The Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies of Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary announces a call for a postdoctoral fellow position focusing on confessional dynamics in Armenian communities between the 15th and 18th centuries.
In recent years, early modern Armenian history, which has suffered from scholarly neglect compared to its medieval and modern counterparts, has begun to see some significant contributions that signaled its extraordinary importance for understanding global early modern dynamics. However, the trans-imperial reach of the Armenian communities between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries is yet to be examined in terms of various Muslim and Christian confessional discourses to which these communities were exposed in different political contexts they inhabited (particularly in the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, as well as various European polities), or which they themselves initiated and articulated in response.
We are inviting project proposals that would address some aspect of Armenian communities’ engagement with early modern confessional politics in the Ottoman and Safavid Empires and/or Europe, ideally in a trans-imperial perspective. Possible topics include but are not limited to the analysis of the manuscripts and printed books on religious topics produced by or for Armenians in the period between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries; study of the proselytizing activities among the Armenian communities by Sunni, Shii, Catholic, Protestant, etc. missionaries; evidence of religious and/or confessional polemics with Muslims or other Christians; intra-communal struggles for control of the Patriarchal seat and the Ottoman administration’s role in these developments; the relationship between the economic and religious dynamics within the Armenian communities; Armenians’ strategies for creating/maintaining religious boundaries in particular religio-political contexts; etc. While we welcome projects that extend into the eighteenth century, we are not interested in proposals that focus exclusively on the eighteenth century, since the goal is to understand the religious dynamics that preceded it.
This postdoctoral fellow position is associated with the ERC project entitled The Fashioning of a Sunni Orthodoxy and the Entangled Histories of Confession Building in the Ottoman Empire, 15th-17th Centuries (OTTOCONFESSION) hosted by the Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Central European University and carried out in cooperation with Boğaziçi University (for more detail see https://cems.ceu.edu/ottoconfession). The project looks into the evolution of confessional discourses and concepts of religious orthodoxy in the Ottoman Empire in both community-specific and entangled, cross-communal perspectives between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, by focusing on a) the agents and strategies; b) textual genres; and c) sites of confessionalization. The OTTOCONFESSION project is based on the premise that the evolution of the Ottoman discourses on Sunni orthodoxy was shaped by religio-political dynamics not only in the Muslim communities within (and contested by) the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, but also in different Christian communities (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, etc.) that transgressed the boundaries of these empires and various European polities as well.
Duties and responsibilities
The fellow is supposed to carry out the following tasks:
-undertake research on the proposed topic
-work towards publications (articles and/or monograph) based on proposed research
-present papers at the conferences organized by the project team and internationally
-contribute to the project-related publications and other deliverables
-Participate in consultation sessions of the research team
-The applicant has a PhD degree in history, literature, theology or a related field
-The applicant has a good command of Armenian and ideally at least another relevant research language (e.g., Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Italian, Latin, etc.)
-The applicant has written and spoken proficiency in English, although we also welcome applications from the candidates who are comfortable speaking in English but prefer writing in French or German
What we offer
The successful candidate will have an employment contract with CEU (one-year contract, with the possibility of renewal by one more year). CEU provides a generous compensation package including state health insurance. Besides this, the fellow will have access to additional funds for research-related expenses.
About Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies:
The Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies (CEMS) promotes the study of the eastern Mediterranean and its hinterlands from antiquity to the end of the Ottoman period. The center perceives the Mediterranean as an ideal framework for the analysis of interconnections across geographical, chronological, imperial, religious and disciplinary boundaries, focusing on east-west interaction and exchanges, the movement of people, objects and ideas to and from the eastern Mediterranean. Building upon CEU’s location on the fringes of the formerly Byzantine and Ottoman worlds (and imperial Habsburg and Russia for that matter), CEMS is ideally placed to connect the shared pasts of those peoples and cultural spheres to which CEU’s mission is directed with the contemporary world. This allows CEMS to take a vantage point distinct from that of other academic fora on Mediterranean Studies, engaging in a productive dialogue valuable both to scholars in the humanities and social sciences as well as policy makers.
This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here: