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 (15th-19th 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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University of Bern
Place of work: 
Application deadline: 
15. June 2018