Gepubliceerd op 26-08-2014

Vacature: PhD positions Groningen ‘Cities of Readers: Religious Literacies in the Long 15th Century’

Applications are invited for two PhD positions (AIO’s) in the research project “Cities of Readers: Religious Literacies in the Long Fifteenth Century”, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The research project aims to supply a new phase in the scholarly exploration of the “long fifteenth century” (1400-1550), a period characterized by great cultural, political and religious changes: a stronger urbanization, the development of religious observance movements, a growing social mobility accompanied by a rising literacy and an increasing book production. This pivotal period in Dutch and European history will be approached through the study of the participation of lay people in the production and the transmission of religious knowledge by engaging in textual and performative activities. The project will innovatively approach religious knowledge in terms of dynamics, exchanges and negotiations and will consider both individuals and groups (“communities of interpretation”, i.e. formal and informal textual communities sharing texts and knowledge) as objects of research.

The research team will consist of two project leaders, a postdoc and two PhD candidates.

PhD project 1. Reading, Writing, Collecting: Miscellanies and Private Libraries
The project centres on the study of religious and devotional manuscript miscellanies and of the presence of religious texts in private libraries in the late medieval Low Countries. The reconstruction of the dynamics of reading, writing and collecting religious texts and books will take its start from the investigation of the agency of scribes and collectors, who copied and collected religious material for personal use or in the framework of a small “community of interpretation”, and of their role as producers, keepers and disseminators of religious knowledge. The research corpus will consist of a selected corpus of vernacular miscellanies with a specific religious connotation, as well as archival sources about late medieval personal libraries and book collections.

PhD project 2. Texts in Action: Performative Reading
The project focuses on the analysis of literary genres and modes that stimulated lay access to religious knowledge through performative reading. Central to this project is the contention that these genres and modes (e.g. allegories, dialogues and partly dialogized texts, miscellanies), through their performativity, increased laypeople’s access to areas of intellectual and practical knowledge and enhanced their ability to achieve a higher level of religious acculturation. The research corpus will consist of texts both in manuscript and print and the analysis will be supported by the study of traces of use, users notes and contextual evidence concerning book ownership and use, as well as insights from four areas that informed and conditioned performative reading: visual arts, preaching, theatre and rhetoric.

The text of the research proposal, with a complete description of the PhD research projects, is
available via Dr Sabrina Corbellini.


  • ReMa or MA degree in Medieval History, Medieval Dutch Literature, Medieval Studies or equivalent
  • good knowledge of Middle Dutch
  • good working knowledge of modern languages (German, English and French)
  • basic ability to read late medieval and early modern handwriting
  • interest in methodological and theoretical discussions in the field of cultural history
  • a strong motivation to complete a PhD dissertation in 4 years
  • proactive attitude
  • ability to work independently whilst also a team player.

Please send your entire application in only two pdf-files (one for the MA thesis and one for all other documents) before 29 September 2014.

More information: www.academictransfer.com/24297

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.