The Swiss portal for the historical sciences

2 PhD position in early modern history, 18th-19th.

The Department of History of the University of Fribourg invites applications

for two PhD positions (4 years, 100%) in early modern history

The PhD thesis will be realized in the framework of the FNS project The Mesmerism in Switzerland: interactions, transnational circles and networks, media / Le mesmérisme en Suisse : interactions, cercles et réseaux transnationaux, médias / Der Mesmerismus in der Schweiz: Interaktionen, transnationale Zirkel und Netzwerke, Media directed by Claire Gantet and financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The positions will start on 1 March 2022:

1 PhD thesis: The mesmerism in western Switzerland: sociability, mobility, constellations
1 PhD thesis: An information flow: mesmerism in Switzerland

The project focuses on the problem of Mesmerism as the new and influential method of treatment developed by Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815)–discovery of hypnosis and its use in medicine–and the relationships between knowledge and belief or the physician-patient-relationship. It explores it by intersecting multiple perspectives such as cultural, microhistorical, and transnational history. The advertised PhD projects will be situated in the history of knowledge and explore practices and entanglements of Mesmerism.

Your responsibilities
You will define and conduct your own independent research project on Mesmerism. While writing your dissertation, you will be able to participate in international workshops and conferences with leading experts of the field. Your data will be filed in the databases Harmonia universalis ( and FactGrid (

Your profile
You hold a master’s degree in History (18th-19th century) or a related field by the time you enter the position. You should be highly motivated to do historical research and have good reading skills in French, English and German. Familiarity with history of medicine or history of Switzerland and paleographical or digital abilities are welcome. The PhD thesis may be written in English, German, or French. For the duration of the contract, residency in Switzerland is required.

What we offer
We offer you the possibility to develop your own research project in collaboration and exchange with a highly motivated team situated in the stimulating research environment of University of Fribourg’s bi-lingual department of history and you benefit from its contacts with international experts. Furthermore, we provide you with opportunities for professional development (participation in conferences and publications, workshops with experts in the field). We offer a four-year employment contract with a salary paid according to the SNSF rates for doctoral students (approximately 47'000 CHF for the first year). Extra funding for research activities such as travel to conferences and stays in research libraries is available.

Your application should include
- A letter of motivation: Please explain what makes you a suitable candidate for this position and why you are interested in it.
- Your MA thesis or a significant seminar paper, if possible with the examiners’ report.
- A full CV.
- Copies of your university transcripts and diplomas.
- The names and e-mail addresses of two possible referees whom the University of Fribourg may contact.

The letter of motivation and the CV may be written in German, French, or English, according to the candidate’s preference.

The University of Fribourg strives for a balanced representation of women and men. Applications by women are therefore explicitly welcome. As a signatory of the DORA Declaration, the University of Fribourg attaches importance to a qualitative assessment of academic performance.

Please send your application in one PDF file by e-mail to Claire Gantet ( until 15 December 2021 at the latest.


University of Fribourg
Employment percentage: 
Place of work: 
Application deadline: 
15 December, 2021
For further information, please contact Claire Gantet: