PhD Fellowship as part of the research project ‘Danish-German Cultures (1773-1864): Conflict and Cohesion’, funded by The Independent Research Fund Denmark

The Department of English, Germanic, and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen is offering a fully funded 3-year PhD scholarship commencing 1 February 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

We are looking for a candidate who is highly motivated to undertake doctoral research as part of a three-year collaborative project funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark and headed by Associate Professor Anna Sandberg.

Presentation of the host project
“Danish-German Cultures (1773-1864). Conflict and Cohesion” is a cultural history project which investigates the hybrid culture of Danish-German coexistence in the Danish composite state from 1773-1864. The aim of the project is to write a new transcultural history of art, literature, language and human practices. We will explore how authors, artists, intellectuals and academics, as well as civil servants and politicians, lived and worked in a zone with two nationalities and the two languages Danish and German in the cosmopolitan state. This will challenge the dominant narrative of ideological battles, mutual exclusions and war, and instead examine the dual conditions of conflict and cohesion before the formation of the Danish nation state in 1864.

This period of pluralistic and bilingual identity formation will be examined in case studies from four disciplines of the humanities: comparative literature, art history, history and linguistics by, a) analyzing the interplay between the micro level of individual practices and the macro level of state, politics, and institutions respectively and b) offering a longitudinal perspective of the period divided into two phases from 1773-1814 and 1814-1864 and c) taking into consideration the spatial relations between Copenhagen-Kiel, the Danish Kingdom-the German Duchies, and the Conglomerate State-Europe. 

Theoretically we propose an approach of entangled history to study the interdepencies between Danish and German, drawing furthermore on concepts like “contact zone”, “semiosphere”, and cultural border crossers (“Grenzgänger”).

Our investigation aims at 1) exploring the hybrid cultural identification and identity models of the period (as alternatives to state citizen identity and mono-national identities) 2) analyzing the narratives and imaginaries employed in literature, art, language, and life-writing, and 3) comparing the Danish-German state with pluralistic identity formations in other European border regions and  states in order to test its potentials in today´s nationalized and globalized world.

Job description
The work to be undertaken by the successful PhD candidate is an independent PhD research project designed to fit the overall research agenda of Danish-German Cultures (1773-1864): Conflict and Cohesion with an emphasis on the transformation from a multilingual to a monolingual society, and the interplay between German and Danish language before and during the ideologization of the national languages. More specifically, the PhD candidate will be expected to design and conduct a historical and linguistic case study focusing on the change of language-society relations between 1773-1864. The PhD project can investigate language practice (the functions of German and Danish in different social milieus and official domains) and/or language attitudes in the period; include a mapping of the linguistic contact zones in society; or perform a contrastive analysis of language ideologies in German and Danish language histories (e.g. Jakob Grimm (1848), C.F. Allen (1857-58), N.M. Petersen (1829-30) as well as the letters between Grimm and Rasmus Rask), which goes beyond the perspective of the triumphant monolingualism (as depicted in the national language histories of Skautrup 1944-1968; Diderichsen, 1968).The project can also integrate literary language, translational history and genres such as school books or language instruction books. The relation of language and identities (identity constructions, imagined communities, perceptions) should play a central role.

The case study will be chosen in collaboration with the PhD supervisor, based on the specific case(s) proposed in the successful candidate’s PhD project description. PhD candidates are expected to outline a research design for the case study as part of their application. The project can be situated within the field of linguistics, literature, or history but has to analyse linguistic material and sources. We welcome projects which contribute with new material and archival sources. Theoretically, the PhD project should contribute to the host project’s overall framework and research interests and the interdisciplinary dialogue.

The PhD student will be supervised by Associate Professor Anna Sandberg (a co-supervisor might be appointed depending on the project).  The thesis can take the form of a monograph, or it can be article based, depending on the nature of the proposed project and the successful candidate’s preferences.

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

  • Applicants must have a relevant master’s degree (120 ECTS), possibly with a specialization (speciale) within the areas of linguistics (historical sociolinguistics), German or Danish Studies, or History.  Applicants with a non-Danish Master’s degree will have their degree assessed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science in order to establish that their Master’s degree is equivalent to a Danish Master’s degree. Please read more at the Ministry of Higher Education and Sciences website:
  • The successful applicant will have advanced analytical skills and be a strong communicator in Danish and German as well as English. We expect the PhD thesis to be written in Danish or German, alternatively in English.
  • Since the case study will involve data and material in Danish as well as German, applicants must document advanced knowledge of Danish and German
  • Due to the collaborative nature of the host project, it is essential that the candidate has excellent collaborative skills and a strong interest in being part of a close-knit research team.

Additional critera for the assement of applicants

  • Exam results
  • The time taken to complete previous degrees (taking any periods of leave into account)
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience

Key criteria for the assessment of the PhD project description

  • Relevance of the proposed PhD project for the host project
  • Intellectual originality
  • Theoretical contribution
  • Research design
  • Feasibility of the proposed project

Place of employment
The place of employment is The Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies (Engerom), Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, and the successful candidate will be part of the PhD programme at the Faculty of Humanities, attached to the PhD coordinator and group of PhD students at the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies. 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.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree. 

For further information and specific questions about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal investigator, Anna Sandberg, 

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 (max. 1,200 characters)
  2. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  3. A detailed project description (max. 12,000 characters)
  4. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

Applicants must also 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) 

If the master diploma and/or examination records are in another language than English, German, French, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian or Swedish, please include a translation into either of these languages in your application.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements. 

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

  • presentation of thestate of art
  • presentation and motivation of the theoretical framework
  • presentation and discussion of choice of methods and research design
  • a description of the project itself and how you see it fitting in with the larger research project and contributing substantially to it
  • a working plan for the project

The project description must not exceed 6 standard pages, corresponding to approx. 12,000 characters (excluding 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

The recruitment process
After the deadline for applications, applicants are selected for assessment on the advice of the Appointment Committee. All applicants will be notified whether they are shortlisted for assessment or not. An Assessment Committee is appointed, and the selected applicants are notified of the composition of this committee. Each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment which relates to their own application.

Afterwards, a selection of qualified candidates will be invited for an interview. Please be advised that a positive assessment does not necessarily mean that you will be invited for an interview. 

For further information on the recruitment process, please see University of Copenhagen’s website:

The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

As an equal opportunity employer the university invites applications from all interested candidates regardless of gender, age, ethnic origin or religion.

As a PhD scholar at The Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, you will be supervised for approximately 180 hours distributed over 6 semesters. In addition to this, you must complete PhD courses of a total approximating 30 ECTS. On completion of the PhD programme, you must submit a PhD thesis.  

Read more about the structure of the PhD programme and what it means to be enrolled as a PhD scholar at the Faculty of Humanities via this link:

For more information about the PhD School read more at this page:

Terms of employment
PhD scholars at the Faculty of Humanities are appointed under the terms and conditions of the collective agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. 

According to the agreement, PhD scholars are obliged – without any additional remuneration – to perform tasks assigned to them corresponding to 840 working hours over the three years. These tasks will primarily be in the form of teaching, dissemination, research or other related academic areas.

Please note that it is normally a precondition for employment that the applicant in question does not already have a PhD degree. Applicants who have already obtained a PhD degree will, as a main rule, not be considered for the application process.   

Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins around DKK 28,800 DKK /approx. 3.850 EUR.

Contact information
For any further questions regarding the recruitment process please contact HR employee Dorthea Andersen at Please refer to ID number 211-1520/23-2H #1.

Application deadline: 1 November, 23:59 (CET).


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 01-11-2023
Employment start: 01-02-2024
Department/Location: Institut for Engelsk, Germansk og Romansk
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