PhD position 'The structure of the networks of the Republic of Letters, 1400-1800'

PhD position 'The structure of the networks of the Republic of Letters, 1400-1800'

Geplaatst Deadline Locatie
19 sep 22 okt Utrecht

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The Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University has a PhD position 'The structure of the networks of the Republic of Letters, 1400-1800' available. Are you interested? Then read the full profile and apply.


The Department of History and Art History seeks to appoint a PhD candidate for the project “Sharing Knowledge in Learned and Literary Networks: the Republic of Letters as a pan-European Knowledge Society”, funded by means of an ERC Consolidator grant awarded to Dr Dirk van Miert.

The PhD candidate will be working on the following project: " The structure of the networks of the Republic of Letters, 1400-1800”.

The aim of this PhD project is to analyse the social network of the Republic of Letters over a period of four centuries. Using metadata of tens of thousands of early modern scholarly letters, the candidate will map the Republic of Letters’ topological structure on a grand scale, the candidate is expected to identify small worlds, to interpret what these consisted of and to analyse how well they were integrated into the larger network. The metadata of the letters define clear parameters for the mapping and weighing of lines of communication, grades of separation, strength of nodes and centrality of hubs throughout a much broader social, geographical, disciplinary and linguistic network, and will account for how this network evolved over time. Filtering via terms based on geographical coordinates and periods, the project will have to provide flexible maps and graphs visualising different types of hierarchy that existed in the network.


Universiteit Utrecht


A successful PhD candidate should preferably have:

  • a (research) Master degree in social sciences or in early modern history;
  • demonstrable experience with large-scale digital social network analysis;
  • experience with historical dates, proper names and place names, in particular with digital authority files and gazetteers;
  • excellent command of English, both written and orally; a working knowledge of Latin is recommendable;
  • an outstanding record of undergraduate and Master's degree work;
  • strong writing skills;
  • capacity to work both as a creative and independent researcher and as part of a team;


The positions can be offered for 1.0 FTE, start date from 1 January 2018 onwards. The appointment is for an initial period of 18 months which, after a positive assessment of progress made, will be extended by another 30 months (4 years in total). The gross salary ranges between € 2,222 in the first year, ending at € 2,840 in the fourth year (Collective Employment Agreement for Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment. 

Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. We offer a pension scheme, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions. You'll find more information about working at Utrecht University here.


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

The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 900 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 teaching 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. Enthusiastic and committed faculty members and excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.


  • PhD
  • Taal en cultuur
  • 38—40 uur per week
  • €2222—€2840 per maand
  • Universitair
  • 931139


Universiteit Utrecht

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Domplein 29, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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