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Job Opening: PhD Student in Islamic Endowments (Waqf) and State Formation in the Ottoman Empire

As a doctoral researcher at Ghent University, you will join the ERC-Starting Grant project ‘Islamic Endowments (Waqf) and State Formation in the Ottoman Empire, 1450-1650 (OTTOWAQF)’, under the supervision of the principal investigator, Professor Christopher Markiewicz.

The OTTOWAQF project investigates how pious endowments shaped state-building in the Ottoman Empire during a critical period between 1450 and 1650. Endowments were the most widespread and powerful social institutions within the empire, yet our current understanding of their role in Ottoman state formation marginalizes their significance. OTTOWAQF seeks to place endowments back squarely within the frame of Ottoman political power by showing how endowments shaped and constrained state-building. We will focus on how sultans and their agents used endowments to advance state objectives, while other social actors, including notable provincial families, Muslim scholars, monastic Christian communities, and endowment functionaries, used them to preserve their wealth and social positions in the empire between 1450 and 1650. To realize this goal, the project will undertake a comprehensive empire-wide analysis of how pious endowments evolved over time through examination of endowment deeds (vakfiye, singular), accounting registers (muhasebe defterleri), and judicial court registers (mahkeme sicil defterleri), as well as other archival materials and narrative sources.

We invite proposals for doctoral research projects that fit within the wider context of the OTTOWAQF project. Such proposals can focus on any aspect of endowments within the broad remit of the OTTOWAQF project, yet in all cases they should address a particular aspect of the relationship between endowments and the Ottoman state. Such proposals may include (but are not limited to) the following: the social power of Turkmen princely families and/or Balkan marcher lords in the provinces, the relationship between scholarly families and endowments in Egypt and Syria, and endowments and royal women in Ottoman dynastic politics, among other topics.

Within the context of the OTTOWAQF project, the successful candidate will:

  • Write a PhD dissertation
  • Submit at least 1 article for publication with a peer-reviewed journal
  • Analyze source materials relevant to the OTTOWAQF research project;
  • Attend regular in-person team meetings
  • Prepare and process source materials for computational analysis within the project database
  • Disseminate your research through participation in international workshops and conferences and publications in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Assist in event planning and organization
  • Assist in promoting the visibility of the project

Important Data

Last application date: Jan 05, 2024 23:30

Department: LW21 – Department of Languages and Cultures

Contract: Limited duration

Degree: Master’s degree

Occupancy rate: 100%

Vacancy type: Research staff


How to apply

To apply, submit the following materials in a single pdf file to Prof. Christopher Markiewicz (christopher.markiewicz@ugent.be):

  • a cover letter outlining your experience and interest in undertaking doctoral studies at Ghent
  • your CV and an overview of your study results
  • a transcript of your studies at undergraduate and MA level
  • a research proposal (max. 750 words) that outlines a dissertation project you will undertake within the context of the broader aims of OTTOWAQF,
  • names, positions, and email address of two referees (do not include reference letters.)

Applications will be assessed after the closing date and a select number of applicants will be invited for an interview via teleconferencing.



Job profile


  • You hold a thesis-based master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g., History, Islamic Studies, Middle East Studies, Near Eastern Languages & Cultures);
  • You have the ability to develop an original research project
  • You have command of the relevant languages and palaeography, especially Ottoman Turkish and/or Arabic, sufficient to undertake cutting-edge research in Ottoman history (15th-17th centuries);
  • You have undertaken historical research on endowments within the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 17th centuries;
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English;
  • You are a dynamic and enthusiastic team player


  • We offer you a contract for 4 years as doctoral student in Middle East Studies or History (first year conditional, if positive evaluated, added 3 years)
  • Your contract will start on 1/09/2024 at the earliest
  • The scholarship amount is 100% of the net salary of an AAP member in equal family circumstances. The individual scholarship amount is determined by the DPO on the basis of family circumstances and seniority. A grant that meets the conditions and criteria of the regulations for doctoral scholarships is considered free of personal income tax. Click here for more information about our salary scales
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 36 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. Click here for a complete overview of all the staff benefits (in Dutch).

Click Here to See More.

About Ali Teymoori

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