Funding and scholarships

Two Doctoral Positions: research project TEXTILE (Zurich)

University of Zurich, September 1, 2015 – August 31, 2016
Application deadline: Jun 30, 2015

Two part-time doctoral positions, research project TEXTILE

Andrea Mantegna, Man of Sorrows, 1495-1500, Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst (detail)
Andrea Mantegna, Man of Sorrows, 1495-1500, Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst (detail)

The Institute of Art History of the University of Zurich invites
applications for two part-time doctoral positions within the research
project ‘TEXTILE. An Iconology of the Textile in Art and Architecture’
(from the Middle Ages to the present) sponsored by the Swiss National
Science Foundation and directed by Prof. Dr. Tristan Weddigen
( The TEXTILE team works in
collaboration with the partner project ‘NETWORKS. Textile Arts and
Textility in a Transcultural Perspective, 4th to 17th Centuries’,
conducted at the Humboldt-University of Berlin, funded by the Deutsche
Forschungsgemeinschaft and directed by Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf

The positions are limited to a maximum of one year. Within this time,
the new project members will have the opportunity to develop their
doctoral theses within the framework of the joint research initiative.
The employment begins on September 1, 2015 and expires on August 31.

Residence in Switzerland, the matriculation as Ph.D. student at the
University of Zurich, and the knowledge of English and/or one Swiss
national language are required. Candidates are invited to submit a
curriculum vitae, a summary of their doctoral project, and, if
possible, writing samples as PDFs by e-mail (in one file) to Dr.
Mateusz Kapustka ( The deadline for the
submission is June 30, 2015. Please consult the website for further
information about the project’s framework.

Call for Papers Call for Participants

Clothing Sacred Scripture (Zurich 9-11 Oct 14)

Zurich, October 9 – 11, 2014
Deadline: Feb 25, 2014

In a traditional perspective, book religions are seen as agents of
logocentrism, establishing a sharp dichotomy between scripture and
aesthetics, religion and art. This judgment was based primarily on
dogmatic assumptions and posterior idealizations, however. In the light
of their material, performative and artistic practice, religions of the
book show a surprisingly strong tendency to evolve their
own »aesthetics of inlibration«. Especially in pretypographic
cultures, »clothing« sacred texts with precious materials and ornate
forms was a powerful instrument for creating a close relation between
the divine words and their human audience.

The questions this conference aims to address grow from a comparative
and transcultural approach to religious book culture. Whereas
traditional research on book art has focused on single textual
communities within exclusive religious frameworks, we propose to look
beyond these boundaries. Our discussion of various strategies for
clothing sacred scripture shall include objects and practices from all
Abrahamic religions. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam developed
different approaches to the aesthetics of inlibration. By analyzing and
comparing these practices of religious book art, we aim to better
understand their cultural and historical specificity within a broader

To which extent the choice of materials, book formats, and artistic
patterns mark religious difference and shape religious identity is one
of several questions this conference will address. Yet »Clothing« the
book could also produce the contrary effect. Since it was based on
practices of circulation and exchange between different religious
cultures, it could also undermine claims of religious identity and
absolute truth.

Furthermore, addressing questions of materiality and mediality should
not obfuscate the conflicts and tensions that arise at times between
the visual and tactile dimension and the invisible and intangible
dimension of sacred books. In this respect, the activity of adorning
holy scripture appears to be located between two extremes that
characterize the concept of the book. On the one hand, the book is a
visible and tangible container of God’s animate speech, on the other,
the book is a threshold that leads to the invisible and immaterial
realm of God’s holy words.

This conference will explore both sides of the nexus between sacred
scripture and art. How did art shape the religious practice of books,
and how did the central importance of religious books shape the
evolution of artistic practices? The organizers welcome contributions
from a wide range of medievalist research, discussing topics such as:

– the spatial and temporal structure of books. How do books articulate
the process of opening, unfolding, and closing, and how does their
physical or visual structure contrast exterior with interior spaces,
beginnings with endings? How do these elements create different spheres
and times of revelation?

– the performativity of book rituals. Which kind of ritual activities
(in the broadest sense) involve sacred books? How does book art answer
to the dynamics of animating the letter by reading, singing,
displaying, carrying, illuminating and writing or burying books?

– materiality and its transformation. Which materials were chosen for
creating sacred books, which semantic values and transformative forces
were ascribed to them, and in which ways did these materials contribute
to mediate between human and divine spheres?

– ornament and its rejection. Analyzing the art of sacred books can
lead to a more nuanced understanding of ornamental practices. In some
contexts, traditional ornament is rejected in favor of scripture in its
purest form, thus generating a kind of anti-ornamental décor for the
book. So when was ornamentation considered merely a mundane practice?
And which arguments were put forward to propagate ornament as evocation
of divine beauty?

– iconicity and aniconicity of decorated books. Recent scholarship has
underlined analogies between the cult of books and the cult of images.
This approach has opened new avenues of thought for perceiving books as
objects and not just as texts. Some book religions tend to contrast
books with images, however, and treat books as alternative solutions
for worship. How is the clothing of books related to these contrasting
principles of iconicity and aniconicity?

Please send Please send proposals of up to 300 words for 30min papers
and a short CV to:
David Ganz ( and Barbara Schellewald
( by February 25 2014

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: Clothing sacred scripture (Zurich 9-11 Oct 14). In: H-ArtHist, Feb
5, 2014. <>.

Funding and scholarships

PhD Fellowships: History & Theory of Architecture, Zurich

PhD Fellowships: History & Theory of Architecture, Zurich
ETH Zurich, Department of Architecture
Deadline: February 15 2014

amiens-cathedralThe Doctoral Program in History and Theory of Architecture is oriented toward the training of scholars in the field of architectural history and theory. The program’s focus is on the history and theory of architecture and urbanism in a wider context of cultural history, including the history and theory of art, science and technology. We are offering two positions for Doctoral students in History and Theory of Architecture.

We are looking for junior researchers with a background in history and theory of architecture and art or architects with research experience. Suitable candidates hold a diploma or a Master’s degree acquired at university level in architecture, history of art or related fields. The selected candidates will be enrolled at ETH Zurich. The position will start on October 1, 2014.

Applicants should include:
– a letter of motivation
– curriculum vitae
– 3 letters of recommendation
– an outline of their future research project.

The submission deadline is February 15, 2014.

For further information please visit our websites and

Contact: Dr. Nina Zschocke, nina.zschocke [ @ ] (no applications). Before sending an email please check our FAQ section at !

Please apply online at: