Appel à candidatures : 2 postes (pré-doctoral/post-doctoral) à l’Université de Berne (2016-2020)


The Art History Department of the University of Bern is offering :

1 Pre-doctoral Position and 1 Post-doctoral Position

for the research project: Building the Exotic? Integration, Exhibition and Imitation of Non-Western Material Culture in France and Switzerland (1660-1800)

This research project, “Building the Exotic?”, will explore how, during the second half of the 17th century and in the 18th century, foreign material culture was relocated in France and Switzerland and integrated into European interiors and decorative arts. Since the 17th century, scholars have underlined this period’s emerging taste for the exotic in order to contextualize the unprecedented craze for lacquer, porcelain and textiles imitating non-Western techniques and iconography. Others refer to Orientalism in order to historicize such interest in Asia, India and the Americas. What was the exotic in the Enlightenment? How was the place of foreign material culture negotiated, at various scales and in various contexts? And how did it impact European identities and productions? This research intends to move from questions about “exoticism” to study “exoticisation” practices. The physical relocation of material fragments in European interiors and objects will be at its core.

The project “Building the Exotic?” is divided into three parts, exploring separate yet related practices: integration (Prof. Noémie Etienne), imitation (Post-doc) and exhibition (Pre-doc.).

Post-doctoral Position

The post-doctoral fellow will explore the issue of imitation, as a theoretical, economic, and political issue during the period. Imitation of textiles and the production of Indiennes would be a case study of particular interest in this context. One could also consider the imitation of varnish, or other such mimeses. Why and how were Non-Western canons imitated? How can we contextualize processes of technical appropriation and its consequences in a context of global competition?

Pre-doctoral Position

The pre-doctoral fellow will explore the exhibition of Non-Western material culture in private interiors and cabinets. The use of the collection (reparation, teaching purposes, etc.), will be of particular interest. A specific emphasis could be put on objects coming from New France, in order to explore the issues of colonial power involved in these practices.
German, English and/or French are the languages of the project. Proficiency in at least two of these three languages is expected.


Research projet here

Duration: 4 years (2016-2020), with a possible 2 years extension.
Place: Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Hodlerstrasse 8, 3011 Bern, Switzerland.
For more information, please contact: Noémie Etienne, at
Submissions must include: Cover Letter, CV, a project proposal (2 pages), and the names of two references that can be contacted for recommendations.
Deadline: May 15th, 2016


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