PhD Candidate in Medieval / Early Modern Intellectual History

PhD Candidate in Medieval / Early Modern Intellectual History

Published Deadline Location
15 Sep 31 Oct Nijmegen

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Job description

Are you an enthusiastic young researcher with a master's degree in a history-related field? And do you want to challenge the assumption that in early modern Europe, the Middle Ages were ignored in favour of the classics? Then join this project as a PhD candidate! 

It is generally assumed that in early modern Europe the Middle Ages were ignored in favour of the classics. This PhD project will challenge that assumption. You will analyse which authors, texts and intellectual traditions from the Middle Ages lived on in early modern Europe, in which forms and why.

The early modern period is famous for its rich intellectual life. Thinkers from the Renaissance up to the Enlightenment developed new ideas about history, society and civilisations. According to most early modern intellectuals, it was the rediscovery of classical authors that had led to the renewed insights and a blossoming of learning in Europe. The interim centuries of the Middle Ages were subsequently portrayed as a Dark Age. However, the image of the Middle Ages as an intellectual Dark Age may not necessarily reflect the actual practice of early modern intellectual thought and culture in Western Europe.

Increasingly, intellectual historians are crossing boundaries between ancient, medieval and modern times. However, this is not yet done to the full potential. For the Middle Ages, for example, the comparison is still often limited to the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. In contrast, this project seeks to establish a longue durée approach, ranging from the early Middle Ages to the Enlightenment period. Which authors, texts and traditions from the Middle Ages lived on in early modern Europe, in which forms and why? Thus, our project aims to defy the classical opposition between the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period so carefully orchestrated by Petrarch, Voltaire and others, and seeks (changing) continuities in intellectual and literary traditions.

We invite PhD proposals that investigate the afterlife of medieval thought in early modern Europe through the study of concrete instances of intellectual transfer, for instance the appropriation of specific medieval authors or early modern revaluations of specific themes of medieval thought, but also the diversity of contexts in which medieval texts and knowledge circulated in the early modern period.

Within this broad framework of the intellectual afterlife of medieval thought in early modern Europe, we are looking for proposals that preferably investigate one of the following fields and/or periods:
  • Historical thought, including narrative historiography and antiquarian research.
  • Encyclopaedias and the ordering of knowledge.
  • Didactic works, in and outside schools and universities.
  • Moral teachings for either rulers, citizens or different social groups.
  • Nature and science.


Radboud University


  • You have a Master's degree in History or another discipline related to the project (or will obtain such a degree before February 2024). If you have not yet graduated, your thesis must have been graded before the date of the first interview round.
  • You have a strong affiliation with medieval and/or early modern intellectual history.
  • You have knowledge of the relevant languages for the proposed PhD project.
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • You have excellent academic writing skills.
  • You have strong social skills.
  • You embrace teamwork and can also work independently.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).

  • It concerns an employment for 0.8 (5 year contract) - 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,770 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,539 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


The Faculty of Arts is committed to knowledge production with a significant scientific and social impact. With over 500 academic and support staff, we teach and conduct research in the fields of history and art, languages and cultures, and linguistics and communication, using innovative methodologies and working in close collaboration with each other. Our research is embedded in two research institutes: the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) and the Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH). We currently have approximatively 2,500 students, enrolled in three departments: the Department of History, Art History and Classics, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, and the Department of Language and Communication. We aim to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive world, which is why we especially seek applications from candidates who bring diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and skills that will be assets to our study programmes and research profiles.

Your research will be embedded in the Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH), and you will be part of the Graduate School for the Humanities (GSH). You will devote 75% of your time to the research for and writing of your PhD thesis. The remaining 25% will be spent on training and academic service to the Faculty of Arts, including teaching.

Radboud University
We are keen to meet critical thinkers who want to look closer at what really matters. People who, from their expertise, wish to contribute to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This ambition unites more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University and requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!


  • PhD
  • Language and culture
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1214777



Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

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