PhD Candidate ‘Multilingual Books as Cultural Brokers in the Sixteenth Century’

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 26 Apr 2024

5 Apr 2024
Job Information

Utrecht University
Research Field

Cultural studies
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

26 Apr 2024 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

As part of an interdisciplinary PhD programme, the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) is hiring a PhD Candidate for the research project ‘Empowering Individuals, Opening Cities: Multilingual Books as Cultural Brokers in the Sixteenth Century’. This opportunity is funded by the administrative agreement between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and the Dutch universities.

Your job
As a PhD candidate in this project, you will investigate the role of multilingual books printed in two sixteenth-century cosmopolitan European cities, Antwerp and London, in empowering individuals from various social groups to navigate their multilingual societies. Multilinguals books enabled individuals to familiarise themselves with other languages and improve their multilingual skills. Several sixteenth-century cities were thoroughly multilingual places where encouraging competence in multiple languages was key to economic success. For many, strengthening their language skills was vital to fully participate in city life, with London and Antwerp standing out as the stage for this evolution of multilingualism because of the high degrees of literacy in these two cities.

In multilingual books, typically the same text was printed in two or more languages, with one language on the left and the other on the right, or one underneath the other. This project seeks to find out what the producers (authors, translators, printers) of multilingual books in Antwerp and London intended to achieve by making multilingual books available for larger audiences, and what their various strategies were with regard to the design and the texts held in the books. The project also aims to uncover how individuals benefitted from multilingual publications and how the use of these books shaped their language learning. Therefore, the research question of this project is as follows: How did multilingual books, as produced by printers in Antwerp and London, empower individuals from different social groups to flourish in a multilingual society?

The project will exist of three closely related parts:

  • The project will first pay attention to the design and paratexts of multilingual books.
  • Then, the literary texts held in the books will be studied.
  • Lastly, actual reading experiences and uses of the books will be addressed.
  • Because both London and Antwerp were known for their affordable multilingual books and high degrees of literacy, this combined approach will hopefully lead to a new understanding of language knowledge dissemination in different social strata and different milieux. By unlocking the full potential of multilingual books printed for large audiences, the project thus aims to uncover multilingual practices that shaped European cultural identities in the past, and to contribute to addressing the challenges of multilingualism in Dutch society today.

    Your responsibilities include:

    • conducting a research project on the research topic mentioned above;
    • completing a dissertation within four years;
    • developing a publication record, which also includes public outreach (to be discussed with the other members of the research team);
    • presenting your research at (inter)national conferences (to be discussed with the other members of the research team);
    • contributing to organising impact activities around the project, such as public lectures and workshops for the general public (to be discussed with the other members of the research team);
    • by mutual agreement: teaching within the Bachelor programme in French language and culture, Celtic languages and culture and/or other Bachelor’s degree programmes in TLC.

    Specific Requirements

    Do you have knowledge of at least two foreign languages besides English and/or Dutch (or do you have the will and ability to achieve a B2/C1 level in these two other foreign languages during your PhD)? And do you have a passion for exploring multilingual literature in the sixteenth century from different perspectives (book historical, literary historical, social)? Then we encourage you to apply for this position! You will have the opportunity to develop your research skills, collaborate with a dynamic team of dedicated researchers and make a valuable contribution to interdisciplinary research and teaching. There are also a lot of opportunities to put your own spin on the research project.

    In terms of knowledge and experience, you have:

    • a successfully obtained (Research) Master’s degree in Medieval and/or Renaissance Studies or a related field, such as Comparative Literary Studies, Book History or Cultural Studies (with a specialisation in Medieval/Renaissance literature and/or book culture) by 1 September 2024;
    • a strong research interest, demonstrated by the ability and ambition to work with sixteenth-century books and texts in different languages and the desire to develop yourself in the domains of literary analysis and material bibliography;
    • good written and oral skills in English and/or Dutch, or the willingness to develop yourself in these languages further during the PhD up to C1/C2 level;
    • written and oral skills in preferably French and another foreign language besides English and/or Dutch, or the willingness to develop yourself in these languages during the PhD (up to B2/C1 level);
    • the willingness to teach at Utrecht University (in French, English and/or Dutch).

    Additional Information

    We offer:

    • a position for eighteen months with the prospect of an additional contract up to four years after positive evaluation;
    • a working week of 36 hours and a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
    • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
    • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

    In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development , leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities , as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University .

    Selection process

    As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

    Are you interested in this position? Send via the 'apply now' button:

  • your motivation letter;
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • an example of a scientific text written by yourself, such as your (R)MA thesis or a published or unpublished scientific article. Please upload under the heading 'Master's thesis';
  • a short statement of intention (max. 500 words), in which you specify your first research ideas for this project, such as which books and languages you would be exploring as a PhD candidate, and an outline of where you would be taking this project. Please upload under the heading ‘Academic transcripts’.
  • The starting date of this position is latest 1 September 2024.

    Additional comments

    For more information, please contact project leader Rozanne Versendaal (Assistant Professor of French Literature and Culture and co-supervisor in this PhD project) at [email protected] .

    Candidates for this vacancy will be recruited by Utrecht University.

    Website for additional job details

    Work Location(s)
    Number of offers available
    Universiteit Utrecht
    Postal Code
    Trans 10

    Where to apply



    Domplein 29
    Postal Code

    3512 JE


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