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PhD Studentship: Women, Martyrdom, and Religious Drama in the Abrahamic Traditions

The University of Fribourg seeks to recruit a PhD student to join the project “Women, Martyrdom, and Religious Drama in the Abrahamic traditions.”

The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and is headed by PI Professor Elisabeth Dutton, with the collaboration of Professor Babak Rahimi, University of California San Diego, who will jointly supervise the doctoral student. The team will also include two postdoctoral researchers based at the University of Fribourg, one of whom (Dr Lucy Deacon) is a Persianist. The project will commence on 1st February 2023, and will run for 48 months. The successful candidate will receive a competitive salary. They will be based at the University of Fribourg, and will spend a 6-month period at the University of California San Diego as a visiting student.

The Project

“Women, Martyrdom, and Religious Drama in the Abrahamic traditions” is an ambitious project that will carry out comparative research on the dramatic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Shi’i Islam, through both the study of their scripts and the staging of performances. Understanding these traditions as historically independent, yet intrigued by their common characteristics, the project seeks to offer new insight into religious drama’s impulses, purposes, and interactions with secular forces. It will include the editing and translation of plays pertaining to the Jewish purimshpil and Iranian ta’ziyeh tradition to be studied alongside examples of European biblical drama. An essential aspect of the PhD student’s job will be to work on the transcription, editing and translating of Persian language plays from manuscript sources.

Requirements of the role


  • High level of spoken and written fluency in both Persian and English
  • Master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant subject field
  • Experience using handwritten historical texts in research
  • Demonstrated interest in the field of drama; performance traditions; popular religious practices/cultural production
  • Strong commitment to delivering a high standard of work within stipulated time frames
  • Excellent inter-personal and collaborative skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Comfortable adapting to new environments
  • Creative and critical thinking 


  • Language abilities in French, German, and/or Italian
  • Publication record in relevant field

Key dates to note:

Term of Employment: 4 Years (Full Time)

Start Date: 1st February, 2024, or as agreed 

The closing date for applications is Sunday November 26th

Unless stated otherwise the closing time for applications is 11:59pm CET.

Interviews will be held online on Monday Dec 18th

How to apply

To apply please send your CV (maximum 3 pages) and a cover letter (maximum 1 page) to WOMARD@unifr.ch   

Over-length applications will not be considered.

About Ali Teymoori

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