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Postdoc Position (18 mos, 1,0 fte), Leiden University
Title: Generations: anchoring through genealogical discourse
(Anchoring Work Package 1: Language, Rhetoric, Communication)

Prof. dr. I. Sluiter (Leiden) and Dr. Luuk Huitink (University of Amsterdam)

Job description
There are various identifiable types of discursive practices or discourse types that specifically contribute to ‘anchoring’ the (new) present either by emphasizing its unbroken continuity with the past, or by explaining a certain aspect of the status quo on the basis of the past. They rely in part on cultural memory. Genealogy, mythology, aetiology, and etymology are prime examples. This PD project will focus on genealogical discourse, in the literary forms it takes (e.g. a list or an explanatory narrative), its role as argumentative device, and its place in ancient Greek and Roman cognition.

Genealogy determines the place in the world of the latest link in a chain of direct descent by connecting it to some meaningful point of origin in the past. This is often a god or hero or a first inventor. Thinking with and through ‘generations’ occurs in very different arenas and with different application: for example, it can be a tool to establish and maintain power relations, a structuring principle in mythography and historiography, a way of thiking about the quasiparental relationship between teachers and students (sometimes leading to a chain of succession of philosophers, poets, doctors, etc.), and an anchor for particular innovations, such as the designation of Socrates’ ‘midwifery’ as part of the family business. And there is more.

We are inviting candidates to design their own research project exploring the anchoring function of genealogical thought and the cognitive and conceptual role of generations in the ancient imagination. In their proposal, they should outline their suggested approach, main research questions, and expected original contribution to the field.

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” (

Host institution
The Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University is a unique international centre 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 more than 6,000 students and 800 staff members. For more information see

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. For more information see….

Terms and conditions
PD project, 18 mos (1.0 fte, 38 hrs per week), starting date to be agreed, with a preference for March 1, 2021. Initially the employee will receive a one-year contract, with extension for the following 6 months on condition of a positive evaluation. Salary range from € 3.746 to € 5.127 gross per month for a fulltime appointment (pay scale for PDs, 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:

Tasks of the PD will include:
o Designing, researching and writing two or three research papers on the agreed research theme; case studies welcome;
o Participation in meetings of the project research group(s);
o Presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
o Participation in staff meetings at Leiden Classics and the intellectual life of the department and the institute;
o Some teaching (one course) during one term.

o A completed PhD in Classics, held by time of appointment;
o Excellent research and publication record in relation to stage of career;
o Strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
o Excellent command of English

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 Prof. dr. Ineke Sluiter, 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):
o Cover letter;
o CV, including contact information of two referees;
o Transcript of records;
o 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);
o Copy of relevant diploma or statement by PhD 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-programme via before November 1, 2020. Interviews will take place in the week of Nov. 30 - Dec. 4. For candidates living abroad interviews may be held through an online platform.