PhD position ‘The structure of the networks 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: ” The structure of the networks of the Republic of Letters, 1400-1800”.

The aim of this PhD project is to analyse the social network of the Republic of Letters over a period of four centuries. Using metadata of tens of thousands of early modern scholarly letters, the candidate will map the Republic of Letters’ topological structure on a grand scale, the candidate is expected to identify small worlds, to interpret what these consisted of and to analyse how well they were integrated into the larger network. The metadata of the letters define clear parameters for the mapping and weighing of lines of communication, grades of separation, strength of nodes and centrality of hubs throughout a much broader social, geographical, disciplinary and linguistic network, and will account for how this network evolved over time. Filtering via terms based on geographical coordinates and periods, the project will have to provide flexible maps and graphs visualising different types of hierarchy that existed in the network.


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