Postdoc Humor and Free Speech Regulation (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Arts


University of Groningen

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 36,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study- and career paths. The University of Groningen is an international centre of knowledge: It belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

The Faculty of Arts is a large, dynamic faculty in the heart of the city of Groningen. It has more than 5,000 students and 700 staff members, who are working at the frontiers of knowledge every day. The Faculty offers a wide range of degree programmes: 15 Bachelor's programmes and over 35 Master's specialisations. Our research, which is internationally widely acclaimed, covers Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, Language and Literary Studies, Linguistics and Media and Journalism Studies.

Job description

We are offering a 36-month postdoc position (full time, 1.0 FTE) within the project ‘Forensic Humor Analysis: Rethinking Offensive Humor and Its Legal Regulation’, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) with a five-year Vidi grant (Principal Investigator: Dr Alberto Godioli, University of Groningen). The appointed candidate will have a strong interest in interdisciplinary legal research, and an expertise in free speech regulation (with particular regard to the European context).

The project (henceforth ForHum) aims to establish forensic humor analysis as a new line of interdisciplinary research, using insights from humanities-based humor research in order to tackle the interpretive issues faced by national and international courts when regulating offensive humor. In addition to the Principal Investigator, the ForHum team will feature a Postdoc with a legal background (36 months, 2022-2025) and a PhD in humor studies (48 months, 2023-2027). The Postdoc will play a major role in the first sub-project, focusing on the software-assisted analysis of humor-related legal cases from the European Court of Human Rights as well as national courts in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and France. This sub-project will be conducted jointly by the Postdoc and the Principal Investigator. ForHum also features a substantial knowledge utilization component, including public outreach activities and a close dialogue with societal stakeholders (e.g. free speech associations and judicial bodies).

Tasks and responsibilities:

• carrying out the sub-project described above in collaboration with the Principal Investigator
• contributing to the successful advancement of ForHum as a whole, and to the spirit of interdisciplinary exchange characterizing the project
• presenting research results at workshops and conferences, and publishing academic articles
• engaging in public outreach and knowledge utilization activities related to the project
• participating in regular meetings with the other project team members, and assisting the Principal Investigator in communication tasks (e.g. co-managing project website, writing blog posts).


• PhD degree in Law, preferably with an emphasis on free speech regulation. The degree must have been obtained by the time the position starts. PhD degrees in related disciplines may also be considered, provided that the candidate’s PhD work shows a solid expertise in (interdisciplinary) legal research
• excellent research skills as shown by the candidate’s publishing track record, or a demonstrable capacity to develop such a record
• excellent command of English; proficiency in Dutch and/or French is also highly desirable
• a strong interest in collaborative research and interdisciplinary dialogue
• enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 12 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU):

• a salary, depending on qualifications and work experience from a minimum of € 3,807 to a maximum of € 5,211 gross per month (salary scale 11 - UFO profile: Researcher 3)
• on top of that income, you will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an annual bonus of 8.3%
• you will initially be appointed for a period of 1 year with the prospect of extending the contract with another two years after positive evaluation.

For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

Intended starting date: 1 February 2022

Job Application

Applications should include:

1. A letter of motivation (max. 800 words), explaining why you are a suitable candidate for this postdoc position
2. A curriculum vitae, including a list of publications and (if applicable) other research output clearly showing your expertise in relevant areas
3. A short reflection on the challenges posed by humor in free speech regulation, or a concise discussion of a relevant legal case (800-1000 words) and a full text of one publication (or piece of writing) you are particularly proud of, or find particularly relevant
4. PhD degree certificate, or a statement from your PhD supervisor that you will have completed the PhD requirements before 1 February 2022
5. Contact information of two academic referees who are familiar with your work, and whom we may contact directly if we need more information.

You may apply for this position until Thursday 4 November 11:59 pm / Friday 5 November 2021 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website)

Applications have to be submitted electronically in PDF format by means of the application form (please merge all documents into one PDF file). Applications that are incomplete or are otherwise faulty will not be taken into account.

The selection interviews will take place in the week of 29 November 2021.

We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity. We have adopted an active policy to increase the number of female scientists across all disciplines of the university. Therefore, women are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr Alberto Godioli, European Culture and Literature (about the position and the research project)

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 221554

Digital application form