Postdoctoral researcher on Persian translations from Sanskrit

Postdoctoral researcher on Persian translations from Sanskrit

Published Deadline Location
15 Mar 15 Apr Leiden

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The Faculty of Humanities, Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) is looking for a postdoctoral researcher to focus on translations of Sanskrit Purāṇas into Persian for the ERC Advanced Grant project "PURANA - Mythical Discourse and Religious Agency ...

Job description

Project Description
The Purāṇas constitute the most voluminous and enduring genre of Sanskrit literature. While many important Purāṇas were first recorded and circulated in the first millennium CE, the genre has remained a living tradition through the colonial period until the present day. Despite the tradition's centrality for cultural production in South Asia, we know very little about their historical embeddedness. PURANA makes a critical intervention in the field by tracing the composition, transmission, translation, and agency of the Purāṇas as a transregional and transhistorical process involving multiple actors, audiences, and geographic contexts. Adopting a longue durée perspective, we argue that the Purāṇas' mythical discourse underlies and unites the religio-political culture of the Sanskrit Cosmopolis-establishing what we call a 'Puranic Ecumene': a vast part of the inhabited premodern world united by a distinctive mythical discourse, a hegemonic vision of the integration of society and cosmos, and a remarkable way of anchoring the present in the continuing ancient past.

Key Responsibilities
The postdoctoral researcher will carry out research on translations of Sanskrit Purāṇas into Persian. Recent years have seen great advances in the study of the culture of translation of Sanskrit texts into Persian at the Mughal court. What is less well known is that several Purāṇas were also translated into Persian. Except for the various translations of the Bhāgavatapurāṇa, little scholarship on these translations exists. The study of these texts may not only shed important light on the Mughal Sanskrit-Persian translation project but also on the colonial encounter with the Purāṇas, which involved the intermediation of Persian translations. Possible areas of research could include: translation techniques, manuscript studies, reception history, and interreligious dynamics. In addition to doing research, the candidate will have the opportunity to teach within the LIAS.


Leiden University


Selection Criteria
  • PhD in a relevant field (South Asian Studies, Persian Studies, Religious Studies, History).
  • Prior experience in conducting historical and philological research with Persian literary sources, including the ability to work with written manuscripts.
  • Excellent command of English as well as reading skills in Persian and Sanskrit.
  • Interested in working collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team exploring primary sources and their broader socio-historical contexts.

Conditions of employment

Terms and Conditions
We offer a fixed term 1 fte position for a period of 3 years, starting as soon as possible.
The starting salary is € 3.974.- gross per month (pay scale 11, step 0), based on fulltime employment, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities and commensurate with qualifications and experience. Depending on qualifications, you may start at the appropriate step in scale 10 until you fully meet the requirements for scale 11 as specified by the Faculty of Humanities, particularly with regard to the number of years of relevant work experience.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions.For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme.Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break

Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.


Leiden University

Leiden Institute for Area Studies ( is comprised of a School of Asian , a School of Middle-Eastern Studies and a School of Religious Studies, with international staff and student populations. The institute is committed to a present-day vision of area studies, integrating disciplinary and regional-historical perspectives on a solid foundation of excellent language skills. Current staff in LIAS has expertise in the fields of Anthropology, Archaeology, Art Studies, Buddhist Studies, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Language Pedagogy, Law, Linguistics, Literary Studies, Material Culture Studies, Performance Studies, Philology, Philosophy, Political Economy, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Visual Culture Studies.
The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 995, the faculty provides 27 master's and 25 bachelor's programmes for over 7,000 students based at locations in Leiden and in The Hague. For more information:


  • Research, development, innovation
  • Language and culture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €3974—€5439 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 13515



Rapenburg 70, 2311EZ, Leiden

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