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FindAPhD Featured PhD Programmes
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PhD Fellowship in European Language and Literature as part of the research project: ‘Where Love Happens: Topographies of Emotions in European Literature and Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century’

The Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies

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Ms Lene Østermark-Johansen No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen is offering a fully-funded 3-year PhD scholarship commencing 1 September 2021.

We are looking for a candidate who is highly motivated to work on a PhD project provisionally entitled ‘Languages of Love’ as part of our four-year collective project funded by the Danish Velux Foundation:

The Research Project – a brief presentation:

Romantic love is usually thought of as immaterial, personal, intimate. Our project questions this by examining the materialities of love in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. We wish to demonstrate that romantic love also emerges materially, once print culture makes spaces where it can flourish. How does reading about love affect us, both emotionally and physically? Where do we seek those love stories, where do they take us? How does the idea of romantic love traverse the 19th and 20th centuries? How can the language of love be both universal and profoundly personal at the same time? What role does the philosophy and literature of romantic love play in the ways in which we express love in real life? With studies of literary tourism, of topoi in British print culture, of private codes in love letters, and the case study of a 20th-century treatise of love, we will provide elements for such a material history of love, hoping to demonstrate the close link between material places of love and the immateriality of emotion.

Job description:


The PhD candidate will be asked to analyse ‘the languages of love’ in the literatures of at least two major European languages (out of the language areas embedded in the department, namely English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese). We envision the project as rooted in the long nineteenth century (ca. 1780-1920). 

The PhD candidate will work on a project which will be partly linguistic, partly sociological, and partly literary, with ‘language’ defined in the broadest possible terms, encompassing everything from the language of flowers, postcards, coded language in subcultures, sign language, clichés, to manuals on wooing and courtship, and love letters and scenes in literature. He/She will analyse private codes of love for their linguistic strategies, showing how language can be used to make space for feelings.

Since one of the culminating points of the project is a collaborative exhibition at the Goethe Haus in Frankfurt, an interest in the materiality of print and material objects is a requirement. One focus for the exhibition could be love letters. The project as a whole is interested in the places (both printed and physical) where love can be described, indulged, or experienced.

We encourage independent and original projects, and interdisciplinarity, intermediality, and abilities to work competently across languages will be rated highly in our selection of the candidate.


For further information about the position and its content, please contact Principal Investigator Professor Lene Østermark-Johansen ([Email Address Removed]), who will be supervising the project together with a colleague from the department.


Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree in one of the language areas, or in literary studies. The successful applicant will have advanced analytical skills and be a strong communicator in English. We expect the PhD thesis to be written in English. Further, it is essential that candidates are team-players with good collaborative skills and have a curious mind-set with a strong interest to participate in an international and interdisciplinary research team.

Place of employment

The place of employment is at the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment. 


Terms of employment

The employment as PhD fellow is full time and for 3 years.

It is conditioned upon the applicant’s successful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.



General information about PhD study at the Faculty of Humanities is available at the PhD Studies’ website:

Application procedure

Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application must include the following documents: 


1. Project abstract

(1,200 characters)

2. Motivated letter of application (max. one page) A detailed project description 

3.  CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

4.  Diploma and transcript of records  


Applicants must upload the following documentation:

1.    A copy of master's degree diploma (if not available before the application deadline, a pre-approval must be submitted) 

2.    A copy of master’s degree transcript of records (an official description of the grading scale must be included)  

3.    A copy of bachelor’s degree diploma  

4.    A copy of bachelor’s degree transcript of records (an official description of the grading scale must be included)

5.  Publication list (if any) 


Project description

Project descriptions should outline the overall objectives, as well as design and timeline of the project and include

·   presentation of state of art

·   presentation and motivation of the theoretical framework and choices of methods 

·   a description of the project itself and how you see it fitting in with the larger research    project and contributing substantially to it


The project proposal must not exceed 6 standard pages, corresponding to approx. 12,000 characters (including curriculum, title, punctuation, figures, footnotes and references, but excluding bibliography / bibliography). A substantial breach of this will result in the application being excluded from consideration. 

Please adhere to the guidelines at this page:

You can read about the recruitment process at

Contact information

For any further questions regarding the recruitment process please contact HR employee Mette Christensen, e-mail: [Email Address Removed], please refer to ID number 211-0635/20-2I.

Application deadline: 11 March 2021, 23:59 (CET)


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