Postdoctoral researcher 'Gender and Urban Space in Edo (c. 1600-1850)' University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities – Amsterdam School of Historical Studies Netherlands

Postdoctoral researcher 'Gender and Urban Space in Edo (c. 1600-1850)'


Faculty of Humanities – Amsterdam School of Historical Studies


Publication date
11 April 2018

Level of education

Salary indication
€3,238 to €3,945 gross per month, based on 38 hours per week

Closing date
21 May 2018

26.6 hours per week

Vacancy number


Research at the Faculty of Humanities is carried out by six research schools under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research. The Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH), one of the six research schools, currently has a vacant postdoctoral position as part of the NWO-funded VIDI Project The Freedom of the Streets. Gender and Urban Space in Europe and Asia (1600-1850), led by Dr Danielle van den Heuvel.


Project description


This postdoctoral project is one of five closely-related projects, which together aim to systematically analyse the gendering of urban space in pre-modern Asia and Europe. It is widely held that between 1600 and 1850, women gradually withdrew from the public sphere of the street and moved to the private sphere of the home. This powerful narrative, linked to theories of modernisation, has created a conceptual stranglehold that sees public space as exclusively male and private space as entirely female, thereby obscuring the actual workings of gender in pre-industrial urban societies. The Freedom of the Streets project offers a pioneering approach to the study of gendered urban space, in which mapping and visualisations play an important role alongside analyses of gendered discourses about urban mobility.


Each team member focuses on a specific city or a specific theme. A PhD student and a Postdoctoral researcher study two of the most important cities in the early modern world: Amsterdam and Edo. Another PhD project specifically looks at the relationship between urban nature and gender and compares women’s experiences in Berlin and Amsterdam. They will be joined at a later stage of the project by a postdoctoral researcher who digitally visualises gendered movement in these two cities, thereby providing a complementary spatial analysis, as well as an important tool to engage with wider audiences. Building on the work of the PhD students and Postdocs, the Principal Investigator analyses how the access of women to pre-industrial streets was shaped in contrasting European and Asian urban communities.


This postdoctoral project will reconstruct women’s use of urban space in the biggest city in the early modern world: Edo. It aims to enlighten the gendering of urban space during Edo’s transformation from a castle town to Ō-Edo, the Great City of commoners. This development significantly changed the physical and social makeup of Edo as large-scale immigration undermined the planned geography and transformed Edo from a warriors’ city into a city dominated by merchants.


The postdoctoral project will make use of a wide range of sources, including guide books and surveys, prints and popular fiction, historical maps, records on the governance and day-to-day use of urban space, such as the Edo Machibure Shûshei (1648-1858) and Senyo Ruishu (1716-1853). The materials for this project are held in libraries and museums in the Netherlands (including the Asian Library of the University of Leiden and the Rijksmuseum) as well as in collections and archives in Japan (the National Archives of Japan, the National Diet Library and Tokyo Municipal Archives). It is expected that the postdoctoral researcher will travel to Japan for research visits.


Tasks will include:

  • contribution towards the project database with observations of gendered movement in Edo;

  • contribution towards the project database of visual materials;

  • presenting (intermediate) research results at national and international workshops and conferences;

  • delivering a number of publications directly related to the Freedom of the Streets project in international journals and/or as chapters with leading presses, both individually as well as in cooperation with other project members;

  • participation in meetings of the project research group;

  • assisting with organizational matters connected to the project, such as conference and workshop organization.




You must have:

  • a PhD in Japanese History or Japanese Studies, or other relevant field in the Humanities;

  • experience in working with Edo-period archival or visual sources;

  • a thorough command of Japanese and English;

  • a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals and/or with leading presses or a demonstrable capacity to develop such a record;

  • strong willingness to assist with organizational duties;

  • strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research.


Desirable qualities

  • An interest in interdisciplinary approaches to historical research;

  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences.


Further information

For further information you may contact:

  • Dr Danielle van den Heuvel



You will be appointed for 26.6 hours per week (0.7 FTE) for a period of 30 months at the Department of History, European Studies & Religious Studies of the Faculty of Humanities. The intended starting date of the contract is 1 October 2018. The gross monthly salary (on full-time basis) will range from €3.238 during the first year to €3.954 during the third year, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.


Job application

The University of Amsterdam is striving for a better balance in its staff whereby, by equal suitability, the appointment of a female candidate will have our preference. Women are, therefore, strongly encouraged to apply.

Your application should include:  

  1. a full academic CV;

  2. other requested documents in one PDF file (not zipped), consisting of:

    • a letter of motivation;
    • a full list of publications (please provide an English translation if the publication is not in English or Dutch); (do not send publications or theses as part of your application);
    • the names and contact details of two referees who may be approached by the selection committee.


You must have completed your PhD before the start of this postdoctoral project.


Please submit your complete application no later than 21 May 2018 to the link below.


We will only consider complete applications.


Interviews will take place in June 2018. If you are living abroad interviews may be held via Skype. #LI-DNP

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