ERC Women at Work / 10 Scholarships / Call for proposal


10 Scholarships for fieldwork and research on the history of female urban popular professions in Africa (1920-1970)

Call for proposals

Deadline: 1st of March 2024


The European Union-funded project “Women at work: for a comparative history of African female urban professions (Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, Ghana) 1920-1970” (WomatWork) invites applications for research and fieldwork grants aiming to support Master students, PhD candidates, and postdocs interested in the history of women of popular classes working in urban professions during the colonial and early post-colonial periods in Africa (1920-1970).

The selected candidates will present their results at a summer school that will take place in Addis Ababa from 7 to 15 October 2024.

Description of the research theme

In this project, we aim to tackle one of the most neglected chapters in the history of African labor, that of professional women belonging to popular classes. We focus primarily on self-employed income earners based in urban centers, such as petty traders and market women; artisans (for example tailors, weavers, pottery-makers); ‘body professionals’ such as birth attendants, estheticians, and hairdressers; and finally, popular singers and musicians. This list is by no means all-inclusive. We seek to explore the common threads among these professions, such as the process of acquisition of professional skills through training; the relation between skills and income, and the fact that women’s income depended (also) on the cumulative mastery of these skills (the more one practiced, the better one became). Finally, we assume that these professions led to the development of work ethos, shared workers’ values, norms, and perhaps an esprit de corps that we are particularly eager to ascertain.

We look at historical changes inside these professions as well as in technologies of work; at different typologies of professions and their change over time (some professions appeared; others disappeared over time). Finally, we seek to understand how these fifty momentous years of African history (1920-1970) impacted these professions, especially with the rise of labor and nationalist movements, independence, and the turn to one-party states.

Application process

The deadline for application is 1st March 2024.

To apply, please send to this email address:

  1. the application form (see below), which should be no more than 3000 words (excluding bibliographic references);
  2. a one-page cover letter in which you explain your background, your interest in the project, and the place this has in your current research plans;
  3. a detailed curriculum vitae (in PDF), including relevant publications;
  4. up to two reference letters and/or letters of support from your institution.


The successful candidates will be expected to write a working paper about the size of an article (6000-10000 words, in English) in which they will discuss the main findings of their funded research and fieldwork.

They are also expected to join the summer school in Addis Ababa on 7-15 October, which is mandatory. This will include 5 days of training and 2 days of conference, in which the candidates will present their results.

Travel expenses to and from Addis Ababa as well as accommodation will be covered by the project (please note that the scholarship grants are not intended for covering the attendance to the workshop, but for research only).

Conditions of support

  • The amount offered is the equivalent of 1000 euros. Scholarships will be paid in local currency, unless differently stated by the relevant UMIFRE. This amount will be disbursed 50% at the beginning of fieldwork and 50% after the workshop in Addis Ababa. The fellowship is awarded as a contribution towards actual research costs and does not include stipends for applicants.
  • There is no restriction on nationality for the applicants. Research can be concerned with any country of the African continent covered by the UMIFREs that are partners of the project (CFEE, IFRA Nigeria, IFRA Kenya, IFAS-Research, CEDEJ Khartoum).
  • Applicants based in African research institutions, particularly women, are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • It is mandatory to be attached to an institution of higher education (colleges, universities, research units).

Advice for applicants

This ERC research funding is competitive as we receive more applications than we can fund. Your application must state clearly and compellingly the relevance of your research for the ERC project, that you can find here: WomatWork-ERC-2021-COG_Short, and its possible contribution to its objectives.

For more information about the ERC project and activities, see the blog:


OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
Secrétaire Scientifique (30 janvier 2024). ERC Women at Work / 10 Scholarships / Call for proposal. UN ŒIL SUR LA CORNE / AN EYE ON THE HORN. Consulté le 16 juillet 2024 à l’adresse

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