University of Strasbourg

Post-doctoral position in history and philosophy of life sciences funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR)

«POLCELL: Politics of the cell: the emergence and the reception of the cell theory in France and Germany, circa 1800-1900»

The University of Strasbourg in connection with the French National Research Agency (ANR) is inviting applications for a post-doctoral position. The successful candidate will join the team of a three-year franco-german research project (“POLCELL”) on the emergence and the reception of the cell theory in France and Germany in the XIXth century. This is a full-time position for a maximum of two years. Applicants should hold a doctoral degree in the history, philosophy or sociology of science and ideally specialize in the life sciences (including medicine). The project will draw on archival sources held at the University of Strasbourg Library and the Parisian National Archives, thus requiring a good reading knowledge of French. The candidate will be expected to publish in peer-reviewed journals, to participate in workshops and to collaborate in the writing of transfer reports.

General context of the project: The aim of this project is to shed new light on the development of the cell theory in the 19th century, in France and Germany. One part of the project will investigate the pre-history of central categories of the cell theory such as “individuality”, “universality”, the analogy between “organism” and the “state”, between 1800 and 1839 and from a German-French perspective. The other part will study the reception of the cell theory in France between 1838 and 1900 by focusing on two scientific centers – Strasbourg and Paris – and by studying interactions between various fields of knowledge, including botany, physiology, medicine and sociology. The main goal of the project is to explore the intertwined links between the cell theory and its political contexts. We consider these links as reciprocal relationships through which new orders of nature and politics were symmetrically constructed. By means of transnational and transdisciplinary comparisons, the French-German collaboration will retrieve differences and similarities between different political and philosophical concepts, epistemic schemes and research practices that shaped the emergence and development of the cell theory. Last but not least, the comparative approach will enhance the dialogue between French and German historians of science.


Location and salary: The candidate will be based at the Département d’histoire et de philosophie des sciences du vivant (DHVS), at the Faculté de médicine of Strasbourg. He will work with Marion Thomas (SAGE-DHVS), the coordinator of the POLCELL project in France and will benefit from the stimulating and rich context of the University of Strasbourg. The envisaged starting date is 1 September 2013. The candidate will initially be appointed for one year, renewable for a second year. Salary will be based on the French public service scale and will reach 2 500 euros (before taxes) per month.

Applications must include:

–    a cover letter

–    a current curriculum vitae

–    2 letters of recommendation

–    publications that exemplify the candidate’s qualifications

The closing date for applications is Monday 1 July 2013. Interviews will take place in Strasbourg in the week starting the 15th of July 1013.

Applications should be sent to:                

Dr Marion Thomas

Université de Strasbourg

Faculté de médecine / DHVS

4, rue Kirschleger

67085 Strasbourg Cedex


For further information, please contact Marion Thomas at: [email protected],

Phone +33 3 68 85 39 73