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Call for Open Position: Postdoctoral Researcher in Digital Humanities – Global History of the Portuguese Empire

INSTITUTION: Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences

CITY: Warsaw/Poland – Oldtown (partially remote)

POSITION: Postdoctoral Researcher in Digital Humanities.[1]

DURATION: 48 months

STARTING DATE: April 1, 2023

CONTRACT: full-time employment

SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINE: global history, colonialism, natural language processing

PUBLISHED: January 12, 2023


RESULTS: by February 28, 2023

KEY WORDS: global history, historical network analysis, Portuguese empire, natural language processing

The Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw invites applications[2] for a position of Postdoctoral Researcher in Digital Humanities for the research project entitled: “Imperial Commoners in Brazil and West Africa (1640–1822): A Global History from a Correspondence Network Perspective” on behalf of the National Science Center (Project No. 2022/45/B/HS3/00473) under the direction of Dr. Agata Błoch.

Description of the project: In this project, we analyze the communication patterns of imperial commoners who produced similar characteristics, narratives, and thinking strategies in the Atlantic Portuguese Empire, displaying attitudes that transcended class and gender, and how the Empire responded to that. Our unique dataset is based on the catalogs of the Portuguese Overseas Archives (AHU) in Lisbon, mainly the Projeto Barão do Rio Branco and Atlantic catalogs. Our corpus comprises the administrative correspondence – almost 170,000 records – between the metropole in Lisbon and its Atlantic overseas colonies. It allows us to see the empire as a dynamic space based on networks and created through bottom-up communication.

As for the data, our goals in this project are to develop a dictionary of entities (people, organizations, locations) identified in the corpus and topic models to extract semantic information. We want to determine what topic – political, administrative, economic, religious, or otherwise – the senders and recipients of these administrative letters are concerned with. Our large-scale dataset of official correspondence provides a unique opportunity to examine how global events reverberate and how local individuals gain attention through the communication channels of empire. We are interested in research questions related to the experiences of non-elite residents of the Portuguese Empire and how these changed across space and time. Using cutting-edge technology, the project offers innovative perspectives on the history of the Portuguese Empire and provides new insights into the workings of colonial social networks. The results will be of great importance to academic communities studying the history of the Portuguese Empire or transatlantic power structures.

Collaborators of this project are Prof. Dr. Juciene Cardoso (Federal University of Campina Grande, Brazil), Dr. Demival Vasques Filho (Leibniz Institute of European History – IEG, Germany) and Dr. Michal Bojanowski (Kozminski University, Poland),

To find out more about what has been done so far, please read: Błoch, Vasques Filho, Bojanowski (2022). “Networks from archives: Reconstructing networks of official correspondence in the early modern Portuguese empire”. Social Networks, Volume 69, May 2022, 123-135.

The tasks of the Postdoctoral Researcher will include:

  • natural language processing of documents to create dictionaries of entities (people, institutions, and places),

  • enriching the data with biographical information about people, institutions and places by extracting relevant basic information from available online databases,

  • performing quantitative studies of the generated dataset using social network analysis methods and natural language processing algorithms,

  • topic classification of documents,

  • manuscript preparation,

  • conference presentations.

The postdoctoral researcher will be advised by Dr. Demival Vasques Filho and Dr. Michal Bojanowski.

DESCRIPTION: The candidate should have:

  • Ph.D. in any discipline where research practices have a strong machine learning component.

  • Experience in Natural Language Processing.

  • Good analytical skills.

  • Excellent English (C1).

  • Knowledge of (or willingness to learn) creating, interlinking and publishing Linked Data.

  • Interests in global history, historical network research, networks of political and economic power, structure dynamics of networks and evolution of communities would be an additional asset.

  • Knowledge of Portuguese, Spanish or other Latin language will be an additional asset.

  • The candidate should agree to be counted in the number of employees engaged in research activities during the period of employment, i.e., the number “N” for purposes of the algorithm for distributing base funds for activities required by the Polish law.

The Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences offers:

  • According to the National Science Center of Poland, the annual salary is 140,000 PLN (including employer’s expenses), which is about 9,682.93 PLN (gross) per month.

  • a social benefit package,

  • a subsidy for the discount card for Polish railway stations,

  • a subsidy for the Vanity Style sports card,

  • a subsidy for the private medical package LUXMED.

  • the possibility of cooperation with academic centers in Poland and abroad

  • opportunity for academic development

Employment: after the signing of the grant agreement between the Institute of History of Polish Academy of Sciences and the National Science Center (expected start date of the project: March, 30 2023) for a period of 4 years on a full-time basis. Detailed terms and conditions of employment (as recommended by the NCN) will be specified in a fixed-term employment contract between the Postdoctoral Researcher and the Director of Institute of History of Polish Academy of Sciences

The project is managed by a team that is expected to work together based on principles such as transparency, clearly defined purposes and goals, and an international team culture.

Applicants are requested to submit the following documents:

  • Letter of application to the Director of the Institute[3]

  • Curriculum Vitae,

  • Copy of the PhD diploma,

  • Details of academic achievements with bibliography,

  • Declaration of the applicant that in case of a successful application, Institute of History of Polish Academy of Sciences will be the main place of work

The documents should be sent to the Secretariat of Institute of History by email to with the note “Postdoc in Digital Humanities – Global History”

The selected candidates will be invited for an interview (online). Each candidate will be informed about the date of the interview and the result of the selection process.


The selection takes place in two stages:

  • 1st stage: the commission evaluates the submitted applications. Based on this analysis, The selected candidates will be invited for an interview (online).

  • 2nd stage: Online interview.

Each candidate will be informed about the date of the interview and the result of the selection process.

The results will be publish by 28.02.2023.

[1] A post-doc type post is a full-time post, scheduled by the project’s principal investigator for a person who has been conferred a PhD degree in the year of employment in the project or within 7 years before 1 January of the year of employment in the project. This period may be extended by a time of long-term (in excess of 90 days) documented sick leaves or rehabilitation leaves granted on account of being unfit to work. In addition, the period may be extended by the number of months of a child care leave granted pursuant to the Labour Code and in the case of women, by 18 months for every child born or adopted, whichever manner of accounting for career breaks is preferable

[2] The selection process shall be conducted in accordance with Rules for the Allocation of Funds for the Performance of Tasks Funded by the National Science Center in the Field of Research Projects, as established by NCN Council Resolution No. 27/2022, dated March 2, 2022.

[3] The personal data provided by the applicant will be processed by the data manager, i.e. the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences, located in Warsaw, Rynek Starego Miasta 29/31, for the purposes of the recruitment procedure (selection process). The transfer of data is voluntary, but necessary for the recruitment procedure. The data will be processed for as long as it is necessary for the recruitment procedure, including archiving. The data may be disclosed to companies providing technical and IT services to the Data Controller.

The data subject has the right to access, rectify, erase or restrict the processing of personal data, as well as the right to data portability and the right to lodge a complaint with the President of the Office for Personal Data Protection.

For all matters related to the processing of personal data, please contact the Data Protection Officer: For detailed information, please visit:

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