PhD position “Mecca in Morocco: Negotiating the Meanings of Hajj in Everday Life”, Université de Groningen (Pays-Bas) – LIMITE : 27/10/2014


Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 28,000 students to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen is a leading European institution for the study of religion. We are proud to be ranked as the best teaching and research centre for religion in the Netherlands. We are committed to highest standards in critical academic research, and we translate our research into stimulating and cutting-edge teaching programmes. We train students to be independent and critical observers of the place of religion in its cultural and historical context, and we prepare them for the job market. The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) provides a four-years (1.0 fte) fully funded PhD position for an ethnographic research project with the working title Mecca in Morocco: Negotiating the Meanings of Hajj in Everyday Life.

Job description

The research project consists of extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Morocco to investigate the meanings and sociocultural embeddedness of pilgrimage to Mecca in contemporary Moroccan society.
The PhD study is one of the subprojects in a larger NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Researchl) funded cooperation between the University of Groningen and the University of Amsterdam for a project that studies modern articulations of pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj/Umra). Approaching pilgrimage from the perspective of ‘lived religion’, the project in which the PhD student will participate addresses the question how references to religiosity, social identifications and self-identity in personal pilgrimage accounts reflect the ways in which the habitus of narrators is informed by various cultural discourses simultaneously.


The PhD student is expected:

  • to have an excellent master’s diploma (preferably a Research master) in Cultural Anthropology or another relevant discipline (by 1 November 2014 at latest)
  • ample experience with ethnographic fieldwork
  • to be ambitious, highly motivated and wishing to make a career in research
  • to be fluent in English (both oral and written)
  • to have an excellent profiency in (oral) Arabic, preferably the Moroccan-Arabic dialect
  • to be able and willing to work in an interdisciplinary environment
  • to have the abilities to finish the PhD thesis in four years; i.e. good skills in planning, taking initiatives, academic writing.

Conditions of employment

The University of Groningen offers a salary of minimal € 2,083 (salary scale PhD students CAO Dutch Universities) gross a month in the first year to maximal € 2,664 a month in the final year based on a full-time position. In addition there are a 8% holiday allowance and a 8.3% end of year bonus. The 1.0 fte appointment is temporary for a period of four years. The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. It is possible to opt for a 0.8 fte appointment for a period of five years rather than a 1.0 fte for four years.

Application requirements
A complete application consists of the following credentials:

  • Curriculum vitae and a sketch of your intellectual history (ca. 600 words), indicating the factors that have brought you to your present focus of intellectual and scholarly interests and what you hope to learn from doctoral research at the Graduate School of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen.
  • Your Master’s thesis and other major academic papers, if any. Papers should demonstrate your scholarly capacity, be no longer than 30 pages, in your intended field of specialization, and representative of your best work.
  • A research project proposal (no more than four pages, ca. 2,000 words) which should address the following issues:

1. a description of main research questions, aims and motivation of your project2. the position of the project within the anthropological sub-disciplines of pilgrimage studies and the study of Islam
3. a brief description of the relevant literature (a maximum of one extra page of bibliography may be added)
4. the proposed (methodological) approach & planning
5. the proposed timetable for the writing of your thesis.

  • Two letters of academic recommendation from professors who can write knowledgeably about your personal and academic qualifications and your suitability for the chosen field of study. We reserve the right to contact your references for additional information pertinent to your application.
  • Official, that is, certified, transcripts from each college, seminary or graduate school attended. Applicants enrolled in school at the time of application are asked to provide a list of current and projected courses for the academic year, and to send a transcript or informal record of fall term grades as soon as possible.

All of the above credentials are required except as noted. Applications with missing credentials will not be taken into consideration.
Please note that any copies of the required official documents must be authenticated. Diplomas, certificates, transcripts of records, and lists of grades must be submitted in the English or Dutch language. Any translation of originals not in these languages must be authenticated as well.

The PhD student will participate in the research programme ‘Religion on the Ground: Discourses and Practices in Social Transformations’, Department Comparative Study of Religion, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen (cf. She/he will also participate in the Graduate School of Theology & Religious Studies (cf., and in the research school NISIS (Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies, cf.

Deadlines and procedures
You may apply for this position before 27 October 2014 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on “Apply” below on the advertisement on the university website).

The selection committee will notify shortlisted candidates by 1 November. Interviews with shortlisted candidates are scheduled for week 46 (11/14 November) 2014. The successful candidate will be notified within a few days after the interview. The start of the PhD position is 1 January 2015.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

Citer ce billet
Chargé de diffusion scientifique (2014, 13 octobre). PhD position “Mecca in Morocco: Negotiating the Meanings of Hajj in Everday Life”, Université de Groningen (Pays-Bas) – LIMITE : 27/10/2014. IISMM. Consulté le 23 mai 2024, à l’adresse

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