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Post-doctoral researcher for the ERC-Starting Grant project ‘Islamic Endowments (Waqf) and State Formation in the Ottoman Empire, 1450-1650 (OTTOWAQF)’, Ghent University

24-10-2023 20:30


As a post-doctoral researcher at Ghent University, you will join the ERC-Starting Grant project ‘Islamic Endowments (Waqf) and State Formation in the Ottoman Empire, 1450-1650 (OTTOWAQF)’, under the leadership of the principal investigator, Professor Christopher Markiewicz.

The OTTOWAQF project investigates how pious endowments shaped state-building in the Ottoman Empire during a critical period between 1450 and 1650. Endowments were the most widespread and powerful social institutions within the empire, yet our current understanding of their role in Ottoman state formation marginalizes their significance. OTTOWAQF seeks to place endowments back squarely within the frame of Ottoman political power by showing how endowments shaped and constrained state-building. We will focus on how sultans and their agents used endowments to advance state objectives, while other social actors, including notable provincial families, Muslim scholars, monastic Christian communities, and endowment functionaries, used them to preserve their wealth and social positions in the empire between 1450 and 1650. To realize this goal, the project will undertake a comprehensive empire-wide analysis of how pious endowments evolved over time through examination of endowment deeds (vakfiye, singular), accounting registers (muhasebe defterleri), and judicial court registers (mahkeme sicil defterleri), as well as other archival materials and narrative sources.


We invite proposals for post-doctoral research subprojects that fit within the wider context of the OTTOWAQF project. Such proposals can focus on any aspect of endowments within the broad remit of the OTTOWAQF project, yet in all cases they should address a particular aspect of the relationship between endowments and the Ottoman state. Such proposals may include (but are not limited to) the following: the social power in the provinces of Turkmen princely families and/or Balkan marcher lords, the relationship between scholarly families and endowments in Egypt and Syria, and the role endowments and royal women in Ottoman dynastic politics, among other topics.

At least 70% of your assignment will be spent on academic research.

Your tasks will include:

  • Designing and conducting your own academic research;
  • Define, undertake, and complete a project of your own design related to endowments and the state in the Ottoman Empire between 1450 and 1650, in line with the broader objectives of the OTTOWAQF research project
  • Complete a monograph for submission to a publisher and at least one research article in a peer-reviewed journal;
  • Analyze source materials relevant to the OTTOWAQF research project for inclusion in the project database;
  • Attend regular in-person team meetings
  • Collaborate with the other post-doctoral fellow in the organization of one international conference;
  • Disseminate your research through participation in international workshops and conferences.


  • You hold a thesis-based doctorate (obtained max. 6 years ago. This term of 6 years is determined by the date written on the above-mentioned required diploma) in a relevant field (e.g., History, Islamic Studies, Near Eastern Languages & Cultures);
  • You have the ability to develop an original research project
  • You have command of the relevant languages and palaeography, especially Ottoman Turkish and/or Arabic, sufficient to undertake cutting-edge research in Ottoman history (15th-17th centuries);
  • You have undertaken historical research on endowments within the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 17th centuries;
  • You have published in the field of early modern Ottoman history commensurate with your career stage;
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English;
  • You are a dynamic and enthusiastic team player


  • We offer you a contract of indefinite duration with a maximum term of 3 years;
  • Your contract will start on 1/07/2024 at the earliest;
  • Your remuneration will be determined by salary scale PD1. Click here for more information about our salary scales;
  • 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, a bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. Click here for a complete overview of all the staffbenefits (in Dutch);
  • If the candidate is eligible for an international mobility appointment, a postdoc fellowship will be offered.


Apply online through the e-recruitment system before the application deadline (see above). We do not accept late or incomplete applications or applications that are not submitted through the online system.


Your application must include the following documents:

  • In the field ‘CV’: your CV and an overview of your study results (merged into one pdf file)
  • In the field ‘Cover letter’: your application letter in pdf format
  • In the field ‘Diploma’: a transcript of the required degree (if already in your possession). If you have a foreign diploma in a language other than our national languages (Dutch, French or German) or English, please add a translation in one of the mentioned languages.
  • In the field “other documents”: 1) a research proposal (max. 1000 words) that outlines a research subproject you will undertake within the context of the broader aims of OTTOWAQF, and 2) names, positions, and email address of two referees (no reference letters)

Note that the maximum file size for each field is 10 MB.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.



Applications will be assessed after the closing date and a select number of applicants will be invited for an interview via teleconferencing.

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Christopher Markiewicz (christopher.markiewicz[at] Important: do NOT send your application by email, but apply online.

Do you have a question regarding the online application process? Please read our FAQ or contact helpdesk (dpo[at] - tel. 09/264 98 98)


Apply before 15/12/2023 (DD/MM/YYYY) 23:59 (Brussels Time)


More information:



Η Δράση Αναβάθμιση και Ανανέωση του ιστοχώρου της Ελληνικής Εταιρείας Οικονομικής Ιστορίας χρηματοδοτείται από το Κοινωφελές Ίδρυμα Ιωάννη Σ. Λάτση, στο πλαίσιο του Προγράμματος Ενίσχυσης Επιστημονικών Εταιρειών 2016