Universiteit Leiden

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PhD candidate in Tibetan Studies/ Tibetan Buddhist Studies

Wetenschappelijke functies, PhD-posities
Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
14 maart 2023
8 mei 2023 Nog 44 dagen om te solliciteren

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The Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University invites applications for a fulltime PhD position in Buddhist Studies. The PhD candidate will carry out research in the framework of the European Research Council (ERC) funded project "Locating Literature, Lived Religion, and Lives in the Himalayas: The Van Manen Collection" led by dr. Berthe Jansen. This project offers a study of an important collection of Himalayan texts and artifacts collected between 1920 and 1940 in Kalimpong and Tibet. It aims to provide a view of the Van Manen collection through a study of its rare manuscripts, the material objects, undocumented marginal writings, and the unique Tibetan language autobiographies by ordinary Himalayan people commissioned by Van Manen.

The project's goal is the examination of the van Manen Collection as a whole using historical, ethnographic and philological methods, and by employing Digital Humanities methods through which the origins of the texts and artifacts can be traced, mapped, and be made available, linking them to other editions in online databases as well as to local Tibetan archives. The main aim is to get an understanding of the proliferation, usage, and presence of religious and ritual literature and artifacts in the greater Darjeeling area in the first half of the 20th century and, by extension, their religious milieus.

The PhD candidate will work mainly with the rare and unusual Tibetan language manuscripts in the collection. S/he will make an inventory of the manuscripts that are either rare or unique and try to trace the geographical and textual origins of these manuscripts with the help of the PI. This will be done through 1) an examination of the ephemera that discuss the methods Van Manen’s assistants used to collect manuscripts 2) fieldwork: interviewing households that still own similar manuscripts in the greater Kalimpong area to retrieve information on the context of these ritual texts, and 3) locating similar manuscripts in existing databases such as that of the BDRC. Under the guidance of the PI, the PhD candidate will select particularly important Tibetan language texts, analyze, contextualize, and (as appropriate) translate them.

The PhD candidate will be based in Leiden where s/he will join a research team that will consist of four members: one PhD candidate, two post-doctoral researchers, and the project leader. S/he will participate in regular teammeetings and present his/her research findings at scholarly venues, as well as in field trips to India.


  • An MA degree in Buddhist Studies, Tibetan Studies, Religious Studies or comparable. Candidates near completion of the degree will be considered
  • Excellent command of written Tibetan, both classical and modern
  • Fluency in spoken and written English
  • Broad knowledge of Tibetan religious and cultural history
  • Knowledge of (or willingness to learn) spoken Tibetan, Nepalese or Lepcha will be considered an asset
  • Some experience in working with Tibetan religious texts
  • Demonstrable interest in manuscript culture and literary production in culturally Tibetan regions
  • Willingness to work in an international research environment
  • Willingness to spend a limited amount of time teaching in the 2nd and 3rd year of the 4-year PhD trajectory
  • Willingness to help organize the yearly workshops
  • Ability to work independently and as part of and in support of a larger team

Our Faculty/ Institute
The Faculty of Humanities is an international centre for the study of languages, cultures, arts, and societies worldwide, in their historical contexts from prehistory to the present. We take culture broadly to include religions, philosophies, and worldviews as well as literature art, and technology. We aim to contribute to knowledge, the sustainable well-being of societies, and the understanding of the cognitive, historical,cultural, artistic, and social aspects of human life. In research and teaching, we focus on Dynamics of Diversity, meaning the mobility of people, language, culture, ideas, art, and institutions in a globalizing world, and their interconnectivity through the ages. Our faculty is home to more than 7,000 students and900 staff members. For more information: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/humanities. The PhD candidate will hold a position in the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), home to a large group of experts on the Middle East and Asia from prehistory to the present.

Terms and conditions
We offer a fulltime, fixed-term post from 1 September 2023 until 30 August 2027. The appointment will initially be for 12 months and if evaluated positively, with an extension of 3 years and must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. The salary range for a PhD candidate is from €2541,- to €3,247,- gross per month (pay-scale PhD candidates in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities), with substantial additional holiday and end-of-year bonuses. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

D&I statement
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop theirfull potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Enquiries can be made to dr. Berthe Jansen b.k.jansen@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Information about LIAS: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/humanities/institute-for-area-studies

Information about the Faculty of Humanities: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/humanities

Applications must be received by 8 May 2023. Interviews with short-listed candidates are planned between 22 and 26 May 2023. Applications should be in English, and be submitted via the blue button in our online application system with the items listed below included in this order in ONE single PDF document named ‘FAMILY NAME – Given name – Vacancy number’:

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