Uppsala universitet,

Project description:

The ALMEDA (African Literary Metadata) project is a five-year research project, funded by a European Research Council. ALMEDA is recruiting a postdoctor with expertise in East and/or Central African literature. Literary circulation across sub-Saharan African is dominated by informal, ephemeral and not-for-profit literary and oratory cultural forms, such as spoken-word poetry, street theatre, self-published writing and a variety of online genres. These informal African literatures are rarely catalogued and therefore exist outside of any structured metadata system. The consequence is that formally published English and French African novels are hyper-visible globally, while the rich literary and oratory cultures of the continent itself are caught in a perpetual state of structural ephemerality.

The ALMEDA project addresses this problem in three ways. First, by providing a history of literary metadata on the African continent, the project will provide a diachronic understanding of how colonial cataloguing systems came to construct the idea of the ‘literary work’ as book-based and thus dismissive of Africa’s oral cultures. Secondly, ALMEDA aims to develop a metadata scheme specifically aimed at rethinking the very idea of the literary from a history of oral culture. This scheme, which is predominantly aimed at accurately creating metadata for contemporary informal literary materials, will be multilingual, which will enable a unique descriptive model that allows African-language genres to inhabit their own categories, rather than having to be forced into European literary ontologies. Thirdly, the project will develop a linked open metadata database to make these literatures searchable and their records enduring.

The ALMEDA research team includes experts in African literature, African library science and digital humanities/information science. A number of case-study researchers and fellows will also be attached to the project. As such, the project operates as a team-based research environment in which scholars and experts will be addressing the key questions of the research project together. Contact project PI Ashleigh Harris for more detailed information on ALMEDA.


The successful applicant will be expected to:

  • Conduct case studies that relate directly to the aims of the ALMEDA project
  • Independently conduct their own related research
  • Publish their results in top quality, open access research journals
  • be present at the workplace daily in order to actively participate in the research environment.


  • To qualify for an employment as a postdoctor the candidate must hold a PhD degree in African Studies with a specialization in literary studies or popular culture. The degree must have been obtained no more than three years prior to the application deadline. The three year period can be extended due to circumstances such as sick leave, parental leave, duties in labour unions, etc.
  • The applicant must have conducted research on literature or culture in one of more countries in East and/or Central Africa.
  • The applicant will have experience in working in African research contexts and will have networks in their region of expertise.
  • Ability to communicate and present research results in English is required
  • According to the university’s employment regulations, a general requirement is that the applicant should have the overall capability necessary to fulfill the expectations of the position well.

Assessment criteria:

  • In the ranking of eligible applicants, special weight will be accorded to research quality
  • Proposed research that aligns well with the outcomes of the ALMEDA research project with be highly ranked
  • Knowledge of an African language is highly meritorious. Knowledge of French or Portuguese is a merit.
  • A good ability to cooperate with others is of particular importance.
  • In appointing a person to this academic post, priority will be given to the applicant who, after a holistic assessment of competence and skills, is judged, alongside documented qualifications, to possess the greatest potential for performing the relevant duties and contributing to the positive development of the research environment.


The application may be written in English or Swedish and should include:

  • a CV, including attested copies of grade transcripts and other documents
  • a list of publications
  • a project description of how the applicant’s research will contribute to ALMEDA’s research goals (max 2 pages).
  • a brief account of research, teaching, and other professional activities
  • Two referees should be named

All merits should be documented so that both quality and scope can be assessed.

Pay: Individual salary

Startingdate: 2024-01-01, or by agreement.

Type of employment: Fixed-term position, 2 years.

Working hours: 100 %

For further information about the position, please contact the PI of the project, Ashleigh Harris, ashleigh.harris@engelska.uu.se

Please apply via the Uppsala University’s recruitment system (Varbi) by no later than October 31st 2023, UFV-PA 2023/3257.

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Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2024-01-01
Salary Individual salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Uppsala
County Uppsala län
Country Sweden
Reference number UFV-PA 2023/3257
Union representative
  • Seko Universitetsklubben, seko@uadm.uu.se
  • ST/TCO, tco@fackorg.uu.se
  • Saco-rådet, saco@uadm.uu.se
Published 08.Sep.2023
Last application date 31.Oct.2023 11:59 PM CET

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