15 PhD Positions in the framework of the Innovative Training Network

/ Mai 28, 2019

Die Forschungsbibliothek Gotha der Universität Erfurt wirkt als Kooperationspartnerin an dem Projekt “Mediating Islam in the Digital Age” mit (vgl. vor allem die Beschreibungen zu ESR 1, 8 und 15). Wir freuen uns, die folgende Ausschreibung bekannt geben zu können.

“Mediating Islam in the Digital Age. Present issues and past experiences of technological revolutions”
Marie Sklodowska Curie Action / Horizon2020


The Innovative Training Network programs (ITN) are designed to combine scientific research with an intensive training trajectory for young scholars in order to equip them with the necessary comprehensive knowledge and skills. These researchers work in an inter-sectoral, interdisciplinary and international environment to deepen their knowledge and to find answers to pressing contemporary societal issues. An international consortium of research institutes, universities and non-academic partners has been awarded with a research grant from the Department for Research and Innovation of the European Commission in June 2018. MIDA is coordinated by the ‘Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique’ (CNRS) in Paris.

The MIDA project rests on the premise that digitisation and technological innovations have a tremendous impact on Islam, the effects of which are diverse and ubiquitous. They include first and foremost modes of expression and communication of religious messages and traditions and modes of engagement with society. Digitisation and concurrent innovations as they emerged in the past decades belong to the list of comparable fundamental technological transformations in human history such as the invention of paper, printing technology, steam power, electricity and telecommunication, which constituted major upheavals, even if these were not experienced in all societies and by everyone at the same time, in the same way.

It is commonly recognised that the digital revolution will indeed deeply transform human societies, much as the industrial revolution did in the nineteenth century. However, the rapid changes that are currently taking place generate a sense of loss of control and instability among the general public, politicians, journalists, academics, and, not least, among Muslims themselves. The spread of modern digital media and new technologies of communication, production and dissemination, prompts researchers and social actors, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to make sense of, and understand these developments. Consequently, they have shaken up Islam as a field of academic study and have impacted on the ways Islam is to be studied in the future. The specificity of the current digital revolution calls for a re-evaluation of past situations and reflection on future prospects.

MIDA assesses these developments in all their dimensions by formulating three major questions: How does digitisation (1) shape Islam (i.e. beliefs, practices, societies, activism, political organisations, social institutions, and outlooks); (2) modify the relation Muslims have with their past; (3) modify and reorganise scholarship and research on Islam.

The MIDA project aims to train 15 creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative researchers in social and human sciences through an interdisciplinary research programme, whose main objectives are to understand the tremendous influence that digitisation and technological innovations have on Islam.

Below a list of the available research projects:

ESR 1 – From oral command to written memories. A case-study: the first Arab Muslim autobiography, ‘Abd Allâh b. Buluggîn’s Memoirs, 11th century.

ESR 2 – ‘In/out of the closet’ testimonials: online performance of secret lives in the Middle East and among Muslims in the West.

ESR 3 – Art activist (artivist) and non-celebrity clips as expressions of self in North Africa and the Middle East.

ESR 4 – Islamist movements in Morocco in their ‘other languages’: uses of the Arabic and Berber vernacular varieties in the digital spheres.

ESR 5 – Arab-Muslim encounters with Orientalism in the colonial age.

ESR 6 – Dubbing or subtitling? The socio-cultural context of exported Turkish television series.

ESR 7 – Mosque architecture and scripture in the contemporary Muslim world.

ESR 8 – The commodification and displacement of waqf portable assets from the 18th c. onwards.

ESR 9 – Wartime photography and portraiture in Khomeini’s and post-Khomeini Iran.

ESR 10 – Constructing and deconstructing Islamic authority and knowledge online and offline: competing Muslim discourses in the Moroccan diaspora in Europe, in particular the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

ESR 11 – From pulpit to Facebook: the digitisation of religious communication, authority and knowledge production.

ESR 12 – Networks of transmission of Islamic knowledge and mobility patterns of scholars in the pre-modern world.

ESR 13 – Mecca between photography, phonography and motion picture in the colonial period.

ESR 14 – Reactions of the European public after the rise of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Islamists since 2015: assessing the role of the digital media.

ESR 15 – Loss, memory and mobilisation: al-Andalus on the Internet.

The location is depending on which project the candidate applies for and it is specified in the header of each call, that you can download on MIDA website : https://www.itn-mida.org/callforposition

Each applicant may apply for up to 3 individual projects.

The gross monthly salary will be more than € 2,000 gross per month (depending on the University or Employer and on local tax regulation).

For any information, please contact info@itn-mida.org

Application forms are available on:


The successful PhD candidates will participate in the network’s advanced training activities and work in academic and non-academic partner organisations’ premises. Regular meetings and workshops within the EU-funded MIDA Innovative Training Network will supplement the training and support provided at the host organizations. Practical training (secondments) will be complemented by a personal career development programme that will prepare the ESRs for their future careers.

The closing date for this position will be 1st of June 2019.

Interviews will take place in the University of enrolment or at employer premises (or via Skype/Zoom) in June 2019.

The final decision for each project will be made by the MIDA consortium and communicated to the remaining candidates on 8th July 2019.

The starting date of the ESR will be 1st September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.

General requirements

  • Postgraduate or Master level degree (or equivalent). See the specific essential criteria in each call you are interested in : https://www.itn-mida.org/callforposition
  • Commitment to collaborate in the general development of the Mida project.
  • Experience in working in an inter-disciplinary and international team.
  • Successful applicants cannot have resided in the country of PhD matriculation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately preceding the engagement date. The positions may be equivalent to a PhD position and are not restricted to EU citizens. Refugee status under the Geneva Convention is NOT counted ‘as period of residence / activity in the country of the enrolment University or Employer.
  • They must further be in the first four years of their research career and not have been awarded a PhD degree.
  • The position is also not restricted to EU citizens, however, in the case of candidates from outside the EU, national Immigration authorities will have to approve the relevant permits.


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