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Three Junior Fellowships

The Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe, KFG) “Universalism and Particularism in European Contemporary History” at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) is seeking to appoint

3 Junior Fellowships

with a research topic focusing on economy or human rights or religion/secularity in contemporary European history. Applications with other research topics, connected to the overall agenda of the KFG, are welcome. Future Calls for Junior Fellowships will be following every term.

The Center is seeking for three Junior Fellows for the summer term 2024 (April – September), with a preferred starting date on 1 April 2024.

Project description

Centers for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (KFG), funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) are interdisciplinary research groups with exceptional funding conditions. They have an initial funding period of four years, with the possibility of prolongation for a second funding period, and offer an international fellowship programme, which allows a large number of leading experts to convene and explore an innovative research topic over a long period of time.

The KFG “Universalism and Particularism” investigates universalist and particularist models of order in European contemporary history from the 1970s to the present. Universalist claims aim at universally applicable rules, the demand for which, however, usually follows concrete interests. In contrast, particularist models reject any general claim and justify guiding principles that are oriented towards the construction of individual or group-related needs. The KFG research program focuses on economic, religious/secular and human rights regimes, and poses the question how universalist and particularist claims were constructed in contemporary history and how political-social change was conceived, justified, promoted or even prevented with them. The aim of the KFG is to gain a better understanding of the complexity of the transition and the overlaying of universalist and particularist concepts in European contemporary history.

Research Focus “Religion and Secularity”

Religious concepts are used for both universalist and particularist designs. The research focus analyses religious and secular models of order, based on the presumption of their ambivalence and openness to interpretation. It is especially interested in those religious or secular concepts that have gained political relevance in recent contemporary history, e.g. in the transformation of East (Central) European societies after 1989, the global financial crisis or in view of worldwide migration. At the same time, the research project is interested in intersections of religion and particularist ideologies such as nationalism.

Research Focus “Economy”

Economic ties are thought to be able to reduce the risk of interstate conflicts. However, economic activity is always space- and time-dependent, and markets only arise in certain social orders. In the contemporary history of Europe since the 1970s, the universal and the particular in economic activity often overlap. In Western Europe, economic integration developed in a balancing act between the opening of internal borders and greater closure to third states. In Eastern Europe, economic integration projects beyond the EU are also developing, some of which are based on market structures from before 1989. The validity of the idea of a liberal, open economic order is severely limited both by internal developments in the EU and by external challenges. The research focus also examines the interaction of economic discourses with economic practices with a special emphasis on scientific discourses.

Research Focus “Human Rights”

The postulate of human rights became attractive as a concept worldwide in the 1970s and was a major driver of political protest in the pre-1989 dissident movement. With the democratization of post-communist societies, the issue of human rights lost importance. On the other hand, recourse to human rights formed a decisive element in the universalistic draft of the world order of liberal internationalism that triumphed in 1989/91. At the same time, this policy was increasingly met with opposition. Since the 2010s, the EU has been confronted with a serious problem in maintaining a uniform standard of civil rights in Poland and Hungary. The modern authoritarian and populist regimes of East (Central) European countries question the universality of human rights by trying to unmask them as a particular ideology that is directed against the traditional family or cultural values.


The KFG fellowships are awarded for 3-6 months in the summer term 2024 (April–September). We offer a stipend of €2,400 and a rent subsidy of €1,800 on a monthly basis as well as travel costs to and from Munich at the beginning and end of the fellowship. Apart from engaging in their individual research, fellows are expected to actively participate in the KFG’s weekly colloquia and to contribute to the development of a methodological anthology on the main concepts of historical and political sciences connected with universalism and particularism in European contemporary history. The Junior Fellows are also expected to organize a two-day workshop in Munich in cooperation with the KFG team (funded by the Center).

In the summer term 2024, the KFG examines economic and human rights-related issues in the context of our project. During the research stay in Munich, Junior Fellows will have the opportunity to exchange with the KFG directors Martin Schulze Wessel, Kiran Patel, and Andreas Wirsching, Distinguished Fellows Marta Bucholc, Alexander Libman, and Angelika Nußberger, as well as the Senior Fellows (to be confirmed) Paul Betts, Laurence Burgorgue-Larsen, Celia Donert, Caroline von Gall, Yoshiko Herrera, Sandrine Kott, and Marlene Laruelle.

Interdisciplinarity plays a significant role for the KFG’s research, so that applications are possible with topics contributing to any of the three research foci, or to the overall agenda of the KFG.



Applicants must have a PhD in a respective field.

The working languages of the KFG are English and German, therefore excellent spoken and written knowledge of one of the languages is required.

Regular presence at the KFG in Munich is obligatory.

The KFG offers

Participation in an interdisciplinary, innovative und prestigious DFG-funded joint research project;

Access to extensive international networks of high-profile researchers in the social sciences and humanities;

An open-minded, cooperative team;

Flexible working hours and family-friendly working time schemes;

A fully equipped workplace;

A monthly stipend and rent subsidy;

Funding for the organization of a two-day Junior Fellow workshop.



Applications should include:

Application cover (attached)

Cover letter describing the applicant’s career path and current research interests;

CV including list of publications;

Outline of the planned research project and how it contributes to the agenda of the KFG (max. 3 pages);

Outline of the planned 2-day workshop (topic, abstract, possible speakers);

Information on the preferred starting date and duration of the fellowship;

Work sample (2-3 publications), preferably in English or German;

Names and contact details of two potential referees.


The latest submission date for applications is June 18, 2023. The preferred starting date for the fellowship is 1 April 2024.


Please note that any costs arising in connection with your application cannot be reimbursed.

In its pursuit of academic excellence, LMU is committed to equality of opportunity and to a proactive and inclusive approach, which supports and encourages all under-represented groups, promotes an inclusive culture and values diversity. LMU is a family-friendly employer and is also responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

For further details about the fellowships, please contact Lena Lopatschowa:

Applications must be sent in English or German language in one PDF file to Lena Lopatschowa (KFG research coordinator):

– Prof. Dr. Martin Schulze Wessel
– Prof. Dr. Kiran Klaus Patel
– Prof. Dr. Andreas Wirsching

MORE INFORMATION on the KFG and its research agenda can be found here:

Organisation: Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe, KFG) “Universalism and Particularism in European Contemporary History” at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)
Deadline: 18/06/2023
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