Post-doctoral research fellow

Available at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient @ZMO_Berlin, part of “In Pursuit of ‘Legality’ and ‘Justice’: Minority Struggles in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union” (JUSTIMINO) (TVöD Bund, salary group E13, FTE 100%); deadline: 15 June 2023


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Post-doctoral research fellow (m/f/div)

One position as a post-doctoral research fellow (m/f/div) is available at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin, with a start date of 1 January 2024, or as soon as possible after that date. It comes with a fixed contract duration of four years. The position is part of the collaborative project “In Pursuit of ‘Legality’ and ‘Justice’: Minority Struggles in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union” (JUSTIMINO), funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant and headed by PD Dr. Stefan B. Kirmse. All applicants are advised to read the JUSTIMINO project outline carefully (see the link above).
The salary grade corresponds to the German scheme of employment in the public sector (TVöD Bund, salary group E13, FTE 100%). Additional funds for research and conference travel, visa fees (if required), and publications are available.

As part of the broader JUSTIMINO frame, the post-doctoral research fellow will focus on a specific case of ethnic and religious minorities calling for legality and justice in the Soviet Union: Armenian activism in post-Stalinist society. That ethnic Armenians enjoyed privileges in the Armenian Soviet
Socialist Republic (SSR) led them to grant broad civic freedoms in ‘their’ republic that formed the basis of more active protest. By the mid-1960s, these focused on a ‘proper’ memory of the Armenian genocide, the teaching of history in Soviet classrooms, and the redrawing of borders. Some of
these activities were illegal. Yet, many activists pursued the strategy of civil obedience. Thus, their activities were not framed solely in terms of justice but also couched in the language of legality.
They knew their rights and used this knowledge to test the limits of these rights. The JUSTIMINO project will be part of the ZMO research unit
“Representations of the Past”

The post will be filled upon the release of funds.

Your responsibilities:

Development of a post-doctoral research project within the JUSTIMINO framework, in close cooperation with the project leader PD Dr. Stefan B. Kirmse

Autonomous research in Armenian and other suitable Eurasian archives, on published sources and scholarly literature under the supervision of the project leader

Oral history research

Submission of a monograph on the research subject

Co-editing of a special issue/edited volume

Organisation of a conference in Armenia with local academic partners
Liaison with suitable NGOs in Armenia and organisation of NGO talk event

Presentation of research at workshops and conferences

Participation in activities of the JUSTIMINO programme (internal meetings, lecture series, workshops, and conferences), both in Germany and abroad

Participation in key academic formats of the host institute (such as project presentations and colloquia)

Help with the documentation of project results, database development and academic reports

Further administrative tasks in the JUSTIMINO programme

Contributions to project blogs, social media, podcasts, etc.

Candidate profile:

Above-average academic performance and PhD degree in history or a related discipline (social and cultural anthropology, socio-legal studies, or other), with a focus on the modern history of the Soviet Union and/or the Caucasus (if the PhD has not formally been awarded: written confirmation of when the viva will take place)
Excellent command of the Russian, English and Armenian languages is required; German is desirable but not mandatory; further regional language skills are a bonus

Excellent communication and team skills

Ability to work independently

Good knowledge of MS Office

About ZMO:

ZMO, located in the Nikolassee area of Berlin, is the only research institute in Germany with an interdisciplinary and comparative historical approach to research on the Middle East, Eurasia, Africa, South and Southeast Asia. The focus of its research is the interaction within majority Muslim societies and their relationships with their non-Muslim neighbouring regions. ZMO is part of the
Leibniz Association, which connects 97 independent research institutions in Germany. Their focus ranges from natural, engineering and environmental sciences to economics, social sciences and the humanities. We offer a vibrant and interdisciplinary work environment and a collegial atmosphere. The institute is committed to achieving a good work-life balance.


When filling positions in areas of employment in which one gender is underrepresented or diversity is low, applicants with the same qualifications and suitability who belong to underrepresented groups are given priority. Search committees represent gender equality and diversity while looking for high standards of academic rigour in the candidates.

Make sure to include the following application materials:

Cover letter outlining motivation for applying

A short research outline (1-2 pages), explaining which more specific research questions the candidate would like to address, along with the methodology.


Language and academic certificates

Writing sample (this could be an academic article or a thesis chapter)

A list of 2-3 potential referees and their contact details (reference letters are not required).

Please combine all application materials in one PDF file and, using the reference code JUSTIMINO-POSTDOC, send them to the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Dr. Silke Nagel (
zmo[ at ] by 15 June 2023.
For further information on the projects and structure of the positions, please contact PD Dr. Stefan B. Kirmse (
stefan.kirmse[ at ]


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PD Dr. Stefan B. Kirmse

stefan.kirmse[ at ]

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Dr. Silke Nagel

zmo[ at ]