PhD Candidate (M_F) _ History of economic thought and energy transitions in Japan

[ON RECRUTE] PhD Candidate (M/F) | History of economic thought Japanese speaking corpus

[PhD candidate] Energy economics | History of economic thought Japanese speaking corpus

Contact: Antoine Missemer


Contract period: 36 months

Expected date of employment: 1 September 2023

Salary: 2135€ monthly gross salary, subject to CNRS rules

Workplace: CIRED – Nogent-sur-Marne


Please send, by e-mail (see address below), a CV, a cover letter (max. 2 pages), and an electronic version of your Master’s thesis (if any), together with a 2-page summary in English if the thesis was written in another language. Afterwards, your application will also have to be uploaded on the CNRS job portal, during a period that will open in May 2023.

Interviews with a reduced panel of candidates will be held remotely (via Zoom) in June 2023.

Outcomes will be communicated by 1 July 2023 at the latest.


This PhD research will consist in the analysis of energy issues and transitions in the history of Japanese economic thought from the 19th and 20th centuries, following the research questions and framework of the ERC Starting Grant project ETRANHET.


The PhD candidate will use historical methods – including archival research and tools from the digital humanities (digitisation of materials, lexicographic analysis, etc.) – to explore (and write a dissertation on) economic thought in 19th and 20th century Japan grounded principally in Japanese sources, starting with the Tokugawa period, dealing with energy issues and transitions. The first stage of the research
will consist in critically examining a range of functional equivalents for the categories of ‘economist,’ ‘energy,’ ‘resource,’ or ‘technological innovation’ in the case of Japan and in mapping the literature through an extensive review and a few expert consultations. The second stage will consist in analysing the most relevant corpuses allowing for a good understanding of Japanese economic ideas, theories, concepts, models, and policy recommendations related to issues of energy resources and uses. Research questions, to be adapted to the local context, will include: What role did economists attribute to energy in economic and industrial development? What role did they attribute to technology in energy transitions? What strategies did they use to draw scientific and public attention to energy issues when they were not otherwise a major preoccupation (e.g. during recessions, epidemics)? From the
Japanese case, the PhD candidate will thus contribute to a worldwide panorama of energy transitions in the history of economic thought, in order to take a fresh look at today’s challenges with respect to the low-carbon transition. Interaction with other members of the ETRANHET team working on other corpuses (Spanish-, Portuguese-, French-, English-, Dutch/Flemish-, German-, Italian-speaking corpuses) is expected. The PhD candidate will also be required to participate in the collective tasks related to the ETRANHET project (e.g. communication, dissemination, organization of events, teambuilding, supervision of students) and in the different research activities taking place at CIRED (e.g. weekly seminars, general assemblies, workshops). He/she will finally be conducted to interact with experts in Japanese studies working in the Paris area, in particular within the J-InnovaTech project led by Dr. A. Kobiljski.


Degree: Master’s degree in economics, history of economic thought, philosophy of economics, history of ideas, intellectual history, history of science, economic history, energy history, political science, science and technology studies (STS), Japanese studies, cultural studies or any related field, with a strong interest in economic and historical research, and energy and sustainability issues. Prior knowledge of the Japanese (past and present) economic literature would be welcome. Languages: English required (working language), Japanese required (JLPT 1 or equivalent, experience with reading Tokugawa and Meiji period printed documents). Other skills: computer skills (usual software, qualitative database management, collaborative tools), autonomy, teamwork, ability to take initiatives, ability to work in an interdisciplinary and intercultural environment.

Work context

The position is funded by the ERC Starting-Grant project ETRANHET – ‘Energy Transitions in the History of Economic Thought (19th-20th c.)’ led by Dr. Antoine Missemer (PI) and hosted by CNRS. ETRANHET will provide favourable material conditions for the proper conduct of the research (e.g. travel and documentation allowances). The recruited person will work at the CIRED laboratory located in Nogent-sur-Marne (Paris area, France). Remote working will be possible in moderate proportions. CIRED is a multidisciplinary unit (about 100-120 permanent and non-permanent members), with a core expertise in economics, gathering researchers and PhD students working on environmental and development issues. With members involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), CIRED is recognized as a top-research unit in the field of environmental, climate, and energy economics. A few researchers in sociology, business organization, and history of economic thought, complement the unit’s larger teams more specialized in integrated assessment modelling (IAM), land-use, transportation economics, and ecological accounting. The Parisian university context is conductive to active participation in many national and international research networks.

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