PhD Position

Narrative as an Anchoring Device in Greek Drama

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Narrative as an Anchoring Device in Greek Drama


Radboud University Nijmegen
Erasmusplein 1
6500 HD Nijmegen

Suzanne van de Liefvoort
+31(0)24 3611276

Narrative as an Anchoring Device in Greek Drama


Prof. dr. Irene de Jong (University of Amsterdam) and Prof. dr. André Lardinois (Radboud University, Nijmegen)

Job description

Aristotle, famously, strongly distinguished between drama and narrative, even considering the latter something of an alien body when employed in drama. Greek playwrights, however, actually love narrative, and insert narratives throughout their plays (prologues, messenger-speeches, choral narratives, exodus narratives). These narratives in various ways have an anchoring function: they may connect the plot of the play with the myth at large of which it forms a part or they may bring in extrascenic events.

Candidates are invited to submit a structured PhD proposal (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus) which further explores these connections, either for one type of narrative or for all types of narrative as they are used in combination in one play. How do prologue narratives manage to usher the spectators into the dramatic world? What linguistic, dramatic and narratological devices accomplish the transition from Athens now to, say, Thebes then? How do the exodus narratives accomplish the return from the heroic past to the present of the spectators. How do they make clear, e.g. in the form of an aitology, how their present actually is anchored into the past? How does the chorus function as a kind of stand-in (the matter is of course highly debated) for the spectators when presenting its take on events?

In view of the research environment in which the PhD will come to work, projects with a combined narratological-linguistic approach are especially welcome. A project may also adopt a diachronic approach and study the way in which narrative anchoring devices employed by tragic narrators relate to those of epic and lyric. In that case, the innovation primarily concerns form rather than content,

In all cases part of the research question should be: in what ways is dramatic narrative used as an anchoring device. Which devices play a role and what does their use in a dramatic context and on a stage teach us about the concept of anchoring innovation itself?

Host institution

University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities, Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH). For more information, see here.

Terms and conditions

PhD project, 4 years (1.0 FTE, 38 hrs per week), starting date to be agreed upon, with a preference for September 1, 2021. Initially the employee will receive a one-year contract, with extension for the following 36 months on condition of a positive evaluation. It is possible to extend the position over 5 years at 0,8 fte. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. Salary range from € 2.395 to € 3.061 gross per month for a fulltime appointment (pay scale for PhDs, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). The University of Amsterdam offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

Tasks of the PD will include:
  • Completion of a PhD thesis within four years (1,0 fte) or five years (0,8 fte);
  • Participation in meetings of the project research group(s);
  • Presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • Participation in the training program of the local Graduate School and the National Research School in Classics (OIKOS);
  • Participation in staff meetings of the Amsterdam Classics team and the intellectual life of the department and the institute;
  • Some teaching in the second and third years of the appointment
  • A (R)MA or MPhil degree in Classics, held by time of appointment, with a MA-thesis on a topic from Greek literature (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);
  • Well-developed research skills, including the ability to formulate relevant and creative research questions and hypotheses, descriptive and analytical skills, and a clear and persuasive style of writing;
  • Excellent competence in ancient Greek and Latin, and English, as well as reading competence in French, German and Italian;
  • A strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research

The Anchoring Innovation program is strongly committed to diversity within its team and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


Enquiries about the position can be addressed to Prof. dr. Irene J.F. de Jong Do not hesitate to contact your prospective supervisor about the design of your research proposal. Questions about the procedure can be directed to Dr. Suzanne van de Liefvoort,


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

  • Cover letter;
  • CV, including contact information of two referees;
  • Transcript of records;
  • Research proposal of 1500 words. This does not include the bibliography and (if appropriate) an appendix containing a list of sources (together max. two pages A4);
  • Copy of relevant diploma or statement by PhD supervisor confirming that the applicant will hold the required degree at the time of appointment.

Please submit your complete application to Dr. Suzanne van de Liefvoort, the coordinator of the Anchoring-program via before April 24, 2021. Interviews will take place in the week of May 24-28, 2021 and will probably be held online.