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Postdoctoral Researcher (0.8 fte for 3 years) in the ERC Starting Grant project 'Pages of Prayer

Wetenschappelijke functies
Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
9 januari 2024
29 februari 2024 Nog 7 dagen om te solliciteren

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

Postdoctoral Researcher (0.8 fte for 3 years) in the ERC Starting Grant project ‘Pages of Prayer: The Ecosystem of Vernacular Prayer Books in the Late Medieval Low Countries, c. 1380-1550’ (PRAYER)

The Postdoctoral Researcher will be working on a subproject within the ERC Starting Grant research project PRAYER, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) for 2023-2028, and directed by dr. A. (Anna) Dlabačová (Senior University Lecturer in Book History at Leiden University).

The PRAYER-project
Vernacular prayer books were by far the most commonly read books in the late medieval Low Countries. The mainstay of this vast corpus is the Book of Hours in the translation by Geert Grote, founder of one of the period’s most powerful religious reform movements. PRAYER sets out to conduct the first large-scale investigation of this unique corpus by introducing a new approach – network philology – that studies all aspects of vernacular prayer books in their mutual interdependence. The project aims to chart the entire ecosystem of Dutch-language prayer books over a long period of time by combining quantitative network analysis with advanced qualitative analysis.

The nature of the material requires this research to be tackled within a multidisciplinary project. All members contribute to the digital network analysis. Sections of the ecosystem are further analyzed in work-packages that focus on the production and reception of manuscripts, the poetics of prayer, the function of images, and changes and continuities in relation to religious movements and the advent of print.

PRAYER will yield an integrative understanding of the role of prayer books in the late medieval Low Countries on the threshold of the medieval and early modern era.

Subproject: ‘Imagining Prayer: Pictorial Images as Spiritual Instruments in Prayer Books’
After an initial phase of contributing to the acquisition of data on Middle Dutch prayer books in the project’s database (set up in Heurist), the Postdoctoral Researcher will focus primarily on the function of the images within prayer books as a whole, and as spiritual instruments that aid in prayer and meditation in interaction with the texts that they accompany within these books. The design of prayer books, by interweaving textual and visual sequences, afforded a multifaceted devotional activity. The importance of images within devotional practice cannot be overestimated: images can engage readers and evoke emotions in a more immediate way than texts. Similar to texts, images in prayer books functioned in interaction with the texts and/or other images surrounding them. Images can refer, comment and expand on the meaning of a text, thereby offering the reader further suggestions for meditation, evoke additional layers of meaning or a bodily response. Their iconography and positioning within the book was defined through a mix of tradition and personal preferences.
The analysis of the function of images will be approached from the perspectives of text, image, and book, and the successful candidate will publish three peer-reviewed articles on each of these approaches. The successful candidate will also contribute to the organization of the project’s activities, such as an international conference and the ensuing edited volume.

Key Responsibilities

  • You will contribute research on the role of images in manuscript prayer books written in Middle Dutch
  • You will individually author and publish at least three articles in peer-reviewed journals
  • You will contribute to the acquisition of data on prayer books in Middle Dutch in the PRAYER database (the database has been set up in Heurist; https://heuristnetwork.org/)
  • You will participate in meetings of the project research group
  • You will present papers at conferences, both in the Netherlands and internationally
  • You will contribute to the organization of the events and activities within the project, including the project’s sessions at an international conference at the start of year 3 and an international conference at the end of year 4
  • You will participate in the community and the intellectual life of the Institute and contribute to the research profile of LUCAS, in particular within the Medieval and Early Modern Studies cluster (https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/humanities/centre-for-the-arts-in-society/medieval-early-modern-studies/research)

Your Profile

  • You have a PhD in Art History, Medieval Studies, (Book) History, Middle Dutch Literature or similar, awarded by the time of appointment, on a topic related to late medieval spirituality, manuscript studies and/or text and image relationships
  • You have well-developed research skills, including the ability to formulate creative research questions, descriptive and analytical skills, and a clear and persuasive style of writing
  • You are willing to travel to libraries in the Netherlands and abroad
  • You have an excellent competence in English, as well as reading competence in Middle Dutch and Dutch
  • You have experience with manuscript research
  • You have a strong interest in the role of images in late medieval spirituality and affinity with text and image relations
  • You are a team player and independent thinker
  • International candidates are encouraged to apply but must be willing to relocate to the Netherlands for the duration of the project.

The organization
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.

Terms and conditions
We offer a 0.8 FTE position (38 hours/week) as postdoctoral researcher for 3 years. The appointment will start 1 June 2024. 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 € 4.332,- (scale 11.0) to € 4.786,- (scale 11.3) for a full working week. 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 regarding the number of years of relevant work experience.
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. https://www.workingat.leiden.edu/.

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 about the project, the position and the procedure can be addressed to Anna Dlabacova, PI of the project, e-mail: a.dlabacova@hum.leidenunviv.nl. Questions about the procedure can be directed at Marjolijn Goos via im-lucas@hum.leidenuniv.nl. Information about LUCAS and links to staff expertise can be found at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/geesteswetenschappen/centre-for-the-arts-in-society.

Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents in a single PDF, quoting the vacancy number

Please submit your application online (in English) via the blue button in our application system, no later than 29 February 2024, 23:59 CEST.

  • Letter of application with a motivation statement (750 words max.)
  • A short proposal in which you formulate your initial ideas and approach for the subproject (1000 words max.)
  • Your CV, listing education, employment history, organizational experience, publications, and any other academic achievements (conference presentations, organization of events, etc.)
  • Names, positions and contact information for two referees (no reference letters). Please only list these in the PDF and not in the dedicated fields in the online application system

Interviews will take place in March 2024.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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