Postdoctoral fellowship in Environmental History, ERC StG 2023 project INWOOD

Location: University of Turin, Italy

Salary: €2.300 net/month + full reimbursement of conference/archival trips

Hours: full-time

Contract type: 2 years, renewable (2+2)

Deadline: January 22, 1pm CET

Job reference: DSS.2023.28

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Fellowship in History to be held at the Department of Historical Studies of the University of Turin, Italy. The postdoctoral fellow will join the team of the ERC Starting Grant project INWOOD – Industrial Wood: European Industrialisation as Seen from the Forests (1870-1914).

About the project
INWOOD studies industrialisation through the most important pre-industrial resource: wood. Scholarship on industrialisation has concentrated on the introduction and spread of new energy sources and materials, paying scant attention to the pre-existing resources. However, available data shows that wood was fundamental in the key sectors driving industrialisation, while its consumption
increased during this process.
INWOOD analyses the role that wood played during industrialisation and the impact of industrialisation on the actors and sectors most involved in wood use, with a focus on Europe during the first globalisation (1870-1914). Inspired by current debates on ecological crisis and energy transition, the project pioneers an interdisciplinary and multi-scale approach to analyse the links between the following interrelated issues:

  • Economic dynamics on a macro scale: the changes in wood consumption in relation to industrial demands, but also the spread of alternative energy sources and materials; the transformation triggered by industrial technology in the geography of wood flows and in the logistics of the wood supply chain.
  • Social dynamics on a micro scale: the impact of changes in the wood economy on the populations living close to the woodlands, in both the areas that were central before industrialisation and those that became central because of it; the choices made by actors involved in the exploitation of woodlands when faced with these developments.
  • Ecological dynamics on multiple scales: the evolution of the European forest cover in terms of reforestation in some regions and deforestation in others; the main qualitative changes in the forest landscape in terms of tree species composition, age and density.

INWOOD integrates sources and analytical methods to change the way scholars understand industrialisation and to provide the historical context for present-day debate about the role of forests in climate change mitigation and biodiversity preservation.

About the fellowship
The postdoctoral fellow will carry out research within the ERC project INWOOD – Industrial Wood: European Industrialisation as Seen from the Forests (1870-1914). The postdoc will focus on the transformation of the timber market in Europe between 1870 and 1914. This research will adopt a macro scale and an economic history approach. It will be carried out by means of a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the vast printed material produced on the timber market in those decades, first and foremost the main forestry journals of the period (mainly in German). The results collected from these journals will be integrated with those gathered from other contemporary printed sources (agricultural surveys, trade statistics, price indices, government investigation, and commercial reports).

Language Proficiency: English, German

Application process
Application must be submitted through the University of Turin PICA portal, following the instructions of the document attached below (available only in Italian, sorry for this). Queries about the position should be addressed to Giacomo Bonan, project PI:

Job Reference for the online procedure: DSS.2023.28
Job Title for the online procedure: Industrializzazione ed economia del legname in Europa (1870-1914)

call for applications_INWOOD