Research Associate: Crossroads of Knowledge in Early Modern England: the Place of Literature
£28,132 – £36,661
Department / Institution
Faculty of English and CRASSH
This project uncovers the interface between imaginative literature and epistemology in its wider sense in early modern England (1500-1700). This period of intense literary production also saw the cultural forces of humanism and the Reformation collide; crucial shifts in the law; scientific advancement; and dramatic expansion in trade and travel. At stake across the board was knowledge: its theories and technologies, its excitements and anxieties. We examine intersections between literary forms and apparently disparate areas of thinking about ways of knowing; at the same time, we remain attentive to the thresholds between these more explicitly epistemic disciplines. Research is to be organised along the four disciplinary strands in the first four years, with literary intervention as a running thread.
The final year will consolidate the project with specific events.
Subsequent disciplinary segregation has obscured the understood relations among these disciplines: epistemic transactions vital to the experiences of knowledge and belief which so deeply vexed and shaped the period’s thought. To recover the multiple frame against which this culture articulates its conceptions of knowledge, we read these fields as coeval but distinct, and attend to both affinity and difference, complicity and critique. We grapple with the methods of each discipline; in our deployment of literary engagements, we do not posit literature as ethically superior but as methodologically productive for this enquiry. Through the thematic foci of knowing and knowingness, doubt and unknowing, we aim to recover a so-far uncharted history of the blind spots of knowledge, thereby rewriting the story of early modern epistemology.
The findings of the project team will be disseminated to a scholarly audience and the wider public through monographs, volumes of essays, a critical edition of primary material across the relevant disciplines, an exhibition, conferences and colloquia, and a project website. The project is based jointly at the Faculty of English and CRASSH; the latter also co-hosts Dr Alexander Marr’s ERC project, Genius before Romanticism: Ingenuity in Early Modern Art and Science.
Download a Project Description here.
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Job Description and Key Responsibilities
Each post-doc will research the particular strand for which they have been appointed, while simultaneously working towards their own monographs and articles on aspects of early modern ways of knowing. Fifty percent of each RA’s time will be spent on research tasks directed by the PI, the remaining fifty percent will be spent on their individual publications. The RAs will be expected to participate in weekly reading groups and work-in-progress meetings, and in all project events. They will assist the PI in the organisation of project activities such as conferences, colloquia, hosting visitors, and the exhibition. They will be expected to share in the responsibility of editing project outputs, to contribute relevant content for the project’s website and databases, and to have completed a draft of their monograph and/or articles by the project’s end date.
This section details the knowledge, skills and experience we require for the role.
Education & qualifications
A good first degree and a PhD in a relevant field of research, which must have been awarded by the start of the post.
Specialist knowledge & skills
• RA 1: specialist in early modern English theology, with a focus on theological uncertainties.
• RA 2: specialist in 16th-17th-century economic history, with an interest in insurance, risk and betting. Focused on England but a familiarity with Continental developments, and a knowledge of Italian/Dutch, would be an advantage.
• RA 3: specialist in natural philosophy and any aspect of the arts (ideally, literature, and/or the visual arts) in Renaissance England and Europe.
Familiarity with current digital humanities research and technology may be an advantage.
• Fluency in English is required.
• Reading proficiency in Latin is highly desirable.
• Reading proficiency in at least one modern European language, especially Italian and/or Dutch, is desirable.
Interpersonal & communication skills
• Evidence of ability to organise and participate in collaborative research initiatives/projects.
• Evidence of ability to present research findings to a scholarly audience.
• The RA is expected to conduct the majority of their research in Cambridge, but must be willing to travel to European and US libraries and archives where relevant to the project’s research/dissemination of research results.
Terms and Conditions
The RAs will be based at the Faculty of English.
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50% of time will be devoted to project research tasks as directed by the PI, 50% will be spent on individual monograph projects and other publications.
Hours of work
Your appointment is full time. There are no conditions relating to hours and times of work but you are expected to work such hours and days as are reasonably necessary for the proper performance of your duties. Your times of work should be agreed between you, the PI and your head of institution.
Length of appointment
4.5 years from the RA’s start date but not later than project end date of September 2019.
Full-time employees are entitled to annual paid leave of 6.6 weeks (or 33 days for those working full time), plus public holidays.
Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS
The University does not operate a retirement age for assistant staff/research staff/unestablished academic staff/unestablished academic-related staff OR For established academic and academic-related staff, the University operates a retirement age which is at the end of the academical year in which the University officer reaches the age of 67.
Pre-employment Check Requirements
We have a legal responsibility to ensure that you have the right to work in the UK before you can start working for us. If you do not have the right to work in the UK already, any offer of employment we make to you will be conditional upon you gaining it. If you need further information, you may find the Right to Work page within the ‘Applying for a job’ section of the University’s Job Opportunities pages helpful (please see http://www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/right/have/
Applications should be made via the online system by 30 April 2014, and should include:
• Curriculum vitae, uploaded as a PDF file. Proficiency in languages must be indicated.
• A statement of suitability for the position (cover letter) typed directly into the field DESCRIPTION,
not exceeding 2,000 words.
• A Proposal for a Monograph on early modern ingenuity, commensurate with the project’s scope and aims, uploaded as a PDF file. The proposal, which should not exceed 2,000 words, should indicate suitability for the project, contribution to the field, resources to be used, and research skills required for completion. It should include a short bibliography and plan for completion of the monograph by the end-date of the RA position.
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• A Sample of Writing, uploaded as a PDF in the field indicated, of no more than 10,000 words. This should be the work that best indicates the candidate’s suitability for this project. The writing sample may be published work, a chapter from the applicant’s thesis, or an unpublished essay/article.
• Completed form CHRIS 6, Parts 1 & 3 only, uploaded as a PDF in the Additional Material field.
• The names and contact details of two referees who are familiar with applicant’s work, and who must submit confidential academic references via the online system by the closing date. It is the candidates’ responsibility to ensure that letters of reference are received by the deadline.
Interviews are planned for the week of 23 June 2014.
Shortlisted candidates invited for interview will be informed by 16 June 2014. We regret that we will only contact shortlisted candidates. Informal enquiries may be directed to the project leader: Dr Alexander Marr (firstname.lastname@example.org
). Information about the application process may be directed to the Administrator, Catherine Hurley (email@example.com
The University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is one of the world’s oldest and most successful Universities, with an outstanding reputation for academic achievement and research. It was ranked first in the 2011 QS World University Rankings and its graduates have won more Nobel Prizes than any other university in the world. The University comprises more than 150 departments, faculties, schools and other institutions, plus a central administration and 31 independent and autonomous colleges.
The University and the Colleges are linked in a complex historical relationship. The Colleges are self- governing, separate legal entities which appoint their own staff. They admit students, provide student accommodation and deliver small group teaching (supervisions). The University awards degrees and its faculties and departments provide lectures and seminars for students, determine the syllabi for teaching and conduct research.
What the University can offer you
One of our core values at the University of Cambridge is to recognise and reward our staff as our greatest asset. We realise that it’s our people who have built our outstanding reputation and that we will only maintain our leading position in the academic world by continuing to attract and retain talented and motivated people. If you choose to come and work with us, you will find that we offer:
• Excellent benefits – You will be eligible for a wide range of competitive benefits and services, including numerous discounts on shopping, health care, financial services and public transport. We also offer defined benefits pension schemes and tax-efficient bicycle, car lease and charity-giving schemes.
We will help you balance your home and work life by providing you with generous annual leave entitlement and procedures for requesting a career break or flexible working arrangements if you need them. You will also have access to a range of well-being support services, including in-house Occupational Health and Counselling services. If you have childcare responsibilities, you may also benefit from the enhanced maternity/adoption pay, two nurseries and a holiday play scheme that we provide.
We are keen to welcome new employees from other parts of the UK and other countries to Cambridge. If you will be relocating to Cambridge on a centrally funded appointment of two years or more, you may be
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eligible for our relocation expenses scheme. The University Accommodation Service will also be available to help you find suitable rented accommodation and to provide advice on renting arrangements and local facilities, if required. In addition, certain academic and academic-related appointments are eligible for the Shared Equity Scheme which offers financial assistance with the purchase of living accommodation. You may find the pages at www.internationalstaff.ac.uk
helpful in planning a relocation.
• A welcoming and inclusive environment – We will help you settle into your new role and working environment through a central University induction event, local induction activities and our online induction package. Where appropriate to your role, you will have a probation period to provide a supportive framework for reviewing your progress and discussing your training and development needs.
If you are relocating to Cambridge, you and your family will be welcome to attend the Newcomers and Visiting Scholars Group, which provides an opportunity to find out more about Cambridge and meet other people new to the area.
• Extensive development opportunities – The encouragement of career development for staff is one of the University’s core values. We put this into practice through various services and initiatives, including:
– A wide-range of training courses and online learning packages.
– The Staff Review and Development (SRD) Scheme, which is designed to enhance work effectiveness
and facilitate career development post-probation.
– Leave for career and personal development, including long-term study leave for assistant staff and
sabbatical leave for academic staff.
– The CareerStart@Cam programme, which supports assistant staff roles without higher education
qualifications to develop their skills, experience and qualifications. Assistant staff may also apply for
financial assistance for study which results in a qualification.
– Reduced staff fees for University of Cambridge graduate courses.
– The opportunity to attend lectures and seminars held by University departments and institutions.
– Policies and processes dedicated to the career development of researchers and the implementation of
the principles of the Concordat, which have led to the University being recognised with an HR Excellence in Research Award by the European Commission.
Equality of Opportunity at the University
We are committed to a proactive approach to equality, which includes supporting and encouraging all under- represented groups, promoting an inclusive culture and valuing diversity. We make selection decisions based on personal merit and an objective assessment against the criteria required for the post. We do not treat job applicants or members of staff less favourably than one another on the grounds of sex (including gender reassignment), marital or parental status, race, ethnic or national origin, colour, disability (including HIV status), sexual orientation, religion, age or socio-economic factors.
We have various diversity networks to help us progress equality; these include the Women’s Staff Network, the Disabled Staff Network, the Black and Minority Ethnic Staff Network and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Staff Network. In addition, we were ranked in the top 100 employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) staff in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2013 and we hold an Athena SWAN bronze award at organisation level for promoting women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine.
Information if you have a Disability
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We will make adjustments to enable applicants to compete to the best of their ability wherever it is reasonable to do so, and, if successful, to assist them during their employment.
We encourage applicants to declare their disabilities in order that any special arrangements, particularly for the selection process, can be accommodated. Applicants or employees can declare a disability at any time. If you wish to discuss any special arrangements connected with a disability, please contact the Administrator, who is responsible for recruitment to this position, on 01223 760490 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
. Alternatively, you may contact the HR Business Manager responsible for the department you are applying to via email@example.com
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