Doctoral student, History of technology and material culture (deadline 2 July 2018)

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.

Job description

  • You prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of HISTORY, focusing on ‘The historical evolution of conventions for the quality of window glass, 15th to 19th century’.
  • You contribute to teaching and research at the Centre for Urban History, at the Department of History, University of Antwerp.
  • You collaborate closely with scholars working on glass techniques at the Heritage Department (Conservation-Restoration Studies) at the University of Antwerp.
  • You successfully complete the training in the framework of the Antwerp Doctoral School.

Profile and requirements

  • You hold a master degree in history, art history or conservation/restauration.
  • You have gained experience in finding, reading and working with historical sources.
  • You have the potential to obtain outstanding academic results.
  • You have a high degree of research independence, yet also a strong potential and preference for collaborative work.
  • You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.
  • You are be able to demonstrate language proficiency in Dutch (at least passive), English (active), and French (passive).
  • Students in the final year of their degree are strongly recommended to apply.

We offer

  • a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal for a further two-year period after positive evaluation;
  • the start date of the scholarship will be October 1, 2018;
  • a gross monthly grant ranging from € 2.324,20 – € 2.469,08;
  • the dynamic and stimulating work environment of the Centre for Urban History at the University of Antwerp.

How to apply?

  • Applications are submitted online, until the closing date July 2nd 2018.
  • Applicants should also upload a statement of experience, qualification and interest, and two letters of recommendation.
  • A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications. The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.
  • Shortlisted candidates, selected to take part in interviews, will be notified by 20 July 2018. The interviews will take place in the first weeks of September 2018.
  • More information about the online application form can be obtained through
  • For any questions about the project, the profile and the job description, please contact Bert De Munck (

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