Research at the Faculty of Humanities is carried out by six research schools under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR). The Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH), one of the six research schools, currently has a vacant postdoctoral position as part of the ERC project Healthscaping, led by prof. G. Geltner.
HealthScaping seeks to trace the development and impact of preventative healthcare policies, medical discourses and social and religious action in the continent’s two most urbanized and richly documented regions in the later Middle Ages, Italy and the Low Countries. The project taps numerous written, material and visual sources and archaeological data from several sites, and examines them also by critically engaging the insights of governmentality studies, cultural-spatial analysis and actor-network theory. A multidisciplinary team, working in a Geographical Information Systems environment and generating innovative urban health maps, will recover earlier societies’ struggles with domestic and industrial waste, travel and labor hazards, food quality, and social and religious behaviours considered harmful or dangerous.
Within this framework, an experienced historian of the Low Countries will tap pertinent documents of practice in several Low Countries archives: petitions, account books, city-council minutes, court records and ledgers of levied fines as well as records produced for, by and about social enforcers such as Ghent’s coninc der ribauden and Bruges’ meuderaars. S/he will trace continuity and change in the tasks of these and similar types of town officials, including the routine monitoring of the city’s social and physical hygiene, from cleaning and policing central spaces, to supervising social marginals, to operating as the city’s fire brigade, as they accrued and shed emphases in pursuit of a healthier city, as it was understood by contemporary governments and residents.