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Postdoctoral Researcher in ERC Starting Grant project 'EMERGENCE'

Vacancy number
Job type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
12 December 2023
Closing date
1 March 2024 Vacancy closed

The Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) invites applications for a

Postdoctoral Researcher in the ERC Starting Grant project “Early Medieval English in Nineteenth-Century Europe [EMERGENCE]” (0.55-0.9 fte for 4 years)

The Postdoc will be working on a subproject within the ERC Starting Grant research project “Early Medieval English in Nineteenth-Century Europe [EMERGENCE]”, funded for 2024-2028 by the European Research Council (ERC), and directed by Dr. Thijs Porck (Senior University Lecturer in Medieval English at Leiden University).

In the 19th century, German scholars dominated the study of the language and literature of early medieval England; the first editors and scholars of the Old English epic Beowulf were Danes; Old English texts were claimed as part of the Dutch literary canon in the Low Countries; some of the first ‘popular’ adaptations of Old English material appeared in French, Dutch, Danish and German; and non-Anglophone scholars discovered important Old English documents in archives all across the European continent. This multi-faceted European, transnational reception of Old English is the focus of the EMERGENCE project, which seeks to identify and analyze engagements with early medieval English across 19th-century Europe. The project, situated on the intersection of history of humanities and medievalism studies, is powered by a bibliographical and relational database and a multi-disciplinary, multilingual approach. It will reveal new, insightful materials, uncover intellectual networks and put forgotten protagonists in the limelight. A full description of the project and all its subprojects can be found here: https://thijsporck.com/emergence/.

Subproject: Navigating Networks through Scholarly Correspondence: Epistolary Exchange of Knowledge on Early Medieval English

In an age before Google Docs and LinkedIn, 19th-century scholars relied on letter-writing for collaboration, peer-feedback and the building and sustaining of academic networks. Letters were a quick, efficient way to share insights, data and discoveries. Scholarly correspondence thus allows a vital behind-the-scenes look at how scholars exchanged views, asked each other for opinions and even solved conflicts. The postdoctoral researcher in this subproject will first identify extant correspondence between scholars, institutions and artists that engaged with Old English in 19th-century Europe. Relevant metadata about these letters are next entered into the project’s database, which will then allow for the visualization and analysis of scholarly networks that contributed to the study of Old English, using social network analysis.

We are looking for a highly motivated, enterprising and enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher to join the project team for this subproject. The post-doc will combine knowledge of Old English language and literature with an interest in the history of the academic study of Old English. The successful candidate will disseminate the project’s findings by digitally editing a selection of correspondence, publishing a peer-reviewed article and contributing to the project’s database as well as to an edited volume on the 19th-century reception of Old English. The post-doc will also contribute to the organisation of the project’s events, which include an international conference, and will be involved in outreach activities, for instance on social media.

Depending on interests and expertise, the candidate may also take on teaching duties (appointment will be adjusted accordingly).

As part of their application, the candidate must write a brief justification for the inclusion of one (or more) 19th-century European scholar(s) of Old English whom they feel might make an interesting case study for the project.

Your tasks within the ERC project (0.55 fte)

  • You will conduct archival research in European archives to find and analyse correspondence between 19th-century European scholars of Old English;
  • You will enter relevant metadata about published and unpublished scholarly correspondence on Old English in the project’s database;
  • On the basis of the project’s database, you will establish and analyse intellectual networks, using social network analysis;
  • You will digitally edit a selection of scholarly correspondence;
  • You will publish a (co-authored or single-authored) article in a peer-reviewed journal and contribute to an edited volume on the 19th-century reception of Old English;
  • You will participate in meetings of the project research group;
  • You will present papers at conferences, both in the Netherlands and internationally;
  • You will participate in the intellectual life of LUCAS and contribute to the research profile of LUCAS;
  • You will contribute to the organization of the events and outreach activities within the project.

Your additional tasks if you take on teaching duties (0.35 fte)

  • You co-teach courses in Old English and Middle English in the BA programme English Language and Culture;
  • You devise and teach an MA course on (the reception of) early medieval English literature in the MA programme Literary Studies;
  • You teach and supervise BA and MA theses on such topics as Old English language, medieval literature and medievalism.

Your profile

  • You hold a PhD with a specialisation in Old English language and/or literature, awarded by the time of appointment, ideally on a topic related to the reception of Old English and/or the history of the field;
  • You have a personal affinity with Old English philology and the history of Anglo-Saxon studies;
  • You have experience with or are willing to learn about relational databases, Linked Data and social network analysis;
  • You have palaeography skills and experience with working with archival sources, preferably from the 19th century;
  • You have a proven track record of academic publications and public outreach;
  • You possess analytical skills, and a clear and persuasive style of writing;
  • You have full professional working proficiency in English (speaking, writing, reading) and professional reading skills in German; working knowledge of Latin, Danish or another European language would be an added value;
  • You have proven time-management skills;
  • You are a team player and an independent thinker;
  • You have an affinity with the LUCAS institute’s aims, values and strategy;
  • In case of teaching duties: You are willing and able to meet the requirements for a Basic University Teaching Qualification (UTQ / BKO) within two years if you do not already possess a Dutch University Teaching Qualification;
  • You live and are officially registered as resident in The Netherlands or are willing to relocate upon starting the position.

The organisation
The Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University is a unique international centre for the advanced study of languages, cultures, arts, and societies worldwide, in their historical contexts from prehistory to the present. Our faculty is home to more than 6,000 students and 800 staff members. For more information see: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/humanities.

The Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) is one of the seven Academic Institutes of the Faculty of Humanities. The institute hosts a range of academic disciplines, clustered around a key research theme: the relationships between the arts and society. Our members study cultural production over the course of two millennia, from classical antiquity to our contemporary world, and teach in programmes ranging from Classics and Book History to Modern Literature, International Studies and Art History. Strengthened by our diversity, LUCAS members are uniquely placed to study the broad concept of the arts, with its rapidly changing ideas, aesthetics, and theories of cultural production. Through research, teaching and outreach, the Institute aims to deepen our understanding, both inside and outside academia, of the cognitive, historical, cultural, creative, and social aspects of human life.

As an academic community, we strive to create an open and welcoming atmosphere, stimulating everyone to get involved and contribute, and connecting scholars from different fields and backgrounds.

We offer
We offer a 0.55 FTE position as postdoctoral researcher for 4 years and an opportunity to combine this appointment with teaching in the BA programme of English Language and Culture and the MA programme Literary Studies (0.35 FTE). The appointment will start 1 August 2024. Depending on qualifications, the appointee may start at the appropriate step in scale 10 until they fully meet the requirements for scale 11 as specified by the Faculty of Humanities, particularly with regard to the number of years of relevant work experience. The salary is in accordance with the collective salary agreement of the Association of Dutch Universities (CAO) and depending on qualifications and experience. The gross monthly salary is € 3,877,- (scale 10.4) to € 4,786,- (scale 11.3) for a full working week.
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see https://www.workingat.leiden.edu/.

In case of teaching duties: UTQ
Leiden University requires teaching staff to obtain the University Teaching Qualification (UTQ / BKO). If the successful applicant does not already possess this qualification or its equivalent, they must be willing to obtain the UTQ within two years.

Diversity & Inclusion
Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Enquiries can be made to the PI of the project, Dr. Thijs Porck. Questions about the procedure can be directed at Marjolijn Goos (im-lucas@hum.leidenuniv.nl). Information about LUCAS can be found at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/geesteswetenschappen/centre-for-the-arts-in-society and about Leiden University at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en.

Please submit your application via the online recruitment system, via the blue button at the top of this page, latest March 1 2024. Applications received via e-mail will not be taken into consideration. Your application should include:

  • A letter of motivation (max. 2 A4);
  • A (short) CV including education, employment history, publications, and organisational experience (max. 2 A4);
  • A proposal for a case-study to be undertaken in the subproject (max. 1 A4);
  • Names, positions, and email addresses of two referees (no reference letters); please list these on your CV rather than filling them out separately in the system.

(Online) interviews will take place in the beginning of April.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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