Three PhD positions are available at the Institute of Art History of the University of Bern in the SNSF-funded project "Global Bones: Entangled Histories, Transfers and Translations in the Early Modern Age" starting on 1 October 2023.
“Global Bones” investigates the global trajectories of Christian body relics in the era usually referred to - from a European perspective - as the Early Modern period. The research project describes and analyses intercontinental relic transfers and conducts local case studies to examine the cultural negotiation processes that took place between actors of different cultural traditions regarding the handling of human remains.
The project is divided into regional projects, each with a specific geographical focus, and a transversal project, in which the results of the regional projects flow together. For three of the regional projects, "Sacred Bones in Kongo Christianity" (present-day Angola, DR Congo and Republic of Congo), "Global Bones and Local Martyrs: Relic Veneration and Presentation in New Spain" (present-day Mexcio), and "Busts and Bones: Relics, Reliquaries and Images in Portuguese Latin America" (present-day Brazil), we are seeking doctoral students dedicated to the study of the use and presentation of bodily relics in the respective regions. The research focuses on the analysis of the entanglements and conflicts of the respective local traditions in dealing with human remains and the Christian relic cult brought to the regions in the course of the Christian missions. Applications with proposals on other, but thematically also suitable research projects in the respective geographical regions (Latin America and West Africa) and in the period from the late 15th to the 17th century are also welcome.
The projects envisage research trips in the respective regions and international library and archive studies. In addition, intensive collaboration of the project team is planned, with regular meetings, joint work on the transversal project's database, workshops, and a concluding conference. Residence in Bern or Switzerland is therefore mandatory. (If a move to Switzerland is necessary, this should be arranged by the start of the project).
The project language is English. Language skills in Portuguese and/or Spanish are required. It would be advantageous if candidates already had expertise and knowledge of local historical and cultural contexts.
- the writing of a PhD thesis in the respective thematic field of the project
- the collaboration in the planning and implementation of the joint transversal project (data collection and input into the database)
- the participation in the activities of the project (jours fixes, reading courses, project presentations, workshops, lectures, and conference)
- an above-average Master's degree in art history, history, ethnology or religious studies
- very good written and spoken English
- very good reading skills in Portuguese and/or Spanish
- a willingness to undertake research trips to the respective research region
- a residence in Switzerland or the willingness to move to Switzerland
- reliability and the ability to work in a team
- knowledge of the history and cultural contexts of the respective research region
- knowledge of relevant current methodological discourses
- knowledge of Christian mission history in the early modern period
- a close collaboration in an inspiring project team with international contacts
- intensive and supportive doctoral supervision
- the opportunity to contribute to the conception and realization of innovative research
- a central workplace
- salary according to SNSF guidelines
For information about the position, please contact: email@example.com
The application should include the following as a single PDF by June 15, 2023 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Letter of motivation
- Curriculum vitae with references
- Sample of your work (either your Master's thesis or thematically relevant seminar papers)
- Proposal of a thematically suitable research project (max. 3 pages)