Postdoc position digital humanities, in the research program “Oceanic Exchanges: Tracing global information networks in historical newspaper repositories, 1840-1914” (1.0 FTE, 15 months)

Job description

You will be part of a two-year international research project that is funded by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO) as part of the fourth Digging into Data challenge. “Oceanic Exchanges: Tracing Global Information Networks in Historical Newspaper Repositories, 1840-1914” (OcEx) brings together leading efforts in computational periodicals research from the nine academic partners in US, Mexico, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and the UK to examine patterns of information flow across national and linguistic boundaries in nineteenth-century newspapers by linking digitised newspaper corpora currently siloed in national collections. OcEx seeks to break through the conceptual, institutional, and political barriers which have limited working with big humanities data by bringing together historical newspaper experts from different countries and disciplines around common questions. This is done by actively crossing the national boundaries that have previously separated digitised newspaper corpora through computational analysis and by illustrating the global connectedness of nineteenth-century newspapers in ways hidden by typical, national organisations of digital cultural heritage.

You will work under the supervision of the project leader Jaap Verheul in the work package 'Conceptual Migration', which aims to model and visualise the conceptual migration and translation of texts across regional, national, and linguistic boundaries. The full research team consists of cultural historians and digital humanities scholars from consortium partners Northeastern University (USA), Universität Stuttgart (Germany), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and University of Turku (Finland). You will be responsible for developing historical 'use cases' that demonstrate how the tools developed in the project can be used to trace, analyse, and visualise the migration and translation of ideas over regional and linguistic borders. This requires the ability to evaluate digital newspapers repositories and analytical software tools that are developed in the project. You will be based at the Cultural History section of the Department of History and Art History of Utrecht University, which provides a stimulating and internationally oriented research environment.


• You have completed a PhD in cultural history, media history, digital humanities, or in a related field; or a PhD dissertation in one of these fields already accepted by the PhD Examination Committee.

• You have proven experience with digital tools and quantitative research methods. Previous work in the field of digital humanities is preferred.

• You have an excellent track record and research skills, relative to experience, and excellent academic writing and presentation skills.

• You have an international outlook and you have excellent oral and writing skills in English. Reading knowledge of one or more of the languages used in this project (Dutch, German, Finnish, Swedish or Spanish) is preferred.

• You have the ability to work in an international, interdisciplinary team and you are willing to take responsibility for deliverables and deadlines in your work package.


You will be offered a Postdoc position during 15 months starting 1 January 2018.  The starting salary ranges between € 3,238 and € 3,475 (gross monthly salary on a full-time basis depending on experience and qualifications (salary scale 10). 

Utrecht University offers a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and terms of employment. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities. You'll find more information about working at Utrecht University here.

About the organization

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

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.

The faculty of Humanities has approximately 900 employees and 7000 students. The faculty covers four areas of knowledge: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Cultural Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication.

Through education and research in these areas the faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe within an ever changing social and cultural context. Our enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent facilities in Utrecht’s historical center, where the faculty has its home, make for an inspiring working climate.

Additional information

For further information about the vacancy, please contact dr. Jaap Verheul, project leader, at An extended research description is available upon request.

Apply Would you like to apply? Then please include (1) a one-page letter of motivation, (2) a one-page research note, explaining how you would take your subproject forward, (3) a curriculum vitae, (4) the names and contact details of two scholars who can be contacted for a reference; (5) two writing samples (i.e. two papers or a paper and a chapter of your PhD thesis).

Interviews are scheduled for the week of 11 December. Employment will become effective by 1 January 2018.
The application deadline is 04/12/2017
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