PhD candidate in the NWO VIDI project 'Lettercraft and Epistolary Performance in Early Medieval Europe, 476-751 CE'

PhD candidate in the NWO VIDI project 'Lettercraft and Epistolary Performance in Early Medieval Europe, 476-751 CE'

Published Deadline Location
13 Feb 12 Mar Utrecht

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We are looking for 1 PhD and 1 Postdoc to form the team of the VIDI project Lettercraft and Epistolary Performance in Early Medieval Europe, 476-751 CE.

Job description

We are looking for two researchers (1 PhD candidate and 1 Postdoc) to form the team of the VIDI project Lettercraft and Epistolary Performance in Early Medieval Europe, 476–751 CE, granted to dr. Robert Flierman and running from 2023-2027.

The project studies how early medieval societies used the letter and who were among its users. It approaches the early medieval letter as a performative medium that had to be carried through space and was read out aloud, translated and circulated in public. It thus sees the medieval letter as a far more inclusive medium than is commonly assumed on the basis of textual qualities. Literacy or social status were not required to participate in what the project calls lettercraft, i.e. the various performative actions (e.g. travelling, delivering, listening, speaking, negotiating, gossiping) that along with writing and reading made up epistolary communication. The project explores the practical mechanics of such communication, as well as its social and political uses, e.g. as an instrument of conflict-resolution and community-building.

A full description of the project and subprojects can be obtained from dr. Robert Flierman,  

As a PhD candidate, you will conduct a case study of the consensus-building powers of lettercraft in the context of Merovingian episcopal successions (subproject 3).


Utrecht University


We are looking for an excellent and enthusiastic researcher who is eager to work in a research-team and fulfil the following requirements:

For the PhD:
  • RMA or MPhil degree in Medieval, Ancient or Classical studies or a related field. NB: if the degree is not yet obtained at the time of application, a statement by the applicant’s supervisor should confirm that it will be obtained by time of appointment;
  • Good or excellent reading knowledge of Latin and a willingness to specialize in medieval Latin;
  • Willingness and ability to collaborate closely with other project members and external partners;
  • Full proficiency in spoken and written English;
  • Ability to speak or willingness to learn Dutch.

Conditions of employment

This is an appointment of 1 fte for the duration of eighteen months. with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period.
The minimum gross salary is € 2,541,- and the maximum gross salary is € 3247,- (scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) per month, at a full-time employment.

Besides that, you will receive a holiday allowance of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 %. Utrecht University also has an appealing package of terms of employment, including the choice for a good balance between work and private (a good arrangement for leave, among other things), possibilities for development and an excellent pension scheme. More information on working at Utrecht University can be found here.

We offer a position in an ambitious new research project, embedded in the vibrant medievalist research community at Utrecht University. Within the parameters of the subprojects, you will have the opportunity to develop your own research focus, based on your interests and expertise, in consultation with the project leader. The project aims for a collaborative research environment, in which project members participate in regular research sessions to go over important finds, analyse Latin passages, come up with new questions and evaluate research practices. A close partner for the project is Utrecht University’s Digital Humanities Lab, who will assist the project in developing a new open access database of early medieval epistolary communication.

You will be based at the Department of Languages, Literature & Communication (TLC) and be imbedded in the interdisciplinary research environments of the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) and Utrecht University’s Centre for Medieval Studies (UUCMS).


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Humanities has around 7,000 students and 1,100 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.


  • PhD
  • Language and culture
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1205087



Trans 10, 3512 JK, Utrecht

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