Doctoral scholarship holder history – WP3: mapping Iberian diplomacy

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  • Posted 2 months ago

University of Antwerp

Department: Department of History
Regime Full-time

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The Department of History in the Faculty of Arts is looking for a full-time (100%) doctoral scholarship holder in the field of History.

DiplomatiCon – A Connected history of Medieval Mediterranean Diplomacy: The Mamluk Sultanate, Italy and the Crown of Aragon (14th -15th  century)

The Mediterranean is often seen as a dividing border between two worlds: North and South; Christian and Muslim. This pattern has been mostly influenced and supported by nationalist historiographies, which tended to create borders and accentuate differences between areas that were originally connected. DiplomatiCon-project aims precisely to break free from this one-sided view on the history of the region and to present the first example of History of Diplomacy that truly reflects the late medieval context of interactions and exchanges between the Islamic and Christian worlds. Based on the approaches and methodologies advocated by the New Diplomatic History and Connected History, the project will focus on the three most important actors of the late medieval world — the Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo on the Islamic side and the Italian polities as well as the Crown of Aragon on the Christian side— and it will challenge the common narratives of political and cultural antagonism between the two worlds by pointing at the spheres of contact and interaction where an informal type of diplomacy could be performed. This approach will allow to reveal the whole set of actors and agents involved in the diplomatic process, as well as the huge and extended network they built throughout the entire Mediterranean sphere. Finally, it will show how this network facilitated a broad range of cultural transfers among the various participants.

DiplomatiCon is a research project funded by the EOS (Excellence of Science) programme of the F.R.S.-FNRS and the FWO-Flanders. It is a collaboration between UAntwerp (Malika Dekkiche and Iason Jongepier) and ULiège (Frédéric Bauden), with the UniMol, UniBo (Isabella Lazzarini), and the IMF – CSIC (Roser Salicrú I Lluch).


  • You will work actively on the preparation and defence of a PhD thesis in History as part of the DiplomatiCon project:

WP3: Mapping Iberian Diplomacy

The history of diplomacy that involved the Mamluk sultanate, the Italian polities and the Crown of Aragon is one that has so far been written from state actors’ perspective and therefore has been restricted to the contacts and negotiations taking place in Cairo and, to a lesser extent, Alexandria and Damascus. However, these diplomatic processes already started in the Italian and Iberian home basis and developed along the road. Going against the common assumption of a strict religious and political divide between the Muslim and Christian actors, WP3 “Mapping Diplomacy” will study the various diplomatic spaces created along the way that constituted favourable spheres of contacts and interactions and that allowed an informal kind of diplomacy to be performed by the various agents. Using the shared corpus collected in the DiplomatiCon database, this WP will use all the locations mentioned by the various agents highlighted in WP2 and apply Spatial Analysis (using GIS) to them. This will allow us to map and connect all locations and hubs, to find spatial patterns and influence spheres, and to draw a diplomatic geography and space. More importantly, WP3 aims to understand how those spaces were produced and experienced by the agents themselves, which institutions and structures facilitated those productions and how those spaces were perceived and communicated to a broader audience.

  • You will contribute to the development of the DiplomatiCon database.
  • You will take part actively to the research activities and meetings of the DiplomatiCon team (yearly workshop and monthly seminars).
  • You will take part to the activities of the Antwerp Doctoral School and the History Department.
  • You will take part occasionally to the teaching activities of the History Department.
  • You will publish scientific articles related to the research project.
  • You will take part in DiplomatiCon dissemination activities, such as the blog, podcast/webinar and exhibition.

Profile and requirements

  • You hold (or get during the application period) a Master in Humanities or equivalent, with preferably a MA dissertation in medieval/Renaissance history.
  • You must have proficiency in paleography, Catalan, Latin, English (working language for team meetings, publications and Ph.D. thesis).
  • You must have experience in Digital Humanities and/or quantitative analysis.
  • You preferably have skills in GIS and familiarity with archival work.
  • The PhD candidate will be located in Antwerp and be co-supervised with the University of Barcelona.
  • The candidate will have to spend at least 6 months (mandatory seminar hours) in Barcelona, work in archives excluded.
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies .
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity and cooperation.

What we offer

  • A doctoral scholarship for a period of one year. Following a positive evaluation, the scholarship can be renewed for another 3 years.
  • The planned start date is 1 September 2023.
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts  for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for Contract Research Staff (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • You will receive ecocheques, and a bicycle allowance or a full reimbursement of public transport costs for commuting.
  • You will do most of your work at the Brantijser (History Department of Antwerp university) in a dynamic and stimulating working environment.
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here .

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including 1 June 2023 (by midnight Brussels time). Click on the ‘Apply’ button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments: a motivation letter, your academic CV, Master thesis (or an abstract if not submitted yet), copies of available diplomas and transcripts (or provisional grades of last year if not graduated yet).
  • The selection committee will review all of the applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure. Please take note of the following dates: 15 June (interview, part 1) and 30 June 2023 (interview, part 2).
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions  or send an email to [email protected] . If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact Prof. Dr. Malika Dekkiche, [email protected] .

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award  for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity  and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.

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