Postdoctoral Research Fellowships 2022–2023: Open Call for Applications

Postdoctoral Researchers

The Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21) invites applications for Research Fellowships with duration of 12 months starting no later than February 2023. We are particularly interested in proposals regarding (1) legitimation and delegitimation in global cooperation and (2) global cooperation and diverse conceptions of world order (see more below). The fully funded fellowships are available to postdoctoral researchers. We especially encourage researchers from the ‘Global South’ to apply. Deadline for applications is June 1st, 2022.

Please note that fellowships cannot be extended beyond January 2024 due to the end of the funding period. Therefore, fellowships shall not start any later than 1st February 2023 to allow for full 12 months fellowships.


The Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research has been established in 2012 and is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The Centre is an interdisciplinary and international learning community that seeks to enhance understanding of the possibilities and limits of global cooperation and to explore new options for global public policy. The working language at the Centre is English.

In its second funding period (2018-2024) the Centre’s research and fellowships are organized around four broad themes: pathways and mechanisms of global cooperation; global cooperation and polycentric governance; legitimation and delegitimation in global cooperation; and global cooperation and diverse conceptions of world order. Empirical research on these themes focuses especially on the governance of climate change, the internet, migration, and peacebuilding.

Fellowships 2022-2023

For the next academic year, we invite fellowship applications from across the humanities and social sciences (including also psychology, law and economics) in relation to the two main themes, as detailed below. The fit of the proposed project with the Centre’s research agenda is a central criterion of the fellowship selection process. We particularly invite female researchers and scholars from the ‘Global South’ to apply. Applications from scholars at risk are welcome.

Benefits to Fellows

  • An intellectually stimulating and vibrant interdisciplinary learning community
  • Excellent infrastructure with fully equipped offices, library facilities, and administrative support (also with finding accommodation)
  • Funds to organize workshops (subject to approval; workshops emerging from an interdisciplinary exchange with other fellows / colleagues at the Centre are preferred)
  • A monthly stipend of 2,670 EUR + child care allowance of 200 € per month if applicable and reimbursement of travel expenses for one trip to/from Duisburg

Expectations from Fellows

  • A completed PhD prior to the start of the fellowship
  • A maximum of four years after obtaining the PhD (excluding periods of childcare / care responsibilities)
  • Personal research and publication in the Centre’s thematic areas
  • A contribution to the Centre’s own publications
  • Active participation in seminars and other Centre events
  • Collaboration with other fellows in interdisciplinary exchange
  • Work in residence at the Centre in Duisburg, Germany


Themes 2022-2023

The Centre’s work in the period of 2022-2023 will focus on the two themes ‘Legitimation and Delegitimation in Global Cooperation’ and ‘Global Cooperation and Diverse Conceptions of World Order’. We invite fellowship applications that address these themes, as described below. In addition, preference will be given to applications with an empirical focus on the governance of climate change, the internet, migration, and peacebuilding.

Legitimation and Delegitimation in Global Cooperation

Legitimacy – and its contestation – is a vital question for global cooperation. Although questions of the perceived right to rule have conventionally focused on the state, legitimacy is nowadays a pressing issue also for governing on a global scale. Legitimation (processes of obtaining the perceived right to rule) and delegitimation (processes of undoing that belief) are a major concern for global governance institutions and their various audiences. The Legitimation and Delegitimation in Global Cooperation group at KHK/GCR21 explores how these processes occur. We are open to a full range of theoretical and methodological approaches, though with particular interest in practices of (de)legitimation and the interplay between legitimation and delegitimation. Sites of (de-)legitimation struggles include – but are not limited to – civil society associations, social movements, and everyday practices of ordinary citizens. Empirically, we welcome project proposals on global cooperation and ‘politics of (de)legitimation’ across a range of issue-areas, especially – though not limited to – climate change, Internet, migration, and peacebuilding.

Questions we are particularly interested in for the coming fellowship period include:

  • Through what processes, and with what consequences do actors and institutions involved in global cooperation obtain or lose legitimacy?
  • How are legitimation and delegitimation processes interrelated and mutually influential in shaping amounts, types and directions of global cooperation?
  • What role do discourses, cultural repertoires, material culture, and sociability play in legitimation disputes?
  • How and why do specific concerns (e.g. women’s rights, climate change) gain or lose pertinence in global cooperation over time?
  • How have norms and concepts used in (de-)legitimization disputes evolved historically? How have they changed as they have become globalized or traveled across the regions?
  • How and why do some protest movements succeed and others fail? Can these critical voices be described as new or have there been similar actors throughout history? How do forms of critique change over time (social media, visuality)?


Global Cooperation and Diverse Conceptions of World Order

The broad question concerning diverse conceptions of world order is a very traditional issue of global politics, which has operated on the basis of both systemic assumptions and more actor-focused concepts. Yet, under current polycentric conditions, these issues have taken many different forms and can be studied from a variety of perspectives, particularly with regard to their impact on global cooperation.

Research projects in this stream are invited to explore the commonalities and differences between the respective conceptions of world order, as well as the relationships between them as they unfold in practices of global cooperation and non-cooperation. We welcome projects that help us to gain a better understanding of how different and often contested conceptions of world order shape, change or obstruct global cooperation. This includes more abstract considerations about epistemological and anthropological foundations of world order conceptions as well a focus on material conditions and repercussions. Different topics that provide a stronger lens to world order conceptions such as populism and anti-global protest, the fight for global equality or the self-legitimation of organizations, among many, would be welcome fields of research.

Themes we are particularly interested in for the coming fellowship period include:

  • Which role do reflexivity, fantasy and creativity play for the analysis of current global arrangements and visions of future world order? How can different forms of knowledge production, narratives and discourses shape perceptions of crisis and potentials for cooperation, also with a view to new geopolitical formations? Which insights can we gain from research on the development of world order conceptions “from below”, i.e. in activism, arts, and everyday interactions?
  • Can conceptions of world order based on the unity of humankind be imagined without relying on essentialist and simplifying anthropologies and what are the implications for global cooperation? What can be expected of approaches which substitute the focus on human rationality with the emphasis on other human capacities, such as empathy or awareness of common vulnerability?
  • How are ideas of memory and history mobilized for alternative visions of future world order? Which role do different conceptions of time and historical directionality play for conceptions of world order?
  • How have conflicts between largely irreconcilable conceptions of world orders (and political agendas) impacted on global cooperation? For instance, while economic growth is seen as instrumental for improving the lives of people particularly in the Global South, a contrary position would hold that sustainable human life is only possible under conditions of reduced growth and consumption, respect for nature, clean energies etc. Can such guiding principles or ideologies also pave the way for new ways in global cooperation, such as new alliances and forms or will future conflicts arise from these competing views?


How to Apply

Applications (in English only) should include:

  • cover letter
  • concise research proposal (3-5 pages)
  • CV
  • list of publications
  • text of one relevant publication


Please submit applications at Deadline for receipt of applications is June 1st, 2022.


For questions concerning the substance of your proposal or the Centre’s research agenda, please contact the research group leaders listed at


For administrative questions concerning the terms of the fellowship, please contact Matthias Schuler at

Fellowship 2022-2023: Application Form

Personal information
Academic information
Please upload your application in one file, containing cover letter, concise research proposal (3-5 pages incl. bibliography), CV, list of publications, text of one relevant publication.