PhD Position

(PhD) Recalibrating the Classical Tradition in Contemporary Europe

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Radboud University
Erasmusplein 1
6500 HD Nijmegen

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

Recalibrating the Classical Tradition in Contemporary Europe

Anchoring WP12: Cultural Change and the Classics in 20th- and 21st-century Europe

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

Main Supervisors: Prof. dr Ineke Sluiter en Dr Miko Flohr; additional supervisory expertise depending on the needs of the project and/or researcher

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

Project Description

New ideas and inventions that affect social life cannot thrive unless they are somehow embedded in the society for which they are intended. Innovation will always be connected somehow—both in the ways it is communicated and perceived, and in terms of content—to what people know, believe, want, value, and can understand. This is true even of radical, path-breaking, ‘revolutionary’ ideas and insights. This phenomenon of ‘anchoring’ is central to the current research agenda of the Dutch classicists.

After its emergence in the Early Modern period, the Western classical tradition long flourished predominantly among educated elites, and its symbolic power became closely intertwined with the imperial and colonial projects of European nations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This has made Greco-Roman antiquity a somewhat uneasy reference framework for the growing numbers of Europeans with a background in former European colonies in Africa, Asia and the Americas: on the one hand, the classical tradition offered easy access to cultural capital, on the other hand, classics often had seasoned the colonial project in the country from which they or their family had migrated. This tension offered them opportunities to recalibrate the European classical tradition, and to re-anchor it in the more transcultural demographic reality of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. The question is how this is affecting classics as a field of practice in contemporary Europe.

We invite PhD proposals for original research on the ways in which Europeans with a (historical) background in the Global South are or have been appropriating, recalibrating, and re-anchoring the classical tradition. We are interested in approaches focusing on discourse in popular culture, art or literature, or on the ways in which professionals in the field – within academia, in the school system, or elsewhere in society – have worked to re-anchor the European classical tradition in our post-colonial, cosmopolitan societies.

Candidates are invited to design a structured PhD proposal (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, evidence) around these issues. They are free in choosing their geographic or thematic emphasis, and the body of evidence. Given the theme and recent developments in our field, we would particularly welcome approaches inspired by the idea of ‘decolonizing classics’. In their proposals, candidates should outline their suggested approach, main research question, and expected original contribution to the field.

More information about the Anchoring Innovation research 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”.

Host Institution

The Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University is an international center for the advanced study of languages, cultures, arts, and societies worldwide, in their historical contexts from prehistory to the present. Our faculty is home to over 6,000 students and 800 staff members.

The Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) is one of the seven Research Institutes of the Faculty of Humanities. LUCAS is dedicated to ground-breaking research that explores the multifaceted relationships between the arts and society.

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).

Leiden 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. For more information, please visit 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 four years (1,0 fte);
  • Participation in meetings of the project research group(s);
  • Presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • Participation in the training programme of the local Leiden Graduate School and the National Research School in Classics (OIKOS);
  • Participation in staff meetings of the Leiden Classics team 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, History or Cultural Studies 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;
  • 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 English, as well as reading competence in French, German and Italian;
  • 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 Miko Flohr ( or Prof. dr Ineke Sluiter ( We strongly recommend candidates to contact one of the supervisors prior to submitting their proposal. This is the reason why we established such a long period between the announcement of the position and the deadline for submission. 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 BA and MA 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).