone: +47 22856007

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