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  3. PhD students for the Globalizing Palliative Care: Research project in Jakarta and Delhi

PhD students for the Globalizing Palliative Care: Research project in Jakarta and Delhi

The Institute of Cultural Anthropology of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for two PhD students for the Globalizing Palliative Care: Research project in Jakarta and Delhi
one for research in Jakarta (Indonesia), one for research in Delhi (India)

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Cleveringaplaats, Leiden, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht


The Leiden University Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology (CA-DS) is hosting the ERC Starting research project "Globalizing Palliative Care? A Multi-Sited Ethnographic Study of Practices, Policies and Discourses of Care at the End of Life" (grant 851437) funded by the European Research Council, and directed by Dr. Annemarie Samuels. The PhD candidates will work within this project.

This project undertakes a comparative and multi-scalar medical anthropological study of the globalization and cultural mediation of palliative care practices, policies, and discourses. Its central objective is to gain insight in what is universally shared and what is culturally specific in end-of-life care, by analyzing how local end-of-life care practices impact palliative care and how globally circulating discourses of palliative care are transforming local notions of death and dying. In a few decades, palliative care has become widely associated with a good death in high-income countries. Given the current international attention to expanding palliative care worldwide, in particular in relation to the notion of a human right to palliative care, it is essential that we better understand how palliative care does or does not translate across diverse cultural contexts. To this end, this project studies 1) Why palliative care is expanding globally 2) How palliative care practices, policies and discourses are translated, adapted and reconstituted in diverse socio-cultural settings, and 3) How this process is impacted by culturally diverse, non-institutional practices of end-of-life care and notions of good dying. Through ethnographic case studies in Brazil, India, and Indonesia, we develop an analytical approach that focuses on the dynamic interaction between the global mobility and articulation of palliative care discourses, national-level institutional care assemblages, and local end-of-life care trajectories. More information can be found at the website.

Key responsibilities
In the context of a research team consisting of 2 PhDs, a postdoctoral researcher, and the principal investigator we will work towards a multi-sited comparison of end-of-life care. Within this project, it is the responsibility of the PhD students to do research in respectively Jakarta (Indonesia), and Delhi (India). Through prolonged ethnographic fieldwork, the PhD candidates will study care-trajectories of people in the last phase of life. Deliverables for both positions:

  • Elaborating a research proposal, conducting fieldwork (total 17 months) and writing a PhD thesis, which will result in a completed PhD thesis and an article in a peer-reviewed journal;
  • Submitting research papers and presenting reports at the project’s workshops and at the project’s final conference;
  • Actively contributing to the project’s public dissemination activities;
  • Organising and participating in reading and discussion groups, seminars, workshops, and masterclasses (as appropriate) within the research group and the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology.


  • A Research Masters or a Master degree in Cultural Anthropology or related field, with a top quality Masters thesis;
  • Demonstrated affinity with Medical Anthropology;
  • Well-developed research skills, including the ability to formulate relevant and creative research questions and hypotheses, descriptive and analytical skills, and a clear and persuasive style of writing;
  • Experience with ethnographic research;
  • Excellent mastery of English (spoken and academic writing);
  • Independent thinker and team player;
  • Determined and motivated to complete the proposed PhD research within 4 years;
    For the study in Delhi the PhD student must have a native or near native competence in Hindi, for the study in Indonesia the PhD student must have a native or near native competence in Indonesian. 


The project follows the Leiden University Protocol for Ethnographic Research in Times of COVID-19. We offer a fulltime position for one year, starting from 1 March 2021. The appointment may be extended for up to a total of four years, subject to need and satisfactory performance. Salary range from € 2,395.- to € 3,061.- gross per month on a full-time basis (pay scale P, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %) and training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Additional information

Enquiries can be made to Annemarie Samuels, email a.samuels@fsw.leidenuniv.nl. If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Ilse Prins, email i.m.prins@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.


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