12 February 2024

VACANCY: Postdoctoral Researcher on ERC "Communicating the Law in Europe" (St Andrews: University of St Andrews, DEADLINE 13 FEB 2024)

(image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Applications are sought for a full-time Postdoctoral Research Assistant to work with Dr Arthur der Weduwen, conducting research for an ERC-selected, UKRI-funded project entitled Communicating the Law in Europe, 1500-1750 (COMLAWEU). The project is based in the School of History at the University of St Andrews. The PDRA will be expected to work closely together with Dr der Weduwen and the rest of the project group, composed of one other full-time PDRA and two PhD students. 


The COMLAWEU project is a five-year project that investigates how law was communicated to citizens and subjects by the authorities in early modern Europe (1500-1750). It pursues an original comparative study of the publication and circulation of municipal, regional and national law, encompassing oral communication, ceremonial proclamations and the employment of criers, as well as the affixing, distribution and sale of law texts, in manuscript and printed form. Based on extensive archival research, this project will seek to establish for the first time to what extent the increasing body of law that was issued in early modern Europe was made publicly available, and in what forms. The project seeks to add a new and much-needed perspective to the study of European politics in a critical era of state formation, framing the communication of law as an essential stabilising factor in an era of highly participatory but undemocratic politics. This project will offer multiple comparative frameworks through which the communication of law will be studied, including Protestant and Catholic states, urban and rural areas, and empires, national kingdoms and city-states. With the aid of such a comparative lens, it is an overarching aim of the project to analyse how the public dissemination of law shaped early modern civic society and influenced political participation and accountability.


The successful applicant will hold (or, at time of application, be very near to completion of) a PhD in the field of early modern political, legal, book or communication history, with expertise in the history of France, Italy, the Holy Roman Empire or Poland-Lithuania. They will have working fluency in French, Italian, German and/or Polish, and excellent communication skills in English. Reading competency in Latin will also be an advantage.


Under the overall framework of the project, the PDRA will focus on the communication of law in early modern France, the Italian peninsula, the Holy Roman Empire or Poland-Lithuania. This will include fieldwork in archives and libraries away from St Andrews, as well as cataloguing and source analysis in St Andrews, using digital resources and data gathered by the team. The PDRA will co-organise one workshop or conference, co-edit a special issue of a journal or a conference volume, and write and co-author other publications arising from the project’s activities. They will also participate more generally in the project’s communication and outreach activities, which may include contributing to the project website. They will be expected to support the PhD students involved with the project, and to play a collegiate role in the academic life of the School of History and its USTC/Book History group.


The post is available for 3.5 years (42 months), to commence on 1 September 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter. 


Employees of the University have access to a wide range of staff benefits including:

  • Annual leave of 34 days, plus 5 public holidays
  • Membership of the SLAS Pension Scheme with generous employer contributions
  • A hybrid working environment, including partial homeworking where appropriate and a range of family friendly policies 
  • Staff discount scheme for local and national goods and services
  • Free staff parking, employee Carshare and Cycle to Work Schemes and subsidised local bus travel
  • Subsidised sports membership, reduced tuition fees on degree programmes for staff/children of staff, access to library facilities, salary sacrifice scheme and a range of wellbeing initiatives 

Candidates who wish to find out further details about the project or the post are encouraged to contact Dr Arthur der Weduwen (  


Applications are particularly welcome from women, people from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community, and other protected characteristics who are under-represented in research posts at the University.  


Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the St Andrews experience.  We strive to create a fair and inclusive culture demonstrated through our commitment to diversity awards (Athena Swan, Carer Positive, LGBT Charter and Race Charters). We celebrate diversity by promoting profiles of BAME, LGBTIQ+ staff and supporting networks including the Staff BAME Network; Staff with Disabilities Network; Staff LGBTIQ+ Network; and the Staff Parents & Carers Network.  Full details available online:


Closing Date:  13 February 2024


Interview Date:  12 March 2024

Please quote ref:  AR2933SB


Further Particulars:  AR2933SB FPs.doc


School of History

Salary: £30,487 - £36,024 per annum

Start: 1 September 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter

Fixed term for 3.5 years

Read more here.

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