Postdoctoral position in Economic and Social History (Ghent University)

RHN 12/2015 | Opportunity

The History Department (Research Group Economy-Ecology-Demography) at Ghent University (Belgium) announces four vacancies for researchers within the GOA project funded by Ghent University on “Economic growth and inequality. Explaining divergent regional growth paths in pre-industrial Europe (Late Middle Ages-19th century)”. We are looking for three PhD students and one Postdoctoral researcher.

Please submit applications before 1 April 2015

Job description

The postdoctoral researcher will work within the GOA project funded by Ghent University “Economic growth and inequality. Explaining divergent regional growth paths in pre-industrial Europe (Late Middle Ages-19th century)” which aims to explain regionally divergent paths of economic development in Europe. The project will search for the roots of modern economic growth using a long-term, regionally differentiated and comparative analysis of the divergent trajectories of economic growth. Regional dynamics as well as social relations, rather than national frameworks, are central to the project. A comparative analysis will developed, using selected European regions as test areas. The postdoctoral researcher will study rural economic developments in Flanders in the pre-industrial period in an international comparative context and assist the supervisors in the coordination of the project. He/She will also develop the comparative and interpretative framework together with the team of supervisors. He/She will publish in academic journals of high standard.

The postdoc will be based at the History Department of Ghent University (Belgium) and be part of larger research team consisting of three PhD students, the supervisors prof. Erik Thoen, prof. Eric Vanhaute, prof. Koen Schoors, prof. Thijs Lambrecht and prof. Isabelle Devos, and the external supervisors prof. Jane Whittle (University of Exeter, UK), prof. Paolo Malanima (Magna Graecia University, Catanzaro, IT) and prof. Markus Cerman (Universität Wien, AT).

Profile of the candidate

  • The candidate should have a PhD in history or another social or economic science with a clear interest in economic and social history.
  • The candidate should have demonstrable knowledge of scholarly literature and theoretical approaches of social and economic history. Disposing of high standard publications is an advantage.
  • The candidate should have a high level of proficiency in English sufficient to communicate effectively with colleagues.
  • The candidate should be prepared to work in close collaboration with the supervising team as well as the PhD students working within the project.
  • The candidate should have the ability to write for and talk to an academic audience and to work well within international teams and networks.
  • The candidate should promote the project, keep close contacts with the PhD students and be prepared to travel on a regular basis.


We offer a full-time postdoc position (1,0 fte), beginning 1st October 2015, consisting of an initial period of 12 months which, after a satisfactory first year, will be extended by another 36 months (4 years in total). The gross monthly salary will be approx. € 3876 (minimum) based on a full working week (38 hours) and depending on relevant work experience. Only a limited amount of work experience can be taken into account.

The postdoc will have the opportunity to work within a stimulating research environment which is internationally oriented as a result of the links of the supervisors with different international networks such as the CORN network  (Comparative Rural History of the North Sea Area) (see:

To apply

Please submit applications before April 1st 2015 and send the following documents:

  • cv;
  • cover letter outlining your academic interests, research experience and reasons for wishing to work on this project;
  • one or two references from referees familiar with your academic work;
  • a verified transcript of your highest qualification to date or an interim transcript if you are still finishing your PhD.

Please submit applications before April 1st 2015 via email (obligatory) with subject ‘Postdoc. Application GOA project’ to A paper copy of the application should also be sent to: Professor Erik Thoen, Ghent University, History Department Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35, B-9000 Gent, Belgium.

Further information can also be obtained via prof. Erik Thoen (email: see above; telephone numbers: +32(0)474891057 (prof. Erik Thoen), +32 (0)9 33 10288 (Mrs. Astrid Schoeters) or +32 (0) 9 331 02 18 (Mr. Bart Cosyns)).