Anchoring Devices in Ancient Rhetoric (Anchoring Work Package 1)

Institution Name 
Radboud University
Position Rank 
If Other, Please Specify 
postdoctoral researcher
Area of Specialty 
Additional Desirable Specialties 
Demonstrable knowledge of ancient rhetoric
This position is 
Application Deadline 
November 1, 2017


Postdoc project, 1.5 years (1.0fte), start date: 1 March 2018


Anchoring Devices in Ancient Rhetoric (Anchoring Work Package 1)


€3,238 to max. €4,757 gross per month (based on 38 hours a week, depending on previous experience)


Prof. Dr. B.M.C. Breij (RU)

Organisational unit:

Radboud University, Faculty of Arts

Job description:

Ancient rhetoric offers a number of devices to anchor what is new, unfamiliar, dangerously attractive or perhaps even threatening in what is old, tried and tested, and familiar. Two concepts immediately spring to mind and they will determine the approach of this project. In the first place, loci communes in the sense of clichés, i.e., universal sayings or timeless expressions of moral beliefs commonly shared by people belonging to the same cultural community or society. These can form a background against which a particular new or controversial event or person can be framed in a positive or negative way. The second concept is oratio figurata, the umbrella term for theories and methods for phrasing particular new or controversial messages in acceptable terms, for purposes of safety, decency, or amusement.

            For the post-doc project “Anchoring Devices in Ancient Rhetoric” we welcome proposals for research into the use of loci communes and / or oratio figurata as anchoring devices in (a) specimen(s) of Roman literature, with a strong preference for oratory and kindred genres. The anchoring devices may have been employed in a positive way, as in Seneca’s De Clementia, where Nero’s character and behaviour are anchored in those of Augustus, or in a negative way, as in Cicero’s Caesarian speeches, where Julius Caesar’s actions and attitudes are associated with the cliché of the eastern tyrant. The project’s approach will be philological; it will contribute to our knowledge not just of the selected textual corpus but also of its contexts, and of contemporary rhetorical theory. It will moreover finetune our ideas about how rhetoric can be used as an anchoring device. The succesful candidate will be required to write at least two internationally accessible papers.

More information about the Anchoring Innovation research agenda of OIKOS can be found on the OIKOS website (, including an article by Ineke Sluiter, entitled “Anchoring Innovation: a Classical Research Agenda” (


  • A PhD in Classics (Latin or Greek), held by time of appointment
  • Demonstrable knowledge of ancient rhetoric
  • An excellent research and publication record in relation to stage of career
  • A strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research
  • Excellent command of English
  • Some organisational experience

Job application:

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

  • Cover letter
  • CV, including list of publications and contact details of two referees
  • Research proposal of 1500 words (excluding bibliography and – if appropriate – appendix containing list of sources: together max. two pages A4)
  • Copy of relevant degree certificate(s)

Please submit your application to Dr. Roald Dijkstra, the coordinator of the Anchoring programme via before 1 November 2017.

Interviews will take place in the week beginning 4 December 2017. For candidates living abroad interviews may be held via Skype.

More information about this position may be obtained from Prof. Dr. B.B. Breij (

Course Load 
6-course load over 2 semesters
Placement Year 

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