04 November 2022

JOB: 2 PhD Positions Project ‘Glocalising Normativities’ (Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory - DEADLINE: 30 November 2022)

(Source: MPI Frankfurt)
The MPI in Frankfurt currently has a call for 2 PhD positions for a three-year research project.
For the project “Glocalising Normativities. A Global Legal History (15th-21st century) (GloNo)”, coordinated by Dr. Luisa Stella Coutinho at the department “Historical Regimes of Normativity” (Director Prof. Dr. Thomas Duve) of the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory in Frankfurt/Main we are looking to recruit as of April 2023

 two PhD Students (m/f/d) - Glocalising Normativities

with a research project based on a case study that is compatible with the following focus:

The Glocalising Normativities (GloNo) project aims to construct a global history of knowledge of normativity production in a vast historical space that includes sites in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. All of these regions were, at some point in their respective histories, under the sphere of influence of one of the two Iberian empires: Portugal and Spain. The GloNo project looks at these places from a long-term perspective from the late 15th to the early 21st century and proposes an emphasis on localized observations of the histories of knowledge of normativity within a global horizon. However, we do not seek to create a comprehensive legal history of the entire imperial space, but rather to develop a global legal history focusing on an interdisciplinary and non-Eurocentric approach to further a critical understanding of the idea of law. We propose an understanding of legal history as a historical process of cultural translation of knowledge of normativity. In pursuing a legal-theoretical pragmatic understanding of knowledge of normativity, the GloNo project combines a global perspective on legal history with local case studies based on the detailed analysis of archival sources in a broader context. These case studies provide insights into how the production of norms is always localized, i.e. socially and culturally translated, based on manifold social practices and different epistemic communities. For our analysis, we rely on the concept of "Historical Regimes of Normativity", or stable arrangements in which the translation of knowledge of normativity takes place in relation to a particular field of action. In order to overcome the binary division of the local versus the global, we propose five analytical units as "Historical Regimes of Normativity” in order to pursue decentralized knowledge production and their stabilizing effect on the normative orders being analyzed: governance, dependency, ownership, diversity and tradition.

Job description
Your key responsibility is to develop and complete a doctoral dissertation within the parameters of the research group. Doctoral students are expected to publish and disseminate their research findings in close co-operation with the other members of the research group.

Your profile
You hold a university degree in history, law, or other related field that has been completed with above-average success. Applicants should hold a master’s degree at the time the PhD contract is signed. Candidates may already be enrolled in a PhD program in any university worldwide.

You are proficient in Portuguese and/or Spanish, and good knowledge of English is expected. Knowledge of additional languages relevant to the regional focus is not required but will be considered an asset.

Your curriculum vitae shows the potential to conduct research at an internationally high level. You work meticulously and are able to handle deadlines. You work independently and have a strong interest in interdisciplinary, archival, and comparative work. You have the ability to play an active collaborative role in the research group.

Our offer
We offer an attractive and international work environment with unparalleled research infrastructure and a good working atmosphere. The candidate will have the opportunity to take part in an interdisciplinary international research group, benefit from continuous scientific exchange, a comprehensive library and the possibility of research stays in Germany and abroad.

PhD positions are currently paid 2,721.84€ gross, which works out to approximately 1,800€ after taxes. The majority of the 39-hour workweek is dedicated to carrying out the doctoral project.

The positions are fixed-term appointments for three years and may be extended for one additional year. In accordance with our works agreement, mobile working up to 40% is possible.

The Max Planck Society strives for gender equality and diversity. We welcome applications from individuals with disabilities. We also seek to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women to apply. Likewise, applications from persons underrepresented in science and research with regard to gender, age, professional and cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation and nationality are encouraged.

Application process
The application should be in English, Portuguese or Spanish and should contain the following documents:

  • Cover letter naming your research project and explaining to what extent your profile meets the selection criteria.
  • Detailed CV including a list of any publications you might have.
  • Copies of your university certificates.
  • Preliminary research project (up to five pages, not including bibliography) on a local or regional case study located in one of the regions listed above (any sites under the sphere of influence of one of the two Iberian empires), specifically indicating archives and sources. This document has to justify the integration of the case study into the GloNo project and describe how it fits into the overarching framework of the project.

Your application must be submitted online via the link below by the closing date of November 30, 2022. Outstanding candidates will be invited to an interview.

You are encouraged to contact Dr. Luisa Stella Coutinho ( for any inquiries regarding the scientific aspects of the project. For questions as to the terms and conditions of employment, please contact Ms. Anna Heym (

Further information on the research agenda of the Max Planck Institute is available on our website:

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