Postdoc Project NWO OC M Global Business and ERC Voices of Resistance - IISH Amsterdam

Postdoc Project NWO OC M Global Business and ERC Voices of Resistance - IISH Amsterdam

Published Deadline Location
23 May 2 Jun Amsterdam

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Job description

Location: Amsterdam
Max hours per week: 30,00
Max salary: 5.929
Duration of agreement: 12
Apply until: 06/02/2024


The Global Business of Slave Trade – Patterns, Actors and Gains in the Early Modern Dutch and Iberian Slave Trade

Voices of Resistance: A Global Micro-Historical Approach to Enslavement across the Atlantic and Indian Ocean

Vacancy: Postdoc Position

The International Institute of Social History (IISH-KNAW) is searching for a

Computational Historian / Data Scientist (0,8 fte)
We invite especially candidates with a background in (Computational) Digital Humanities, Computational Linguistics, Information Retrieval or Data Science with an interest in Humanities research. The position is vacated on Postdoc level. We thus invite applications of candidates with a PhD to apply, but also encourage other relevant candidates to indicate their interest through an application.

What will you bring in?
We are looking for a data scientist with experience in the humanities, or a historian with relevant computational or data science skills. You are comfortable working in a team and are communicative. You expand on existing methods and collaborate with DH specialists and historical domain experts to translate project needs into practical solutions. You provide good documentation of your work to facilitate the collaboration between projects and reusability. You have experience in writing well-documented, reusable Python code using Jupyter notebooks and GitHub. You are also able to change and adapt existing code and tooling to process your own material and you are comfortable using the command line.

We consider experience with digital source material and colonial archives as an advantage, but not a prerequisite. You are proficient in English, and preferably in Dutch, Portuguese or Spanish.

What will you do?
With your skills you will contribute to two historical research projects that explore the history of slavery and slave trade in Asia, being The Global Business of Slave Trade (14 months) and Voices of Resistance (13 months). You will contribute to the research teams by applying and expanding methods for text recognition, entity and event detection, and by extracting and analyzing historical data. For this, you can apply and expand methods that are used and developed within the GLOBALISE project, most notably the pipeline for text recognition and layout analysis (Loghi) and the models and annotation schemes for entity and event detection (more information: You will adapt these models for the recognition of layout and text, as well as for entities and events, to non-Dutch digitized archival material, most notably Spanish and Portuguese. You will collect the digital source material, and in close collaboration with the GLOBALISE team you will organize the creation of new ground truth for htr and semantic annotation, update relevant handwritten-text, layout, entity, and event recognition models, and apply techniques for data extraction that facilitate the research on slave trade, slavery and racialization. Your work will be therefore development in directly collaboration with various colleagues from the three projects involved in this initiative and data will be shared and made available in open access.

The project Global Business of Slave Trade: Patterns, Actors and Gains in the Early Modern Dutch and Iberian Slave Trade studies the organizations of slave trading by the Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish in the Indian Ocean, Indonesian Archipelago, and the South China Sea. It examines by whom and how the slave trade was organized, who gained and lost, and what the economic impact of these commercial streams was. The project Voices of Resistance: A Global Micro-Historical Approach to Enslavement across the Atlantic and Indian Ocean studies slavery, enslavement and racialization in the cases connected to the Portuguese, Spanish and French Asian empires.

What do we offer?’
You will work in the Research Department of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam as part of The Global Business of Slave Trade and Voices of Resistance projects. The IISH is internationally leading as research institute in the study of global labour history and slavery, and as an international archive in social movements. You will work in close collaboration with digital infrastructure projects of GLOBALISE (based at the Huygens Institute in Amsterdam) and Exploring Slave Trade in Asia (IISH). The IISH and Huygens Institute are part of the Humanities Cluster (HuC) of the KNAW, operating at the forefront of the digital humanities.

How to apply to this vacancy?
You can apply to this position by submitting the following documents:
  • A Curriculum vitae
  • A motivation letter
  • Contact details of two references (email and phone number)

Deadline and application
Responses can be submitted until 20 May via the application button.

Please ensure you submit all requested documents (CV, Motivation Letter, contact details of references). These can be combined in one or two files (pdf or word).

The interviews will most likely take place in the second half of June.

Applicants will be assessed on the following criteria: a) familiarity with the scientific field; b) job motivation; c) originality; and d) compliance with the vacancy requirements.

For more information about this Postdoc vacancy, please contact Filipa Ribeiro da Silva (project

leader and supervisor) at A more detailed description of the projects can be found together with the advisement of the Vacancy on the website of the IISH, under “jobs”/“vacatures”, at


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


What do we need from you?
  • Experience with (Computational) Digital Humanities, Computational Linguistics, Information Retrieval or Data Science;
  • A completed PhD in a relevant discipline;
  • Relevant skills to apply and expand upon methods for text and layout recognition (Loghi) and entity and event recognition; skills to write well-documented, reusable Python code using Jupyter notebooks and GitHub;
  • Affinity with and knowledge of history, early modern colonialism, the history of slave trade and slavery;
  • Proactive, communicative and collegial work spirit;
  • Proficiency in English and preferably Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish or another Latin-based language;
  • You are registered in the Netherlands at the start and during employment.

Conditions of employment

Terms of employment
Depending on education and experience the minimum salary is 4.332 and the maximum salary is 5.929 gross per month for a full-time appointment (scale 11 cao Nederlandse Universiteiten/KNAW). This is exclusive of 8% vacation allowance, 8.3% year-end bonus, travel allowance, internet allowance, home working allowance and pension accrual with ABP.

The KNAW offers its staff an excellent package of secondary benefits. A package that meets the different needs of employees depending on their stage of life, lifestyle or career ambitions. For example, by working an extra two hours a week, it is possible to increase the number of days off from 29 to 41 days a year (with full-time employment).

For a complete overview of the terms of employment, please refer to the web page: werken bij de KNAW.

Applying for a Certificate of Good Conduct can be part of the employment procedure.

Diversity & Inclusion
The KNAW considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated of great importance. A working environment in which attention is paid to individual quality and where development opportunities are paramount. Together we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences. We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy.

We will not respond to any supplier enquiries based on this job advertisement.



About the IISG
The International Institute of Social History (IISG-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. IISG is one of the most prestigious social history research institutes worldwide. It examines how work and labour relations have developed globally over time. To support its research, it collects archives and data from all over the world. The relationship between its research and its data and archive collections contributes substantially to the institute's unique nature.


  • Assistant professor
  • 28—30 hours per week
  • €4332—€5929 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 2123


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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