Job: postdoc religious networks in Medieval Europe

This postdoc will be a great opportunity of interest to readers of this blog. It is for network science and GIS work on religious networks in Medieval Europe. It is based in Brno with colleagues who are also involved in the GEHIR project, which demonstrates these scholars’ excellent work in both the history of religion and network science. Excellent stuff!! Moreover, Brno hosted the recent historical network research conference. So this is a really relevant place and team to join if you love past networks!

Deadline 20 February.

More information in this message from Dr. David Zbíral.

Dear colleagues,

The DISSINET project (“Dissident Religious Cultures in Medieval Europe from the Perspective of Social Network Analysis and Geographic Information Systems”), based at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, Department for the Study of Religions and funded by a “Projects of Excellence” grant from the Czech Science Foundation for the period between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2023, is searching for a postdoctoral researcher to join its recently established team. The position is full-time, fixed-term, for 24 months with a very likely extension (based on the quality of collaboration) to the end of the project (31 December 2023). The expected start date is 1 April 2019 (negotiable). The deadline for applications is 20 February.


  • Ph.D. or equivalent in history, medieval studies, the study of religions, or another field related to the project’s focus

  • Specialization in either (a) religious dissent and/or inquisitorial or other trial records in medieval or early modern Europe, or (b) historical research informed by computational, network-analytical, or quantitative methods

  • Secure command of Latin and English

  • Computer-friendly mindset (tables, digital tools)

  • Academic writing skills in English

  • Team spirit, moral integrity, reliability

We offer:

  • Full-time research position in a committed interdisciplinary team working on an exciting frontier-research project

  • Competitive salary above the average for similar positions in the Czech Republic (good ratio between salary and local living costs)

  • Individual research budget for participating in conferences and workshops, buying books, etc. (ca. 3,000 € each year)

  • Training and growth in interdisciplinary digital research (social network analysis, geographic information systems, databases)

  • Participation in writing high-profile publications in history, social network analysis, and the digital humanities

  • Friendly and informal working environment

The position requires physical presence in Brno, the Czech Republic.

The selection procedure has two rounds: the first is based on the submitted attachments, the second (for short-listed applicants) is based on written exchange and interview through Skype or personally in Brno.

The candidate’s doctoral degree does not need to be recent for this postdoctoral position. Career breaks do not pose any problem. Applications from female candidates are particularly encouraged.

More information about this position and link to the e-application: .

Please feel free to contact the project’s PI, Dr. David Zbíral, at if you have any questions.

With all best wishes,

David Zbíral.

Dr. David Zbíral

Associate Professor at Masaryk University (Study of Religions)

General Secretary of the Czech Association for the Study of Religions,

Department for the Study of Religions,

Faculty of Arts | Masaryk University

Arna Nováka 1 | 602 00 Brno | Czech Republic

Network workshop London 4-5 March

The following workshop looks like a great place to get experience with network science in practice.

Via Johannes Preiser-Kapeller:

Reminder: Network analysis for historians and archaeologists (introductory workshop, London, 4-5 March 2019)

organised by Dr. Philip Wood
with Dr. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller

DATE AND TIME: Mon, 4 Mar 2019, 10:00 – Tue, 5 Mar 2019, 17:00 GMT

LOCATION: Aga Khan Centre, 10 Handyside Street, London N1C 4DN…

The workshop will provide both an overview of basic concepts of network theory and their application in historical and archaeological research as well as an introduction into software tools and practical network analysis.

In particular, the following themes will be covered:

· Nodes, Links and Degree. Basic concepts of quantitative network analysis
· Papyri, potsherds, people, sites, relations: theoretical consideration and examples of historical and archaeological network analysis
· From data to network model: organisation, processing and entering of relational data
· From the model to results: analysis, visualisation and interpretation of network models
All participants will receive in advance a selection of preparatory readings, a bibliography (for further research), download links for the necessary software tools and sample data sets which will be used in the practical exercises. Every participant should bring a laptop with the software and sample data pre-installed. In addition, there will also be opportunity to discuss the potential of network tools for individual research projects of the participants.

This workshop will be led by Dr. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, a member of the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

The workshop is intended for ancient and medieval historians and archaeologists who already have PhDs. Lunch is provided, but space is limited.

13th Historical Network Research workshop

Where? Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz
When? 27.-28.05.2019

If you want to attend this workshop, send the information mentioned below to before 28 February.

Networks Across Time and Space

Methodological Challenges and Theoretical Concerns of Network Research in the Humanities

From the trade networks of the bronze age to the kinship ties of medieval ruling houses, from the exchange of scientific knowledge through letters to the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases, people throughout the ages have been acutely aware of how their integration or exclusion from networks could impact their lives. Yet only with the invention of digital tools has it become possible to reconstruct, visualize, and analyse these relational structures on an unprecedented scale. They have transformed the way we think about groups and societies, space and culture. Not only economists, political scientists or researchers in literary and cultural studies but also historians and archaeologists have adopted the concept of “networks” to study certain forms of information as part of a broader whole. Rather than looking at data in isolation, the focus is shifting to the links that unite different entities, and to the structures that emerge from their connections. Especially for archaeologists and historians, who are often dealing with large amounts of data that stand in a complex relation to each other – be it objects, sites or people – network theory and formal network analysis can be very powerful tools for study.

Particular constraints, however, surround the use of network-theoretic methods in the historical sciences. The analysis usually deals with fragmentary datasets, examines data of different types (sites, objects, landscapes, institutions), or unites data from different regions or periods of time within one study. Finding a common denominator that unites disparate and sometimes problematic datasets within one network that sustains a valid historical hypothesis can be a challenge. It is not always clear which analytical tools, e.g., different centrality measures, can be applied to gain a deeper understanding of a dataset and what exactly their use implies for the conceptional framework of the research in question. To which kind of historical questions can we find answers through a formal network analysis? Is a more fluid approach dealing with metaphorical networks more useful? Which new perspectives on existing data can network research open up to different disciplines?

In order to provide prospective and more advanced network scholars and students in the historical sciences with a sound background and solid arguments for structuring a network-related hypothesis, a two-day workshop is organized to:

• provide basic training (day 1)

• provide in-depth discussion on the application of network theory for specific datasets and research questions (day 2)

The first day of the workshop aims at novices and prospective students in network analysis in the historical sciences and archaeology (no previous knowledge required). Participants can bring own research ideas to the workshop to receive feedback, but this is not obligatory.

The second day of the workshop is devoted to in-depth theoretical discussion for advanced scholars, who already have an understanding of network concepts and are applying it to their own case studies. A general discussion will conclude the exchange within small groups focusing on specific case studies and central issues in historical and archaeological network research. Students participating in the first day are welcome to attend the second day of the workshop to broaden their understanding.

There are three points of focus for discussion on the second workshop day:

1. Objects as Actors

2. Fragmentary data – fragmentary networks? Implications of source criticism for archaeological and historical network analysis

3. One theory fits them all? Critical reflections on theorizing about social networks across time and space

Participation in the workshop is free of charge; however, participants are required to provide for their accommodation and travel.

The number of available places in the workshop is limited. To be considered for participation, prospective participants should send an abstract of their project or a statement concerning their motivation of participation (about 300 words) to the workshop email address:

Submissions are due February 28th. As the aim of this workshop is to initiate a critical discourse across disciplines, we encourage all participants to contact us if you would like to propose further topics for discussion on the second workshop day.


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