The Faculty of Arts is seeking to fill 1 full-time (100 %) vacancy in the Department of History for a
Doctoral student at the crossroads of the history of technology and the history of material culture
The position is offered in the framework of the FWO-funded research project ‘Shedding light on product quality. The historical evolution of conventions for the quality of window glass, 15th to 19th century’.
Project description: The production of window glass has a long history of production techniques (crown glass, cylinder glass, casted glass,…) and glass qualities (with more or less bubbles, colour, impurities,…) which did not inevitably lead to flawlessly transparent plain glass. This project tries to understand the complexity of this historical evolution, which is important for both the history of material culture and the discipline of conservation-restoration. We proceed from the assumption that studying glass quality solves key problems in the history of material culture and heritage, viz. 1° the bias towards conspicuous and artful objects and 2° narratives of modernity regarding the supposed shift from ‘intrinsic value’ to ‘sign value’. Glass is a daily product without both intrinsic and (apparently) sign value and, thus, enables to assess other causal factors in the advent of modern consumer practices, such as relative prices, and technology. This requires a collaboration between historians and scholars familiar with the materiality and technicality of glass – which is available at the UA-Heritage Department (Conservation-Restoration Studies). Methodologically, the collaboration enables to confront subjective qualities (consumer preferences) with objective qualities, such as the used ingredients and the production techniques. For the discipline of C/R this will result in more insight in the history of the choices made by both producers and consumers, and, hence, to more informed conservation-restoration practices.
Profile and requirements
How to apply?
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