Database and Research Assistant - NL-Lab Humanities Cluster - Amsterdam

Location: Amsterdam
Max hours per week: 26,60
Max salary: € 4.103,-
Duration of agreement: 24 maanden
Apply until: 15 December 2024


For the project: Towards an Animal Turn in Sociolinguistics. Understanding the dairy cow’s interaction with humans and with each other we have a vacancy for a Database and Research Assistant (0,7).


The goal of the project you will be joining is to provide proof of principle for an animal turn in sociolinguistics, i.e., for an inclusive sociolinguistics that does not separate human and non-human animals on the basis of the criterion of language, but instead studies interactions between animals, and between animals and humans in a wide context. The project focuses on dairy cows. In conformity with careful ethnographic fieldwork, the project will find out how different herds of dairy cows, with different relationships with humans, imbue their interaction with meaning in a way that makes sense for both dairy cows and humans under specific social conditions. The main investigative challenge is learning how to understand intraspecies and interspecies interactions as embodied, multimodal and sensory phenomena (Cornips, 2022; Meijer, 2019; Mondémé, 2011; Pennycook, 2018)*. Examining local meaning-making by the dairy cow allows sociolinguistics to critically reflect on their ideologies towards animal interactions within power dynamics and take a position in the current interspecies ethics debate in the Anthropocene. The project will address three research problems in (socio)linguistic research: (i) how to decentre the human, both theoretically and methodologically, especially within the strongly asymmetrical dairy cow/human power relations, (ii) how to examine multimodal behaviour by cows, and (iii) how to fill the gap of knowledge in linguistics about this animal’s interactional and communicative expressions.


What you will be doing

You will manage the project while collaborating with the entire team (for example, maintaining the project website, organizing an (inter)national workshop, and communicating with the national and international advisory advisory boards, and with non-academic audiences, including farmers). In addition, you will be responsible for curating the video-recordings, audio-recordings, and photos collected by the project’s PhD candidate and PI, for enriching these data with metadata, coding (i.e. classify) and transcribing relevant parts, and overseeing the creation of a searchable database. We will invite you to occasionally join us on fieldwork. We will help you to co-author one academic article with the project team, and to write an application, for example, a PhD position, to pursue your own research in this area. You have a good command of speaking and writing skills in both Dutch and English; if English only, you are expected to obtain an active working proficiency of the Dutch language (B2 or C1 level) as soon as possible.


What do we ask from you

You have just graduated or are doing a research MA  in Linguistics with a demonstrable affinity for human-animal interaction and interdisciplinary research.

Ideally, you are familiar with annotating data records using tools such as Nvivo or ATLAS.ti, including coding various activities and events in video and/or audio data, and transcribing these (using conversational analysis) or are willing to learn to do so. You are organised and precise, and enjoy working in a team to collaborating with others.


What we are offering

You will be hosted at the NL-Lab ( of the Meertens/Huygens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (HUC-KNAW) in the center of Amsterdam, where research into dairy cow intraspecies and interspecies interaction is a relevant part of the research agenda. The position has a maximum of 0,7 fte for 24 months. There is a budget for travels, and to follow linguistic courses at the Netherlands National Graduate School of Linguistics (LOT). You will be part of a devoted and enthusiastic research team including (inter)national colleagues from different disciplines (biology, ethology, veterinary etc.).



Please contact Prof. dr. Leonie Cornips, Senior researcher in Sociolinguistics (PI) (click on the name to send an email) or call: 0204628529


Application procedure

Please submit a CV, a cover letter that includes a motivation on why you want to assist in this specific project before 15 December 2024. Please use the application button.

For this job, you must be willing to move to the Netherlands and obtain a working proficiency of the Dutch language


Extra information:

  • Cornips, L. 2022. The animal turn in postcolonial (socio)linguistics: the interspecies greeting of the dairy cow. Journal of Postcolonial Linguistics 6:210-232.
  • Meijer, E. 2019. When animals speak. Toward an interspecies democracy. New York: New York University Press.
  • Mondémé, C. 2011. Animals as subject matter for social sciences: When linguistics addresses the issue of a dog’s “speakership.” In P. Gibas, K. Pauknerová, & M. Stella (Eds.), Non-humans in social science: Animals, spaces, things (pp. 87–105). Pavel Mervart.
  • Pennycook, A. 2018. Posthumanist applied linguistics. London/New York: Routledge.



About HuC
The KNAW Humanities Cluster stands for innovative and interdisciplinary research in the humanities and heritage sector.

KNAW Humanities Cluster is a collaboration of three KNAW institutes: Huygens Institute for the History and Culture of the Netherlands, International Institute of Social History (IISH) and Meertens Institute. In these institutes, we conduct pioneering and excellent humanities research (history, ethnology, literature, linguistics) using innovative methods in which informatics plays an important role. The business office of the KNAW Humanities Cluster supports these three institutes, as well as the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) and the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD), in their operational management. The KNAW Humanities Cluster has placed its operational management in a central business office and has a joint department for Digital Infrastructure, a Digital Humanities Lab and NL Lab.


Terms of employment
Depending on education and experience the minimum salary is €3.072,- and the maximum salary is €4.103,- gross per month for a full-time appointment (scale 8 cao Nederlandse Universiteiten/KNAW). This is exclusive of 8% vacation allowance, 8.3% year-end bonus, travel allowance, internet allowance, home working allowance and pension accrual with ABP.

The KNAW offers its staff an excellent package of secondary benefits. A package that meets the different needs of employees depending on their stage of life, lifestyle or career ambitions. For example, by working an extra two hours a week, it is possible to increase the number of days off from 29 to 41 days a year (with full-time employment).

For a complete overview of the terms of employment, please refer to the web page: werken bij de KNAW.


Diversity & Inclusion
The KNAW considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated of great importance. A working environment in which attention is paid to individual quality and where development opportunities are paramount. Together we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences. We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy.

We will not respond to any supplier enquiries based on this job advertisement.