ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


Vacancy: Doctoral candidates Theatre, media, and science history University of Antwerp

The Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts in the Faculty of Arts is looking for two full-time (100%) doctoral candidates in the fields of theatre, media, and science history

The two PhD candidates will collaborate in an interdisciplinary ERC project called “Science at the Fair: Performing Knowledge and Technology in Western Europe, 1850-1914”, coordinated by Prof. Nele Wynants. The EU-funded SciFair project will perform pioneering research on the role itinerant show people played in the dissemination of information about scientific and technological advances at fairs in North-Western Europe between 1850 and 1914. The project is based on the hypothesis that fairs during this period were not only local folk events but also centres of international exchange. SciFair will engage a multilingual and multidisciplinary team to analyse practices of science performance across national frontiers and map transnational networks of scientific entertainment.

The two subprojects will analyse practices of science performance at the fair across national boundaries by focusing on (1) the performance of technology and (2) the performance of medicine and anthropology:

PhD1: Science and Illusion: Performing Technology: How were new technologies performed in so-called physiques amusantes (entertaining physiques), what kind of knowledge did they spread and to what extent did these shows demystify or reinforce popular accounts of magic and superstition?

PhD2: Spectacular Bodies: Performing Medicine and Anthropology: What kind of knowledge of the body was performed (and how) in anatomical cabinets, freak shows and so-called ethnographic museums and which ideas and cultural values about the sane, the ‘normal’ or ‘white’ body, but also disease and physical deviation were challenged or reinforced at the 19th-century fair?

You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including 15 July 2021. For more information and other available vacancies, see: