SNSF postdoctoral researcher in history (16th century)

In the context of the SNSF Sinergia project Capturing the Present in Northwestern Europe (1348–1648). A Cultural History of Present before the Age of Presentism, the University of Neuchâtel is calling for a post of

SNSF postdoctoral researcher in history (16th century)

Position information
Start date: September 1
st, 2024
Contract duration: 2 years (renewable once)
Workload: 75%
Location: University of Neuchâtel

Your responsibilities
The postdoctoral researcher will be conducting a study on time and the Empire in the era of Charles V. This work will be supervised by Professor Thalia Brero (University of Neuchâtel) and Professor Elodie Lecuppre-Desjardin (University of Lille), and will involve international mobility.

The aim of the project will be to explore the dilation of the present at a time of imperial expansion, and this from two angles.

Firstly, the postdoctoral researcher will attempt to show the measures taken by Charles V and his chancellery to reign over an Empire whose immensity, from 1519 onwards, forced a reconsideration of the geopolitical map. How could present times as different as those of Augsburg, Naples and Mexico City be synthesised, and how could the temporal space of the Empire be unified to make it governable? The study will be based on correspondence and published reports, as well as a collection of documents from the archives of Vienna, Brussels and Simancas.

Secondly, the notion of ‘imperial current events’ will be examined, by determining whether the Empire’s many present times were known to the various populations united under the authority of Charles V. To paraphrase Serge Gruzinski, what was going on ‘over there’? – what did the Castilians know about the German Peasants’ War, or the people of Brabant about the conquest of Tunis? The repercussions of a selection of events across the Empire will be analysed by means of printed news reports published in various imperial territories.

General information about the project
Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Sinergia project Capturing the Present in Northwestern Europe (1348–1648). A Cultural History of Present before the Age of Presentism examines how the concept of ‘present’ was perceived and experienced in Northwestern Europe from the Middle Ages to early modernity. This geographical area, which includes the Netherlands, the western German Empire, northern France, and southern England, underwent significant changes during this period in politics, economics, religion, 2 and the arts. Characterised by the coexistence of various political systems and languages, significant urban development, and rapidly evolving living conditions, this region offers a unique historical context that differs from the traditional depiction of the Renaissance. The Capturing the Present project brings together around fifteen researchers from the universities of Neuchâtel, Lausanne, and Lille, including 6 PhD candidates and 3 postdoctoral researchers. The team is supported by an international network of experts in history, art and literary history, linguistics, media studies, anthropology, and political science. Its aim is to demonstrate how discourses and images shaped the perceptions that men and women of that time had of their own era; how contemporary events were represented and  nterpreted; and how new ideas, as well as environmental, political, and societal changes, were perceived.

Your profile

  • PhD in medieval or modern history.
  • Excellent command of French or English (languages of research publication).
  • Ability to read and understand Middle French, Spanish and Latin. Proficiency in German or Dutch would be a plus.
  • Good knowledge of the ideological and political issues of the period.
  • Ability to work as part of a team in an international and interdisciplinary environment.

Your benefits

  • 2 years’ renewable funding for a postdoctoral project.
  • A pleasant working environment in a multicultural and diverse academic context.
  • A stimulating research environment in a team shared between three partner universities.

Application Procedure

Interested candidates are requested to submit their application in a pdf file containing:
– a cover letter
– a curriculum vitae
– copies of university diplomas
– a list of completed research projects.

Applications are to be sent by e-mail until May 15th 2024 to:

The subject of the postdoctoral research is partially predefined within the framework of the collective project. It will be discussed and refined by the proposals from the candidates selected for the interviews, which will take place in June 2024.

In order to promote diversity among its staff, the University of Neuchâtel is committed to offering non-discriminatory working conditions.

of Neuchâtel
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