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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. A more detailed description of the project can be found here.
Subproject 2 Damascus and the transformations during the first centuries of Islam
Your PhD research, which is to result in a dissertation, will map, analyse and compare the diverse water supply institutions in Damascus. The literary sources to be analysed include histories, geographies, legal manuals, and travelogues. Since Damascus is a city with a long pre-Islamic history whose ingenious water supply systems have been described by archaeologists, this subproject specifically focuses on the transformations from the pre-Islamic era to the first centuries after the Arab conquest of the city and investigates the influence of Islamic laws and values on water provision.
You will contribute research results to the project's database. Your findings will be presented in a dissertation and, 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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