The Postdoc will be working on a subproject within the ERC Starting Grant research project “Early Medieval English in Nineteenth-Century Europe [EMERGENCE]”, funded for 2024-2028 by the European Research Council (ERC), and directed by Dr. Thijs Porck (Senior University Lecturer in Medieval English at Leiden University). EMERGENCE project
In the 19th century, German scholars dominated the study of the language and literature of early medieval England; the first editors and scholars of the Old English epic Beowulf were Danes; Old English texts were claimed as part of the Dutch literary canon in the Low Countries; some of the first ‘popular’ adaptations of Old English material appeared in French, Dutch, Danish and German; and non-Anglophone scholars discovered important Old English documents in archives all across the European continent. This multi-faceted European, transnational reception of Old English is the focus of the EMERGENCE project, which seeks to identify and analyze engagements with early medieval English across 19th-century Europe. The project, situated on the intersection of history of humanities and medievalism studies, is powered by a bibliographical and relational database and a multi-disciplinary, multilingual approach. It will reveal new, insightful materials, uncover intellectual networks and put forgotten protagonists in the limelight. A full description of the project and all its subprojects can be found here: https://thijsporck.com/emergence/
. Subproject: Navigating Networks through Scholarly Correspondence: Epistolary Exchange of Knowledge on Early Medieval English
In an age before Google Docs and LinkedIn, 19th-century scholars relied on letter-writing for collaboration, peer-feedback and the building and sustaining of academic networks. Letters were a quick, efficient way to share insights, data and discoveries. Scholarly correspondence thus allows a vital behind-the-scenes look at how scholars exchanged views, asked each other for opinions and even solved conflicts. The postdoctoral researcher in this subproject will first identify extant correspondence between scholars, institutions and artists that engaged with Old English in 19th-century Europe. Relevant metadata about these letters are next entered into the project’s database, which will then allow for the visualization and analysis of scholarly networks that contributed to the study of Old English, using social network analysis.
We are looking for a highly motivated, enterprising and enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher to join the project team for this subproject. The post-doc will combine knowledge of Old English language and literature with an interest in the history of the academic study of Old English. The successful candidate will disseminate the project’s findings by digitally editing a selection of correspondence, publishing a peer-reviewed article and contributing to the project’s database as well as to an edited volume on the 19th-century reception of Old English. The post-doc will also contribute to the organisation of the project’s events, which include an international conference, and will be involved in outreach activities, for instance on social media.
Depending on interests and expertise, the candidate may also take on teaching duties (appointment will be adjusted accordingly).
As part of their application, the candidate must write a brief justification for the inclusion of one (or more) 19th-century European scholar(s) of Old English whom they feel might make an interesting case study for the project. Your tasks within the ERC project (0.55 fte)
- You will conduct archival research in European archives to find and analyse correspondence between 19th-century European scholars of Old English;
- You wil