Job | Junior Professorship “Sound Studies” (W1)

2021-06-10 The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Leuphana University of Lüneburg invites applications for the following junior professorship:


Sound Studies is a relatively young field of research, which is also rapidly transformed by technological development and processes related to globalization. Leuphana University of Lüneburg is one of the few German-speaking universities that offers a research focus in Sound Studies at a faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

You intend to actively participate in shaping the field of sound studies and contribute to the profile of Humanities and Social Sciences in Lüneburg, which is characterized by a critical approach to contemporary culture.

You are an expert in the analysis of sonic artifacts and their historical development. Your work focuses on the further development of Sound Studies in the context of Humanities by exploring and establishing innovative and internationally emerging topics and issues.

While the field of Sound Studies was initially and primarily dedicated to phenomena such as soundscapes, sound art, or experimental electronic music, it has since broadened to include studies on urban sounds, acoustic warfare, transculturality, noise studies, or noise pollution. In addition to a key qualification in Sound Studies, a further research focus in one of the more recent fields is an essential component of the qualification for this junior professorship.

Through the professorship you are involved in the „audioLab“, a studio for electronic music and post-production, which can be used for teaching and research purposes as well as by students and regional initiatives. Due to your Humanities orientation, you would like to become engaged in the scholarly initiatives of Leuphana University („Digital Cultures“ and „Cultures of Critique“). You will find particular affinities with the professorships of Media Aesthetics and Media Technology, Media Culture and Media Philosophy, Media Theory and Media History, Contemporary Art, Cultural Theory, Cultural History of Knowledge, Art – Theory – Criticism, and Cultural Mediation and Cultural Organization.

You have a background in Sound Studies, Media Studies, Musicology, or Popular Music Studies, significant teaching experience, and have gained experience in research projects as well as in the acquisition of external funding. Your work shows a broad expertise in different methodological approaches of Sound Studies and in the history of sonic artifacts as well as a high potential for innovation with regard to the further development of Sound Studies. You publish in relevant journals and publishing houses on a national and international level. You have excellent skills in the English language and are able to teach courses in English. If you do not have German language skills, you are willing to acquire them within a reasonable time frame.

In organizational terms, the professorship is assigned to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, Institute for Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media (ICAM). You will be teaching “Music and Auditory Culture“ (Major) and “Popular Music Studies“ (Minor) in the Bachelor’s program and “Media and Digital Cultures“ in the Master’s program, but also in the electives of the other cultural studies Master’s programs (Critique of the Present: Arts, Theory, History; Culture and Organization; Theory and History of Modernity). In addition, you are involved in cross-faculty programs (Cultural Studies Core) and in cross-university programs (General Studies). It is further required that you will take part in the academic self-administration.

The requirements for employment (paygrade W1) are based on § 30 of the Lower Saxony Higher Education Act (NHG), and include: a university degree in musicology, sound studies, popular music studies or a comparable degree in cultural and media studies; pedagogical and didactical competence based on experience in using innovative teaching methods; the particular ability to conduct in-depth independent scientific work, which is usually documented by an outstanding dissertation corresponding to the profile of the professorship.

The junior professorship is compensated according to the W1 paygrade and has a three-year term. An extension for another period of three years is intended, depending on the availability of sufficient funding and a successful interim evaluation (according to the guidelines for interim evaluations of junior professorships at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg).

In its personnel structure, Leuphana University of Lüneburg focuses on promoting young academics and aims to increase the number of female professors. It strongly invites qualified female scholars to apply. Handicapped applicants will be given priority in the recruitment process within the framework of the applicable legal regulations.

For further information, please contact the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof. Dr. Ulf Wuggenig (, or the Director of the Institute for Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media, Prof. Dr. Claus Pias (

Please ensure that your application includes the following documents and merge them into two PDF files for electronic delivery: a) cover letter, curriculum vitae, copies of academic degrees, and b) three subject-relevant publications (essays, book chapters).

Please submit your application by August 1, 2021, using the keyword Sound Studies, to beko@leuphana.deor to the Office of the President of Leuphana University Lüneburg, P.O. Box 2440, 21314 Lüneburg, Germany. Please be aware that we cannot return application documents sent physically.

By submitting your application, you consent to your data being stored and processed for the purpose of the recruitment process. Please note our Data Protection Notice for Applicants (in English or in German).

The complete call for applications is available for download here.

Context of the Professorship

Sound Studies is a relatively young field of research that has emerged from musicology. It is among the fields that have seen particularly strong expansion in recent years. In addition to established institutes, such as the Institute for Sound Arts and Industries at Northwestern University, the Sound Studies Lab at the University of Copenhagen, founded in 2011 by Holger Schulze, deserves special mention. It brings together international scholars who conduct research in the field of sound studies. The Sound Studies Lab emerged from a DFG project at Humboldt University Berlin and Leuphana University of Lüneburg ( By establishing the research focus „((audio)) Aesthetic Strategies“, which is not oriented to a traditional concept of music but to auditory culture, back in 1997.

Leuphana has become a leading research institution in the field of sound studies and is involved in the development of Sound Studies in Germany. Another initiative is the research project „Epistemes of Modern Acoustics“ at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (2015-2020). Last but not least, Sound Studies have experienced a significant increase in importance, especially in the context of environmental and sustainability sciences. The WHO, for example, published The Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region in October 2018 in response to rising environmental noise. In addition, the Sound, Energies and Environments research group was established at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Similarly, the field has grown in terms of issues of transculturality and postcoloniality. At the Sound Studies Lab for example, to name just one recent research project, research is being conducted on „Travelling Sounds: A Sensory Ethnography of Sonic Artifacts in Postcolonial Europe“ (2018-2020). In 2019, the advanced reader Remapping Sound Studies (ed. by Gavin Steingo and Jim Sykes) was published, which remapped the field of research, especially with regard to the Global South, and explored the frontier of audibility. Transcultural research is also being conducted by Johannes Ismaiel-Wendt, who was appointed professor at the University of Hildesheim in October 2018. In addition, the DFG had funded the research network „Auditory Knowledge in Transition. An Epistemic History of Listening in Modernity.“ Signs of both the relative newness of the field as well as its incipient canonization are, moreover, the 2012 Reader on Sound Studies edited by Jonathan Sterne at Routledge. (Digital) technology and media play a supporting role in most of these research initiatives, cf. for example, Jonathan Sterne’s book on MP3. The Meaning of a Format(2012), to name just one work by a leading researcher.

The profile at Leuphana University differs from other degree programs in Germany in its orientation towards Kulturwissenschaften in the German-speaking tradition (in contrast, for example, to the Master „Sound Studies and Sonic Arts at the Berlin University of the Arts“, which is directed toward art studies) and thus also in its broad connectivity to cultural theory, humanities, and social sciences. In this sense, it also differs (for example) from Paderborn University and its „Popular Music and Media“ degree program, which is focused exclusively on the field of popular music.

At Leuphana, Sound Studies is understood a heterogeneous field that is open to experimentation and can be connected to many domains of research. With a dedicated focus on Kulturwissenschaften and cultural theory, Leuphana University of Lüneburg would have an extremely attractive professorship, since the study opportunities in Germany are still relatively limited compared to the international field, while interest in sonic artifacts is increasing at the same time.

The complete call for applications is available for download here.