Postdoctoral fellow – Department of Languages and Cultures

Job title:

Postdoctoral fellow – Department of Languages and Cultures


Job description

Offer DescriptionLast application date Apr 30, 2024 00:00Department LW21 – Department of Languages and CulturesContract Limited durationDegree PhDOccupancy rate 100%Vacancy type Research staffABOUT GHENT UNIVERSITYGhent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 15.000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities.With its 11 faculties and more than 85 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.Job descriptionApplications are invited for 2 full-time Post-doctoral fellowships of 2 years each to carry out art historical, historical and/or anthropological and/or religious investigations within the project “The Mosques of Kerala: Artistic Vocabularies in the Identity-Building of Muslim Communities” (FWO Odysseus type II) led by Prof. Dr. Sara Mondini at the Department of Languages and Cultures at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium ( ). Within the department, the Post-doctoral researchers will collaborate both with the South Asia Studies and Arabic and Islamic Studies/Middle East Studies areas.
All nationalities are welcome to apply.Brief Project Description [For more information or a full project description contact ]
The project “The Mosques of Kerala: Artistic Vocabularies in the Identity-Building of Muslim Communities” aims to study the mosques on the Malabar coast of India, particularly those erected along the coastline of the modern state of Kerala and southern Karnataka, in southern India, from the initial spread of Islam in the 7th century (according to legends) to the presente day, their peculiar style, their recent transformation and their role in the processes of identity building of the local Muslim communities. The structures to be investigated generally display unique formal elements. They seem to be the result of a remarkable combination of artistic vocabularies apparently borrowed from other Muslim regions – the Arabian Peninsula and Central Asia – and fused with elements drawn from local and South East Asian vernacular and temple architecture. The Indian Ocean trade network that brought Islam to these shores also contributed to defining the identity of the first Islamic communities, which seems to be reflected in architectural choices. Both aspects, the models chosen for these mosques and the Indian Ocean network continued to play a key role in the transformation of artistic vocabularies and in the development of structures. Nevertheless, the mosques’ originality and historical value is today jeopardised by increasing renovation, demolition, and reconstruction work. A full understanding of the monuments, from both a formal and contextual point of view, would have a significant impact on our knowledge of both art-historical and socio-religious scenes, in the region and in the Islamic world. The art historical study of these mosques would enable to trace out the transfer of forms and models, travelling along the trade networks, and the dynamics behind the establishment of a new regional artistic vocabulary. At the same time, an investigation of the historical and socio-religious context would enable us to understand later patronage patterns, socio-cultural dynamics and exchanges across the Indian Ocean, shedding light on how the Muslim communities in Kerala have looked through the centuries towards other regions such as the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, South East Asia, northern India and indeed vernacular and temple architecture in the region. This study of the Malabar mosques will contribute to change the timeline and perception of the Indo-Islamic artistic works and their role in relation to the rest of the Islamic world and South Asia. Last but not least, only by tracing out the mosques’ development over the centuries it will be possible to understand the redefinition of their patrons’ identities and of the religious communities associated with them, and hence the significance attached to these mosques and their style today.Job profileWhat we are looking for:

  • You hold a PhD in a relevant field (e.g., Islamic Studies, Religious Studies, South Asia Studies; History);
  • You have completed an outstanding PhD dissertation on an aspect of the South Asian and/or Islamic culture and/or history between 8/9th and 21th centuries;
  • In exceptional circumstances and based on detailed scientific justification, researchers who do not hold such a degree may also be considered, provided they have demonstrated exceptional scientific merit.
  • Exceptional scientific merit is defined as having excelled in scientific research and publications at a level at least equivalent to a doctoral degree.
  • The grant can only be awarded within the framework of international scientific mobility. This is the case if:
  • the researcher has resided abroad for at least 24 months out of the 3 years prior to the start date of the postdoctoral fellowship and has not worked or studied in Belgium during that period. However, short-term stays in Belgium are allowed during 24 months, such as holidays, participation in conferences or a short stay to prepare for the period as a postdoctoral researcher
  • the researcher is funded by the Marie- Sklodovska-Curie Action (MSCA) and thus meets the associated mobility conditions.
  • Only for postdoctoral researchers in international mobility
  • You have proficiency in the relevant languages, especially in Malayalam sufficient to undertake cutting-edge research in South Asian history (8/9th-21th centuries); proficiency in Arabic and/or Persian is a plus;
  • You have the ability to develop an original research project;
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English;
  • You are a dynamic and enthusiastic team player.

Post-doctoral research description:

  • You will participate in the project’s fieldwork missions in South Asia and carry out fieldwork independently;
  • You will closely interact with the research carried out by the doctoral fellow and with the other team members;
  • You will be expected to disseminate research results together with the research team via publications in international peer-reviewed journals, the participation in conferences, etc.;
  • You will write a chapter for a book where the results of the project will be published;
  • You will submit at least 2 articles for publication with a peer-reviewed journal;
  • You will contribute to the research environment in South Asian and Islamic studies at Ghent University through participation in reading groups, workshops, and other scholarly events.


  • We offer a full time positions as a postdoctoral fellow for 2 years, subject to positive evaluation after one year.
  • In deviation the above, an EEA national, who has previously received a postdoctoral grant in the 12 months prior to an MSCA grant, can exceed the maximum term of 36 months under this MSCA grant provided that the entire term does not exceed 48 months.
  • Your contract will start on on September 1 2024 at the earliest.
  • You will be allocated office space and receive funding for fieldwork and for attending workshops and conferences.
  • The grant amount is equal to the net salary of a doctoral assistant (AAP 5) with the same level of education and seniority and based on the same family situation as the doctoral assistant. The supervisor may deviate from this and assign a higher level based on acquired experience, professional career and demonstrated competences. The grant amount will not be revised in the current year except in case of indexation.
  • 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.

(in Dutch).How to applyTo apply submit the following materials in a single pdf file to Prof. Sara Mondini ( ):

  • your complete CV and an overview of your study results;
  • a transcript of your studies at undergraduate, MA and PhD level;
  • a cover letter outlining your experience and interest in undertaking doctoral studies at Ghent University;
  • a research proposal (max. 2500 words plus bibliography) that outlines the dissertation project you will undertake and includes 1) project title, 2) a rationale and positioning of the project in relation to existing scholarship, 3) a statement of the research objectives of the project, 4) research methodology and work plan, and 5) essential bibliography;
  • up to two samples of published academic works;
  • names, positions and email address of two referees (do not include reference letters).

The deadline is April 30 2024. We do not accept late applications.For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Sara Mondini ( )RequirementsResearch Field Cultural studies Years of Research Experience NoneResearch Field History Years of Research Experience NoneResearch Field History Years of Research Experience NoneResearch Field Language sciences Years of Research Experience NoneResearch Field Religious sciences Years of Research Experience NoneAdditional InformationWebsite for additional job detailsWork Location(s)Number of offers available 1 Company/Institute Ghent University Country Belgium City Ghent Postal Code 9000 Street Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33Where to apply WebsiteContact CityGhent WebsitePostal Code9000STATUS: EXPIRED

Expected salary


Gand, Flandre-Orientale

Job date

Sun, 31 Mar 2024 03:37:04 GMT

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