Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS)

PhD Position at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research

Project: Narrating Science as a World-making Activity: Sea Level Change in Singapore

14 September 2017

The project is part of the interdisciplinary research program 'Fiction Meets Science II: Varieties of Science Narrative', and supported by a grant from the Volkswagen Foundation.


The Research Group Development and Knowledge Sociology at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research in Bremen, in collaboration with Fiction Meets Science II, and the Fachbereich 8 at the University of Bremen, seeks a PhD candidate in the social sciences with grounded expertise in marine/coastal sociology, anthropology, area studies, human geography, gender, development, postcolonial or science and technology studies, working on tropical regions for a three-year VW-funded PhD-project, part of a work package entitled Narrating Science as a World-Making Activity: Sea Level Change in Singapore, that forms part of the larger interdisciplinary project “Fiction Meets Science II: Varieties of Science Narrative” (FMS II).


Prof. Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge (FB 08, University of Bremen & ZMT)


The ‘Development and Knowledge Sociology’ Research Group focuses on three interrelated fields of research:
a) Marine Science Studies - Discourses of Knowledge;
b) Oceanic Futures and Foresight Studies;
c) Coastal Transformation Studies. The doctoral candidate will contribute directly to the first of these and collaborate with the other two.



Develop and implement – in close interaction with Professor Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge –an individualised PhD-research agenda. Conduct empirical, qualitative research and write a PhD-thesis. Cooperate closely with the other researchers within the wider FMS II network and contribute to the successful implementation of FMS II as a whole. Contribute to ongoing discussions and work processes in the Research Group at ZMT, as well as the Social Sciences Department at ZMT when necessary.


Fiction Meets Science II: Varieties of Narrative

In FMS II, literature and social science scholars study how science is being portrayed in fictional narratives in literature, movies and science journalism in diverse cultural contexts of science and public discourse production.

The Ph.D. Project: Narrating Science as a World-Making Activity: Sea Level Change in Singapore
Since the Tsunami hit South and Southeast Asia in December 2004, dystopian images of flash floods and rapidly eroding coasts increasingly form part of science narratives put forth in novels and science journalism. Yet, the question to which qualitative degree and how these science narratives and the images of rapidly changing coastal futures portrayed also inform policy-making so far remains to be answered. Against this background, this project ethnographically assesses how distinct argumentative currents and scientific narratives are mobilized in discursively and communicatively constructing imaginaries of a sea level change challenged future, which in turn legitimate Singaporean policy making in relation to coastal protection and early warning systems. It is the aim to qualitatively assess how, to what degree and in which shapes science narratives told in the realm of popular culture and science journalism enter the discourses, logics and reasoning put forth in the political realm with the aim to guide political decision-making.



  • Masters degree in a relevant field of the social sciences (e.g. Sociology, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Area Studies, Human Geography, Development, Gender and/or Science & Technology Studies)
  • Empirical, qualitative, ethnographic research experience, possibly even outside of Europe
  • Able to spend long periods doing field research in Singapore
  • Effective interpersonal communication skills including ability to work in a team
  • Advanced written and oral communication skills in English, including demonstrated academic writing skills
  • Demonstrated initiative and willingness to take on unexpected tasks
  • Local language skills from the research region (Singaporean Chinese, Tamil, Malay) would be an additional plus


Details of Position:

Part-time (TV-L, EG 13, 66,6%); envisioned starting date: as soon as possible
The candidate will be on a three-year contract
ZMT offers a dynamic, interdisciplinary and international research environment and interesting, diverse, and challenging tasks in a family-friendly work environment. ZMT is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants with a migration background are welcome. Disabled persons with comparable qualification receive preferential status.


Additional Information:

For additional information, please contact Prof. Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge: anna-katharina.hornidge(at)leibniz-zmt.de


Submission of Application:

Please send your complete set of application documents in English comprising the following: Letter of Motivation, CV (with publication record if relevant), attached certificates, a sample chapter from a completed MA/MSc thesis or published paper, and a brief proposal of not more than four pages, outlining the individual PhD research agenda within the frame of the work package description above, including methodology and timeline. Deadline for applications is October 15, 2017. Only short-listed candidates will be notified.

Documents should be e-mailed as a single PDF file to Ms. L. Oehlmann (bewerbung(at)leibniz-zmt.de) with the reference number “56” and the Working Group “Development and Knowledge Sociology”.
Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, Fahrenheitstrasse 6, D-28359 Bremen

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