Applying for Postdoctoral Roles in Political Science, Political Theory, and International Relations: Recent Experiences from Early-Career Researchers

Hybrid Event - Pembroke College and Online

There are several kinds of postdoctoral positions which are available to early-career applicants that provide a range of further research and teaching experience. In this event, several current postdoctoral researchers at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) share their experiences of applying for these kinds of roles, as well as reflect on how they navigated the postdoctoral landscape.

As seen in their biographies (below), the speakers collectively have experience applying for and/or being successful in receiving the main types of postdoctoral roles usually available to UK graduates, including: externally-funded fellowships provided by bodies like the British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, and the ESRC; junior research fellowships (JRFs) typically offered by Oxford and Cambridge; fixed-term lectureships and teaching fellowships; and postdoctoral research roles working under a senior Principal Investigator on a discrete project.

This event is particularly aimed at DPhil students (especially those nearing the end of their degrees) and current postdoctoral staff who are considering applying for postdoctoral roles in politics and international relations. In-person places are limited. Once those are filled, online places will remain available.

Please note this event will focus on applying for fixed-term postdoctoral roles in the fields of political science, political theory, and international relations. It is not intended to cover tenure-track or permanent lectureships, and the experiences of speakers are mainly from these subject areas.

Panellist Bios
Mats Ahrenshop is a postdoctoral research assistant at DPIR, working in the Climate Vulnerability research project under the supervision of Prof Federica Genovese. He studies topics in comparative political economy, in particular relating to development and state capacity. Before that, he obtained his DPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford.

Will Allen is a British Academy postdoctoral fellow at DPIR, working on the drivers and political consequences of attitudes towards migration in Latin America and Europe. After completing a DPhil in Politics (2015-19), he was a Junior Research Fellow at Magdalen College and a career development teaching fellow at St John’s College which involved organising and giving tutorials for students taking politics modules as part of the BA Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) degree.

Seunghoon Chae is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at DPIR. He started this position after completing a DPhil in Politics at Nuffield College (2016-22). His work explores how states respond to crises, with a focus on political violence during conflicts. He is currently working on a book project about civilian-to-civilian killings during the Korean War. Due to mandatory service, he spent three years of his DPhil as a lieutenant in the South Korean Army and continues to work closely with former colleagues in the military.

Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at DPIR, working on the political economy of “place” in Europe. After completing a PhD at the LSE’s European Institute (2016-20), she was an ESRC postdoctoral fellow (2022) and a Hellenic Bank Association Postdoctoral Fellow (2023) at LSE, before starting her Leverhulme Fellowship at DPIR in January 2024. She also has 2.5 years of professional experience in public policy directly before and after her PhD (2015-16, 2020-21).

Marnie Howlett is a Departmental Lecturer in Russian and East European Politics split between the DPIR and OSGA. Her work centres on the intersection of geopolitics, cartography, and nationalism within the former Soviet Union, particularly Ukraine. Following the completion of her PhD in IR at the LSE (2017-21), and prior to her current post, she served as a Departmental Lecturer in Politics (Qualitative Methods) in the DPIR.

Emily Katzenstein is a Junior Research Fellow in Politics at St John’s College. Prior to joining St John’s, she completed her PhD at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include critical theory, theories of political economy, and 20th century black political thought, with a particular interest in critical theories of racialization, and the history and theory of capitalism. Her current book project, Race(d) Futures: Race, Risk, and the Politics of Debt, a work in historically grounded political theory, examines how anti-racist movements contested regimes of debt and credit in the 20th and early 21st century, and explicates and critiques the normative visions of fairness that emerged in these contexts.

Samuel Ritholtz is Departmental Lecturer in International Relations at the DPIR, in association with St Hilda’s College. Previously, they were Part-time Assistant Professor and Max Weber Fellow in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute. Samuel received their DPhil and MSc from the Refugee Studies Centre in the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. Their research interests include contemporary political theories of violence, marginality, and war with a focus on LGBTIQ+ experiences of crisis, conflict, and displacement.