CfA: 2-year Post-Doc position in International Relations on Cyber-Nationalism and The Political Identities of North East Asian Millennials

REPI & EASt Call for Applications

2-year Post-Doc position in International Relations on


How to apply

Candidates must send their applications as a single PDF file to the project supervisors ( and, no later than the 13th of August 2018 (17:00 CET).

Applications must include:

  • A letter of introduction (statement of motivation and personal interpretation of the research project);
  • A full academic CV, including the name and contact details of two academic referees (we may contact your referees during the application process);
  • An academic record with copies of diplomas and transcripts for BA, MA and PhD.

Key Dates

By 13th of August 2018 (17:00 CET): Candidates must send their applications to the relevant supervisors.

13th  of September 2018: Shortlisted candidates will be invited to do a Skype interview with their supervisors.

17th of September 2018: Shortlisted candidates will be informed about final decision and ranking.


This post-Doc project is envisioned as a joint collaboration between two research centres at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Belgium):

EASt is a research center hosted within the Maison des Sciences Humaines (MSH) of the ULB. In EASt, this Post-Doc project is part of a wider “ARC” project called “GENEsYs on East Asian Youth: Identities and Practices in Public Space”. The main objective of this cutting-edge project is to understand how East Asian youth occupy and use public spaces, be they material or digital ones. The project is led by Professor Vanessa Frangville

REPI is a research centre hosted by the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences at ULB. Within REPI, the Post-Doc is part of a nascent cluster of researchers and academics working on East Asia. The over-ridding concerns of the cluster are the legitimation processes at work in East Asian international relations, as well as the foreign policy and diplomatic practices mobilized in the region. The project is led by Professor Thierry Kellner.


Cyber-Nationalism and the Political Identities of North East Asian Millennials

The project will explore how East Asian Millennials have used public spaces – be they tangible or virtual – to contribute towards shaping a distinct, even at times contentious, political identity. Across the globe Millennials have increasingly engaged with social and political issues through original mediums of interaction. In East Asia, Millennials have used online platforms and practices to either invest or transform the political use of public spaces. New virtual spaces have garnered particular significance in the region seeing that more traditional or tangible spaces have alternatively suffered from growing disinterest or oppressive control. The emergence of new virtual fora of political speech has proven a structural phenomenon affecting every East Asian polity, regardless of the nature of the political regime considered. Indeed, while eschewing open activism, Millennials throughout East Asia have sought to consolidate their generation’s political identity through new practices and political habits, which often involved disguised forms of political struggle and resistance which thrive online. Novel youth-driven virtual public spaces have thus allowed for new political identities to be declared and tested.

Among the region’s technologically sophisticated youth, online political engagement has in varying measures and cases served either as an answer to intensified government surveillance ranging from an avoidance strategy in the face of the growing securitization of public spaces to a tool for real-world political mobilization; or a means to transcend social isolation phenomena through online like-minded communities the scope of which can range from the local to the national or even macro-regional. These new spaces of political discourse and identity building online raise a series of crucial questions. How are these “hidden online transcripts and discourses” created? By whom? And to what effect, whether on the political identities of East Asian Millennials or even on the wider political climate within the region?

The researcher will explore these questions within the framework of one of the most visible and highly controversial cases of political online activism in East Asia: cyber-nationalist discourse within and between the three North East Asian powers (i.e. China, Japan and South Korea).

Possible questions might include any of the following three clusters:

  • How are online discourses of millennials in North East Asia articulated with official ones? Do they function rather more as a vent for generational frustrations or as echoing chamber of state sponsored positions? Are younger generations’ online discourses re-appropriated by State-actors? And if so how?
  • Is online activism an alternative or a gateway to other forms of (political) mobilization? What relationship between the online mobilization of millennials in North East Asia and established/historic nationalist movements? How does online nationalist discourse in North East Asia broach history-building in the region?
  • How do online practices transform the relationship between nationalism and territory? How have online practices transformed the ways in which millennials “perform” their political identities? Have online practices led to a “gamification” of Nationalism? If so, to what effect?

Expected Results

  • At least one article in peer-reviewed journals
  • Organizing and hosting one workshop on the project’s overall topic
  • Contributing one chapter and editing a collective volume to be published with Routledge on the topic of the project


Prof. Thierry KELLNER,

Faculté de Philosophy and Social Sciences:


Prof. Vanessa FRANGVILLE,

Faculty of Letters, Translation and Communication:


Any question pertaining to this post and related application process are to be directed via e-mail to both supervisors.

Post Description

Hiring Institution:

Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium (as main institution)

Duration of the research:

24 months (October 2018- October 2020),

The fellow is expected to arrive in Brussels before the end of October 2018.

Funding of the research:

The selected fellow will be awarded a one-year (12 months) post-doc grant provided for through internal ULB funding. Following a review of the work accomplished the grant is to be extended for a further full year (12 months).


The starting grant covers a gross amount of 42.800€ spread over the initial 12 months. Said starting grant will be paid out in monthly instalments at a gross income of about 3.523€ which corresponds to an average net income of about 2.400€. Please note that a Fellow’s individual net income after Social Security Contributions can vary in light of their nationality, family status and antecedents. 



PhD in Social Sciences with a preference for any of the following fields: International Relations, Political

Science, Political Thought, Security Studies, Communication Studies or Asian Studies


There is no requirement on nationality but the candidate must settle in Brussels within a month after the beginning of the contract.


Fluency in written and spoken English is required.

Fluency in written and spoken at least one of the following languages is required: Chinese and/or Japanese and/or Korean;

Working Proficiency in a second of the identified Asian languages is equally expected – i.e. Chinese and/or Japanese and/or Korean is required for position;

Working knowledge of French, or at least a willingness to learn it, is a plus

Technical Skills:

Experience in the qualitative/quantitative analysis of online content

Ability to use online Research Tools and Software for digital content analysis (e.g. Python, Nvivo…) Familiarity with relevant programming language(s) (e.g. R…) is a plus.

Full CfA (PDF)