Jobs for Medievalists

Postdoctoral researcher, Historical future expectations in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period – 2019BAPFLWEF276

The Faculty of Arts is seeking to fill a full-time (100%) vacancy in the Department of History for a

Postdoctoral researcher in an ERC-funded project on historical future expectations in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period

The candidate will be affiliated with the Centre for Urban History. The Centre for Urban History is an international acknowledged research centre focusing on urban societies, structures and processes in historical perspective. The candidate will contribute to the ERC Starting Grant Project “Back to the Future: Future expectations and actions in late medieval and early modern Europe, c.1400-c.1830” funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 851053, and supervised by prof. dr. Jeroen Puttevils.

To gain more insight in how people in the past thought about the future and how this affected their actions, this project draws on a combination of close and distant reading methods of more than 15,000 letters written in (varieties of) Italian, German, French, Dutch and English by and to European merchants in the period 1400-1830.

The post-doctoral researcher will carry out the analysis of long-term developments in the linguistic expression and rhetoric of future statements on the basis of English merchant letters which cover the entire period and are mostly available in digital form. The researcher will use distant reading methods to find and categorize future statements within the English letters. Through close-reading particular letters (s)he will contextualize these future statements. The researcher will also assist and co-supervise the other team members, especially in the digital text analysis of the project.

Job description

  • You contribute to research in the field of the late medieval and early modern future expectations in general and to the research goals of the project.
  • You co-supervise PhD students and other team members and assist them in digital text analysis.
  • You publish scientific articles related to the research project of the assignment. These publications can be co-authored with other project members and external researchers.
  • You are encouraged to apply for research funding, possibly in the role of (co-)supervisor.
  • You manage the project website and the project’s presence on social media.
  • You have a limited teaching responsibility in the History Department related to your own field of expertise and you contribute to research in the History Department and the Faculty of Arts.

Profile and requirements

  • You hold (or get during the application period) a doctorate degree (PhD) in History, Historical Linguistics or Digital Humanities (with a strong historical component).
  • You are fluent in academic English (speaking and writing).
  • Command of additional languages that will be encountered in the project’s sources (Italian, Low & High German, Dutch and/or French merchant letters) is an important advantage.
  • You have at least basic skills in text digitization, digital text analysis and text-mining and the willingness to improve these skills within a few months. Familiarity with coding and programming languages such as Python is commendable but not a strict requirement.
  • You have experience in managing large amounts of historical sources and texts.
  • Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the university’s policy.
  • The focus in your teaching corresponds to the educational vision of the university.
  • You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.
  • You have strong communication skills.

We offer

  • an appointment as a postdoctoral researcher for a trial period of one year. After one year and positive assessment the contract can be renewed for an additional three years;
  • the date of appointment is February 1, 2020;
  • a full time gross monthly salary ranging from € 4.134,93 – € 6.446,00;
  • a dynamic and stimulating work environment.

How to apply?

  • Applications may only be submitted online. Applications include a copy of your CV, a cover letter in which you explain your interest in the project and clearly document how your profile matches with it, and an article or working paper which features your previous research. The closing date is November 17, 2019.
  • A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications.
  • The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.
  • More information about the application form can be obtained from
  • For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Prof. Jeroen Puttevils, +32 (0) 3 265 94 02,

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