The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Faculty of Languages and Humanities, Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies, is looking for a four-year full-time PhD researcher in the field of literary studies as part of the FWO funded research project “Broadcast Biographies. Innovations in Genre and Medium (1945-2020)”.
This project is situated at the intersection of life writing, literary radio studies and cultural memory studies. It examines the literary radio biography in Britain and (West-)Germany in the period 1945-2020 along three complementary lines: its production and reception history, its genre and media conventions and its cultural memory function. Despite the rich history of biographical writing on and for radio, little research exists on the radio biography as genre, let alone on its role as a potential catalyst for genre and media innovation. Neither the vast scholarship on life writing nor the field of radio studies have paid systematic attention to biographies created specifically for radio. Still, as this project aims to show, the radio biography gives us a unique insight in the ongoing mediation of life narratives and the history of radio itself. By writing lives for the radio, literary authors such as Alfred Andersch, Martin Esslin, Gerhard Rühm, Angela Carter and Tom Stoppard also chronicle the life of radio itself, reflecting on the possibilities and limits of both genre and medium.
In this project, we mainly focus on productions by (post)modernist and neo-avant-garde authors. We aim to study the genre and function of the broadcast biography, including its role in the transnational exchange between the two central national broadcasting cultures in this project.
We offer a four-year full-time PhD position (subject to annual positive evaluation). The successful candidate will carry out the project as a doctoral researcher in close collaboration with the two supervisors at the Centre for Literary and Intermedial Crossing (CLIC) at VUB (https://clic.research.vub.be/en/home). The candidate will write a doctoral dissertation on the subject of the radio biography, carry out archival work on selected authors and productions (in the UK and Germany), (co-)publish the results of the research in academic articles and books, present at national and international conferences and co-host scientific meetings. The candidate will complete the doctoral training programme of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at VUB (https://student.vub.be/en/phd/doctoral-training#doctoral-schools) and is expected to defend their doctoral dissertation in 2026. Please be aware that the position requires you to be present in the department on a regular basis (3 days per week).
Applications should include (in one PDF file):
(1) a cover/motivation letter;
(2) your academic CV with details about your bachelor and master qualifications (including grades) and your previous academic experience (if applicable);
(3) a short text on how you envisage your contribution to the project, especially the doctoral dissertation that you would be working on (max. 1000 words). Please mention your approach, research question and potential cases;
(4) the names of two referees.
Also include (in a separate PDF file) a writing sample (e.g. your MA thesis, a research paper or academic article). Clearly mention your name on your writing sample.
Please send your application by e-mail to both supervisors, Prof. dr. Inge Arteel (Inge.Arteel@vub.be) and Prof. dr. Birgit Van Puymbroeck (firstname.lastname@example.org). The deadline is 15 June 2022 (midnight, CET). Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in the week of 4 July 2022 on the Humanities Campus of Vrije Universiteit Brussel or online.