PhD Position in Early Modern Spanish American and Transpacific History
Catholic University of Leuven

At the Group of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts of KU Leuven, there is currently a vacancy for a 4-year PhD position, starting on October 1, November 1, or December 1, 2021, as part of the ERC AdG TRANSPACIFIC (The Structure and Impact of Trans-Pacific Trade, 16th to 18th Centuries: The Manila Galleon Trade Beyond Silver and Silks), supervised by Angela Schottenhammer ( We offer an excellent opportunity to work in an international inter- and transdisciplinary research project, with a global network of scholars working on various aspects of transpacific connections and interaction.


Research: The PhD will examine contraband and informal galleon trade between Spanish America (especially the Viceroyalty of Peru) and Asia (in particular the Philippines) and the role of ‘marginalia’ in this trade. The latter include the transmission of items and aspects such as medicinal drugs, plants, animals, food, artefacts, handicrafts, or books, diseases, and the role of individuals involved in these transpacific commercial and scientific networks (16th through 18th centuries). Research will also touch upon knowledge and technology transfers and the (positive and/or negative) impacts of newly imported products and migrated specialists (such as physicians, tailors, cooks, etc.) on life and society in selected communities in the Viceroyalty of Peru (e.g. Cusco, Charcas, La Paz, Potosí).
Database: The successful candidate will contribute to our project database.
Further activities/fieldwork: Active participation in the team’s international and research dissemination activities as well as preparedness for archival fieldwork are expected.
Publications: The completion of a PhD dissertation and the publication of at least one A1/A2 article is obligatory.
Sources to be analysed are primarily in Spanish and stem from various archives, especially in Europe and Latin America. 


Master degree in History (or comparable to a Master in History), preferably early modern history, with a focus on Spanish American and world history. Fundamental general knowledge of the Spanish Manila galleon trade is highly recommended.
The candidate possesses high competence in early modern European (16th to early 19th centuries), especially Spanish, paleography, and is familiar with archival research. Very good paleological skills are an absolute requirement. In addition, an excellent command of Spanish and English, at least a solid basic knowledge in Dutch and French, as well as basic skills in IT and GIS technology are required.
The successful candidate is open for new methodological approaches and is closely cooperating with other team members of the TRANSPACIFIC project. Working languages will be English, Dutch, and Spanish. Further information on our research, activities, and publications is available under 


A one year-scholarship, in case of positive evaluation, will be renewed for three more years.
Possible starting dates: October 01, November 01, or December 01, 2021.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Angela Schottenhammer, tel.: +32 16 33 06 33, mail:

Applications must include a cv, including education, skills, working experience, diplomas, a letter of motivation, two reference letters, and a research plan (approx. 1 page), in which the applicant introduces his/her research and demonstrates how he/she plans to contribute to the project.
You can apply for this job no later than July 15, 2021 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: July 15, 2021
  • Tags: Geschiedenis

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