12 September 2023
Centre for Privacy Studies (PRIVACY), funded by the Danish National Research Foundation and based in Copenhagen, invites applications for two fully funded PhD positions within the fields of Church History, Legal History, Social History, History of Ideas or related fields.
PRIVACY runs 2017-27. It is funded by a grant of 83 million DKK (ca. 11.1 mio Euro) from the Danish National Research Foundation and based at the University of Copenhagen. PRIVACY is directed by Professor Mette Birkedal Bruun. It is hosted by the Section of Church History at the Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen, in association with The Royal Danish Academy: Architecture, Design, Conservation, Copenhagen.
The Centre for Privacy Studies
PRIVACY is dedicated to interdisciplinary and collaborative research into notions of privacy in Early Modern Europe and beyond. The collaborative programme is driven by an interdisciplinary vision of an integrated approach in which a team of scholars collaborate, challenge and inspire each other in a joint pursuit of notions, terms, experiences, instances and absences of privacy across five themes: beliefs, health, home, law and urban space. Shared responsibility across academic hierarchies is a token of PRIVACY’s vision for interactive research education.
The aim of PRIVACY is to develop 1) systematized historical knowledge of dynamics that shape, induce or curb privacy in society; 2) an interdisciplinary method equipped to grasp such dynamics; and 3) a strong and vibrant international research environment dedicated to high-profile historical research and equipped to incite a much broader investigation of privacy.
PRIVACY’s scholarly potency stems from its site-based interdisciplinary analysis. Across distinct historical cases the research team trawl a broad array of Early Modern material: letters, laws, political manuals, newspapers, sermons, visual representations, architectural drawings, buildings, diaries, contracts, community records and material remains etc. for notions of privacy, analysing the deployment of words with the root ‘priv-ʼ: in privato, privy, Privat-(person/andacht etc.), privauté etc. as well as boundaries drawn in relation to, e.g., confidentiality, security, family, body, self and physical space. The research programme is based on a joint interdisciplinary focus on, e.g., legislative thresholds between home and community; decrees regarding individuals’ bodies, e.g., during epidemics, or the idea of household’s (oeconomia) impact on civic well-being (politia); ecclesiastical and political power over ‘heretical’ mindsets; and architectural demarcation of individuals’ place in a household.
For further description of the project and the eleven cases, please visit the research section of the centre homepage.
PRIVACY’s research programme is based on a systematic, scholarly fusion of the areas of architecture, theology, law and history. The research programme brings together five themes, including five sets of skills and approaches to privacy:
Beliefs: Early modern believers understood material and mental retreat as a site for pious focus: privacy is often presented as place particularly fit for prayer and insight but also as something that evades control and therefore prompts suspicion. The private sphere of believers was an ideal and a threat to the public order, leading to efforts to regulate this sphere by means of church discipline.
Qualifications required: Knowledge of religious doctrines, practices and institutions in one of the early modern confessions, ability to work with different genres, media and forms of archival material. Willingness to move beyond disciplinary boundaries, to broaden geographical scopes and to engage, e.g., with early modern colonialism in missionary settlements.
Health: In the early modern period, illness and health challenged the boundaries of public concern and private life. Treating disease at an individual level demanded knowing intimate information, but rules of confidentiality had to be negotiated case-by-case and between opposing social pressures. At the same time, epidemics made people’s bodies a matter of public scrutiny.
Qualifications required: Knowledge of history of medicine or cultural history of health and healing, ability to work with primary sources, willingness to broaden geographical scopes and apply transregional perspectives.
Home: In the early modern period, the home was a place of manifold activities engaged in by many different people, both those living there and external co-producers. Certain types of spaces such as the cabinet and study became increasingly established to carve out spaces for more stringent control of co-presence. Niches, staircases, windows are examples of sites where different degrees of privacy could be enabled and created. Mobile elements such as furniture and textiles could be arranged to create secrecy and shelter.
Qualifications required: Knowledge of the early modern period, architectural history and theories, design processes, patronage, inhabitation, materiality and tectonics.
Law: Early Modern jurists negotiate public and private interest in different contexts and instances such as property, contracts, inheritance, marriage and sexual conduct, honour and reputation, legal procedure as well as the relationship between rulers and subjects. Privacy is often associated with secrecy or clandestinity and either repressed or protected depending on circumstances and actors involved.
Qualifications required: Knowledge of legal science and legal procedure, laws, charters, legal treatises, court decisions their usage and changes.
Urban Space: Early modern cities set the stage for negotiating material and cultural boundaries for privacy, in spaces within buildings, in the streets and in relation to sites outside the walls. In response to surveillance, the social use of space can be a breeding ground for both the infringement of everyday life and the need for privacy.
Qualifications required: Knowledge of interlinked material, cultural, social or political dynamics of early modern cities, spatial aspects of everyday practices, and ability to work with both regulating documents and primary sources that remains from inhabitants from across the social strata.
Applicants must have an MA degree within the fields of Church History, History, History of Ideas, Legal History or related disciplines. The research language is English. The research team as a whole work on sources in English, French, German, Danish, Dutch, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish and Classical Greek. Specialist knowledge of Early Modern culture is important. Just as central is, however, readiness to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration on a broad array of different sources and work towards an integrated methodology for historical privacy studies. Candidates must apply with a project within one or several of the themes. The Centre has an early modern focus. However, in specific, relevant cases we may adopt a broader chronological scope. We welcome projects that reach beyond Europe.
An Equal Opportunity Workplace
University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society, and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates, regardless of their personal backgrounds. For more information on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Research, see https://employment.ku.dk/working-at-ucph/eu-charter-for-researchers/
Two identical online recruitment seminars will take place on 29 September (10-11.30 and 15-16.30 CEST). The seminars involve an introduction to PRIVACY and its research programme as well as a presentation of expectations regarding applications. There will be time for questions and exchanges. It is not possible to attend anonymously. For more information and registration, please check: https://teol.ku.dk/privacy/events/events-2023/recruitment-seminars-for-two-phd-positions/
PhD students at PRIVACY are required to be present at the centre for the duration of their employment. They will participate in weekly meetings, field trips and workshops and be required to contribute to joint publications where appropriate. Both PhD students will be enrolled at the PhD-school of the Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen.
The Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen. The Faculty is non-confessional and dates from 1479. Its research covers Biblical Studies, Church History and Systematic Theology as well as Quranic Studies, Jewish Studies and African Studies. The Faculty is home to a number of high-profile international interdisciplinary research projects. PRIVACY is associated with the Department of Church History which has a strong Early Modern research focus.
Terms of employment The successful PhD candidates will be offered a full-time PhD position for a period of three years. The candidates will be employed and paid in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC).
Applications must be submitted via the electronic application system. Click on the link provided below to be taken to the online application form.
The application should be in English and include the following attachments:
We advise you to have the documents ready before you begin your online application.
Application deadline and starting date
Applications must be submitted electronically no later than 15 October 2023. Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
The ideal starting date would be 1 January 2024, but subject to negotiation.
After the application deadline, the Director of Centre for Privacy Studies selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointments Committee. This selection is based on the applicants’ educational qualifications, the quality of the submitted research proposal and its relevance to the research agenda of the centre as well as other relevant qualifications. All applicants are immediately notified whether their application has been accepted for assessment.
The applications accepted for assessment will be assessed by an interdisciplinary committee, comprising expertise in the relevant fields. Selected applicants will be notified of the composition of the assessment committee. When the committee has completed its assessment, each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the assessment. A number of qualified candidates will be selected for a job interview in Copenhagen. We aim to interview short-listed candidates in November 2023.
For information about PRIVACY, please check this website.
For questions regarding research, please contact Centre Director, Professor Mette Birkedal Bruun (firstname.lastname@example.org); for practical questions, please contact Centre Administrator Maj Riis Poulsen (email@example.com).
For questions regarding the recruitment process, please contact HR South and City Campuses (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Potential applicants from outside Denmark will find information about life in Denmark (taxation, healthcare etc.) on the website of International Staff Mobility.
Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.