Fully funded PhD position, History of science, Ghent University & Università Ca' Foscari, Venice

Last application date
Feb 28, 2019 08:10
LW03 - Department of History
Bepaalde tijd
Master’s degree in the humanities by the starting date of the scholarship (including, but not limited to, the fields of: History, Classical Languages, Modern Languages, Literature, History of Medicine and Science, and History of Philosophy)
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

The PhD student will work on a specific project under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Steven Vanden Broecke (Ghent University) and Prof. Dr. Craig Martin (Università Ca' Foscari, Venezia).

Project abstract: The period 1700-1840 witnessed the flowering of a new ‘atmospheric tides’ science. The basic assumption of this science was that Sun and Moon not only generate significant tidal effects in the earth’s seas, but in its atmosphere as well. These atmospheric tides (henceforth AT) were held responsible for important weather changes, as well as for a variety of health issues in the human body (e.g. insanity, epilepsy, epidemics), thus rendering the latter predictable and manageable. Interestingly, AT science's practitioners, audiences and critics all saw considerable continuities between the ‘pseudo-science’ of astrology and the new science on the conceptual, methodological, social, and cultural levels. So far, research on the history of AT science has been limited, and has generally focused on the English case - undeservedly so, for AT science was both a pan-European phenomenon and offers a unique opportunity to clarify important aspects of the emergence of modern scientific culture. More specifically, AT science offers a privileged view on the precise way in which official science appropriated and transformed 'pseudo-science' for its own purposes in the Enlightenment. Focusing on AT science in France and Italy in the period 1750-1830, this project seeks to generate a more refined understanding of the apparent 'death' of astrology in the 18th century, and to further explore its appropriation and transformation into the 19th century.

This position, fully funded (100%) by the Flemish Council for Scientific Research (FWO-V), provides a competitive PhD scholarship (ca. 2000 EUR/month net, 2+2 years), benefits, and research funds.

The primary workplace will be at UGent, a top-100 institution worldwide, offers a dynamic and international academic environment where PhD students are involved in high quality training and research. The Sarton Centre for the History of Science hosts an active and engaging group of historians and philosophers of science, and has particular expertise in early modern European science. For more information, see: http://www.sarton.ugent.be/

The secondary workplace is the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage at Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, which promotes an active research program in early modern philosophy, history of science, and intellectual history. It is home for the Center for Renaissance and Early Modern Thought. For more information, see: https://www.unive.it/pag/27827/

Profile of the candidate

Candidates need to have:

  • a master’s degree in the humanities by the starting date of the scholarship, including, but not limited to, the fields of: History, Classical Languages, Modern Languages, Literature, History of Medicine and Science, and History of Philosophy;
  • evidence of an active interest in the history of (early modern) science;
  • good writing skills in English;
  • good reading skills in either French or Italian, and firm commitment to acquire skills in the other language during the first year of research (if necessary);
  • a willingness to take up extended research stays of a few months each (Paris and Venice/Padua).

Starting date of the scholarship: 1 October 2019 at the latest.

How to apply

You are invited to send a CV, a research sample (e.g., a chapter of your MA dissertation) and a motivation letter in English by 28 February 2019 to Steven Vanden Broecke () and Craig Martin ().

We reserve the right to close this vacancy earlier, if a qualified candidate is found before the deadline.