Apply Now for Junior and Senior Fellowships at The Centre for Advanced Studies in Germany

Fellowships, Professional Opportunities
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The newly established Centre for Advanced Studies (Kollegforschungsgruppe) “Alternative Rationalities and Esoteric Practices from a Global Perspective,” funded by the German Research Foundation and located at Friedrich-Alexander- Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), is seeking to appoint several Junior and Senior Fellowships. The latest submission date for applications is June 30, 2022. The preferred starting date is October 1, 2022.

The main goal of the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) is to compare the interpretation, rationalization and legimitisation strategies of esoteric practices and their practitioners from a global perspective, and to carve out why and in which ways they are successful, resilient and creative in different cultural and regional contexts. A mid-term goal is the development of a cultural theory of esoteric practices, which seeks to explain their resilience, their typological family resemblances across a large number of cases, and their different culture-bound and politically shaped evaluations. The Centre has a decidedly global and contemporary research focus and adopts a broad heuristic working definition of ‘esoteric practices’ which includes a variety of aspects such as contingency management, specialization and the formation of expert systems, secrecy, the reliance on opaque efficacy as well as social dynamics of inclusion and exclusion. Simultaneously, the Centre also comparatively investigates creative reinventions of traditional ‘esoteric practices’ that acquire new hybridizing forms in fields of tension with competing cultural registers (e.g. science, new technologies/media, political regimes, religious orthodoxies) which may contribute to their (re-) legitimation.


  • Applicants should have a degree and a PhD in Cultural or Social Anthropology, Religious Studies, Theology, Sociology of Religion, (cross-)regional /-cultural Studies or in a related interdisciplinary field
  • The Centre has a decidedly contemporary research focus, hence applicants are required to pursue a project on present-day esoteric practices, based on appropriate research methodologies (e.g., fieldwork, interviews, participant observation)
  • The Centre also invites historically oriented projects that touch upon contemporary esoteric practices (e.g., by focusing on transfer or entangled history), yet going back to no more than the 19th century
  • The Centre has a decidedly global research focus, hence fellowship proposals may focus on esoteric practices from all world regions and cultural or religious contexts

The working language of the Centre is English, therefore excellent spoken and written English is required. Furthermore, regular presence at the Centre is required.

Applications should include:

  • 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 relates to the agenda of the Centre (maximum of 5 pages)
  • Work sample
  • Names and contact details of two potential referees

For further details about the position, please contact Dr. Bernd-Christian Otto.

Applications must be sent in one PDF file to Sandra Losch (administrative manager).

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