Applications are invited for two 18-months fellowships to undertake postgraduate pre-doctoral digital historical research training in the context of ForSEAdiscovery, a large research project funded by the European Union (Call identifier: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN) with fourteen participating academic institutions from nine countries (see http://forseadiscovery.eu). The two fellows will be based at the University of Groningen.
ForSEAdiscovery (in full: Forest Resources for Iberian Empires: Ecology and Globalization in the Age of Discovery) focusses on the construction of ocean-going ships of the Iberian Empires during the early modern period (1500-1800). Large-scale shipbuilding made unprecedented demands on Iberian forests for the supply of timber. Forestry and sea power became inextricably linked, creating new geopolitical tensions, alliances and forest regulations. Key questions in this context are: could Iberian forest resources sustain the increasing demand of sound timber, or was wood imported from elsewhere? How were the trade networks organized? Did the lack of raw materials force the technological changes that occurred in shipbuilding in the 16th century? Or were these changes a result of the exchange between Mediterranean and Atlantic shipbuilding traditions?
The fellows will participate in the training programme of ForSEAdiscovery and consequently work in an international and interdisciplinary environment involving regular participation in workshops and courses abroad. They will be seconded for a few weeks abroad at other participating institutions. They will acquire experience in organizing digital historical research, in collecting, processing and extracting historical data using written sources and electronic databases, and in applying, for example, Microsoft Access. They will have the opportunity to acquire paleographical skills. They will collect in historiography, existing databases and archival sources quantitative information concerning the timber trade and transport between Northern Europe and Atlantic Iberia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and analyze and explain that information. They will use as one of the main resources the Sound Toll Registers Online (http://www.soundtoll.nl).
The fellows will produce (1) a database containing information about the volume of timber trade and transport between Northern Europe and Atlantic Iberia and about Northern European areas supplying timber for shipbuilding in Atlantic Iberia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and (2) each at least one peer-reviewed article in which this information is studied.