Post-doc in the Classical roots of (early) modern colonization

Updated: 6 months ago
Deadline: 28 Mar 2023

Post-doc in the Classical roots of (early) modern colonization (V23.0127)
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Job description

Applications are invited for a fully funded two-year Postdoc position within the research project Classical roots of (early) modern colonization at Groningen University (UG) and the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), coordinated by Prof. dr. Tesse Stek and Dr. Jeremia Pelgrom.

As we see vividly in the current newspapers, colonization and its impacts form one of the most defining forces in human history. As such, colonization has been a crucial phenomenon in the making of the modern globalized world. Although the impact of colonization on the modern world order is well known, and is currently object of fierce academic and societal debate, the deep historical roots of colonial ideologies and practices have remained underexplored.

Recent colonization studies on the impact and organization of colonial rule, and on the ideologies that have shaped these practices, show the long history and resilience of colonial paradigms. Ultimately, these paradigms originate in classical antiquity. Classical models of colonization, themselves manifold and pluriform, thus continue to shape the organization of the modern world – both implicitly and explicitly.

The project Classical roots of (early) modern colonization aims to shed light on this intricate relationship between the classical past and the (early) modern world. The project is organized as part of the Caput Mundi initiative between the University of Groningen and the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome. Caput Mundi aims to intensify the connections between UG and KNIR and its international network. By focusing on interdisciplinary research, Caput Mundi broadens the research community that profits from the KNIR and establishes connections between different UG faculties and departments. Within the context of the Caput Mundi network, research themes are developed. The Classical roots of (early) modern colonization program is the first theme, and will run for 5 years. It brings different scholars together that are currently working in different departments and faculties, in particular archaeology, ancient history, classics, American studies, Roman law, international studies and religion studies, and more may follow.

The research theme group is reinforced by establishing a Postdoc position funded by the KNIR – UG collaboration impulse. The Postdoc will work on the use of classical themes in premodern and modern colonization and colonialism. He/she will make use of the KNIR to access the invaluable libraries, archives and expertise housed in Rome’s (foreign) institutes, universities and museums. The primary research questions revolve around the historical choices that were made as to which classical examples were to be developed further as a basis to build, understand or justify contemporary colonial societies, and which ones were instead to be ignored. Departing from various strands in the conceptualization of colonization in the classical past, case-studies are developed across the globe. In particular, the reception and use of Roman colonization in the pre-modern and modern Americas, and in Indonesia will be the object of study by a multidisciplinary team.

The project: Classical Models in Dutch Colonial discourses
The postdoc project is expected to employ an intellectual history perspective on the ideologies and practices that shaped Dutch colonization in the East (e.g., modern-day Indonesia) and/or the West (New Netherlands/ Brazil, Caribbean etc.). Particular attention is devoted to the role of classical (i.e., ancient Greek and Roman) discourses and themes that influenced colonial policy makers and communities in shaping their settlements and their relations with their mother-city and the surrounding communities. The postdoc project takes a broad/conceptual/ critical approach to the influence of classical ideology and texts in (early) modern colonization by the Dutch.

You will be asked to:

  • propose a relevant and well documented research strategy
  • write (co-authored) A rated journal articles
  • do archival research in Rome
  • co-supervise PhD and MA research projects
  • co-manage the research network and (co-)organize research, didactic and outreach activities within the Classical roots of (early) modern colonization progra
  • contribute to the acquisition of further funding for the continuity of the research program
  • participate, limitedly, in the teaching program as part of the regular curriculum of KNIR.

  • a relevant PhD in history, classics, or another related discipline
  • a strong international research profile and network
  • high impact publications
  • demonstrated interest in conceptual and theoretical aspects of colonial discourses
  • an independent, proactive work ethic and experience with autonomous archival research in e.g., Rome, the Vatican and other relevant archives
  • a flexible, mobile and internationally oriented mentality
  • excellent academic writing skills in English
  • (at least) passive knowledge of Italian and other relevant languages.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract of 24 months. In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the University of Groningen offers you:

  • a salary – depending on prior education and working experience – from a minimum of € 2,960 (salary scale 10) to a maximum of € 3,974 (salary scale 11) gross per month, based on a full-time position
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
  • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
  • a temporary appointment of 1.0 FTE for a specified period of 2 years.

For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

The appointment will commence September 2023 at the latest


You can submit your application (in English) until 27 March 11.59 pm / before 28 March 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Applications should include:

1. a motivation letter in which you describe why you wish to do this research, and why you are the right person to do this
2. a full curriculum vitae, demonstrating academic excellence within the context of the research proposed, and a proven track record based on international peer reviewed publications and conference presentations
3. a proposal of 1-2 pages indicating how you would approach this position.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Prof.Dr Tesse D. Stek,
  • Dr J. Pelgrom,

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.


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