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Carceral State Project, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

The University of Michigan Carceral State Project seeks a postdoctoral research fellow to contribute to and help coordinate its Documenting Criminalization, Confinement, and Resistance (DCCR) research initiative. DCCR is a collaborative, multifaceted public engagement project committed to investigating the historical and contemporary contours of the carceral state in its broadest dimensions–encompassing prisons and jails, policing and prosecution, immigrant detention and mixed-status communities, activists and impacted populations, policies and discourses–in the state of Michigan and in the modern U.S.

The postdoctoral fellow will focus full-time on the DCCR project with both research and administrative responsibilities. The fellow will 1) collaborate with the faculty project directors (Heather Ann Thompson and Matthew Lassiter) on the advancement of specific research projects, especially the Confronting Conditions of Confinement initiative that documents experience and resistance inside prisons and jails; 2) assist in the coordination of research teams; and 3) assist in communications and outreach to public audiences and community organizations. The fellow will be a core member of the DCCR research initiative and will coauthor various reports and digital publications.

Candidates must achieve the Ph.D. degree by Sept. 1, 2023, the starting date of the appointment. The position is for twelve months with the potential for reappointment for the 2024-2025 academic year. The fellow will be based in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, the administrative home of the Carceral State Project’s DCCR initiative. Applicants from a broad range of humanities and social science disciplines are encouraged to apply. Prior research experience related to the American carceral state is preferred.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit an application as soon as possible as a combined pdf file. Interviews may begin as soon as the minimum posting period has elapsed or soon after February 1, 2023, depending on the quality/strength of the applicant pool.  The application should include a cover letter; c.v.; and a separate personal statement detailing relevant experiences, research interests, DEI work, and evidence of commitment to publicly engaged and/or community engaged scholarship. Two letters of reference should be submitted directly by the recommenders. Submit the application and letters separately to with the last name of the applicant at the start of each document. 

Required Qualifications*

  • Doctoral Degree or equivalent combination of education and experience in social sciences, education, or other relevant experience.
  • Experience with and knowledge of humanities-based research techniques, including data collection and analysis, preparing reports, and collaborating to complete research projects.
  • Experience working in community-based settings.
  • Direct experience collaborating well with students, academic faculty, staff, and community partners.
  • Demonstrated experience with aspects of goal setting, project planning, implementation/logistics, evaluation, and reporting.
  • Ability to set priorities, handle multiple assignments and deadlines and use good judgment, while operating in a professional manner.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects in a busy environment and successfully meet deadlines.
  • Professionalism, attention to detail, and excellent organizational and prioritization skills.
  • Ability to work with diverse communities.
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills.
  • Ability to self-initiate, work independently and collaboratively.
  • Ability to prioritize multiple projects simultaneously and successfully meet deadlines.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Doctoral degree in history, sociology, social work, or another relevant field.
  • Direct experience working with issues of mass incarceration and criminalization.
  • Prior involvement in humanities-based research, especially in collaborative and team-based configurations.
  • Experience in research and writing for publication across a variety of formats.
  • Demonstrated capacity for creative problem solving, innovation and for anticipating future needs.

Work Schedule

Hours/Days: 8:00AM – 5:00PM, Monday - Friday; some weekend and evening hours may be required

About the Project

For more information about the Carceral State Project and its research initiatives, visit


University of Michigan

The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future. The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks.  Background checks are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

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