PhD Candidate: Civic Fictions Project

PhD Candidate: Civic Fictions Project

Published Deadline Location
28 May 13 Jun Nijmegen

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Job description

Do you want to contribute as a PhD candidate to a groundbreaking Vici project at the intersection of history, book history and literary theory? Are you a team worker with an affinity for Digital Humanities (DH) research, and would you like to work in an informal, interdisciplinary setting in the Department of Modern Languages? If so, then we are looking for you!

As part of the Vici project on Civic fictions, you will design a PhD project with a book history focus, to study the 18th-century reception of texts and publications dealing with slavery and abolition from a comparative European perspective (Netherlands, France, British Isles). You will use 18th-century debates on slavery and abolition as a case study to test the validity of modern theories of fiction-induced empathy as a force for societal change. In particular, you will identify and study historical readers of slavery-related books, including women, to explore the intersection of multiple societal players and political agendas, and the 18th-century gendering of slavery discourse.

To address these questions, you will establish a corpus of fictional and non-fictional publications relating to slavery, mapping their occurrences across the Vici project data ecosystem (private library catalogues, bookseller archives, library lending records, and more, as recorded in MEDIATE, FBTEE, SHEWROTE, and other databases). You will establish links between texts, books and historical readers, and identify specific reader constituencies in this reception history. By analysing the emerging patterns and frequencies, and focusing on a number of significant case studies, you will ultimately provide new insight into the multiple meanings of slavery for 18th-century readers, and the question how they read slavery discourse – empathically, or within other epistemological frameworks.

Up to 75% of your time will be devoted 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


  • You hold an MA degree in a relevant discipline, preferably literary studies or history.
  • You have a demonstrable affinity with research, as evidenced by presentations at academic conferences, editorial assistantships for scholarly journals, or one or more publications or co-publications.
  • You have excellent spoken and written skills in English, and preferably also in French.
  • You have reading knowledge of Dutch, or are willing to acquire it.
  • Experience with DH research and tools, especially bibliometric databases and quantitative (statistical) analyses, will be considered an asset.
  • You work accurately and assume responsibility for your own development process as a researcher.
  • You are a team player with a flexible, critical and proactive attitude.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1,5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract) or 3.5 years (5-year contract).

  • We will give you a temporary employment contract (0.8 FTE 5- year contract - 1.0 FTE 4- year contract) of 1,5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract) or 3.5 years (5-year contract).
  • You will receive a starting salary of €2,770 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, which will increase to €3,539 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Support Service. The Dual Career Programme assists your partner via support, tools, and resources to improve their chances of independently finding employment in the Netherlands. Our Family Support Service helps you and your partner feel welcome and at home by providing customised assistance in navigating local facilities, schools, and amenities. Also take a look at our support for international staff page to discover all our services for international employees.
  • You will receive extra days off. With full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the statutory 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 PhD will be part of the Civic Fictions project team, consisting of one other PhD candidate, two postdoctoral researchers, and the PI, all housed in the French section of the Department of Modern Languages. The project team regularly collaborates with sister project teams based in Liverpool and Sydney, as well as other international projects.


  • PhD
  • Language and culture
  • 30.4—38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 23.037.24



Houtlaan 4, 6525XZ, Nijmegen

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