PhD position in the Contemporary History of Iran (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Arts


Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, University of Groningen, V23.0787

Job description

Area of specialisation: Iran; contemporary history; oral history; feminism; Marxism

Applications are invited for a fully-funded four-year PhD position focusing on the role of women in Marxist opposition groups in Iran in the second half of the twentieth century.

Drawing on archival research and oral history, the project aims to write the first comprehensive history of women activists around the time of the Iranian revolution of 1979 in the second half of the twentieth century. In that the revolution is often viewed as Islamic in nature, the existing literature neglects the key part played by a secular Iranian Left. Meanwhile, although women held positions of leadership and were crucial to their operation of opposition groups, historical accounts have hitherto paid little or no attention to their contribution to Iranian political history. On an international scale, the research will also add to our understanding of Marxism in the Global South, which is a vastly understudied subject.

The project will have three main outcomes. First, it will change the dominant historical narrative around modern Iran, which pivots on Islam, conservatism, and men. Secondly, it will uncover the role played by Left-wing women activists in the history of modern Iran, and enrich a growing body of work on the political history of non-Western women. Thirdly, it will hold societal relevance in the context of the current struggles by Iranian women towards gender equality and political freedom.

The PhD position offers a unique opportunity to work in an international research environment as well as to acquire valuable teaching experience. The PhD candidate will conduct research under the supervision of Dr. Donya Ahmadi, Dr. Hannah Malone, and Prof. Clemens Six. They will examine archival material, including oral and written accounts, political publications, and women’s newspapers. They will also conduct oral history interviews with women activists.

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high-quality teaching and research. Its 34,000 students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents through challenging study- and career paths. The University of Groningen is an international centre of knowledge: It belongs to the best research universities in Europe and is allied with prestigious partner universities and networks worldwide.

The Faculty of Arts is a large, dynamic faculty in the heart of the city of Groningen. It has more than 5000 students and 700 staff members, who are working at the frontiers of knowledge every day. The Faculty offers a wide range of degree programmes: 15 Bachelor’s programmes and over 35 Master's specialisations. Our research, which is internationally widely acclaimed, covers Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, Language and Literary Studies, Art History, Linguistics, and Media and Journalism Studies.


To be competitive for the position, prospective candidates must have:

- a Master’s degree in History or a relevant humanities or social science discipline with an above average final grade
- an excellent command of written and spoken Farsi
- an excellent command of written and spoken English
- strong interpersonal skills.

The following would be assets for prospective candidates:

- training and/or experience in conducting oral history interviews
- training and/or experience in archival research
- familiarity with gender theory, oral history and/or Iranian history
- a strong motivation to complete a PhD dissertation in 4 years
- ability to work both independently and as a team player.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the University of Groningen offers you:

- a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the final year, based on a full-time position
- a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
- an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
- a temporary 1.0 FTE appointment for a specified period of four years. The candidate will first be appointed for twelve months. After six months, an assessment will take place of the candidate’s results and the progress of the PhD project, in order to decide whether employment will be continued
- excellent work-life balance
- the PhD candidate is expected to conduct a total of 0.4 FTE teaching during the second, third and fourth year of their appointment
- willingness to move and reside in the Netherlands.

The PhD candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School for the Humanities, affiliated with the Research Institute for the Study of Culture Groningen (ICOG), and based at the Department of History. The candidate will also have the opportunity to join relevant trainings of the
national graduate schools, such as the N.W. Posthumus Institute, the Dutch training programme for PhD students in social and economic history, which offers courses in research planning and design, as well as regular workshops. For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check:

Job Application

Applications should be in English and should include (see submission instructions below): - a motivation letter (c. 1,000 words) outlining your interest in the project and the particular approach that you would take - curriculum vitae - copies of MA diploma and list of grades - copy of MA thesis or writing sample - contact details of two academic referees (no letter of recommendation is required at this point: the referees of shortlisted candidates will be contacted). You may apply by sending your application as two PDF files (one for the MA thesis, and one for all other documents) until 10 January 11:59pm / before 11 January 2024 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website). Please send in all other documents as your ‘application’ and your MA Thesis as ‘extra attachment’. Interviews with selected candidates will be held on 29 January 2024. The appointment will commence as soon as possible, no later than May/June 2024. The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen. Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr Donya Ahmadi

Dr Hannah Malone

Lisanne Coolen (for practical information: out of office 15-12-2023 to 8-1-2024)

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0787

Digital application form