Gepubliceerd op 10-07-2023

Postdoc in Wording Repair: Digitally Unveiling the History of Reparative Justice in the Words of a Forgotten Diary – Utrecht University

Are you fluent in German and do you want to examine the history of reparations following mass human rights abuses through the utilisation of digital tools?

Job Description

Utrecht University is seeking a highly skilled and motivated individual to join the project of Dr. Lorena De Vita as a part-time Postdoctoral Researcher in the field of Digital Humanities.

This position is available for a fixed term of 8 months at 0.4 FTE (full-time equivalent), with a desired starting date of 1 October 2023. The successful candidate will be appointed by Utrecht University.

Would you like to help connect the field of digital humanities to historical research on twentieth-century German history? Then consider joining us for an interdisciplinary research venture! The position is funded by a grant awarded to dr. Lorena De Vita, and will be carried out at the Department of History and Art History at Utrecht University. You will work in a team aiming to digitise, transcribe, and analyse a large corpus of hand-written texts.

This project aims to examine the history of reparations following mass human rights abuses through the utilisation of digital tools. It will analyse the personal diaries of a German jurist who dedicated a significant portion of his professional career to seeking reparations for Holocaust survivors. These diaries, previously inaccessible to researchers, contain meticulous daily notes. By employing and advancing handwritten-character recognition (HCR) technology, the Wording Repair project will provide valuable bottom-up insights that will contribute to the development of the emerging field of historical reparations studies.

As part of our team, your responsibilities will be to:

  • conduct original research in the field of Digital Humanities, with a focus on the analysis and interpretation of historical documents written in old German handwriting (Sütterlin);
  • employ advanced digital tools and methodologies (Transkribus) to transcribe, analyse, and annotate historical texts, contributing to the development of new approaches in the field;
  • collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to advance knowledge and understanding in the field(s) of German History and Digital Humanities;
  • collect and curate relevant historical data, ensuring accuracy and quality in data management practices;
  • contribute to the dissemination of research findings through academic publications, conference presentations, and other appropriate channels;
  • contribute to the supervision and mentorship of junior researchers and students, providing guidance and support in their research activities.


We are looking for a candidate who has:

  • a completed PhD in a relevant field, such as Digital Humanities, History, German Studies, or a related discipline;
  • expertise in reading and interpreting German handwriting (this is essential for this position);
  • a strong background and demonstrated expertise in the field of Digital Humanities, with a focus on the analysis and transcription of historical texts;
  • proficiency in employing advanced digital tools and techniques for the analysis and visualisation of historical data;
  • familiarity with transcription software and platforms, with experience using Transkribus considered a strong plus.
  • strong analytical and problem-solving skills, with the ability to think critically and propose innovative solutions;
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to collaborate effectively within multidisciplinary teams;
  • demonstrated ability to work independently;
  • fluency in German (required) and proficiency in English (desirable).

A track record of scholarly publications and conference presentations in the field of Digital Humanities is also desirable.

Candidates from abroad must fulfill the conditions set by the IND to work in the Netherlands.

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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.