Postdoc project 'Agents of Change'

Institution Name 
Leiden University
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Postdoc position
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Application Deadline 
November 1, 2019
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Postdoc project (1.0 fte, 18 mos), Leiden University

Title: Agents of Change

(Anchoring Work Package B, Theory and Methods)


Prof. Dr Ineke Sluiter.

Job 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 new research agenda of the Dutch classicists, Anchoring Innovation.

Work Package B of the Anchoring Innovation program is responsible for forging and preserving connections between all the different thematic groups studying Anchoring Innovation in such different domains as politics, science, religion, philosophy, the law, material culture, literature, and linguistics.

Within this Work Package, we are looking for a Postdoc (1.0 fte, 18 mos) who will help design and organise a transversal workshop on ‘Agents of Change’ across all of these domains, as well as some of the team meetings. We invite candidates to submit a research proposal that will lead to two peer-reviewed publications on a theme or themes related to that of the workshop.

Innovation is about forms of purposeful or intentional change to solve newly identified problems or to cope with old issues in as yet unexplored ways. We use the term ‘invention’ to refer to the production of that intentional change in the form of ideas, practices, techniques, or objects. Invention, then, is part of the innovation process, but not coextensive with it. Innovation is what is perceived or constructed as innovation, the successful adoption of something new. It constitutes a development in which we must assume, or can identify, agency of one or more agents, who intended, instigated, invented, adopted, or promoted something new. We will distinguish between the history of the innovation itself (how it is embedded in the history of its discipline, for example) and issues of adoption and acceptance, of public discourse and representation, rhetoric and debate. The type of agency involved will be of interest throughout: the classical world is obsessed with (individual) ‘inventors’, but in many cases it is impossible to identify one specific source of an ‘invention’/’innovation’. Innovation often takes place at sites of cultural contact, as a process of synergy with important roles for ‘translators’ and ‘cultural brokers’.

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”.

Organisational unit:

Leiden University, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS).

For more information see:

The Faculty of Humanities:

The Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, LUCAS:


Postdoc project, 1.5 years (1.0 fte, 38 hrs/week), starting date to be agreed, with a preference for 1 March 2020.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training, and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see:


€ 3.637,- to € 4.978,- gross per month for a full-time appointment (38 hours) depending on prior education and working experience (pay scale 11, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Tasks of the postdoc will include:

  • Organising an international, interdisciplinary workshop to be held in 2021; possibly preparing results for publication;
  • Researching, writing and publishing two research papers;
  • Presenting papers at conferences, both in the Netherlands and internationally;
  • Taking part in the life of the Classics Department at Leiden University, and participating in the academic community of LUCAS, the national research school OIKOS, and the wider Anchoring Innovation project.


  • A PhD in Classics, preferably in Greek Literature (held by time of appointment);
  • An excellent research and publication record relative to stage of career;
  • Independent thinker; team player;
  • Excellent command of English;
  • Excellent competence in ancient Greek and Latin; reading competence in French, German, and Italian;
  • Practical; organizer (experience desirable); finisher.


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;
  • 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.

Please submit your complete application to Aniek van den Eersten, the coordinator of the Anchoring-programme, via 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.

Enquiries about the position can be addressed to the supervisor: Prof. Dr Ineke Sluiter, Questions about the procedure can be directed to Aniek van den Eersten,

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