You will work as a PhDstudent in the research project ‘Coping with drought. An environmental history of drinking water and climate adaptation in the Netherlands’, financed by NWO. You will cooperate with the project leader Prof. dr. Petra J.E.M. van Dam, the postdocs and other other project members. Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
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This PhD-project focuses on the history of drinking water in early modern cities in the eastern Netherlands, 1600-1850. Of specific interest are the well-communities in the IJssel cities. The main research questions you will start from are: What practices and norms and values contributed to the technological, social-economic, political and cultural adaptability of both water providers and users to multi-year, seasonal and daily irregularities in water supplies as caused by the weather? What norms and values existed concerning the (cultural) perceptions of water quality and how did that influence usage patterns of drinking water and hygienic practices? You will study a variety of sources, including city administration documents.Your duties
- developing and executing a PhD-project resulting in a dissertation and journal articles
- attending relevant courses at a research school
- participating in the teaching and research activities of the Chair Group of Water and Environmental history and the Environmental Humanities Center
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
- a completed Research Master in History or Master in History
- strong academic record and experience with research in early-modern archives
- excellent skills in written and spoken Dutch and English
- affinity with the topic and with scholarly research
Conditions of employment
Fixed-term contract: 1 year.
A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profil is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE. The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 3-4 years.The position includes ample funding for research and travel.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
- a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
- 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
- contribution to commuting expenses
- a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 24,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.
Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.
Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.
Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.
About the department, institute, project
Drought as a result of human-induced climate change is an urgent challenge worldwide. This project investigates societal resilience to drought in coping with shortages of drinking water. In the Netherlands, before the introduction of piped water in the nineteenth century, the access to drinking water was highly flexible and adaptable. People procured water from multiple sources: groundwater, rainwater, and surface water. The main research question is: in what ways did the practices and norms and values regarding the provisioning and use of drinking water develop in the Netherlands during the period 1550-1850, and how did those contribute to societal resilience to drought under differing environmental and social conditions? We make comparisons between dry and humid periods and investigate case-studies in two different regions: in the higher elevations of the Eastern Netherlands, with access to good ground water and surface water, and in the low-lying Western Netherlands, which depended on rain water, because ground water and surface water were brackish and polluted by industrial and human waste. The main aim of this project is to deepen knowledge about societal resilience to climate change. This cross-field project will be innovative, combining the environmental history sub-fields of weather-and-climate history and drinking water history. The method will allow identification of factors which contributed to societal resilience to drought over the long-term and make possible the exploration of the weather as an agency in historical explanations. In addition, our historical imaginaries may inspire the general public and professionals to seek creative adaptations to climate change.