Postdoctoral Researcher The Republic of Letters as an Institution for Collective Action (deadline 11 June 2018)

Postdoctoral Researcher The Republic of Letters as an Institution for Collective Action (deadline 11 June 2018)

The Department of History and Art History of Utrecht University seeks to appoint a three year Post-Doc position to conduct research on “The Republic of Letters as an Institution for Collective Action”. This research is a sub-project of the ERC Consolidator project “Sharing Knowledge in Learned and Literary Networks (SKILLNET): the Republic of Letters as a pan-European Knowledge Society”, led by Dr. Dirk van Miert.

In the sub-project, the Postdoc will seek answers to the question to what extent the early modern international scientific and scholarly community that called itself “the Republic of Letters” can be conceptualized as an institution for collective action or even a common property regime. The investigation aims to shed light on the institutional and social dynamics structuring conduct and behavior, and, hence, on the Republic of Letters’ ideals of knowledge. There are numerous sub-questions to address. To what extent were principles of the commons, which arose coevally with the Republic of Letters, also at work in the Republic of Letters? How did the Republic of Letters, as a virtual community, compete or cooperate with the University, the Académie, the Salon, and the disciplinary ‘societies’? How did author rights develop in relation to the ‘common good’ of the Republic of Letters? What was the nature of the information that was shared in the Republic of Letters: data or ‘knowledge’ – indeed, what exactly did its members define as the common good? Did the ‘two cultures’ of science and humanities arise from fundamental differences in knowledge ideals among different scholarly communities? What were the principles underlying the creation and workings of trust in communication between its participants? What were Republic of Letters’ sanctioning systems or choice-making systems?

The deliverables of the project consist of at least five articles. These may be subsequently collected into a monograph. All publications will be published in Open Access.

A successful candidate should preferably have:

  • a PhD degree in the study of institutions for collective action;
  • experience or affinity with historical research;
  • knowledge of French and German and a working knowledge of Latin;
  • excellent command of English, both written and orally;
  • a publication record that fits with her career stage;
  • capacity to work both as a creative and independent researcher and as part of a team.

Conditions of employment
We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for one year. The appointment is for an initial period of 12 months, which after a satisfactory evaluation will be extended by another 24 months (3 years in total). Start date is from 1 September 2018 onwards, but no later than 1 January 2019. The gross salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience  – ranges between €3,238 and €3,475 (scale 10/11 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information is available at: working at Utrecht University

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively on major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 900 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and teaching in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. Enthusiastic and committed faculty members and excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

Additional information
A brief summary of the entire research project is available here.
Enquiries can be made to Dirk van Miert, via An extended research description is available upon request.

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