Postdoctoral position in the study of the operation and legacies of organised religion in post/colonial St Croix, USVI (the former Danish West Indies)

The Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, School of Culture and Society, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University invites applications for an 18-month, fixed-term postdoctoral position in the study of the operation and legacies of organised religion in post/colonial St Croix, USVI (the former Danish West Indies).

The successful applicant will be based at the School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Moesgaard Allé 20, 8270 Højbjerg.

The appointment begins on 15 April 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.
The university is keen for its staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified applicants regardless of their personal background.

Research context

We are looking for an innovative and dedicated scholar with a background in the study of religion and colonialism, preferably specialising in the Danish colonial experience or the role of organised religion in colonial contexts more broadly.

This position is made possible by a DFF Project II grant for the project Enduring Materialities of Colonialism: temporality, spatiality and memory on St Croix, USVI (2019-2024). The project is led by Dr Laura McAtackney and includes working in partnership with a range of colleagues: Dr Magdalena Naum, Aarhus University, Dr Krysta Ryzewski, Wayne State University, and Dr Meredith Hardy, National Park Service (USVI). This is a project based on co-production and knowledge exchange with the communities we are working with on St Croix, which includes a commitment to communicating the results of the research on the island and in Denmark as well as through academic outputs. It is an interdisciplinary project that has an emphasis on researching the roles of various material remnants of colonialism in providing new insights into the experiences of the colonial past and considering whether, and how, they continue to shape memory and identity on the contemporary island.

The successful applicant is expected to participate in project activities, especially conducting their own archival research at a variety of religious, private and public archives – the details of which will be decided in agreement with the project leader. This project will include fieldwork seasons with the expectation of spending at least one month as part of the project team on St Croix (probably June 2022 or 2023). The postdoc will be part of a team based at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Moesgaard Campus, Aarhus and will be expected to take an active part in departmental activities including lectures, seminars and workshops.

The position

The successful applicant is expected to work with Dr McAtackney and other members of the EMoC team in carrying out their research.
Applicants are asked to submit:

  • an up-to-date academic CV and cover letter
  • a concise statement of motivation for applying for the position, indicating how their experience relates to the project aims and objectives [maximum one page]
  • a maximum of five publications

The successful applicant will be expected:

  • to conduct their research independently through a collaborative ethos within the EMoC team on the roles and legacies of organised religion both historically and through to contemporary St Croix
  • to take a holistic approach to the study of religion and colonialism by engaging with the political, social and spiritual roles of individuals and organisations – both historically and through to the present day – in working with plantation occupants (from planters to the enslaved), in post-emancipation social reconfigurations, and in providing institutional frameworks for various collectives on the island to present day
  • to focus on at least one, possibly more, religious organisations with strong and enduring connections with St Croix, with a preference for the Moravians, the AME or Roman Catholics
  • to spend up to 20% of their research time on completing archival research responding to outcomes from project fieldwork on St Croix. This may include histories of particular sites, structures, events, processes and/or family genealogies
  • to add research findings to the project’s Deep Heritage Map and project website, where relevant
  • to co-lead in producing educational packs (either hard copy and/or online) with a focus on communicating their research to schoolchildren in Denmark and on St Croix
  • to present their research at international meetings and publish results in peer-reviewed, international scientific journals
  • to contribute to the organisation of research workshops and international conferences hosted at Aarhus University and on St Croix


The position may involve a small amount of teaching, as agreed with the head of department and the project lead.

Knowledge exchange

The successful applicant will be expected to exchange knowledge with various sectors of society and to contribute actively to public debate in areas related to the position.


Applicants for this position must hold a PhD degree in history, religious studies, archaeology, heritage studies or a related field with a focus on organised religion and colonialism.
Applicants must document:

  • doctoral-level experience of archival research including research into religious organisations
  • experience of exploring the social and political nature of religious organisations within their societal context
  • an international research profile with relevant publications, or the potential to achieve such a profile
  • fluency in written and spoken English. Fluency in Danish and German is desirable but not essential

Desirable attributes:

  • knowledge of historical Danish colonialism, especially in the Caribbean, and of the relationship between religion and colonialism
  • experience of disseminating research to the public, especially working with heritage institutions and/or schools

The research activities will be evaluated in relation to the research time that has been available to applicants. We therefore encourage applicants to specify any periods of leave they may have had without research activities (e.g. maternity/paternity leave), so we can subtract these periods from the span of their academic career when evaluating their productivity.

The application must be submitted in English.

Please upload a maximum of five publications alongside your application. Only submitted publications will be assessed; a list of publications is not sufficient. As a result, applications without submitted publications will not be assessed.

Professional references or recommendations should not be included. Applicants who are selected for an interview may be asked to provide professional references.

For further information about the position, please contact

For more information about the application and the employment procedure, please contact HR supporter Marianne Birn, e-mail

The work environment

The Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Aarhus University is one of the largest and most active archaeology and heritage studies departments in the Nordic countries. It is a dynamic research environment that hosts a number of major research projects. The environment is versatile and cross-disciplinary, with academic staff with many disciplinary foci and international backgrounds. The interests of the academic staff span topics ranging from war and power to mobility and globalisation, with a particular focus on creative methodological approaches to understanding the past and how it shapes the present.

Read more

School of Culture and Society

At the School of Culture and Society the object of research and teaching is the interplay between culture and society in time and space:

  • From the traditional disciplines of the humanities and theology to applied social research
  • From Antiquity to the issues facing contemporary societies
  • From local questions to global challenges

The school’s goal is to produce compelling research with an international resonance, as well as offering teaching and talent development of high quality. The school has a broad cooperative interface with society, both in Denmark and abroad, and contributes to social innovation, research communication and further and continuing education. 

For further information about the school, please see

Qualification requirements

Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.


Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities (the Appointment Order).

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here:

If nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. Application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Shortlists may be prepared with the candidates that have been selected for a detailed academic assessment. A committee set up by the head of school is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates. See this link for further information about shortlisting at the Faculty of Arts: shortlisting

Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts is one of five main academic areas at Aarhus University.

The faculty contributes to Aarhus University's research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.
With its 550 academic staff members, 275 PhD students, 9,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.

The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society and the Danish School of Education. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.

The faculty's academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.


The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Deadline: 2022-02-09 at 23:59
Unit: School of Culture and Society
Phone: +4587163331

Read the job description at the university homepage or Apply.

Post expires on onsdag februar 9th, 2022