Research Fellow – Dissident Networks Project, Masaryk University

The Dissident Networks Project (DISSINET) – an ERC Consolidator Grant-funded research initiative based at Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic) – offers a full-time research fellowship in computational text analysis. The research of the successful applicant will focus on the discursive patterns in medieval inquisitorial records, with the aim of shining a new light on the production of these texts, their discourses, and the religious cultures they describe.

We are searching for a research fellow with one of the following types of profile:

  • (a) digital humanist, with competence in one or more historical languages and some experience in programmingor
  • (b) computational linguist, NLP specialist or text mining specialist, with interest in history or historical languages;
  • (c) another kind of mixed/interdisciplinary profile, with some of the previously mentioned competencies and strong interest in working on a historical research project.

The successful candidate will develop their own research direction in consultation with the Principal Investigator (Dr. David Zbíral), focusing on the computational text processing and analysis of medieval inquisition records.

DISSINET also works extensively on the manual coding of medieval inquisitorial material, offering a significant close-reading layer of data. We focus on various computational approaches to Christian dissent and inquisition, also including social network analysis, socio-semantic network analysis, and geographic information science: the successful candidate will have the opportunity to produce mixed-methodology work in this collaborative context. The ERC-funded position thus represents a unique opportunity for building a truly cutting-edge research profile.

The position is residential (although with reasonable flexibility for pandemic-related travel restrictions). Brno is a very pleasant university city ca. 2 hours by direct train connection from Vienna and Prague, and offers all the opportunities of a modern metropolis.

Requirements:

  • M.A., MSc. or Ph.D. degree in a relevant field.
  • Strong interest in historical research and the project’s topic.
  • Experience in computational research of textual corpora.
  • Ability to learn new techniques and adapt existing ones (e.g., customize available tools to the Latin of inquisitorial sources).
  • Programming skills (Python or R).
  • Digital text representation and annotation standards (esp. TEI/XML).
  • Competence in academic writing.
  • English language (C1 or higher).
  • Autonomy, reliability, and ability to work in close team collaboration.

Other competencies of interest to the project:

  • Historical languages (Latin, Middle English…).
  • Distributional semantics, stylometry.
  • Experience with repositories of digital texts.
  • Data standards and interoperability (e.g., RDF, linked data).
  • Version control (e.g., GitHub, GitLab…).

We do not expect candidates to possess all of these “other competencies of interest”, and recognise there may be other skills beyond this list that could enhance DISSINET’s research profile.

The candidate’s degree does not need to be recent for this position. We are open to those seeking to return to academia or to change their focus within it. Applications from female candidates are particularly encouraged.

The electronic application deadline is 15 September 2021.

Full details may be found on the website.

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