Job Opening: Dissolution of the Japanese Empire and the Struggle for Legitimacy in Postwar East Asia, 1945-1965

job opening - 5Institution:   University of Cambridge, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Location:   United Kingdom
Position:   Postdoctoral Research Associate Position in East Asian History (Fixed Term)

Salary: GBP 28,132 – 36,661
Reference: GU02720
Closing date: 18 April 2014

Applicants are invited to apply for one fixed-term full-time post (two years) of Research Associate to the ERC-funded project, The Dissolution of the Japanese Empire and the Struggle for Legitimacy in Postwar East Asia, 1945-1965.

Applicants are encouraged to look at the project website ( and contact the project director, Dr Barak Kushner,, ahead of time.

Duties: The postdoctoral researcher will examine East Asian relations concerning the dissolution of the Japanese empire and war crimes, widely defined. The researcher will mainly focus on collecting, organizing and analyzing Chinese, Japanese or Korean related archives dealing with this topic. S/he will also examine relevant published texts and secondary research in related languages and appropriate bibliographical references. S/he will be expected to work toward producing his/her own monograph within their contract time and perhaps an additional peer-reviewed article. The researcher will also be required to assist in the administration of the project (including various symposia), especially organization of an international workshop and editing its proceedings. The topic of the first international conference will be the “Breakdown of Empire and Legitimacy in East Asia” (20-23 September 2014). Light teaching of up to one class or supervisions may be required.

Requirements: The applicant should have completed his/her PhD, submitted their thesis and had their viva (if necessary) by the time he or she arrives at Cambridge for the start of the position (After 1 September 2014). A demonstrable commitment to the aims of the project and genuine enthusiasm in such research will also be essential, as will the ability to work effectively as part of a team and on individual initiative. A research associate will be expected to have a thorough knowledge of at least one East Asian language, and score at least a 7 on the IELTS English language proficiency exam, or the equivalent. Candidates need not necessarily have knowledge of the Japanese language but their research must be related to the end of the Japanese empire and early Cold War.

Details about the Project: This five-year ERC funded project seeks to understand how political rule and legal authority were redrafted in postwar East Asia after the Japanese surrender in 1945. The research will shed light on the social and political transformations that continue to have resonance in our world in the form of East Asia’s regional alliances and Japan’s relations with its closest neighbors, China, North and South Korea, and Taiwan. The renovation of East Asia after the fall of the Japanese empire has mainly been written from a western perspective, owing to the preponderance of postwar American scholarship and its political dominance. Even with the economic rise and growing importance of modern China, the region’s understanding of its own past and its internal dynamics remain deeply rooted in the manner in which World War II ended. The legal restructuring of East Asia and Japan’s relations with its neighbors played a vital function in redressing former imperial relations in the early Cold War. The legal investigations and trials were the definition of international law, a relatively new concept itself, especially in East Asia. The legacy of these issues weighs heavily even today because it provided a new vocabulary to East Asian polities to consider the manner in which Japanese imperialism would be replaced and adjudicated in the postwar.

To apply online for this vacancy, please go to the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Faculty job vacancy page and the link to the application site at the bottom. (

Please quote reference GU02720 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

Interviews to take place in week commencing 28 April 2014.

Dr Barak Kushner,


About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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