PhD in Islamic history and culture- Afghanistan

PhD in Islamic history and culture- Afghanistan

We are seeking a PhD candidate for the project “Gender, Islam and transnational legal orderings in post-US Afghanistan”. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway and led by the Chr. Michelsen Institute (Bergen) in partnership with the University of Bergen and Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (Kabul).

The successful candidate will be enrolled at The Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen.  The project is multi-disciplinary and we welcome applicants with different disciplinary backgrounds ( e.g. Asian or Middle Eastern history, Islamic studies, legal anthropology or related disciplines)

Fluency in Dari/Farsi or Pashto is a requirement.


PhD position

The Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion invites applications for a PhD research fellowship in the field of Islamic history and culture. The position is part of the project “Gender, Islam and transnational legal orderings in post-US Afghanistan”, funded by the Research Council of Norway and led by the Chr. Michelsen Institute (Bergen) in partnership with the University of Bergen and Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (Kabul).

About the project:

The project is multi-disciplinary and will explore the relationship between Islamic scholarship, gender and politics in Afghanistan.

There are four work packages:

1. Religious scholarship and gender in contemporary Afghanistan. This WP will focus on identifying Islamic scholars of significance in Afghanistan in terms of intellectual influence and prestige, institutional positions and political influence, their position on certain aspects of women’s rights, and the legal principles and modes of reasoning they apply.

2. Religion and women’s rights activism. This WP will survey the experiences of Afghan women’s rights activists in engaging with Islamic discourses and religious scholars in various arenas.

3. Legal practices. This WP will focus on current legal practices in the field of family law, specifically women’s rights in marriage and to divorce.

4. Intersections between religion, (geo)politics, gender and law. The final WP draws on the material and findings of the other WPs to develop an overall analysis of how broader (geo) political alignments have shaped legal practices, the orientations of religious-legal scholarship and women’s rights activism in Afghanistan.

The PhD position advertised is linked to work package 1.

Potential candidates should contact Anne Bang (main supervisor), or Torunn Wimpelmann (acting project leader), for the full project description.

About the project/work tasks:

  • The candidate is expected to produce a PhD dissertation within the focus of work package 1, as described in more detail in the full project description.
  • A proposal describing the PhD project must be submitted with the application. The proposal may address research questions such as: Who are the most influential Sunni and Shia religious scholars in Afghanistan at present, intellectually, politically and institutionally? What texts and scholarly traditions are most treasured by contemporary ulema in Afghanistan? What are their positions on women’s rights in marriage, and to education, work and mobility?
  • The research may make use of text collections, media material and other primary sources but may also base the project on fieldwork as further defined.

The main purpose of the PhD position is to complete the requirements for a doctoral degree which qualifies for independent research and for other forms of employment that demand specific competency. The duration of the position is 3 years.

Applicants who have already held a PhD position at the University of Bergen, are not eligible for employment.

The employment period may be reduced if the selected candidate previously has been employed in a recruitment position.

The position requires that the applicant has her/his regular workplace at the University of Bergen, Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, and complies with the guidelines that apply to the position at all times.

About the research training:

The PhD candidate must participate in the University’s approved educational programme for a PhD degree within a period of 3 years.  The applicant must meet the enrolment requirements for the PhD program at the University of Bergen.

Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • The candidate must hold the equivalent of a Norwegian master's degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. Asian or Middle Eastern history, Islamic studies, legal anthropology or related disciplines). The master’s degree must have been awarded at the time of application. Applicants who do not have a Norwegian master’s degree will be evaluated according to the regulations of the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT). The Department can send documentation of foreign education to NOKUT in order to evaluate whether this degree is equivalent to a Norwegian master’s degree.
  • Fluency in Farsi/Dari/Pashto is a prerequisite. The ability to use written Arabic sources is an advantage.
  • The candidate must have excellent English writing skills.
  • Good knowledge of Islamic legal traditions and a multi-disciplinary background is an advantage.
  • The applicant must be able to work independently, including in field work, in a well-structured way and must have good interpersonal and cooperation skills.
  • Knowledge of Afghan history and society is an advantage.

Both the academic quality of the initial project proposal and the applicant’s qualifications and skills will be considered in the assessment of the application. In cases where applicants have approximately equivalent qualifications, motivation and the applicant’s personal eligibility will be taken into account.

We can offer:

  • A good and professionally challenging working environment.
  • Salary at pay grade 54 (Code 1017/Pay range 20, alternative 10) in the state salary scale, currently NOK 481 800 gross p.a. following ordinary meriting regulations.
  • Enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.
  • A position in an inclusive workplace (IA) enterprise.
  • Good welfare benefits.

The project is affiliated with the CanCode project (2020-2024) which examines and theorize change in Islamic legal texts over time, and is located at the University of Bergen, where there is a substantial academic environment on Islamic law and history.

How to apply:

Applications must be sent electronically via the link on this site “APPLY FOR THIS JOB”. The applicant must use the electronic CV form.

The application must include:

  • A proposal that identifies the main focus of the proposed PhD topic and explains how it will fit into work package 1 and the broader project. The proposal should also briefly account for the applicant’s research interests, skills and motivation for applying for the position. Initial considerations of methodology, feasibility and access to data, as well as a preliminary progress plan should be included. Total length:  Max. 12.000 characters.
  • CV
  • The name and contact information for two reference persons. One of these must be the main advisor for the candidate’s master’s thesis or equivalent.
  • Transcripts and diplomas showing completion of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
  • A brief summary of the master’s thesis or equivalent (up to 3 pages).
  • Relevant certificates/references.
  • A progress plan for the PhD project.
  • Bibliography for the proposed project.
  • A list of any works of a scientific nature (publication list).

The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge. Attachments can be either in Word or PDF format.

General information:

For further information and for a full project description, applicants may contact acting project leader Torunn Wimpelmann, +47 48198799, main supervisor Professor Anne Bang, +47 55589430, or Head of Department Jan Heiret, +47 55589762.

The state labour force shall reflect the diversity of Norwegian society to the greatest extent possible. People with immigrant backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the position.

The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions. Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.


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