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As a PhD candidate you will be responsible for one of the five subprojects of the NWO-funded VICI project entitled 'Source of Life: Water Management in the Premodern Middle East (7th-15th Century)'. This project studies the interrelationship between water installations, governance, and legal and cultural frameworks in five Middle Eastern cities (Basra, Baghdad, Mosul, Damascus and Cairo) from the first Arab conquests to Ottoman rule (7th-15th c.). By integrating both written and material sources and employing a comparative approach, it seeks to: 1) map the institutional fabric of premodern Middle Eastern cities by taking water as a key service; and 2) identify incentives for institutional innovation in premodern urban water governance. Amore detailed description of the project can be found here.
Subproject 1 Cairo and the role of the waqf
Your PhD research, which is to result in a doctoral dissertation, will map, analyse and compare the diverse water supply institutions in Cairo. The literary sources to be analysed include histories, geographies, legal manuals, travelogues, and manuals for market inspectors. Since, for Cairo, also a unique set of sources is available, describing the workings of a particular Islamic institution (waqf or religious endowment) contributing to the urban water supply, this project specifically focuses on this institution and analyses the varying roles of centralised/decentralised, top-down/bottom-up and informal/formal processes in the functioning of the waqf. In addition, subproject 1 will analyse the incentives for the introduction of the waqf for the urban water provision of Cairo (11th-12th c.) and how it reached maturity under the Mamluk sultans of Egypt (12th-15th c.).
You will contribute research results to the project's database. Your findings will be presented in a dissertation, as well as in several (co-authored) conference papers and book chapters. You are also expected to contribute to wider communication of the project's results. Furthermore, you will cooperate closely with all other subprojects and participate in the project's programme of meetings as a speaker and organiser.
Fixed-term contract: You will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years.
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The Faculty of Arts employs over 500 academic and support staff in the fields of history and art, languages and cultures, linguistics and communication. Research is embedded in one of the two faculty research institutes: the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) or Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS). The faculty currently enrolls some 2,400 students, in three departments: the department of History, Art History and Classics, the department of Modern Languages and Cultures, and the department of Language and Communication. We want to be a diverse and inclusive organisation, which is why we endeavour to create a culturally diverse staff.