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Postdoc Position on Hellenistic economic thought

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Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
02 februari 2021
01 april 2021

Nog 31 dagen om te solliciteren

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

Postdoc Position on Hellenistic economic thought

Project description
We are looking for an excellent, highly motivated, enterprising and enthusiastic postdoc to join the project team. The postdoc will analyze Greek economic thinking in the Hellenistic period. This period witnessed a process of consolidation of “economics” as a philosophical genre and knowledge domain in its own right (e.g. Philodemus, Bryson, Stoic fragments); at the same time, economic thought is also developed in other genres and knowledge practices, most notably in utopian literature (e.g. Theompompus of Chios, Euhemerus of Messana). The postdoc project will offer a series of articles on selected topics in Hellenistic economic thought, such as: the relevance of emotions in value theory, debates on private property or division of labor, attitudes towards acquisitiveness, metaphysics of money. But also, what kind of theories of human nature are presupposed by these economic ideas: how do dominant conceptions of human rationality, body-soul dualism or freedom feed into economic ideas? And what kind of knowledge is this economic knowledge? How do specific discursive practices (e.g. utopian discourse, situation ethics, technê literature) shape economic ideas?

In addition, the postdoc will co-organize an interdisciplinary workshop on economic anthropologies (Human self-understanding and forms of economic reasoning) and an international conference (Economic epistemologies in the Greco-Roman World), co-author a survey article of anthropologies in pluriform economic research (together with PI), and co-edit an edited volume based on the international conference (together with PI).

The postdoc project will consist of three case studies. Candidates are invited to submit a research proposal, containing the design of one case study (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus). In their proposal, they should outline their suggested approach, main research question, and expected original contribution to the field.

 The Vidi-project “From Homo Economicus to Political Animal. Human self-understanding in ancient Greek economic reflection”

The postdoc project will be a subproject within the Vidi research project From Homo Economicus to Political Animal. Human Self-understanding in Ancient Greek Economic Reflection, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, and directed by dr. T.A. (Tazuko) van Berkel (associate professor in ancient Greek language and literature at Leiden University).

From Homo Economicus to Political Animal is a research project that seeks to offer a revisionist account of the history of economic thinking in ancient Greece that explores the anthropologies (views on human nature) presupposed and produced by Greek economic texts, and the specific knowledge forms that shape these anthropologies. At the core of the project there are three fundamental questions:

  1. What are the central concepts, questions and principles that the ancient Greeks thought were “economic”, i.e. pertaining to the ways in which human beings interact with their natural and social environment for the provisioning of their livelihoods?
  2. Who or what is the ancient Greek equivalent of Economic Man: what kind of anthropologies are implied and propagated by ancient Greek economic reflection? How do particular anthropologies inform and shape key economic concepts?
  3. What kind of knowledge is economic knowledge in the ancient Greek world? What kind of discursive practices are producing, shaping and reproducing ancient economic thought?

The project will consist of three components that each explore the intersections of these three questions, focusing on Classical philosophical texts (PhD), Hellenistic philosophical texts and utopian discourse (postdoc), and ancient Greek folk economics (PI; Tazuko van Berkel). For more information on the Vidi-project, see the project website.

Key responsibilities

  • Execution of three case studies on Hellenistic economic thought;
  • Preparation and submission of research output based on these case studies for publication in peer-reviewed journals or volumes;
  • Co-organization of interdisciplinary workshop and international conference, and co-authoring and co-editing the output based on these events (with PI);
  • Participation in meetings of the project research group(s) and events organized by the research group;
  • Participation in knowledge utilization activities;
  • Presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • Participation in staff meeting of the Leiden Classics team and the intellectual life of the department, the LUCAS community and the National Research School in Classics (OIKOS);

Selection criteria

  • A relevant PhD degree in Classics or Ancient Philosophy;
  • Excellent competence in ancient Greek and English, as well as reading competence in French, German and Italian;
  • Well-developed research skills, including the ability to formulate relevant and creative research questions and hypotheses, descriptive and analytical skills, and a clear and persuasive style of writing;
  • Demonstrable interest in philosophy (both ancient and modern) and social sciences (e.g. economic theory, sociology of knowledge);
  • Taste for interdisciplinary research;
  • Independent thinker, team player.

Our organisation
The Faculty of Humanities 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 the website of Humanities.

The Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) is one of the seven Research Institutes of the Faculty of Humanities. LUCAS is dedicated to ground-breaking research that explores the multifaceted relationships between the arts and society.

Terms and conditions
Postdoc project, 3 years (1.0 FTE , or 0.8 FTE for 45 months), starting date 1 September 2021 or sooner. Initially the employee will receive a one-year contract, with extension for the following months on condition of a positive evaluation. Salary range from 3,746.- to 5,127.- gross per month for a fulltime appointment depending on prior education and working experience (pay scale 11, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

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. For more information, see the website.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

More information about this position and the Vidi-project may be obtained from Tazuko van Berkel, email t.a.van.berkel@hum.leidenuniv.nl. Information about the selection procedure and about LUCAS can be obtained via Mariska de Groot, email im-lucas@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

To apply for this vacancy, submit your application via our online system, by clicking on the blue button at the top of this page. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents in a single PDF file (not zipped), quoting the vacancy number:

  • Cover letter;
  • CV, listing education and possibly employment history, and any other academic achievements (conference presentations, publications, organization of events, etc.);
  • Major writing sample (preferably of a published article, book chapter or monograph);
  • Names, positions and contact information for three referees (no reference letters; N.B. please list these in your PDF rather than entering them into the system);.
  • Research proposal of 1500 words for one case study (out of 3). This does not include the bibliography and (if appropriate) an appendix containing a list of sources (together max. two pages A4);
  • Copy of PhD diploma.

Only applications received no later than April 1st 2021 can be considered. Interviews will take place in the week of April 19-23. For candidates living abroad interviews may be held through an online platform; depending on Dutch government measures for Covid19 the same may apply for candidates living in the Netherlands.


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