Research Fellow, School of Culture, History and Language

Expiring today

Canberra, Australia
Jul 12, 2021
End of advertisement period
Sep 23, 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Classification: Academic Level B
Salary package: $101,805 - $115,428 per annum plus 17% superannuation
Term: Full-time (35 hours per week), Fixed Term (3 years) commencing early 2022 up to December 2024

About Us

The ANU College of Asia & the Pacific (CAP) leads intellectual engagement with the Asia-Pacific region through research, teaching and contributions to public debate, and seeks to set the international standard for scholarship concerning the region. The College hosts the largest number of regional experts and specialist academic programs in the English-speaking world, and plays a vital role in informing public policy and Australia's intellectual engagement with the societies, cultures and economies of Asia and the Pacific.

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The College has a unique transdisciplinary and interregional mandate, and the School of Culture, History and Language (CHL) is a community of researchers dedicated to investigating and learning with and about the people, languages, and lands of Asia and the Pacific, organised around the four themes of Culture, History, Language, and Environment, across the disciplines of Anthropology; Archaeology and Natural History; Gender, Media and Cultural Studies; Languages; Linguistics; and History.

The ANU has recently launched an ‘Evolution of Cultural Diversity Initiative’ (ECDI), which will bring together researchers from a wide range of fields to work on the central problem of what drives the evolution of cultural diversity in human populations. A central challenge in this initiative will be to integrate the units, concepts and methods across various disciplines concerned with different manifestations of cultural diversity and its evolution, including languages, cultures, material remains, environments, genes, and histories, both now and in the detectable past. We are beginning with a focus on Melanesia, a region renowned for its diversity in all these domains, with a large-scale integrative project to document and link the evidence for how diversity has evolved across these various manifestations. A key platform for integrating our results will be a Melanesian cultural atlas or database that allows us to work across the often differing pictures supplied by different disciplines and test models of cultural diversification.

Read more about ECDI here:

This position offers an unrivalled opportunity to shape this initiative from the outset. It is open to postdoctoral level researchers, of any relevant disciplinary background but with an openness to transdisciplinary collaboration, able to advance this core goal.

The Opportunity

We invite highly skilled researchers within any field relevant to the above problematic, with an interest in advancing the transdisciplinary goals of the ECDI in understanding the evolution of cultural diversity, using Melanesia as an initial test case. Backgrounds in Archaeology, Anthropology, Developmental Anthropology/Psychology, History, Human Geography, Linguistics, Evolutionary Biology or Philosophy of Evolution are all potentially relevant. But just as important as your skills and prior research in your foundation discipline are the boldness, clarity and commitment of your vision about how we might start putting these fields together to give a more complete and holistic account of the evolution of cultural diversity. Your starting point might be the mapping of linguistic or palaeobiological traits, the search for recurrent motifs in traditional hero myths, or the problem of how to match the units and time profiles of entities offered by language, population genetics, and archaeological remains. But wherever you are coming from, we want someone who can reach out and help join these fields together to generate a more nuanced and realistic picture of how the evolution of cultural diversity has unfolded.

The position is a three year fixed-term position (potentially extendable) at the Australian National University, to be based in the School of Culture, History and Language (CHL) in the College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP). The successful applicant will work with a vibrant team of researchers in a range of fields (those listed above) interested in developing synthetic approaches to the human history of Australia and Oceania, in close collaboration with the Evolution of Cultural Diversity Initiative.

Experience working with local/Indigenous communities in the Pacific region and/or Australia is highly desirable. Indigenous and Pasifika applicants are particularly encouraged to apply for the position. The successful candidate will join the multidisciplinary Evolutionary of Cultural Diversity team.

The position is located in Canberra with commencement at the beginning of 2022, and the successful candidate must be able to commence within a reasonable timeframe after that. While our intention is to open this fully to an international field of applicants, given the unpredictable situation with regard to Covid and border closures, we may need to consider existing Australian work rights at time of final decision-making.


To enquire about this opportunity, please contact Professor Nick Evans - E: 

Closing Date: 23 September 2021

Position Description: Download File Level B_Research Fellow ECDI (1).pdf

The University actively encourages applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For more information on employment opportunities, contact our Indigenous Employment Consultant on  

ANU values diversity and inclusion and is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to those of all backgrounds and identities. For more information about staff equity at ANU, visit

How to Apply

In order to apply for this role please make sure that you upload the following documents:

  • A statement addressing the selection criteria.
  • A current curriculum vitae (CV) which includes the names and contact details of at least three referees (preferably including a current or previous supervisor). If your CV does not include referees you can complete these online when prompted in the application form.
  • Other documents, if required.

Applications which do not address the selection criteria may not be considered for the position.

Please note: The successful candidate will be required to undergo a background check during the recruitment process.  An offer of employment is conditional on satisfactory results. 

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