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PhD position

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    Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
    Communication sciencesMedia studies
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    09/07/2018 00:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Belgium › Louvain-la-Neue


Reading Magic Lantern Slides: the Rhetoric of Image, Text and Performance

The partners of the B-MAGIC project invite applications for the following position:

PhD Candidate

Starting date between on October 1, 2018

Full time position for 24 months with the possibility of renewal for another 24 months

Location: COMU - Ecole de Communication, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)


The position is offered in the framework of the “B-Magic. The Magic Lantern and its Cultural Impact as Visual Mass Medium in Belgium (1830-1940)” project (B-MAGIC).

B-MAGIC is a four-year EOS-funded project which started in March 2018 and is led by prof. Kurt Vanhoutte (University of Antwerp). This project will write the as yet unwritten history of the magic lantern as a mass medium in Belgium. In doing so, it will make an essential contribution to the study of the country's cultural history as well as to international media historiography. It aims to rediscover the various functions of the lantern performance within the Belgian public sphere, in particular, its use in the transmission and negotiation of knowledge, norms and values by different societal groups. Scientists and entertainers, teachers and priests, political movements and organizations: they all used projected visual narratives to inform, entertain, educate and mobilize audiences of up to more than a thousand people per occasion. The lantern was the first visual mass medium to contest the printed word as a primary mode of information and instruction. All layers of society, both literate and illiterate, received visual information about nature, religion, science, new technologies and foreign countries. The B-Magic consortium will research the pivotal role of the magic lantern in Belgian society from the country's independence (1830) up to 1940, when its use declined. To this end, it brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Performance Studies, Cinema and Media Studies, Urban History, History of Science and Knowledge, Communication Studies, Semiotics, and Narratology. B-Magic will produce the first comprehensive study of the role of the magic lantern as a mass medium in a country.

The successful candidate will work in UCL on a  separate subproject entitled “Reading Slides: the Rhetoric of Image, Text and Performance”. Lantern slide pictures exist as independent semiotic entities and at the same time they are part of a sequential order In addition, the lantern reading “anchors” the images’ meaning, which makes slides a complex semiotic object. They need to be analysed in their individual iconography and as part of a visual narrative or discourse. The subproject will study commercially produced slide series that were used by societal groups. As products for an international market, the “readability” of the images in diverse cultural contexts and for different types of communication had to be possible. This makes these series particularly interesting for semiotic as well as narratological and communicational investigations .

Required qualifications:

- You hold a master degree in theatre studies, film studies, art history, media studies or related areas.

- You can achieve outstanding academic results.

-  Students in the final year of their degree are also encouraged to apply.

-  Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the university’s policy.

- You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.

- You are willing and able to work and communicate within a broader team of international researchers.

- Proficiency in English or French is required, together with a working knowledge of the other language, and at least passive knowledge of Dutch .


How to apply?

• Applicants should send (i) a statement of experience, qualification and interest, (ii) a complete CV, and (iii) two letters of recommendation via e-mail to Philippe.Marion@uclouvain.be and Sebastien.Fevry@uclouvain.be.

• A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications. The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.

• Candidates selected to take part in interviews, will be notified by 20 July, 2018. The interviews will take place in August 2018. Candidates will be expected to propose a research plan on the basis of the proposed subproject at the interview.

• For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Philippe.Marion@uclouvain.be or Sebastien.Fevry@uclouvain.be.

Applications may be submitted in English or in French .

The Phd retained will be required to reside in Belgium for the whole period of his/her fellowship. She/he will be asked to contribute to the intellectual life of the B-MAGIC project and of the UCL.

Review of the applications will start May 1 and the call is open until 2 July 2018.

More Information

Offer Requirements




Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Institut Langage et Communication (ILC)
Ruelle de la lanterne magique

EURAXESS offer ID: 301170


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