Call for Postdoctoral Researchers in Urban Musical Practices (ERC Advanced Grant MUSICOL)

“The Sound of Empire in 20th-c. Colonial Cultures: Rethinking History through Music”

The ERC Advanced grant, “The Sound of Empire in 20th-c. Colonial Cultures: Rethinking History through Music” (MUSICOL), seeks three postdoctoral researchers with an interest in urban musical practices during the modern French empire.

Francophone scholars from the fields of French colonial history; modern African, North African, or Southeast Asian History; the history of media (radio); musicology or historical ethnomusicology are encouraged to apply, especially those from North Africa, Francophone West Africa, Madagascar, and Vietnam.

The project is based at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, associated with its Institut d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, and directed by Jann Pasler.  The aim is to produce a robust new conceptual and historical model for studying how musical life and sound media influenced and mediated colonial life, contributing to the complex and dynamic identities of diverse populations, both colonizer and colonized. Each team member will focus on one city; the approach will be relational, comparative, and synthetic, with knowledge co-produced by researchers from formerly colonized countries as well as Europe. Examining the contexts for music and the practices of all urban populations, settlers and natives, will encourage better understanding of not only what helped imperialism take hold and last, but also cultural exchanges within today’s multi-ethnic, multicultural societies.


Outstanding Francophone scholars, passionate about their research, with a doctorate in a related field, a promising record of publications, and an interest in working as part of a cross-cultural, interdisciplinary team.


Besides a salary for 2 years (with possible extension of a year), the project will fund travel, fieldwork abroad in year two, and participation in year three in an international, interdisciplinary conference in Paris.

The project and the postdocs will begin 1 September 2019.

Application Procedure

To apply, preferably before 31 May, please send the following in one pdf to Professor Jann Pasler (  

  • a letter of application,
  • a CV,
  • the final report on your dissertation (if this exists),
  • two of your most important publications, and two references (with contact information)

Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled.

Application date
2 years (renewable 1 additionnal)
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology, Arts and Art history, History
Social sciences : Information and Communication Sciences