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Vacancy: PhD positions in Classical Literature (2.0 FTE)

23 April 2023

We are inviting applications for two fully funded, four-year PhD positions in Classical Literature within the research project Roman Making and its Meanings: Representations of Manual Creation in the Literature and Art of Imperial Rome (Acronym: FACERE), financed by the European Research Council (ERC) and led by Dr Bettina Reitz-Joosse.

Both PhD projects relate to processes of manufacture, ‘making’, in Roman literature. How did Greek and Latin authors of the Roman empire represent processes of making in their texts? Each of the projects approaches this question from a particular angle. In their cover letter and research statement, applicants must clearly state a preference for one of the two projects, but will automatically be considered for both positions.

Sustainable Processes of Making in Roman Literature

In the first PhD project, ‘Sustainable Processes of Making in Roman Literature’, the chosen candidate will analyse depictions of manual production in the literature of the Roman empire (i.e. spinning, weaving, woodworking, stone carving, or glassblowing) from an ecocritical perspective. Questions that may be addressed in this project include: is there such a thing as ‘sustainable making’ in Roman thought? How do authors portray the interaction of humans and the environment in processes of making? What metaphors do they employ and how can we interpret them? How do they depict the distribution of agency between human maker, tool, and material? What ethical considerations do different authors connect with particular materials, or particular forms of making? The selected candidate will be able to design their own project around one or more of these questions, and may choose to focus on particular approaches, authors, or themes.

Making and the Senses in Roman Literature

The second PhD project, ‘Making and the Senses in Roman Literature’, focuses on the multisensory nature of processes of making. Makers use their sensory awareness – their perception of how something looks, sounds, feels, or smells – to guide them during the process of manufacture. For observers, too, making is a multisensory experience: they feel the heat of a furnace, hear the noises of weaving, or smell the smell of paint. The dissertation will examine how Roman literature captures, refracts and interprets the sensory side of making in ancient Rome. Questions that may be addressed include: When and how are sensory experiences of making evoked in Roman texts? What images or metaphors are used to convey them? How do narrative descriptions of making depict or create embodied experiences? Are there particular aesthetic or moral dimensions to the narration of smell, sound, or touch? The selected candidate will be able to design their own project around one or more of these questions and may choose to focus on particular approaches, authors, or themes.

How to apply

Further information and an application form can be found in the full vacancy, linked below. The application deadline is 25 May, 11:59pm CEST.

Last modified:24 January 2024 09.32 a.m.

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