Apply for PhD Position in History at Ghent University in Belgium

Deadline: 28 August 2015
Open to: applicants with MA in History, Literature, (Computational) Linguistics or Medieval Studies who have experience with reading and analyzing Latin texts
Scholarship: starting from around EUR 1,800 net/month


The Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies at Ghent University is offering a PhD research position in a research project “Collaborative Authorship in Twelfth-Century Latin Literature: A Stylometric Approach to Gender, Synergy and Authority”. Stylometry, a subfield of Digital Humanities, offers new methods for segregating different writing styles. So far, stylometry has been especially popular in authorship attribution studies. This project will approach issues of collaborative authorship in twelfth-century Latin literature with stylometric methods. In the Middle Ages, authors seldom worked alone when conceiving their treatises, letters or narratives. A new text could be the result of drafts on wax tablets copied by professional scribes, of processes of dictation and subsequent correction, etc.

With a number of selected, experimental case studies, concentrating on Bernard of Clairvaux and his secretaries, Hildegard of Bingen and her collaborators, Suger of Saint-Denis and his chancery, and Abelard and Heloise, this project aims to contribute to the debate about individual and collective creativity in the Middle Ages, and to extend the usual application of stylometric methods to new cultural-historical questions that go beyond mere authorship attribution.


The successful candidates should have:

  • A Master’s degree in History, Literature, (Computational) Linguistics or Medieval Studies. Students who are currently preparing a master’s thesis and will graduate as a Master before 1 October 2015 are also welcome to apply;
  • Excellent study results;
  • Experience with reading and analyzing Latin texts, preferably of the medieval period;
  • Strong interest in the expanding field of Digital Humanities, and computational text analysis in particular. Willing to be trained intensively in stylometric research during the course of the PhD project;
  • Active knowledge of English and/or French and ability to read scholarly literature in the major academic languages. Willing to learn basic Dutch during the employment at Ghent University (introductory courses are available);
  • Commitment to prepare, and finish, a doctoral dissertation as outlined in the project text within four years;
  • An intellectually curious, analytical, responsible, and proactive personality, able to work autonomously as well as in a team.


With this scholarship successful applicant will obtain:

  • A four-year contract as a full time academic staff member, attached to the History Department at Ghent University (scholarship starting from around EUR 1800 net/month; 1 year + 3 additional years after positive evaluation).
  • Opportunity to gain a PhD in four years, supervised by the three project directors. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the research to be conducted, the PhD can be in Literature, Linguistics or History, depending on the preference of the candidate and the emphases developed in the research;
  • Extensive opportunities for engaging with national and international research groups;
  • Opportunity to follow an individualized PhD programme at the UGent Doctoral School of Arts, Humanities and Law, including language courses.

How to apply?

The deadline for applications is 28 August 2015. If you are interested in the scholarship, please send:

  • A copy of your diploma;
  • Your CV;
  • A one-page summary of your master’s thesis;
  • A cover letter describing your interest in the project.

to prof. Jeroen Deploige ( Start of the project is negotiable (but between 1 October 2015 and 1 July 2016).

For more information please visit the official website.

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