Call for Applications: Infrastructure, Infrastructure Cooperation and Continuity of European Integration: The European Post and Telecommunications Union (University Paris-Sorbonne)

Deadline: June 26, 2017

The University Paris-Sorbonne is recruiting a PhD student for a period of 36 months starting in October or November 2017, in order to contribute to a Franco-German research project on the pivotal place of the Second World War in the history of the technological integration of the European continent.

About the Project

The ANR / DFG EUROPTT project (2017-2020) Infrastructure, infrastructure cooperation and continuity of European integration: the European Post and Telecommunications Union[1] is coordinated by Pascal Griset (Université Paris-Sorbonne, Sirice UMR 8138 and ISCC) and Guido Thiemeyer (Universität Düsseldorf). It gathers French and German researchers based in Düsseldorf, Siegen, Paris and Strasbourg to explore the continuities and breaking points in international technical cooperation and integration of the European continent during the Second World War. The Second World War represents a turn in the history of European integration. But how far ? Even though the process of European integration is increasingly embedded in long-term developments, anchored in the nineteenth century, war remains as such a profound (and often unquestioned) break in the historiography. The EUROPTT project questions this classical turn critically by studying the co-operation of European states in the regulation of cross-border infrastructure networks during the Second World War and correlating the developments of this period with past and later developments. It places particular emphasis on the European Post and Telecommunications Union (Europäische Post und Fernmeldeverein). This international organization founded in 1942 in Vienna on a German-Italian initiative, with a broad base of European members, indeed deserves attention. The original work that it carried out in stability over two years also bears witness to many continuities with the developments at work before 1939 and after 1945.

The founding hypothesis is that not only has European integration been pursued in these decisive socio-economic sectors of infrastructure, despite the political, ideological and military fractures of the war years, but that the latter has deepened the dynamics, playing a catalytic role on the continent. The project is structured into three interrelated lines of work: (1) the Europäische Post und Fernmeldeverein during the war (2) continuities, discontinuities and caesura in post-war co-operation in postal and telecommunications fields (3) commonalities and differences with other major infrastructure networks. By bringing together French and German specialists in both the history of European cooperation in infrastructure in general and post and telecommunications in particular, as well as Franco-German historiography and the history of European integration, it promises an innovative articulation of these different fields around an unknown but clearly circumscribed object. It also aims to create bridges between the sites involved in Germany and France, as well as between existing research networks in order to open up new content and institutional perspectives to Franco-German scientific collaboration in a European context.


Within the framework of the EUROPTT project, two PhD candidates will be recruited for a period of 36 months starting in October or November 2017. The two theses will focus on the history of the European Post and Telecommunications Union. The doctoral candidate recruited by Université Paris-Sorbonne in Paris will work either on the postal dimension of the Union or on telecommunications. He or she will write his or her PhD dissertation in French. The two PhDs will collaborate together – sharing training seminars, sharing inventory and analysis of archival materials and presenting their results. The sources will be located in Germany, France and the other states concerned (in particular Archives of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris and Nantes, National Archives in Paris, Federal Archives of Berlin-Lichterfelde Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, Federal Archives of Koblenz, various archives in London, Geneva, Brussels, The Hague, Rome, Stockholm, Helsinki). The monthly gross salary will be 1758 EUROS. The PhD candidate will also have a budget for field work.


The candidate recruited by the Université Paris-Sorbonne will participate fully in the work of the team, and play a facilitating role (in particular by actively contributing to the updating of a common research blog), while developing his or her personal research. He/She must hold a Master degree or an equivalent postgraduate degree allowing to pursue a PhD and have a background in contemporary history. Training in the history of technology and / or history of European integration is an asset but not a precondition. The candidate must have experience in archival research, and ideally in multi-archival research. The nature of the work requires perfect writing and oral skills in one of the two languages, French or German, and a passive understanding of the other. The candidate will have to be highly mobile, since a large part of his/her research activities will take place abroad, particularly in Germany. Applications from women are encouraged.

How to apply

The deadline for application is 26th June 2017. Please send a file containing the following documents:

  • A detailed curriculum vitae
  • A cover letter describing your interest in joining this project
  • A letter of recommendation from a professor

The complete application must be sent by e-mail to labexehne1(at) with the mention „Application PhD EUROPTT“ in the title of the message. Successful applicants will be contacted for an interview at the end of June/beginning of July 2017 by a committee composed of the project coordinators and other team members. The results will be communicated on the evening of the last interview.

For more information, please contact Cécile Welker at labexehne1(at) or +33 (0)1 58 52 17 32.

Find the French and a printable PDF version of this Call on the L’Europe des flux blog of LabEx EHNE „Ecrire une histoire nouvelle de l’Europe“.


  1. Contrat n°ANR-16-FRAL-0013-01 []

Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, concentrated around the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with distinctive and independent focal points. Through its globally operating institutes, the Foundation is able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and the host countries or regions of its establishments. By promoting scientific dialogue and merging academic as well as non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the Internationalization of research in its three fields of dedication.

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