Jobs for Medievalists

The National Library of Finland, University of Helsinki, is seeking to recruit a

Postdoctoral Researcher, Latin palaeography and manuscript studies

for a fixed-term employment of four years, starting from 1 January 2022 (or as agreed) until 31 December 2025.

The successful candidate will join the ERC-funded Books of the Medieval Parish Church research project…. This project seeks to understand the book provision of parish churches in the medieval kingdom of Sweden. It uses the vast collections of manuscript fragments, resulting from early-modern administrative recycling of parchment, to cast light on this poorly understood aspect of later medieval book culture. These collections are now preserved in the National Archives of Sweden and the National Library of Finland, home of the project.

The project divides into two main parts. In the first part, we seek to connect the fragmentarily preserved books to their medieval homes by analysing the process of their early-modern recycling with the help of a purpose-built database. The second part examines the production histories of the manuscripts.

The main task of the successful candidate will be to contribute to the second part of the project with palaeographical and codicological research. An important goal will be identifying and contextualising production groups of manuscripts, but the overall scope of the research will be agreed upon with the successful candidate. While much of the project revolves around text scribes writing some manifestation of Northern Textualis (or late Pregothic script), the material and the project are also open to art historical approaches (esp. study of minor decoration), studies in the palaeography of musical notation, and work in the tradition of quantitative codicology.

Many of the manuscript books used in the medieval kingdom of Sweden were imported from abroad. The fragments thus also offer novel insights into English, French, and German high- and late-medieval book culture, and understanding the material in its European contexts is of central concern for the project. The chronological scope of the palaeographical research extends from the second half of the twelfth century to the Reformation.

The successful candidate is expected to publish articles in top-level international peer-reviewed journals. Depending on the nature of research, other forms of publication (data, book chapters, monograph) are also possible.

A small amount of teaching may be included in the job description, according to the wishes of the successful applicant. The possible teaching will contribute to the History Degree Programme (Faculty of Arts) with which the project collaborates.


The successful applicant must have completed a doctoral degree which demonstrates excellent skills in Latin palaeography and codicology. The degree can be from any relevant discipline, such as history, Latin philology or art history. Good overall understanding of high- and late medieval European history and book history is expected. A solid command of written and spoken English is mandatory and competence in other modern European languages is highly valued.

The palaeographical side of the project (part 2) will collaborate closely with the team responsible for the database-driven analysis of the manuscript recycling (part 1). Experience of working with databases, while not mandatory, is thus also an asset.


We offer the chance to work as part of an inspiring and well-resourced team at a beautiful location in Helsinki city centre. The four-year contract, the large quantity of little-studied source material, and strong support from the team will make room for creativity and allow the building of a very strong palaeographical research portfolio. The project is conveniently based at the other main source repository, the National Library of Finland, which is an independent institution of the University of Helsinki. The project also has close ties to the wider community of medievalists working in Helsinki.

The annual gross monthly salary range will be €3,400–3,700 per month, depending on the merits and experience of the successful candidate according to the salary system applied in Finnish universities. There will be a six-month trial period for the position. The successful candidate is expected to reside in Finland while employed by the University of Helsinki.

The University of Helsinki is an equal opportunity employer and offers an attractive and diverse workplace in an inspiring environment with a variety of development opportunities and benefits. This includes comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, pension benefits, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development ( The International Staff Services office assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland (


You are welcome to submit your application until 30 September 2021 with the following required attachments (in English, compile all documents as a single PDF file):

· Curriculum vitae

· Cover letter, summarizing the candidate’s relevant experience and presenting tentative research idea(s) the candidate would pursue in the project (max. 2 pages)

· List of publications

· Contact information of two persons who can provide a reference letter based on request

· A writing sample (an article or ca. 20-page extract from a book or thesis)

The application, together with the required attachments, must be submitted as one pdf-file through the University of Helsinki electronic recruitment system by clicking on the link below. Applicants employed by the University of Helsinki must submit their application through the SAP HR portal ( 


For more information about the position or any questions about the project and potential fit, please contact project leader Jaakko Tahkokallio, jaakko.tahkokallio(at)

In case you need support with the recruitment system, please contact

The whole of the Helsinki fragment collection is available digitized here: Most of the Stockholm collection is available digitized here:

The University of Helsinki is a multidisciplinary research university that ranks among the best in the world and the top 1% of the European universities. The University is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland. It seeks solutions to global challenges and creates new ways of thinking for the best of humanity and environment. Currently, its international scientific community consists of 40,000 students and researchers.

The National Library of Finland is a cultural heritage organisation that is open to all and provides nationwide services to citizens, scientific communities and other societal operators. We secure the availability of cultural heritage published in Finland or relating to Finland as well as transmit and produce information content for research, studies, citizens and the society. We develop services in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums and other operators.

Due date

30.09.2021 23:59 EEST


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