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PHD contract, thesis on post-soviet Islam

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UMR8224-LUBJUR0-001
Workplace : PARIS 06
Date of publication : Monday, June 24, 2019
Scientific Responsible name : Silvia SERRANO
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2019
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

--"Islam, market and gender in Russia: Women entrepreneurs and the market of Muslim goods and services in Russia (or the CIS)"
The PHD thesis will focus on the role of women entrepreneurs in the development of a market of Muslim goods and services in Russia, or in another CIS country. It may cover one or more sectors such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, food, clothing, tourism (domestic or abroad), Islamic finance. It will be at the crossroads of gender studies, post-Soviet studies and the anthropology of religion. It requires a command of Russian and, in the case of another CIS State, of the language of that State.
Recent research on Islam in contemporary Russia has focused on a variety of themes, such as security and "radicalization" issues, Soviet legacies and the links between ethnic or national identities. Islam has not been the transition to a market economy. However, some studies have highlighted the emergence of a "market Islam" in the post-Soviet space - in Central Asia – and the rise of a Muslim bourgeoisie. In Russia, the emergence of a market for Muslim goods and services is concomitant with the empowerment of new Muslim actors, who have an innovative discourse on modernity, values, the place of Islam in the Russian state and society, and on the place of Russian Muslims in the world. Among these actors, women play a central role by influencing food consumption patterns and by participating in the extension and standardization of halal market. Moreover, women entrepreneurs in sectors such as clothing, cosmetics, tourism, consulting or Islamic finance, are in a position to have a voice within the Islamic sphere and beyond, and to embody new faces of Russian Islam in the Muslim world. Based on ethnographic methods, the thesis will explore these feminine - but not necessarily feminist - figures of Islam. It will aim to fill a gap in knowledge about Muslim women in Russia by focusing on a group - women entrepreneurs - that is of particular interest because it has, through a market-related professional activity, a strong influence on the reconfigurations of Islam in the Russian Federation.

Work Context

The selected candidate will enroll in a doctoral program at Sorbonne University and join the Doctoral School "Civilizations, Cultures, Literatures and Societies" (ED 4). He or she will be attached to the Eur'Orbem research unit " Cultures et sociétés d'Europe orientale, balkanique et médiane " (French National Centre for Scientific Research CNRS and Sorbonne University, UMR 8224). The project is part of the research carried out on "Post-Soviet Islam".
Eur'Orbem is a multidisciplinary research laboratory in the humanities and social sciences that brings together specialists from Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Balkans.
The thesis will be supervised by Silvia Serrano, Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at Sorbonne University (
The doctoral student will take part in the collective tasks like all the members of the team.

Constraints and risks

The doctoral contract includes an obligation to travel to Russia. The doctoral student will carry out this mobility, preferably 3 months a year, for the collecting empirical data (participant observation, interviews, etc.). During this period of mobility he/she will be hosted by the Centre d'études franco-russe (CEFR) in Moscow, Russian Federation. Depending on the case studies chosen, fieldwork outside Moscow, or in other CIS countries may be required. CEFR is a mixed unit of French research institutes abroad (UMIFRE). It provides administrative and logistical support and a stimulating scientific environment, linked to local and regional research networks.

Additional Information

The candidate must hold a master's degree in social sciences (history, anthropology, sociology, political science, Russian language and civilization) with a specialization in Russia or another post-Soviet state and must not be enrolled in another doctoral program at the time of application.
Fluency in Russian is required, and in the case of field in another State, the language of that State.
The thesis can be written in French or English.
The application files must include the following documents:
- A detailed CV
- A one-page cover letter
- A 3-page thesis project developing the arguments presented in the previous paragraph
- The contact details of one or two people who can be contacted if necessary
- The Master 1 notes, and if available, those of the Master 2
- A PDF copy of the Master 2 thesis if competed (even before the defence).
The pre-selected candidates will be auditioned by the selection committee. The hearing can be done via Skype.

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