PhD Scholarship at The Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies 2018, Denmark

Publish Date: Oct 06, 2017

Deadline: Dec 01, 2017

PhD scholarship at The Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies

Centre for Privacy Studies (PRIVACY), funded by the Danish National Research Foundation and based in Copenhagen, advertises 3-4 fully funded PhD positions within the fields of Architectural History, Church History, Legal History and History of Ideas. PRIVACY is established with a grant of 50 mio DKK (ca. 6.7 mio Euro) from the Danish National Research Foundation and based at the University of Copenhagen.  
The centre will be launched in the autumn of 2017 under the direction of Professor Mette Birkedal Bruun and run for six years with the possibility of a four-year extension. It is hosted by the Department of Church History at the Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen, in association with the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen and the School of Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservations (KADK), Copenhagen and in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, Institute of History of Ideas and Sciences at Lund University, Sweden.  
Another set of PhD positions will be advertised in the autumn of 2019.  
The Centre 
PRIVACY is dedicated to interdisciplinary and collaborative research into notions of privacy in Early Modern Europe. It focuses on eleven cases from Denmark, England, France, Germany and the Netherlands in the period 1500–1800. The collaborative programme is driven by an interdisciplinary vision of an integrated approach in which a team of scholars collaborate, challenge and inspire each other in a joint pursuit of the legislative, religious, social, cultural and architectural aspects of a shared set of cases. Shared responsibility across academic hierarchies is a token of PRIVACY’s vision for interactive research education.  
The aim of PRIVACY is to develop 1) systematized historical knowledge of dynamics that shape, induce or curb privacy in society; 2) an interdisciplinary method equipped to grasp such dynamics; and 3) a strong and vibrant international research environment dedicated to high-profile historical research and equipped to incite a much broader investigation of privacy.
PRIVACY’s scholarly potency stems from its site-based interdisciplinary analysis. Across eleven cases the research team will trawl Early Modern material: letters, laws, political manuals, newspapers, sermons, visual representations, architectural drawings, buildings, diaries, contracts, community records etc. for notions of privacy, analysing the deployment of words with the root ‘priv-ʼ: in privato, privy, Privat-(person/andacht etc.), privauté etc. as well as boundaries drawn in relation to, e.g., confidentiality, security, family, body, self. The research programme is based on a joint interdisciplinary focus on, e.g., legislative thresholds between home and community; decrees regarding individuals’ bodies, e.g., during epidemics, or the idea of household’s (oeco¬no¬mia) impact on civic well-being (politia); ecclesiastical and political power over ‘heretical’ mindsets; and architectural demarcation of individuals’ place in a household.

Research areas  

PRIVACY launches a systematic, scholarly fusion of the areas of architecture, theology, law and history. The research team will bring together four sets of field-inherent skills and approaches to privacy:   
Architecture: Urban plans, buildings and rooms frame privacy, creating secrecy and shelter; chapels and cabinets stage prayer, study and intimacy, and are amplified by interiors and furnishing; alcove beds and privies (toilets) wall off bodily needs; rural retreat offset urban life.  
Qualifications required: Knowledge of design processes, architectural history and theories, patronage, patterns of use, materiality and tectonics.   
Religious culture: Early Modern believers favour privacy (material and/or mental retreat) as a site for pious fo¬cus, and privacy is often presented as place particularly fit for prayer and insight. But privacy also evades control and prompts suspicion of heresy or sin, leading to efforts to regulate the private sphere by means of church discipline.   
Qualifications required: Knowledge of religious, doctrines, practices and institutions across confessions, ability to work with different genres, media and forms of archival material.   
Law: Early Modern law defines conditions for property, sexual conduct, marriage, inheritance and rulers’ claims to their subjects’ work, property and lives (conscription, monopoly of violence within penal law).   
Qualifications required: Knowledge of legal procedure, laws, charters, their usage and changes.
History of Ideas: In Early Modern society, privacy is seen both a threat and a positive value. A new ideology of marriage and family favours intimacy and domesticity, but also enforces state and community control. In politics, privacy often equals secrecy: it is a latent threat to civic stability and vital for the ruler. Privacy can frame self-knowledge and liberty, but is also subject to strong regulation.  
Qualifications required: Knowledge of political/legal structures, education, and social and cultural dynamics.  


Applicants must have an MA degree within the fields of Architecture, Church History, History, History of Ideas, Legal History or related disciplines. The research language is English. The research team as a whole will work on sources in French, German, Danish, Dutch, Latin and Classical Greek. Specialist knowledge of Early Modern culture is important. Just as central is, however, readiness to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration on a broad array of different sources and work towards an integrated methodology for interdisciplinary privacy studies.   
The University of Copenhagen welcomes applications from suitably qualified candidates regardless of age, gender, race, religion or ethnic background.  
Recruitment seminar  
A recruitment seminar will take place in Copenhagen 27-28 October 2017. It will involve an introduction to PRIVACY and its research programme as well as a presentation of expectations regarding applications.   
The number of participants is restricted. A limited number of bursaries covering trips and accommodation for one night are available.


PhD students at PRIVACY are required to be present at the centre for the duration of their employment. They will participate in weekly meetings, field trips and workshops and be required to contribute to joint publications and publish research on selected cases in international peer-reviewed journals where appropriate.   
All PhD students will be employed and enrolled at one of the following institutions:  
  • Department of Church History at Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen 
  • The Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen or
  • The School of Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservations (KADK), Copenhagen.  


The Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen. The Faculty is non-confessional and dates from 1479. Its research covers Biblical Studies, Church History and Systematic Theology as well as Quranic Studies, Jewish Studies and African Studies. The Faculty is home to a number of high-profile international interdisciplinary research projects. PRIVACY is associated with the Department of Church History which has a strong Early Modern research focus.  
The Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. Dating from 1479, the Faculty of Law works towards creating greater knowledge of national and international law. Through a research-based education the Faculty ensures that its legal graduates have the skills needed to analyse and contribute to interdisciplinary and problem-oriented tasks in private and public sectors at home and abroad. The Faculty offers a strong international environment.    
School of Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservations (KADK).Copenhagen. KADK was founded in 1754 and hosts three leading schools in architecture, design and conservation. The School of Architecture has educated internationally renowned architects for centuries. It has about 900 students distributed across four institutes each with a bachelor programme and two or three master programmes in architecture. If relevant, the PhD student will assist on the master programme Spatial Design at Institute of Architecture and Design.   
PRIVACY has a close collaboration with the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, Institute of History of Ideas and Sciences at Lund University, Sweden. The institute specializes in intellectual history, history of sciences and cultural history. It has a strong Early Modern focus and hosts research projects within the fields of conceptual history, history of emotions, history of medicine and family history.  

Terms of employment  

The successful PhD candidates will be offered a full-time PhD position for a period of three years. The candidates will be employed and paid in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). Employment at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservations will be according to the specific job structure of this institution.   

Application procedure  

Applications must be submitted via the electronic application system.
The application should be in English and include the following enclosures:   
  • a motivation letter, including a plan for your employment at the Centre (1 page), please specify which institution you are applying for  
  • CV, highlighting language skills  
  • a copy of MA degree certificate/s   
  • a list of publications  
  • if relevant, a portfolio with design works   
  • a research proposal which develops the project idea, broad conceptual framing and proposed methodology of your PhD project in related to one of the PRIVACY cases as well as two other cases you would be interested in (max 3 pages in all)  
  • a short abstract of your MA-thesis or equivalent (in English)  
  • one sample of writing (an article or a chapter from your  MA- thesis)  
  • name, e-mail address, telephone numbers and postal address of two academic referees  

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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