Postdoctoral researcher 'Medieval Prophylactic Healthcare and The Public'

Faculty of Humanities – Amsterdam School of Historical Studies

Publication date
14 August 2017
Level of education
Salary indication
€ 4,453 to €4,815 gross per month, based on 38 hours per week
Closing date
24 September 2017
26,6 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 advanced postdoctoral researcher will scrutinize textual, material and visual sources, both in and out of print, for discussions on and prescriptions for pursuing preventative health in medical theory, as they emerge from regimens of health, medical advice letters, courtesy books and images informing the public on behavioral routines and interventions benefitting health; sermons; urban statutes and court documents; manuals of architecture; and works on economic and social issues, including urban panegyric. The researchers will examine normative expressions as sites for the negotiation of bio-power, for instance among urban policy makers, ecclesiastical institutions, guilds and urban residents, and on the shifting boundaries between personal and public health.


Applicants must have:

  • a PhD in medieval urban, social or cultural history;
  • a research and publication record commensurate with their career stage;
  • specialist knowledge of premodern medical history (theory, policy and practice);
  • significant research experience in European manuscript libraries;
  • a thorough command of Latin, excellent English and a very good working knowledge of Middle Dutch and Italian, as well as pertinent modern languages;
  • a strong theoretical background in cultural studies, sociology of knowledge and visual/material culture;
  • a strong creative and cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research in a multidisciplinary environment; and
  • strong organizational skills.

Further information

For further information, please contact:


The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed for 26,6 hours (0.7 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 €4,453 to €4,815 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 17-408 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