Gepubliceerd op 31-10-2019

Postdoctoral Researcher History of Middle Eastern Water Management subproject 3

As a postdoctoral researcher you will be responsible for one of the five subprojects of the NWO-funded VICI project entitled ‘Source of Life: Water Management in the Premodern Middle East (7th-15th Century)’. This project studies the interrelationship between water installations, governance, and legal and cultural frameworks in five Middle Eastern cities (Basra, Baghdad, Mosul, Damascus and Cairo) from the first Arab conquests to Ottoman rule (7th-15th c.). By integrating both written and material sources and employing a comparative approach, it seeks to: 1) map the institutional fabric of premodern Middle Eastern cities by taking water as a key service; and 2) identify incentives for institutional innovation in premodern urban water governance. A more detailed description of the project can be found here.

Subproject 3 – Basra, Baghdad and Mosul: Long-term evolution of urban water provision
Your postdoctoral research will approach the two main objectives of the project (see above) from a comparative perspective. Studying the rich literary source material on three Iraqi cities (Basra, Baghdad and Mosul) over time, you will map and investigate the long-term evolution of the management of water institutions. These three cities, each located in distinct natural environments, followed divergent social and political pathways, with different local and regional functions over time, each of them subject to numerous regime changes, and with varying levels of urbanisation throughout their existence. By exploring varying social, cultural, political and environmental circumstances, you will develop a comparative grid for analysing water provision.

You will contribute research results to the project’s database. Your findings should be presented in at least four major articles (some of which co-authored) in international scientific journals, as well as in several conference papers and book chapters. You are also expected to contribute to wider communication of the project’s results. Furthermore, you will cooperate closely with all other subprojects and participate in the project’s programme of meetings as a speaker and organiser.


  • A completed PhD degree in Arabic Languages and Cultures, History or a relevant field (at least a manuscript approved by the board of examiners).
  • Excellent command of (classical) Arabic and demonstrable experience in historical research on the Middle East (7th-15th c.). Expertise about one or all of these three cities will be considered a plus.
  • An excellent research and publication record in relation to your career stage.
  • Excellent command of spoken and written English.
  • A strong willingness to work collaboratively in an international research team.
  • Willingness to travel regularly for research and attend conferences.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: You will be appointed for an initial period of 12 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended with another 3 years.

  • Employment: 32 hours per week.
  • A maximum gross monthly salary of € 4.274 based on a 38-hour working week (salary scale 10).
  • The exact salary depends on the candidate’s qualifications and amount of relevant professional experience.
  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • Duration of the contract: You will be appointed for an initial period of 12 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended with another 3 years.
  • The intended start date is 1 May 2020.
  • You will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service: our Dual Career Officer will assist with family-related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation.
  • Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?


Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 22,000 students and 5,000 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent and collaboration. You have a part to play!


Faculteit der Letteren

The Faculty of Arts employs over 500 academic and support staff in the fields of history and art, languages and cultures, linguistics and communication. Research is embedded in one of the two faculty research institutes: the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) or Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS). The faculty currently enrolls some 2,400 students, in three departments: the department of History, Art History and Classics, the department of Modern Languages and Cultures, and the department of Language and Communication. We want to be a diverse and inclusive organisation, which is why we endeavour to create a culturally diverse staff.

Additional information
For more information about this vacancy, please contact:
Prof. Dr. Maaike van Berkel, Full Professor of Medieval History
Tel.: +3124 361 57 14
Email: m.vanberkel@let.ru.nl


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