Call for Applications: 2-year post-doctoral position in the history of
Alfonsine astronomy in Europe 


ALFA is an ERC funded project (2017-2022, 60 month, Consolidator grant 2016
agreement 723085) 
dedicated to the study of Alfonsine astronomy which flourished in Europe
from the second half of the 
13th to the mid-16th century. 

Employing approaches from the history of astronomy, history of mathematics,
and history of manuscript 
cultures to study astronomical tables, instruments, theoretical and
mathematical texts, ALFA’s main 
objectives are to: 

. Retrace the development of the corpus of Alfonsine texts from its origin
in the second half of 
the 13th century to the end of the 15th century by following, on the
manuscript level, the milieus 
producing and using these codices; 
. Analyse Alfonsine astronomers’ practices, their relations to
mathematics, to the natural world, 
to proofs and justification, and their intellectual and social contexts and
. Build a meaningful narrative showing how astronomers in different milieus
with diverse 
practices shaped, also from Arabic and Hebrew materials, an original
scientific scene in Europe. 

ALFA works in a deeply collaborative manner. Matthieu Husson (PI, CNRS-
Observatoire de Paris), 
José Chabás (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) and Richard Kremer
(Dartmouth College, USA) 
constitute its advisory board. Around them a local team of 3 post-docs, 3
PhD students and a digital 
humanities IT expert, based at the Paris Observatory, will work with a team
of international scholars 
comprised of 10 specialists of the history of late medieval astronomy in
Europe. Finally a team of 
external experts from neighbouring fields will consult with ALFA in order
to enrich its methodological 
and theoretical dimensions and to help design the digital tools. 

ALFA invites application for a 2-year post-doctoral position expected to
start on January 1, 2018 or 
as soon as possible thereafter (CNRS-contract, salary according to
experience following CNRS policy). 
This position will be hosted at the Observatoire de Paris in the history of
astronomy team (dir. Michela 
Malpangotto) of the SYRTE Laboratory (UMR 8630). 

The successful candidate will work as part of the local team and will spend
most of his/her working 
time on his/her research project in the context of this collective,
international project. He/she is expected 
to participate in the publications of the project and will be encouraged to
take part in the conception of 
scientific events relevant to his/her research (workshops and seminars).
He/she will have also dedicated 
research funds especially for travel to relevant European libraries. In
line with ALFA’s (first) objective 
this post-doctoral research project should enhance our understanding of the
formation of the corpus of 
Alfonsine texts. Different approaches are possible to achieve this aim,
including the critical edition of 
key works of Alfonsine astronomy including astronomical tables or an
in-depth study of a selected 
corpus of manuscripts linked to a specific production milieu, a pertinent
collector, or the diffusion or 
teaching of specific Alfonsine works. These studies should be connected to
more general questions in 
the history of astronomy (technical contents of texts and the elements
described in them, establishment 
and connection of different milieus fostering Alfonsine astronomy,
specificity and overlap of these 
milieus in term of manuscript and astronomical practices). Complementary
approaches may be 
considered, such as the history of manuscript cultures (typology of
astronomical multiple-text 
manuscripts, visual organisation of codices, manuscripts as performative

To qualify for the position, candidates are required to have completed
their PhD in either history of 
sciences, medieval history or scientific disciplines such as astronomy and
exact sciences. Acquired 

competences in Latin philology, codicology, palaeography, history of
astronomy and history of 
mathematics will be appreciated. The will to work with and contribute to
the development of digital 
humanities tools will be a positive element. A good control of spoken and
written English is also 
important in order to be able to interact fruitfully with the international
team of the project. 

Applications should be sent no later than September 14, 2017 to Matthieu
They shall include: a short CV (2 p. max), contact information for two 
possible externals referees (name, institution, email contact), a short
research proposal (3-4 p. max), a 
written sample of academic work (e.g. thesis and/or a recent paper). 

Review of applications will start on September 15, 2017 and the result will
be published on October 
16, 2017. 

For further information please contact Matthieu Husson (