Postdoctoral positions in Central Eastern European Church–State relations history
Organisation/Company: Research Centre for the Humanities (Budapest)
Research Field: History
Research profile: R2 or R3
Application Deadline: 21 August 2022
Job–status: full– or part–time
Type of Contract: temporary
The Institute of History of the Research Centre for Humanities, Hungary’s leading non‐
university research facility, is inviting applications for
positions of Postdoctoral Research Fellow (f*m)
to collaborate on a ERC project, Negotiating Sovereignty: Challenges of secularism and Nation
Building in Central Eastern Europe since 1780, led by Dr. András Fejérdy. The project
SOVEREIGNTY is the first comparative investigation of the combined history of the conflicts
between transnational institutions and modern states with a claim to sovereignty in the
Habsburg Monarchy and its successor states (Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia,
Yugoslavia, and Romania) between 1780 and 1990. The project provides this investigation by
examining the history of the conflicts concerning the oaths of allegiance required of the
hierarchy of the Catholic Church by secular powers. It advances the hypothesis that the history
of East Central Europe was decisively shaped by the conflicts and negotiations between the
modern state and the church, each of which asserted claims to sovereignty. The goal of the
project is not simply to explore the history of a well–known legal–political “institution” which
was used to ensure the loyalty of the clergy but which has only been partially examined in
Central Eastern Europe. By examining the reasons for the state’s insistence on oaths of loyalty,
the reactions of the church, and changes in the forms of the oaths and the practices surrounding
them as a ritual by era and country, the project will identify elements of continuity and
discontinuity in the relationship between church and state in the contexts of Josephinism,
secularisation, secularism, nationalism, nation (state) building, and communism. The
investigation of local relations, conflicts, and interactions of nationalism and Catholicism will
also shed new light on the evolution of how the Holy See dealt with nationalism and “national
Catholicisms” over time. Thus SOVEREIGNTY is a completely collaborative project which
draws on the historiographies, archives, and languages of six European countries in its focus on
the historical contexts of conflicts concerning the oaths of loyalty against the different cultural
and political backdrops in these countries.
We seek applicants with strong interest in the research aera, familiarity with the historical
context of Eastern and Centrale Europe and the history of Church–State relations. Postdoctoral
researchers will be expected to take into consideration the cultural history of oath of loyalty,
the evolution of the relationship between church and state and between Catholicism and the nation as well as the challenges posed by the catholic Church as a transnational institution to
state sovereignty in one or more geographical–linguistic–cultural regions (Habsburg
Monarchy/Austria, Poland, Croatia/Yugoslavia, Bohemia&Moravia/Czechoslovakia,
Romania) in the nineteenth and/or twentieth centuries. Researchers will be required to focus
particularly on the creation, use, survival and modification of model oaths: 1./ The period in
which the model oath first prescribed by Joseph II and then changed was used (from rougly
1780 to 1855). 2./ An analysis of the creation, use (up to 1918) and assessments of the 1855
oath in the context of national movements and the multinational empire. 3./ In the age of new
nationalisms after the First World War, an examination of the practices of new nation states and
the processes which led, through compromises, to new oath (1918–1945). 4./ Study of the
practices of state socialism concerning the oath (i.e. the period from 1945–1990).
Researchers are not requested to be based in Budapest, but they can stay in the examined region to foster on site work in libraries and archives. Collective work and continuous communication among the members of the research group will be ensured through regular online consultations as well as by workshops held twice a year.
– A passion for history, strong academic qualities and a PhD degree in History, in
Theology or in related discipline with demonstrated historical research capacity and
– Ability to work independently and collaboratively in research teams.
– Knowledge of – or affinity with – the history of the Catholic Church, especially during
the 19th and 20th centuries.
– Experience in archival research in various geographic locations.
– Experience in working with research questions that relate to the rationale of the project.
– Excellent language skills in at least one East–Central–European language (German,
Czech, Slovak, Polish, Rumanian, Croatian).
– Excellent English communication skills.
– Peer–reviewed publications (or submitted/accepted manuscripts).
Duties and responsibilities
– Postdoctoral research within the ERC Consolidator Grant SOVEREIGNTY.
– Conduct a thorough literature study and in–depth archival research.
– Prepare academic publications, peer–reviewed journal articles in particular.
– Contributing to the collective monograph synthesizing the findings of the project.
– Contributing to project aims such as academic event organisation, public dissemination
of research results, publications.
– In total 6 postdoctoral positions are included in this project.
– The positions will be filled for a fixed–term period of four years (48 months). The
planned (earliest) starting date is October 1, 2022, or as mutually agreed. A trial period
of six months applies to all our new employees.
– The salary will be based on both the job requirements and the employee’s personal
performance in accordance with the internal regulations of Research Centre for the
Humanities, Budapest. A typical gross salary of Postdoctoral Researcher in internationalresearch groups is around 2500 EUR/month (i.e. net payment around 1800
– The posts include a generous annual research and travel allowance for further research
trips and workshops/conferences.
How to apply?
Applicants need to submit:
– an up–to–date CV and list of publications,
– Short letter of reference from one scholar and names and contact details (email, phone
number) of two more referees.
– Preliminary research proposal (max 4 pages) consisting of
o a description of previous research experience (such as PhD thesis);
o a research idea/vision where you tell why the project’s themes or approach
interest you and how you would like to focus your own research in this context;
please also specify the type of sources you would like to base your research on;
o motivation for the task with a statement on working as part of a research team.
– relevant certificates (e.g. copy of the doctorate certificate),
– two recent English language papers, chapters, or manuscripts that best represent your
Please send your complete application package as one single pdf file to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The applications will be processed starting August 22, 2022. The position will remain open
until filled. After pre–selection based ont he application file, possible candidates will be invited
for an online interview. Interviews are planned from September 1, 2022 onwards.
For further information on the position please contact the research assistant Orsolya Kotnyek
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