© Dr. Alexandra Rodler

Jobs/Offene Stellen

Postdoctoral Associate Position (3 years) in the Codicology and Biocodicology of Carolingian Bindings at The Faculty of Philosophy, Arts and Letters of the University of Louvain, Belgium

Founded in 1425, UCLouvain is one of Belgium’s and Europe’s leading universities. The university offers high-quality study programs to 30,957 students, conducts hundreds of research projects. https://uclouvain.be/en

The research will focus on the study of Carolingian and Romanesque bindings (8th- 13th C.) from Cambrai Cathedral in France, their structures and materials as part of the CaReMe research project.

Position and application information
The postdoctoral associate position is a full-time, 3-year position. The starting date is negotiable; a date before Dec 2021 is preferred. Salary will be based on Leuven’s guidelines for postdoctoral positions (starting at €34,4K gross, €29,9K net). Support for travel associated with projects is provided.

The research will involve the use of scientific analysis and close collaboration with biologists and other scientists from other European institutions.

Required qualifications

* Completion of a PhD in Medieval History, History of the Book or chemical or archaeological sciences or other related fields.
* Expertise in medieval Bookbinding structures and materials.
* Excellent verbal and written communication skills, organizational skills, and a desire to work collaboratively with other disciplines.
* Curiosity about art, artifacts, or archival materials and an interest in engaging with libraries and science labs.

Preferred qualifications
* Ability to communicate in French would be an asset.
* Prior experience with the application of analytical techniques to cultural heritage objects is desirable but not required.

Application process
* Review will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
* Applicants should submit a cover letter describing their interest in the position, a CV, and the names of and contact information for two references to Elodie Leveque (elodie.leveque@palaeome.org)

Cambrai : Medieval Manuscripts
Research Project supported by the FNRS
PDR FNRS T.0014.21 (2021-2024)
UCLouvain – UNamur – LABO Cambrai

CaReMe proposes to study the making of medieval European books – the idea of gathering manuscript texts into structures in order to access, use and preserve them – from the 8th to 13th centuries. The starting point will be an analysis of the manufacture of books through studying the bindings of a large corpus of manuscripts, the earliest of which date from the 8th century, from Cambrai religious institutions. These Carolingian and Romanesque bindings have never previously been studied or inventoried.
This project aims to investigate the cultural history and the archaeology of the book by:
– Understanding how medieval religious institutions manufactured and used their books;
– Contextualizing the production of lay bindings, in social, cultural and religious terms; and,
– studying the bindings as a material and structural object in parallel with the history of writing practices.

Some question to be answered:
– How and why were written works considered part of a larger whole? Why would a manuscript be included in a book or, for that matter, be excluded?
– Can we distinguish between groups of bindings? Are there recognisable institutional binding policies?
– Can we estimate the importance of a binding?
– What is the origin of the binding and manuscript, religious or lay?
– The organization of bookbinding work: monastic or professional. Who was in charge?

The Cambrai collection includes:
– 6 original Carolingian bindings, complete and unknown until now.
– At least 38 Romanesque bindings
– These bound manuscripts will be compared to 350 other unbound manuscripts from Cambrai dating from the 7th to the end of the 14th c.

For more information: https://rescript.hypotheses.org/566

1. Bookbinding: book archaeology and biocodicology
Beyond traditional descriptive observation of the bindings, new analytical methods will allow for deeper research:
– Dendrology
– A study of the skins of the bindings and, if necessary, of the manuscript pages: identification by observation under the microscope electron microscopy, optical analysis, or by proteomic analysis (ERC Beast2Craft project, Pr. M. Collins), DNA, etc.
– Tomography
– Analysis of fittings
– Reconstruction of structures and materials (or their manufacture) by experimental archaeology
2. The binding of medieval texts: history of book manufacture
Studying the binding of manuscripts without asking why certain manuscripts were bound together could lead to long technical, purely factual enumerations. It is therefore necessary, above all, for the given sets, to determine and date the content of the manuscripts (without going into detail) and conduct a study its formatting and layout, in order to draw a quick portrait of bound manuscripts and their social, intellectual and religious functions.

The project, supported by the Belgian FNRS, will be piloted by UCLouvain (Prof. Paul Bertrand) and UNamur (Prof. Xavier Hermand), with Elodie Levêque, doctor in History and specialist in the archaeology of medieval bindings, in collaboration with the LABO médiathèque in Cambrai (dir. David-Jonathan Benrubi) in conjunction with the IRHT. This team will supervise two postdoctoral fellows who will be recruited for three years: one (located at UCLouvain) specialising in codicology assigned to the analysis of the materiality of codices, particularly in an interdisciplinary framework, mainly around bindings and the other (located at UNamur) specialising in the history of manuscripts from the 8th to 13th centuries and codicology, assigned to the analysis of the content of codices and their intellectual and material structure: identification of texts, layout, etc.