Gepubliceerd op 21-06-2023

PhD position (1.0 FTE) in Popular Culture in Historical Perspective – Erasmus University Rotterdam

Popular culture in colonial newspapers: A long-durée intersectional analysis of trans-imperial representations of race and gender in popular discourse (17th to 19th centuries)

Job Description

The Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) at the Erasmus University Rotterdam is pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for a PhD position that delves into the intersection of race and gender in trans-imperial representations of popular culture in historical newspapers. The newspapers in this project were published in several languages (Danish, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English) and circulated on both sides of the Atlantic from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The PhD candidate will produce comparative data-driven analyses of written representations of cultural manifestations (e.g., music, theatre, games, dance, sports, letters, anecdotes, clothing, appearance, mores and values, etc.). For that, they will rely on methods from critical race theory, gender studies, historical sociolinguistics, digital humanities, and global history. The selected PhD candidate will join an interdisciplinary research team where, using ethical principles, specialists in history and in natural language processing (NLP) collaborate to fine-tune language models to the specialist domain of colonial history.

The successful candidate will be based at the Department of History and will carry out the following tasks:

Research (0.8 fte)

  • Conducting PhD research.
  • Publishing and presenting research results in the form of articles in international peer reviewed journals and papers at international conferences.
  • Contribute with the project’s interdisciplinary team in the work of selecting, documenting, and annotating newspapers data to produce multilingual datasets.
  • Writing a dissertation within the appointment duration of four years.
  • Taking part in meetings, seminars, workshops etc. that are organized by the Erasmus Research Institute for Media, Culture, History and Society (ERMeCHS) as well as the Department of History.

Teaching (0.2 fte)
Performing junior teaching tasks in the BA degree programmes in the field of History provided by ESHCC, primarily through tutorial group teaching.

Contributing to small management tasks of the department.


To be eligible, a candidate must have:

  • A (research) master’s degree or equivalent with a relevant specialization, for example: history, religious studies, critical race studies, gender studies, digital humanities, sociolinguistics, natural language processing, computational linguistics, literature, etc.
  • Candidates with a master’s degree in other disciplines will also be considered if they have relevant knowledge obtained through experience.
  • Familiarity with or keen interest in learning to use digital humanities research methods (qualitative and quantitative).
  • Independent thinking and critical analytical skills.
  • Good collaboration skills and an ability to join interdisciplinary and intercultural academic communities.
  • Research in this project will focus on historical newspapers in six languages: Danish, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and English. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of as many of them as possible, but at a minimum:
    • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English (CEFR C1) as the working and publication language.
    • Independent reading knowledge of at least either Danish or Dutch to be able to work with the historical newspapers in these languages.
    • Independent reading knowledge of at least one more of the project’s other languages Spanish, Portuguese, or French to be able to work with the historical newspapers in these languages.
  • Motivation to carry out high level research and publish in renowned peer reviewed international journals.

Conditions of Employment

An internationally oriented and varied job in an enthusiastic team, with good working conditions in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU).

The start date of this position is 1 November 2023 (negotiable) and will run for a fixed term of 1.5 year initially, to be converted into a 4-year contract contingent upon a good performance.

The position is for 1.0 FTE. The salary ranges from a minimum of € 2.541 to a maximum of € 3.247 gross per month on a fulltime basis, in accordance with scale P of the CAO-NU. In addition, we offer an 8% holiday allowance, an end-of-year payment of 8.3%, and a very generous paid leave scheme. Furthermore, EUR is affiliated with ABP for the pension provision, and we offer partially paid parental leave, fully paid extended birth leave for partners, a personal career budget, work-life balance coaches, discounted collective health insurance, and more. As an employee, you can also use EUR facilities such as the University library and receive a discount on subscriptions for the Erasmus sports center.

Erasmus University Rotterdam offers a Dual Career Programme (DCP) to assist the life partners of new academic staff (on payroll) in finding employment in The Netherlands. The programme is offered in close cooperation with the nearby universities of Delft and Leiden.

Erasmus University Rotterdam aspires to be an equitable and inclusive community. We nurture an open culture, where everyone is supported to fulfil their full potential. We see inclusivity of talent as the basis of our successes, and the diversity of perspectives and people as a highly valued outcome. EUR provides equal opportunities to all employees and applicants regardless of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, functional impairment, citizenship, or any other aspect which makes them unique. We look forward to welcoming you to our community.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is an internationally oriented university with a strong social orientation in its education and research, as expressed in our mission ‘Creating positive societal impact’. EUR is home to 3.700 academics and professionals and almost 33.000 students from more than 140 countries. Everything we do, we do under the credo The Erasmian Way – Making Minds Matter. We’re global citizens, connecting, entrepreneurial, open-minded, and socially involved. These Erasmian Values function as our internal compass and create EUR’s distinctive and recognizable profile. From these values, with a broad perspective and with an eye for diversity, different backgrounds and opinions, our employees work closely together to solve societal challenges from the dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. Thanks to the high quality and positive societal impact of our research and education, EUR can compete with the top European universities. www.eur.nl


Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

The Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam. The school has three departments: History,  Arts and Culture and Media & Communication. There are approximately 2500 students and 220 employees.

ESHCC offers high quality education, based on scientific research, at the intersection of the Humanities and Social Sciences. We teach our ambitious, Dutch and international students in a stimulating learning environment. After graduation, they will have acquired the knowledge, insight and skills to make an important and inspiring contribution to an increasingly international society in which diversity plays a major role.

The ESHCC also has an ambitious research agenda. We want to strengthen our involvement in multidisciplinary research, expand the share of external funding in our total research funding and increase our social impact. ESHCC is working towards one research institute, the Erasmus Institute for Media, Culture, History and Society (ERMeCHS).

Additional Information

Additional information can be obtained through one of the following links:

About Erasmus University Rotterdam

About Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication


Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from dr. Natália da Silva Perez (dasilvaperez@eshcc.eur.nl).

To apply, please send (1) your motivation letter explaining the relevance of your previous experience, expertise, and interests in relation to the project, (2) your resume including publication list (if applicable), (3) a brief research project idea of max. 300 words and (4) the names and contact details of two potential references (no letters of recommendation are required at this stage) before 31 July 2023 via the Apply now button. Please mention PhD position in Popular Culture as Historical Perspective as subject in your e-mail.

The selection committee will invite a small number of candidates for an (online) interview. Please note that the interviews will be scheduled between mid-August and the beginning of September to accommodate the summer recess period. Candidates may be asked to submit a more detailed research plan and/or give a presentation as part of the application procedure.

Click here for more information about the organization.

Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.