PhD position 'Medical Innovation in Early Hellenistic Alexandria'

Institution Name 
Utrecht University
Position Rank 
Other
If Other, Please Specify 
PhD position
Area of Specialty 
GreekProse
Additional Desirable Specialties 
AncientScience/Medicine
This position is 
Approved/Definite
Application Deadline 
November 1, 2019
Is the institution willing to sponsor a candidate for a visa? 
Yes

PhD project (4 years, 1.0 fte), Utrecht University

Title: Medical Innovation in Early Hellenistic Alexandria

(Anchoring Work Package 5, Technology, Science, and Material Culture)

Primary supervisor:

Prof. Dr T.L. Tieleman (Utrecht University).

Job description:

Alexandria in the early Hellenistic period was a hothouse of innovation in a variety of fields: politics, religion, literature, science, and technology. This project is concerned with the innovations associated with two medical theorists and practitioners in particular: Herophilus of Chalcedon and Erasistratus of Ceos, both active in Alexandria during the first half of the 3rd century BCE. How did they build on, adapted, and broke away from earlier models of human biology, most notably that represented by Aristotle and his school? What motivated their innovative work? What made it possible? A salient case is represented by human anatomy: both men engaged in the dissection of human (as opposed to animal) bodies, regarding anatomy and physiology as fundamental to (clinical) medicine. What explains the emergence of dissection of human bodies as an integral part of medicine, in spite of traditional religious and moral scruples as well as scientific objections? And its abandonment soon after Herophilus and Erasistratus? A fresh perspective may be opened by studying this case of attempted innovation in terms of anchoring. Apart from medicine itself, social, moral, and religious aspects need to be taken into account. Applicants are invited to respond creatively to the problematic as sketched above and develop their own proposal (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus) for a research project dealing with Alexandrian medicine from a historical perspective.

More information about the Anchoring Innovation research agenda of OIKOS can be found on the OIKOS website (www.ru.nl/oikos/anchoring-innovation), including an article by Ineke Sluiter, entitled “Anchoring Innovation: a Classical Research Agenda”.

Organisational unit:

Utrecht University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. For more information, see: www.uu.nl/en/organisation/faculty-of-humanities.

Position:

PhD project, 4 years (1.0 fte, 38 hrs/week), starting date to be agreed, with a preference for 1 April 2020. Initially a contract will be given for 18months, with an extension for the following 30 months on condition of good performance and a positive evaluation.

Salary:

€ 2.325,- to € 2.972,- gross per month (based on a full-time appointment of 38 hours).

Tasks of the PhD candidate will include:

  • Completion of a PhD thesis within four years;
  • 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 National Research School OIKOS.

Requirements:

  • A Research MA, MA or MPhil degree in Classics, Ancient History, History of Philosophy or Science or Medicine, with a demonstrable interest in ancient medicine, such as a relevant MA-thesis, held by the time of appointment (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);
  • Excellent research skills;
  • A strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • Excellent command of English.

Application:

In order to be considered, 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;
  • Research proposal of 1500 words. Excluded are the bibliography and (if appropriate) an appendix containing a list of sources (together max. two pages A4);
  • Copy of relevant diploma;
  • If necessary (see requirements), statement by supervisor confirming that the applicant will hold the required degree at the time of appointment.

Please submit your complete application to Aniek van den Eersten, the coordinator of the Anchoring-programme, via anchoring@let.ru.nl before 1 November 2019.

Interviews will take place in the week of 2-6 December 2019. For candidates living abroad interviews may be held via Skype.

More information about this position may be obtained from Prof. Dr Teun Tieleman, t.l.tieleman@uu.nl. Questions about the procedure can be directed to Aniek van den Eersten, anchoring@let.ru.nl.

Course Load 
Negotiable
Placement Year 

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