• Manos Tsakiris

Recruiting Post-doc Fellows for the Centre for the Politics of Feelings

We start the recruitment of the first generation of Early Career Fellows. Find out what we offer and what we are looking for.

The newly-formed interdisciplinary Centre for the Politics of Feelings will address, from a multi-disciplinary perspective, how affect and emotions and their underlying neurophysiological mechanisms shape political behaviour in intricate couplings with rationality, as well as how politics shapes and exploits affect and emotions. The Centre represents a focused, timely and multidisciplinary endeavour to give a new answer to an age-old question: what does it mean to be a political animal, in particular in the 21st century of ‘emo-cratic’ politics, alternative facts, social media, precarious health and populism.

The Centre wishes to recruit three Research Fellows to work as a team, forming the first generation of scientists and scholars associated with the Centre. With this call for the first generation of fellows, the Centre attends to both current emotional climates of politics, as well as to future ones. At the Centre for the Politics, we wish to bring together bright minds from different fields: researchers from the humanities and social sciences as well as life sciences who address these issues in their research. They need to be united in their interest in working across disciplines to jointly develop visionary ideas for the politics of feelings, and contribute to the development of original and impactful research projects, bearing in mind our society’s long-term welfare and sustainability.

The Centre offers three full-time fellowships, one for each of the following disciplines : (i) political psychology and/or social-affective neuroscience, (ii) quantitative political science, and (iii) digital humanities or computational social sciences. These fellowships are aimed at early career researchers (Post-docs with PhD completed prior to commencement).

The fellowships are available from September 1st 2021 or soon thereafter, for a period of three years and present an exciting opportunity for the successful applicants to undertake novel research in the areas of affect, emotions and politics.

We want to support successful candidates to pursue their own research agenda in the field of emotions and politics. And we also expect them to collaborate with the Director of the Centre and the other fellows on joint research projects. We therefore invite applicants to submit with their fellowship applications a research proposal where they will present a project that falls within the broad remit of the Centre’s scope.

Examples of Themes

The themes below represent some illustrative examples that could be explored by the Centre’s first cohort of fellows. Applicants should not feel obliged to address any of these particular themes in their project proposals, but the expectation is that all proposals will address a topic that considers the relation between feelings and politics.

The mentalization of physiological states and political behaviour: One of the pressing issues that we are facing is how exactly to align physiological responses and reactions, that are often unconscious, with the subjectively experienced conscious emotion. Gaps still exist between different levels of analysis (e.g. from physiological states to psychological concepts) which must be bridged in order to achieve a broader and causal understanding of the link between emotions and political behaviour.

Emotional prescription and affect labelling: Emotional prescription (e.g. ‘you should feel anger’) and affect-labelling (e.g. ‘you are feeling anger’) can function as the context within which people will experience and perhaps construct their emotions. Given the distinctive effects that different emotions may have on political behaviour, how can socio-political processes of emotional prescription or affect-labelling explain the emotional microclimates of different social groups, across time and place?

Political allostasis: Social and affective neuroscience has documented the mechanisms whereby social relationships allow people to regulate their emotional and physiological states more effectively within social groups than as individuals. How do specific social and political contexts impact our physiological/emotional dysregulation, or reversely how can other social and political contexts promote physiological/emotional regulation?

What we can offer you ?

• Freedom and the intellectual and financial support to pursue your intellectual interests as presented in your proposal and to work creatively across disciplines to produce internationally exciting research.

• Mentoring by members of our Advisory Board and the Director of the Centre in preparation of your next career steps

• Networking opportunities with a range of academic and non-academic stakeholders

• Leadership and Management Training courses offered by the partnering Institutions

• Annual travel budget for conferences, workshops, dissemination activities and networking

• A stimulating intellectual environment at the School of Advanced Study and Royal Holloway University of London

Who are we looking for ? We are looking for candidates who :

• Share the Centre’s vision for interdisciplinary research on the politics of feelings. They should have an ability to bring innovative research ideas to the Centre, and to turn research ideas into impactful projects. Ideally, candidates will have already engaged with networks beyond their expertise (e.g. academics beyond their discipline, as well as non-academic users and/or the general public )

• Possess a relevant PhD in a related field of study, and have sufficient specialist knowledge and methodological skills that reflect the state-of-the-art in their respective disciplines

• Have a track record of excellent research in their discipline assessed by the quality rather than the quantity of published work

• Have a record of interdisciplinary interests and/or research

• Can develop and lead independently on research projects and proposals

• Can identify sources of research funding and contribute to the process of attracting additional grants.

• Will be physically present for the term of their fellowship, actively contribute to the overall research of Centre, and establish collaborations with other fellows and the broader community at the Centre such as the advisory board and associate fellows, the partnering Institutions (School of Advanced Study & Royal Holloway, University of London), and beyond.

• Have a proven ability to disseminate research in a range of audiences in written or other formats

• Fluency in one or more languages other than English is advantageous

How to apply? Applications must contain the following:

• Motivational cover letter, highlighting, in particular, what you can bring to, and expect from a fellowship at the Centre (maximum 2 pages)

• CV (maximum 4 pages) that includes education, professional experience, publication list, dissemination activities, interdisciplinary track record (if applicable).

• Project proposal (maximum 5 pages) that presents the project you would like to develop at the Centre over a period of two years. You must consider the research question and key objectives, your interdisciplinary approach, the proposed methodology , and expected outcomes ;

• Work plan, timeline and budget for the project (maximum 1 page)

• All documents must be submitted in English and as pdf-files.

• Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Applications must be submitted via our online application and details will be made available in due course. Candidates are advised to expect that the submission date will be in June 2021.

Selection Process

The application process is organised in two stages: the written applications and a selection interview. In the selection of fellows, the Centre will be supported by a panel consisting of established experts in the relevant fields of research. Final results of this selection procedure will be communicated shortly after the event.

If you have any questions on this call or the application process, please get in touch with Professor Manos Tsakiris via e-mail: