Deadline for Applications: April 28, 2019
PhD position ‘The Muslim Individual in Imperial and Soviet Russia’
Faculty of Humanities – Amsterdam School for Regional and Transnational and European Studies
Research at the Faculty of Humanities is carried out by six research schools under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute of Humanistic Research. The Amsterdam School for Regional and Transnational and European Studies, one of the six research schools, currently has two vacant PhD positions as part of the ERC-funded project MIND: The Muslim Individual in Imperial and Soviet Russia, led by dr Alfrid Bustanov (University of Amsterdam). Applications are now invited from excellent candidates who wish to conduct research on the history of Muslim subjectivity in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.
For European historiography, it is self-evident that diaries, correspondences, and other personal documents provide crucial insights not only into how individuals thought about certain issues, but also in how the authors expressed their individuality, and how they saw their active role in history. This holds true both for prominent and ordinary persons, and for a whole variety of genres. In the historiography of Muslim societies, expressions of individuality are rarely ever problematized; the individual is often seen merely as part of a faith community, and the writings of individuals are more often than not just treated as a source for factual information on Islam, politics, or broader social phenomena, not as an effort of personal self-reflection. By analyzing practices of individualization in the personal archives of Muslims in Russia, this program places the Muslim subject at the center. How does a person engage with the Islamic tradition, with the demands of the state and the non-Muslim majority society, but also with other individuals, to design his or her conception of the self (Ar., shakhsiyya)?