Postdoc at The Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Theology Denmark

Postdoc at The Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies


Postdoc at The Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies (2 years with the possibility of a one-year extension)

Centre for Privacy Studies (PRIVACY) advertises 4¬6 fully funded Postdoc positions within the fields of Church History, Architectural 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, 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 Postdoc positions will be advertised in the autumn of 2019.

Centre for Privacy Studies

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 schol¬ars collaborate, challenge and inspire each other in a joint pursuit of the legislative, religious, social, cultural and architectural aspects of a common set of cases. Shared responsibility across aca¬demic hierarchies is a token of PRIVACY’s vision for in¬teractive 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 dy¬namics; 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 interdisci¬plinary analysis. Across eleven cases the research team will trawl Early Modern material: let¬ters, laws, political manuals, newspa-pers, sermons, visual representations, architectural drawings, buildings, diaries, contracts, commu-nity records etc. for notions of privacy, analysing the deployment of words with the root ‘priv-ʼ: in privato, privy, Privat-(per¬son/andacht etc.), privauté etc. as well as bounda¬ries 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 com¬munity; de¬crees regarding individ¬uals’ bodies, e.g., during epidemics, or the idea of the household’s (oeco¬no¬mia) impact on civic well-being (politia); ecclesiastical and politi¬cal power over ‘hereti¬cal’ mind¬sets; and architectural demarcation of individuals’ place in a household.
For further description of the project and the eleven cases, please visit the project homepage:

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 focus, 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 as a threat and as 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 a PhD degree within the fields of Architecture, Church History, History, History of Ideas, Legal History or related disciplines. Relevant research experiences related to interdisciplinary scholarship and academic collaboration will be considered a qualification. 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 vital is, however, readiness to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration on a broad array of different sources and to work in a team towards an integrated methodology for interdisciplinary privacy studies.

The Postdocs employed are expected to teach courses related to their respective disciplines. Ability to teach broadly and in different formats will be considered a qualification.

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. For more information and registration, please see the homepage:

Job Description

Postdocs at PRIVACY are required to be present at the centre for the duration of their employment. All members of the PRIVACY research team will have office space at the centre. 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 Postdocs will be employed at one of the following institutions:

Department of Church History at Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen,
The Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen and
The School of Architecture, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservations (KADK), Copenhagen.
Teaching will generally be carried out at the institution where the Postdoc is employed.


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, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservations (KADK), Copenhagen. KDAK 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. The Masters programme Spatial Design at Institute of Architecture and Design has ca. 60 architecture and design students and a focus on spatial design from among others, a historic, anthropologic and tectonic/material-based point of view.

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 Postdoc position is a full time temporary appointment for the duration of two years with the possibility of a one-year extension. The candidate will be employed in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (Akademikernes Centralorganisatio, AC). In additional to the basic salary, you will receive an annual increment of DK 51.392,59 (as of 1 April 2017) and a total contribution to your pension fund, equal to 17,1 % of your salary and annual increment.

Application procedure

Applications must be submitted via the electronic application system. Click on the link provided below to be taken to the online application form.

The application should be in English and must include the following enclosures:


  • a motivation letter, including a plan for your employment at Centre for Privacy Studies (1 page), please specify which institution you are applying for 
  • CV with documentation of degrees, highlighting experience with interdisciplinary and collaborative research, teaching and language skills 
  • a complete list of publications, with a commented highlighting of publications that you consider relevant in relation to the research programme of the centre 
  • a presentation of your plans for your contribution to the PRIVACY research programme, including a preliminary description of potential source material and proposed methodology as well as a list of the five PRIVACY cases you are most interested in working on (max 3 pages in all) 
  • teaching portfolio, portfolio with design works 
  • three samples of writing (articles or book chapters) 
  • co-author declarations. If citing work where the applicant has been a co-author, a co-author declaration, which addresses the applicant's share of these works, must be submitted. Material that has not yet been published can be submitted. However, please indicate the precise status of each publication. 


We advise you to have the documents ready before you begin your online application.

Application deadline and start date

Applications must be submitted electronically no later than 1 December 2017. Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

The ideal starting date would be 1 March 2018, but this is negotiable.

Recruitment process

After the application deadline, the Director of Centre for Privacy Studies selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointment Committee. This selection is based on the applicants’ educational qualifications, the quality of the submitted research proposal and its relevance to the research agenda of the centre as well as other relevant qualifications. All applicants are immediately notified whether their application has been accepted for assessment.

The applications accepted for assessment will be assessed by an interdisciplinary committee, comprising expertise in the relevant fields. Selected applicants will be notified of the composition of the assessment committee. When the committee has completed its assessment, each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the assessment. A number of qualified candidates will be selected for a job interview in Copenhagen. We aim to interview short-listed candidates in the early weeks of 2018.

Additional Information

For information about PRIVACY, please consult:
For questions regarding research, please contact Centre Director, Professor Mette Birkedal Bruun (; for practical questions, please contact Centre Administrator Daniel Jans-Pedersen (

Potential applicants from outside Denmark will find information about life in Denmark (taxation, healthcare etc) at

Founded in 1479, the University of Copenhagen is the oldest university in Denmark. With 37,000 students and 9,000 employees, it is among the largest universities in Scandinavia and one of the highest ranking in Europe. The University consists of six faculties, which cover Health and Medical Sciences, Humanities, Law, Science, Social Sciences and Theology.

Deadline: 1 December 2017

The University of Copenhagen welcomes applications from suitably qualified candidates regardless of age, gender, race, religion or ethnic background.

Publisher: Centre for Privacy Studies, Faculty of Theology / Faculty of Law / School of Architecture, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservations

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