Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

PhD/MPhil Student

The International Institute of Social History (IISH) is the world’s largest documentation and research centre in the field of social history. Since its foundation in 1935, the institute has dedicated itself to the collection, preservation and availability of the heritage of social movements worldwide. The institute is independent and reliable, which makes it a natural depository of the frequently threatened cultural heritage of the labour movement and other emancipatory groups and currents. The research department of the institute focuses on the history of labour relations and organizes international projects in this field. The collection (archives, library and audio-visual materials) takes up well over 30 miles of shelf room. The IISH is an institute that comes under the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

The International Institute of Social History is looking for a:
PhD/MPhil Student (f/m)
(38 hours per week for a period of two years)

A 2 years PhD/MPhil grant has been offered by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to a junior researcher affiliated to the International Institute of Social History (IISH) to write a doctoral dissertation on the social history of labour in the Iranian oil industry and participate in the IISH’s activities.

Project information

The International Institute of Social History has launched a grand project on the centurial social history of labour in the Iranian oil industry, studied by a team of four PhD and senior researchers. The purpose of this project is to develop a social history of labour in the Iranian oil industry during hundred years since its discovery in the southern region of Iran. The discovery of oil in Iran in 1908 created new social, political, economic and even cultural realities at local, national, regional and international levels. Now a century on, Iran’s geopolitical role and significance continue to grow. In many fundamental ways, the commodity oil, and those producing it, has played a central role in shaping a model of development, of social mores and behaviours, of political and social relations in Iran, and beyond. The oil industry in Iran has been formed within the network of several intertwined formative relations that have undergone major changes over the course of the twentieth century. Labour relations in Iran, especially in this key industrial sector, have been crafted by a series of changing relations between the national state and a major colonial entity (1908-1954), between the national state and a consortium of multinationals (1954-79), between the national state and the local and national labour force employed in the industry, and between the oil company and its employees. These relations have, therefore, affected both labour formation and labour relations in substantially diverse ways and levels, at different historical junctures. Evidently, workers' everyday life has immensely influenced their aspirations and activities, both collectively and individually.
The PhD/MPhil student is expected to adopt the period of 1908-1954 for research and focus her/his investigation and analysis on all aspects of labour analysis such as labour formation, relations, migration, composition, mobility, integrations, activism, and living conditions inside and outside of the industrial towns, housing, nutrition, hygiene, health and leisure within a specific period. This study also takes into account the relationship between organised and unorganised labour on the one hand and religion, culture and ethnicity on the other throughout the period under review.

Job requirements

The PhD/MPhil Student applicant should:
- have a MA degree in history, sociology or other social sciences with a strong interest in social and cultural history;
- have the ability to teamwork while carry out research independently and enthusiastically;
- possess the language skills necessary to study the primary sources in the Persian language and to read the relevant secondary literature;
- have good communication skills in English, both oral and written;
- provide three letters of references.

Conditions of employment

This position involves a temporary appointment with the Stichting IISG for a period of 2 years.
The intended starting date is November 1, 2012. The PhD/MPhil salary ranges from € 2.042,- gross per month to € 2.612,- gross per month, scale P, Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO–Nederlandse Universiteiten), excluding 8% holiday pay and an 8,3% year-end bonus. We offer an extensive package of fringe benefits.


You can apply for this job before  October 1, 2012 by sending a curriculum vitae and a letter of motivation, detailing your ambitions and suitability for this position, three letters of references and a copy of MA thesis to the attention of Marjoleine Cornelissen (head Human Resources & Facilities), Stichting IISG, Postbus 2169, 1000 CD Amsterdam, The Netherlands or e-mail to
Additional information about the positions can be obtained from Prof. dr Touraj Atabaki (head of the Middle East and Central Asia Desk), e-mail, tel. +31-(0)20-6685866.
Additional information on the institute can be obtained through the following link:
The International Institute of Social History is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the diversity of its departments. It welcomes nominations of, and applications from, women and members of different ethnicity groups who would bring additional dimensions to the institute's research missions.

30 September 2012