Post-Doc x3 – Utrecht University

Beyond Sharia: The Role of Sufism in Shaping Islam (chaired by Prof. Asghar Seyed-Gohrab) examines the emergence, flourishing and lasting appeal of non-conformist movements in Islamic intellectual history from the tenth century to the present day, investigating how Islamic antinomian movements consolidated Islam in a vast region from the Balkans to Bengal, while offering methods of self-reflection that allowed for critical thinking within Islamic streams of thought. By examining how generations of Islamic mystics and intellectuals in the Persianate world challenged, redefined or rejected Islamic canonical law in their poetic, artistic, philosophical and political writings and teachings, this project generates significant new insights into transgression in Islam.

Three positions are available:

  • PostDoc 1 will investigate the life and legacy of an Anatolian deviant dervish called Kaygusuz Abdal as an example of how such dervishes turned not only against Islamic and civil laws, but also against Persian and Arabic as the languages of the elite, by writing in a Turkic language, contributing to vernacular religious literature.
  • PostDoc 2 will study the relationship between medieval antinomian ideas and their impact on the rise of secular intellectual philosophy in the Middle East, particularly the Iranian world, introducing a secularist view of Islam, a worldly orientation and a rationalising approach to religion.
  • PostDoc 3 will investigate the femininity and the feminisation of the masculine in Islamic mysticism, examining the homosexual aspects of the antinomian mystics and their negotiations with gender norms.


  • a PhD degree either in Persian studies, Islamic Studies, Arabic Studies, or religious studies by the time of appointment;
  • a record (appropriate to career stage) of publications that demonstrates the ability to conduct research which is internationally recognized as contributing to the field;
  • the ability to work both independently and collaboratively, with good organizational and communication skills;
  • creativity and is innovative in her/his work;
  • expertise in working with primary Persian and Arabic or Ottoman Turkish primary sources;
  • proficiency in spoken and written English.

This is an appointment (0,8 FTE) for the duration of 1 year. Upon good performance, the contract will be extended for another two years (for a total of three years) The minimum gross salary is € 3,548 and the maximum gross salary is € 3,807 (scale 10 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) per month, at a full-time employment.

The deadline for applications is 1 December 2021. Interviews will be scheduled to take place by the end of January 2022 and are likely to be conducted online, via Zoom. Employment will become effective on 1 September 2022 or, by mutual agreement, shortly thereafter. Please visit the job advertisement for further details.