PhD Position Anchoring the agora in archaic and classical Greek poleis Utrecht University, Faculty of Humanities Netherlands

PhD Position Anchoring the agora in archaic and classical Greek poleis (c. 800-300 BCE)


Job description

The agora can be considered the foundational space of the Greek polis: a communal space set aside as a podium for civic life. It developed in the centre of the urban fabric, lined with herms, sanctuaries, altars and temples. Beside operating partly or on specific moments as a market place, it was first of all a civic space, the heart of the polis as a social, religious and political community. In all Greek poleis, the agora became an important anchor for political, cultural and religious innovation. The introduction of new gods was successful when they received a sanctuary near the Acropolis or on the agora. Regime change, treaties and incisive legislation were anchored in the polis by collective oath taking on the agora. In sum, the agora was a quintessential element of one of the most conspicuous innovations of ancient Greece, the citizen-state, in which the demos as a collective was sovereign, represented in multiple authoritative bodies.

This PhD project will investigate the creation of the agora in Greek poleis from the Early Iron Age to late classical times, as a place where institutional innovations were anchored in physical terms (environmental context, spatial configuration and architectural design) and as a civic space whose very conception influenced the kind of polis’ institutions founded there. A second objective concerns the choice of its location: were primarily practical considerations (e.g. close to the harbour) involved or also anchoring processes (e.g. close to a pre-existing sanctuary)?



A successful PhD candidate should preferably have:

  • a (research) Master’s degree in Ancient History, Classical Studies or Archaeology, held by time of appointment (if the degree is not yet obtained at the time of application, a statement by the applicant's supervisor should confirm that it will be obtained by time of appointment);
  • an outstanding record of undergraduate and Master's degree work;
  • good knowledge of ancient Greek;
  • excellent oral and written skills in English and good knowledge of modern languages (German, French);
  • strong writing and analytical skills;
  • some organizational experience;
  • ability to meet deadlines and complete a PhD thesis within four years;
  • astrong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research.



The position can be offered for 1,0 FTE, start date from 1 April 2019 onwards. The appointment is for an initial period of 18 months, which after a satisfactory evaluation will be extended by another 30 months (4 years in total). The gross monthly salary on a fulltime basis starts at € 2,325,- in the first year, ending at € 2,972,- in the fourth year, consistent with the Collective Employment Agreement for Dutch Universities.


Utrecht University offers a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are set by the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities. More information: terms of employment.


About the organization

A better future for everyone. That is the ambition that motivates our scholars in their top research and their inspiring teaching. The various disciplines within Utrecht University collaborate closely on important social themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.


The Faculty of Humanities has approximately 900 employees and 7,000 students. The Faculty covers four areas of knowledge: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Cultural Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication.


Through education and research in these areas the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe within an ever changing social and cultural context. Our enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent facilities in Utrecht’s historic centre, where the faculty has its home, make for an inspiring working climate.

Additional information

More information about the Anchoring Innovation research agenda of OIKOS can be found on the OIKOS website, including an article by Ineke Sluiter, entitled “Anchoring Innovation: a Classical Research Agenda”.

More information about this position may be obtained from the supervisors Prof. Josine Blok or Dr. Floris van den Eijnde.


In order to be considered, applications must include the following information (in the same order), in one PDF file (not zipped):

  1. Letter of motivation
  2. CV, including contact information of two referees
  3. Transcript of records
  4. Research proposal of 1500 words. Excluded are the bibliography and (if appropriate) an appendix containing a list of sources (together max. two pages A4)
  5. Copy of relevant diploma
  6. A copy of the passport
  7. If necessary (see requirements), statement by supervisor confirming that the applicant will hold the required degree at the time of appointment


Interviews will take place in the week of 3-7 December. For candidates living abroad interviews may be held via Skype. Please submit your complete application to dr. Roald Dijkstra, the coordinator of the Anchoring-programme, via before 1 November 2018.

The application deadline is

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