Four-year PhD position in History – “Trade and consumption of Atlantic  commodities in the southern Alps” 

The  Historical  Institute  of  the  University  of  Bern  invites applications  for  a  four-year PhD  position  in  History.  The position is scheduled to start on November 1, 2018.  The PhD student will be a member of the project Atlantic Italies: Economic and Cultural Entanglements (15 th -19 th  Centuries), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2018-2022) and directed by Dr. Roberto  Zaugg.

This  project  explores  economic  entanglements  and  related  cultural phenomena (consumption,  material  culture,  knowledge  circulation)  that  developed  between  Italian-speaking territories and the Atlantic world. By focussing on connections linking European states without colonies to both  sub-Saharan  Africa  and  the  Americas,  the  project  embraces  a  decentred  and  trans-imperial approach to Atlantic history. At the same time, it contributes to current attempts to analyse early modern Italian  territories  in  their  global  contexts.  For  more  information,  please  refer  to
In this frame, the PhD student is expected to develop an individual project on the trade and consumption of Atlantic commodities (sugar, tobacco, codfish, etc.) in the Italian-speaking Alpine valleys of the Swiss Confederacy and the Three Leagues, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century.
The prospective PhD student is expected to have good knowledge of Italian, Latin and English and at least basic knowledge  of  German,  as  well  as  practical  experience  in  working  with  early  modern  manuscript sources.  Previous  experience  in  quantitative  data  analysis  is  a  plus,  but  not  a  necessary  requirement.
Candidates  applying  for  this  PhD  position  have  to  hold  an  MA  degree  (or  equivalent)  in  History  or  a related field by July 31, 2018.
In  addition  to  the  salary,  the  University  of  Bern/Swiss  National  Science  Foundation  will  sponsor  travel expenses related to research in Italian and Swiss archives as well as to international conferences. The PhD student will be expected to live in Switzerland during her/his contract.
Please, submit the following documents by e-mail as a single PDF-file to by June 15, 2018:

  • a letter of motivation: please explain what makes you a suitable candidate for this position and why you are interested in it;
  • a CV (with portrait picture);
  • a certificate of an MA (or equivalent);
  • a transcript of records;
  • the names and e-mail addresses of two possible referees whom the University of Bern may contact;
  • your MA thesis (or a significant seminar paper) – if possible with examiners’ report.

The letter of motivation and the CV may be written in Italian, German, French or English, according to the candidate’s preference.
The job interviews will take place in Bern on August 24, 2018. The selected candidates will be notified by July 15, 2018.

For further information, please contact Dr. Roberto Zaugg:

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