PhD position ‘History of concepts: digital discourse analysis of the Republic of Letters, 1400-1800’ (deadline 22 October 2017)

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The Department of History and Art History seeks to appoint a PhD candidate for the project ‘Sharing Knowledge in Learned and Literary Networks: the Republic of Letters as a pan-European Knowledge Society’, funded by means of an ERC Consolidator grant awarded to Dr. Dirk van Miert.

The PhD candidate will be working on the following project: ‘History of concepts: digital discourse analysis, 1400-1800’.

In this project, a study will be made of the frequency and spread of words and concepts that reference or connote the ideal of sharing knowledge, or the lack thereof, in a large and multilingual body of early modern texts, in particular letters. It is devoted to creating a chronological and semantic map of the main identitary concepts which held the Republic of Letters together and to seeing whether these notions change over time or differ according to period, region, discipline, language, religion, social status, and gender. The candidate will have to prepare for discourse analysis a large set of texts currently available in various formats, mine these texts digitally, visualise the results, and analyse them in the context of a cultural history of knowledge. The aim is to test the generally accepted idea that the civil society of the ‘Republic of Letters’ connotes sodality, cooperation, exchange and the common good.


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