Université de Strasbourg
Societies, actors and government in Europe, SAGE UMR7363
ERC BodyCapital
Call for PhD funding applications

The ERC Advanced Grant programme “The healthy self as body capital:
individuals, market-based societies and body politics in visual twentieth
century Europe (BodyCapital)” led by Christian Bonah (Université de
Strasbourg) and Anja Laukötter (MPIHD, Berlin) on the understanding of
body
capital and its history, through the twentieth century history of visual
mass
media (film, TV, Internet) and inédits (amateur, family and private
visuals)
is now accepting applications for up to 3 three-year PhD positions.

The application deadline is 20 May 2017.
Interviews will be scheduled on the Monday 26 June 2017 in Strasbourg
(in-person interviews will be preferential, with some travel funding
provided
upon request). The contracts will begin 1 September 2017.

Project description:
Do you know how much rapid eye movement (REM) sleep you need to work
efficiently, do you look at food labels to ensure that you are getting all
the required vitamins and minerals or know someone who uses a step counter
to
know if they are getting enough physical activity? These are just a few
examples of our perceptions of health and the resulting individual
practices
in twentieth century Europe. In fact, this century may be characterized by
the development of products and techniques for the body and its health.
Bodily health has evolved as a new form of capital (Bourdieu 1979): a form
of
symbolic capital that can be transformed into economic capital. These are
not
only witnessed by, but contributed to and were affected by, a flood of
visual
media that circulated transnationally in the advent of a media society.
Thus
at the center of the research group investigations are moving images that
are
oriented towards the idea of informing, improving or educating on life and
health.

The timeframe of the project (1895-2005) starts with the invention of
public
health, the rapid emergence and diffusion of mechanically produced images
and
moving pictures and the conception of liberal economic theory and practices
at the beginning of the twentieth century and extends to the reinvention of
new public health, the Internet revolution and the economic crisis
nurturing
economic neo-liberalism in the 1990s. It stops before the emergence of
YouTube (2005) transforming visual Internet practices and the financial
crisis in 2007/08. At the center of the period lie the industry-based
therapeutic revolution and the invention of television coupled with the
epidemiological transition (increasing life expectancy and chronic disease
emergence) and the golden age of the welfare state.

The research group aims to provide a socio-historical understanding of how
an
autonomous, self–optimizing, health-managing individual has emerged as a
dominating self-identity in light of sanitary knowledge and practices in
European societies at the end of the twentieth century. To achieve this, we
compare developments in three European countries that are central to the
economy and to visual production, but which differ in their visual culture
and their embrace of neo-liberal market policies during the twentieth
century: France, Germany and Great Britain.

The research group has identified four central subject entries that the
thesis project proposals should address in one way or another (at least
one):
- history of food/ nutrition;
- history of movement/exercise/sports;
- history of sexuality/reproduction/infant;
- history of dependency/addiction/overconsumption
These themes are simultaneously physiological bodily functions and
traditional public health objectives. They are fundamental human needs and
correspond to particular economic sectors. As such, all four subjects
combine
concepts and practices spanning across the health and life sciences,
individual and public health, body history and economic history and are
therefore ideally suited to study historical transformations leading to
market-based societies and body politics in visual twentieth century
Europe.

At the core of the BodyCapital programme three analytical issues are being
addressed: a) How can the internalization of body capital and health demand
be better understood from a visual perspective? b) How can we historically
understand the production of body capital as a general trend, which at the
same time acts as a marker of social difference and class-boundedness in an
age of global and freely circulating information, mobility and education?
Are
the social determinations of relationships with the body and health stable
or
do they undergo historical changes? c) How do technical transformations and
the diversification of visuals in television and digital media participate
in
body capital internalization? These questions are to be considered through
case studies conducted with a double comparative/entangled history approach
in order to establish similarities, differences and transfers between the
three countries (France, Germany, Great Britain) and three major time
periods
(film, TV, Internet).

The 3 PhD thesis projects are to be case studies focusing on topics related
to one or more of the project’s four subject entries (history of
food/nutrition; movement/exercise/sports; sexuality/reproduction/infant;
dependency/addiction/overconsumption) in the frame of the project’s three
national contexts (France, Germany, Great Britain) and three major media
ages
(film, TV, internet). At least one grant will be attributed to a project
focusing on Great Britain. And one project will focus on recent media and
the
Internet. Projects may take a comparative approach with respect to and
beyond
the above topics.

Context and working conditions:
The PhD funding is in the form of a salary and not a scholarship. The PhD
student will be employed for the duration of 36 months (1 September 2017-
31
August 2020).

The thesis will be directed (or co-directed) by Christian Bonah (Professor
of
medical history) or Anja Laukötter (PhD in history). Students will be
enrolled in the Social and Human Sciences doctoral school at the University
of Strasbourg and will be associated members of the UMR research group SAGE
(Societies, actors and government in Europe).
The project may be conducted as a co-direction with another European
university, please indicate in the motivation letter if a co-direction with
another university would be relevant or advantageous for your project and
why.

Requirements and research skills:
The candidate must be a holder of a master’s degree from a highly
recognized
university in the history of medicine, history, media history,
sociology/history of science, media or communication studies, economic
history, or related discipline.
The candidate must demonstrate a mastery of research techniques in social
sciences: archival work and sound analysis of textual and audiovisual
sources
and good knowledge of the literature related to their field of study.
The candidate must be able to work and write in English (writing skills in
French or German are also highly welcome). The thesis must be written in
English, French or German.

Candidates are asked to send:
- a motivation letter,
- a detailed CV
- a 3-4 page thesis project outline
- a chapter of their Masters thesis or a major article publication
- a letter of recommendation and two complementary reference names

by email to Christian Bonah (bonah@unistra.fr), Anja Laukötter
(laukoetter@mpib-berlin.mpg.de)
and Tricia Close-Koenig (tkoenig@unistra.fr).

For further information or details on salary, please contact Tricia
Close-Koenig.

* Note that, in addition, we are also accepting applications for a Post-doc
position.