Postdoctoral researcher 'Healthscaping Medieval Cities'

Faculty of Humanities – Amsterdam School of Historical Studies

Publication date
14 August 2017
Level of education
Salary indication
€3,475 to €3,839 gross per month, based on 38 hours per week
Closing date
24 September 2017
30,4 hours per week
Vacancy number

Research at the Faculty of Humanities is carried out by six research schools under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR). The Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH), one of the six research schools, currently has a vacant postdoctoral position as part of the ERC project Healthscaping, led by prof. G. Geltner.

Project description

HealthScaping seeks to trace the development and impact of preventative healthcare policies, medical discourses and social and religious action in the continent’s two most urbanized and richly documented regions in the later Middle Ages, Italy and the Low Countries. The project taps numerous written, material and visual sources and archaeological data from several sites, and examines them also by critically engaging the insights of governmentality studies, cultural-spatial analysis and actor-network theory. A multidisciplinary team, working in a Geographical Information Systems environment and generating innovative urban health maps, will recover earlier societies’ struggles with domestic and industrial waste, travel and labor hazards, food quality, and social and religious behaviours considered harmful or dangerous.

Within this framework, an experienced historian of the Low Countries will tap pertinent documents of practice in several Low Countries archives: petitions, account books, city-council minutes, court records and ledgers of levied fines as well as records produced for, by and about social enforcers such as Ghent’s coninc der ribauden and Bruges’ meuderaars. S/he will trace continuity and change in the tasks of these and similar types of town officials, including the routine monitoring of the city’s social and physical hygiene, from cleaning and policing central spaces, to supervising social marginals, to operating as the city’s fire brigade, as they accrued and shed emphases in pursuit of a healthier city, as it was understood by contemporary governments and residents.


Applicants must have:

  • a PhD in medieval urban, social or cultural history of the Low Countries;
  • a research and publication record commensurate with their career stage;
  • specialist knowledge of premodern public health (theory, policy and practice);
  • significant research experience in Low Countries archives and manuscript libraries;
  • a thorough command of Latin and Middle Dutch, excellent English and a working knowledge of languages pertinent to the field’s historiography;
  • a strong background in urban theory, sociology of knowledge and material culture;
  • a strong creative and cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research in a multidisciplinary team and
  • strong organizational skills.

Further information

For further information, please contact:


The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed for 30,4 hours (0.8 FTE) hours per week) for a maximum period of four years at the Department of History, European Studies & Religious Studies of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. The research will be carried out under the aegis of ASH. The appointment is initially for a period of 12 months; contingent on satisfactory performance it will be extended by a maximum of 36 months. The intended starting date of the contract is 1 January 2018. The gross monthly salary (on full-time basis) will range from €3,475 to €3,839 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Job application

Only qualified applicants, as detailed above, should apply.

Applications should include only the following information, in one PDF file (not zipped):

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a full academic CV, including a list of publications;
  • the names and contact details of two referees who may be approached by the selection committee;
  • an original article/chapter-length text (c. 10,000 words) relating directly to the research field;
  • in case the PhD has not been formally awarded yet: a statement from the dissertation supervisor (or equivalent) of the candidate’s current status and graduation plan.

Applicants must have completed their PhD before the start of this postdoctoral project.

Please submit your complete application no later than 24 September 2017 to

Only complete applications submitted as one PDF file to this email address will be considered.

Please state vacancy number 17-407 in the subject line of your application.

Interviews will take place in October. For candidates living abroad interviews may be held via Skype. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam