Postdoctoral researcher 'The Muslim Individual in Imperial and Soviet Russia'

Postdoctoral researcher 'The Muslim Individual in Imperial and Soviet Russia'

Published Deadline Location
19 Nov 1 Dec Amsterdam

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Job description

The Amsterdam School for Regional and Transnational and European Studies, one of the six research schools of the Faculty of Humanities, currently has a vacancy for a postdoctoral researcher as part of the ERC-funded project MIND: The Muslim Individual in Imperial and Soviet Russia, led by dr Alfrid Bustanov (University of Amsterdam). Applications are now invited from excellent candidates who wish to conduct research on the history of Muslim subjectivity in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.

Project description

For European historiography, it is self-evident that diaries, correspondences, and other personal documents provide crucial insights not only into how individuals reflected upon certain issues, but also into how the authors expressed their individuality, and how they saw their active role in history. In the historiography of Muslim societies, expressions of individuality are rarely ever problematized; the individual is often seen merely as part of a faith community, and the writings of individuals are more often than not just treated as a source for factual information on Islam, politics, or broader social phenomena, not as an effort of personal self-reflection. By analyzing practices of individualization in the personal archives of Muslims in Russia, the ERC program “The Muslim Individual in Imperial and Soviet Russia” places the Muslim subject at the center. How does a person engage with the Islamic tradition, with the demands of the state and of non-Muslim majority society, but also with other individuals, to design his or her conception of the self (Ar., shakhsiyya)?

Against changing social and political backgrounds, how did Muslims perceive themselves, which religious and cultural repertoires did they embrace? Which role models did they develop, and how do standardized expressions of the self relate to a quest for individuality? Which languages were chosen for such purposes? How did self-expressions circulate, and how were they received? This post-doc project is based on archival sources preserved in state and private collections across the Russian Federation, with genres such as individual and collective biographies, private letters, poetry, and photographs. Candidates for this position are invited to propose their own approaches, and to explain their methodological toolkits.

Tasks of the postdoctoral researcher will include:

  • completion of a major monograph within three years;
  • regular presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • publication of at least two peer-reviewed articles;
  • co-organisation of summer schools, expeditions and workshops;
  • contribution to the supervision of two PhD students.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


The successful applicant must have:

  • a PhD degree from a relevant field (Islamic/Arabic studies, Turkology, history, historical anthropology);
  • a thorough command of Arabic, Tatar (or other Turkic languages) and Russian;
  • proven experience in conducting manuscript expeditions, and in work with Oriental manuscripts;
  • a significant track of international publications;
  • outstanding research qualities;
  • keen interest in interdisciplinary research methods and approaches;
  • ability and willingness to work in a team;
  • willingness to travel abroad for research stays, conferences and summer schools.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 36 months.

The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed for 0,8 fte (30,4 hours per week) for a period of 36 months at the Department of History, European Studies & Religious Studies of the Faculty of Humanities. The research will be carried out under the aegis of ARTES. Initially a contract will be given for 12 months, with an extension for the following 24 months on the basis of a positive evaluation. The intended starting date of the contract is 1 February 2020. The gross monthly salary will range from €3,389 (scale 10) to €4,978 (scale 11), based on a full-time appointment (38 hours a week). The UFO profile for this position is, dependent on relevant experience, Researcher 4 (scale 10) or Researcher 3 (scale 11). The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities applies.


University of Amsterdam

With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.  

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.


Faculty of Humanities - Amsterdam School for Regional and Transnational and European Studies

Research at the Faculty of Humanities is carried out by six research schools under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute of Humanities Research. The Amsterdam School for Regional and Transnational and European Studies is one of the six research schools. 


  • Postdoc
  • Language and culture
  • max. 30.4 hours per week
  • €3389—€4978 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 19-784


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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