PhD candidate for the NWO funded research project ‘Forces that bind or divide?’

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Publication date
18 October 2013
Level of education
Salary indication
€2,083 to €2,664 gross per month
Closing date
15 November 2013
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is one of the departments in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG). Research and education are carried out by special institutes. The College of Social Sciences (CSS) and the Graduate School for the Social Sciences (GSSS) are responsible for the undergraduate and graduate teaching programmes in the social sciences. Research takes place under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), a multidisciplinary research institute, the biggest one of its kind in the Netherlands and possibly in Europe. The broad scope and pluralism of our education and research programmes are inspired by and reflect a strong degree of internationalisation.

The Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam are looking for a PhD candidate who will participate in the research project ‘Forces that bind or divide? Muslim interventions in the public realm 1989 – 2016′, directed by Annelies Moors.

Project description

Conflicts related to the public presence and representation of Islam have had an enormous impact on European societies over the past decades and have triggered debates about the binding or dividing function of religion in secular societies. Whereas most research considers Muslims as the object of integration policies, this proposal focuses on Muslims as active participants and investigates how their interventions produce ties that bind or divide both between Muslims and non-Muslims and amongst Muslims. Have such interventions contributed to development of a Muslim public sphere? To what extent and along which lines is this public sphere fractured? How does such a Muslim public intersect with other religious and non-religious publics? What transformations have taken place in the binding or dividing force of Islam in the Netherlands?

Although men have a far stronger presence in this field than women, the position of Muslim women is one of the main topics of debate. The PhD researcher will focus on the gendered ways of participation in the debates, the gendered construction of particular topics in the debates and in particular the theme of ‘Living Islam’ with its debates and contestations about marriages and dress. Fieldwork will be conducted mainly in the Netherlands but possibly also in Western Europe.

The PhD candidate will be based at the AISSR, which offers a stimulating intellectual environment across several social science disciplines. The PhD student will participate in courses and meet with supervisors and other faculty members to develop a detailed research proposal. The PhD student will contribute to the scholarly activities related to the project, conduct and report ethnographic field research and complete the PhD-thesis.


  • Conduct ethnographic field research;
  • 10% teaching;
  • collaborate with supervisors and peers on research and publications;
  • write a PhD thesis and articles to be submitted to refereed journals;
  • maintaining contact with societal partner organization (ImagineIC) and our societal network;
  • participate in the AISSR PhD program;
  • participate in conferences, workshops, seminars and other scholarly activities.


Candidates will have the following credentials:

  • a completed MA degree in socio-cultural anthropology or closely related discipline;
  • knowledge of the theoretical debates in the fields of Islam in Europe, gender, (social) media and/or activism;
  • knowledge of recent developments among Muslims in Europe; in particular the Netherlands;
  • demonstrated ability to write academic texts;
  • demonstrated ability to conduct ethnographic research;
  • strong social skills and willingness and ability to work collegially with other members of the research team and participate actively in the activities;
  • excellent written and spoken Dutch and English. Knowledge of other languages is an advantage.

Further information

For any additional information, contact senior researcher:


The full-time appointment will be for a period of four years (12 months plus a further 36 months contingent on a satisfactory performance during the first
year), starting 1 January 2014.

The gross monthly salary will be €2,083 in the first year and €2,664 in the fourth year, in accordance with the Dutch salary scales for PhD candidates.
Secondary benefits at Dutch universities are attractive and include 8% holiday pay and an 8.3% end of year bonus.

Job application

Applications must include, in a single PDF file:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a motivation letter (maximum 400 words);
  • a pre-liminary note on preferred research themes and sites (maximum 400 words);
  • names and contact details of three references;
  • as separate files: two writing samples (thesis and/or essay or and/or article) which provide evidence of writing, analytical and theoretical skills.

All correspondence will be in English. Applications must be sent as e-mail attachments to before 15 November 2013. E-mail message subject lines and attachment names must consist of the text ‘Muslim Interventions PhD applicant’s-last-name’.