The Amsterdam School of Historical Studies
(ASH) invites applications for a PhD position as part of the Faculty of Humanities starting grant “Sound and Foreign Affairs from a Digital History Approach, 1700-1990”, led by principal investigators Dr. H. Alloul and Dr. M.J.H.F. Wevers. This interdisciplinary project is situated at the crossroads of two fields. International History is broadly conceived and includes the study of diplomacy, interstate relations, conflict studies, and transnational encounters. Sonic History examines the significance of sound, noise, silence, or music within formal and informal spaces. The project seeks to harness the possibilities of digital methods to examine the reproduction, representation, reception, or the materiality of sound in foreign affairs. For further background, see the suggested reading list below.
The PhD position, commencing on 1 February 2024, is fully funded and lasts 4 (1,0 fte) to 5 years (0,8 fte), depending on the candidate’s preference. The position includes coursework and limited teaching duties. What are you going to do?
We are seeking to hire an enthusiastic PhD candidate with a strong methodological focus who wants to specialize in International History, taking sound as an object of study. Candidates can work on a project of their own choosing and are encouraged to think creatively in terms of research design. We invite interested candidates to prepare short pitches (details below) that could, for instance, examine:
- listening practices, elucidating how sound was perceived and understood by historical actors with different backgrounds in various international settings;
- how silence, noise, sonorous aspects, or sound technologies shaped diplomatic dialogues and debates, using sound design methods or speech-generation to reconstruct events;
- how artists and their music participated to, or operated in transnational circuits, for instance using network analysis or GIS;
- how sound, in its relation to foreign affairs, was historically depicted and recorded through various mediums, employing multimodal digital history techniques;
- the physical and acoustic properties of spaces and their influence on international exchanges, relying on, for example, 3D-modelling.
The chosen timeframe should fall within 1700-1990. There are no geographical restrictions, provided that candidates can read the relevant primary sources. Projects exploring non-Western perspectives are encouraged.
Candidates without prior experience in digital methods should demonstrate a keenness to acquire these skills. The University of Amsterdam will provide the necessary training and guidance.
Depending on the research project, potential primary sources – digitally accessible or easily digitizable – could consist of:
Tasks and responsibilities:
- Sound and radio recordings;
- (Printed) diplomatic documents;
- (Un)published (and serialized) correspondence;
- Newspaper and magazine archives;
- Parliamentary proceedings and court records;
- Visual sources (incl. photographs, paintings, etchings, drawings).
- submission of a PhD thesis within the period of appointment;
- presenting intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
- participation in the Research School and Faculty of Humanities PhD training programmes;
- teaching deployment at BA-level in the second or third year of the appointment, for a maximum of 0,2 fte per year.