PhD Position

(PhD) Changing Tastes. Anchoring Poetic Innovations in the 4th century BCE.

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Radboud University
Erasmusplein 1
6500 HD Nijmegen

Dr. Suzanne van de Liefvoort
+31(0)24 3611276

Changing Tastes. Anchoring Poetic Innovations in the 4th century BCE

Anchoring WP7: Canonization of the New (Classical Greece, 550-323 BCE)

PhD Position (4 years, 1.0 fte), Radboud University

Main Supervisors: Dr Mark de Kreij and Prof. dr André Lardinois

Salary Range: between € 2.541 and € 3.247 gross per month

Project Description

The commonly applied split between the archaic and classical periods at the start of the 5th century BCE does not fit well with the development of Greek poetry. The working life of Bacchylides, the last canonical lyric poet, lay entirely in the 5th century BCE, and we can see clear continuity of the genre of (choral) lyric into the masterworks of the classical Attic tragedians. In fact, the 4th century is a much more significant period of change, and this is the focus of this PhD-project.

The turn of the century saw poetic innovations, but these were not universally accepted, as testified by Plato’s complaints about the so-called ‘new music’ of Timotheus. At the same time, Plato praised the new elegies of Antimachus, according to Plutarch. The Greek performance culture was evolving to (also) become a reading culture: Aristotle reports that it suffices to read only the words to get the full tragic experience (Poetics 1450b18-20). The origins and traditions of lyric and dramatic poetry were being debated: in the 340s, the Athenian statesman Phanodemus invented myths to prove the Attic origin of Dionysiac music, while the statesman Lycurgus ordered the preservation of the works of the three great fifth-century tragedians. Finally, the 4th century saw the first signs of a canon of lyric authors, which was to be cemented in the Alexandrian Mouseion.

Clearly, cultural tastes were changing, but the actors in these developments looked backwards and forwards in equal measure. We invite PhD proposals (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus) that explore how these innovations were implemented and received by different social groups in 4th-century Greek society. Depending on the angle chosen, the project could use evidence from rhetoric, philosophy, comedy, historiography, poetry, inscriptions, and beyond to study the roles of innovators (poets, politicians) and their audiences (elite critics, silent masses) in this transitional age of poetry between Bacchylides and Callimachus.

The research program in classical studies ‘Anchoring Innovation’ studies the way in which people regard and cope with such transitions by relating/connecting what is perceived as new to something that is already familiar (either by way of contrast or analogy). More information about this program can be found on the website ( Another good starting point to get acquainted with the research program is an article by Ineke Sluiter, entitled “Anchoring Innovation: a Classical Research Agenda”.

Terms and Conditions

PhD project, 4 years (1.0 FTE, 38 hrs per week), starting date to be agreed upon, with a preference for September 1, 2023. Initially the employee will receive an 18 month contract, with extension for the following 30 months on condition of a positive evaluation. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. Salary range from € 2.541 to € 3.247 gross per month for a fulltime appointment (pay scale for PhDs, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Radboud University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. Please note that if the successful candidate is not already registered as living in the Netherlands, it is required that the candidate will officially relocate to the Netherlands on the starting date of the contract at the latest.

Tasks of the PhD candidate will include

  • Completion of a PhD thesis within the contract period;
  • Participation in meetings of the project research group(s);
  • Presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • Participation in the training program of the local Radboud Graduate School and the National Research School in Classics (OIKOS) as well as Anchoring Innovation Expert Meetings and Conferences;
  • Participation in staff meetings of the Radboud Classics program and the intellectual life of the department and the institute;
  • Some teaching in the second and third years of the appointment.


  • A RMA, MA or MPhil degree in Classics, held by time of appointment, with an MA thesis of high quality with a grade of at least 8.0 on a ten-point scale, or comparable assessment (if the degree is not yet obtained at the time of application, a statement by the applicant’s supervisor should confirm that it will be obtained by time of appointment);
  • Well-developed research skills, including the ability to formulate relevant and creative research questions and hypotheses, descriptive and analytical skills, and a clear and persuasive style of writing;
  • Excellent competence in the methodology of humanities research and in English, as well as a reading competence in French and German;
  • Independent thinker, team player;
  • Grit


The Anchoring Innovation program is strongly committed to diversity within its team and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


Enquiries about the position can be addressed to Dr Mark de Kreij ( We have deliberately scheduled a longer period between this announcement and the deadline for submission so that candidates have ample time to prepare their own versions of the project outlined above. We know that the design of a good project takes time and effort. Do not hesitate to contact your prospective supervisor about this. Questions about the procedure can be directed to Dr Suzanne van de Liefvoort (


In order to be admissible, applications must include the following information (in the same order), in one PDF file (not zipped):

  • Cover letter;
  • CV, including contact information of two referees;
  • Transcript of records (i.e. a certified copy of your MA and BA courses and results);
  • Research proposal of 1500 words. This does not include the bibliography and (if appropriate) an appendix containing a list of sources (together max. two pages A4);
  • Copy of relevant diploma or statement by master thesis supervisor confirming that the applicant will hold the required degree at the time of appointment.

Please submit your complete application to Dr Suzanne van de Liefvoort, the coordinator of the Anchoring-program via before April 24, 2023. Interviews will take place in the week of 22-26 May 2023 (online).