Ph.D. Student, Symbolizing Identity Non-textual identity marks and their relation to writing in New Kingdom Egypt, Faculty of Humanities
Specifications - (explanation)
|Function types||PhD positions|
|Scientific fields||Language and Culture|
|Hours||38.0 hours per week|
|About employer||Leiden University|
Pharaonic Egypt was one of the earliest societies in which writing developed out of pictograms. Writing did not, however, cause the disappearance of pictographic systems. Among these are non-textual marks indicating ownership, responsibility or production by groups of people or by individuals. This phenomenon is still attested worldwide, but in contrast to writing it remains little researched.
In literate societies, marking systems are heavily influenced by writing, even to the extent that series of marks may look like written records. Yet marks are not writing in the true (i.e. linguistic) sense. The research focuses on the relation between identity marks and writing. What is the precise nature of identity marks? What interaction is there between these marks and writing? Is there a functional division in the uses of the two phenomena? What do marks tell us about the degree of literacy and cultural knowledge of their users? Answers to these questions are sought by analyzing a particularly well-documented marks system used in a highly literate village community: that of the royal tomb constructors in Thebes during the Egyptian New Kingdom (ca. 1150-1070 B.C.E.). The proposed case study has two components: (1) theoretical and comparative research of the system and the individual marks; (2) historical research of the administrative and social background. A synthesis of the results attempts, for the first time, to create a model for interpreting marking systems and their role in society, transcending the specific cultural context of the data investigated. This model will serve as a point of reference for future interdisciplinary research and discussion on writing and related phenomena.
The two vacant PhD positions relate to the research components (1) and (2) mentioned above.
- Analysing Egyptian source material, including the use of a special database application;
- participation in local research meetings and PhD teaching;
- The writing of a PhD dissertation;
- Organizing a conference in the framework of the research project.
- presenting papers at international conferences;
- publishing research results in the form of (an) article(s);
- a (Research) MA degree in Egyptology, or in a related field with a strong Egyptological component (focusing on language and script);
- thorough knowledge of the relevant languages and scripts: Middle and Late Egyptian, hieroglyphic and hieratic;
- preferably: good background knowledge of the New Kingdom necropolis at Thebes and its documentation, and/or research interest in theoretical issues relating to writing, semiotics, and literacy;
- Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
- Excellent skills in English.
Conditions of employment
The position of Ph.D. fellow is temporary for maximally four years of full-time appointment, and with an initial nine-month probationary period.
The salary is determined in accordance with the current scales as set out in the collective labour agreement for the Dutch universities (CAO):
Ph.D. fellow: min. € 2.042,- max. € 2.612,- gross per month, with additional holiday and end-of-year bonuses
Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.
Contract type: Temporary, 4 years
The Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) is responsible for research in fields related to the Middle East and East, South and Central and Southeast Asia. The Institute is divided into a School for Middle Eastern Studies and a School for Asian Studies. A multidisciplinary approach which comprises both the modern and the traditional periods is typical for the teaching and research within this Institute, whereby the knowledge of the source language is essential. The research of the approximately 75 staff members (including 20 professors) brings together the study of such subjects as history, law, economy, literature, religion and philology of the areas mentioned, both in the present day and in ancient times.
Starting May 2011 the Leiden Institute for Area Studies has two full time (38 hrs) vacancies, available as 4 year PhD positions, in the NWO-funded project "Symbolizing Identity. Non-textual identity marks and their relation to writing in New Kingdom Egypt," headed by Dr. Ben Haring and Prof. dr. Olaf Kaper.