European views and definitions of Sunni Islam (ca. 1600-1900)

Opportunity Description:

Under the auspices of a broader research project on the emergence and early history of the Sunni branch of Islam, I am looking for an undergraduate research assistant to gather data on European views and definitions of Sunni Islam between the seventeenth and early twentieth centuries. The goal of this part of the project is to assemble a wide range of European treatments of Sunni Islam and to identify patterns within this corpus to discern, for example, how the growing availability of Muslim texts might have changed Europeans’ views of Islam and how national and religious identities affected the ways in which Sunnism was perceived.

Primary Responsibilities: 

Working with books and journals both online and in the Regenstein Library, the undergraduate research assistant will identify and access potential sources and assemble a database of quotations about Sunni Islam.

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

The undergraduate research assistant must be able to read English and an additional major European language of Oriental scholarship (German, French, Spanish, or Russian) at a high level; another one of these languages is a bonus. In addition, the research assistant must be able to compile and maintain detailed digital records of quotations and their sources.

Preferred Skills: 

Knowledge of Arabic would be useful, as would the ability to transliterate Arabic characters to Latin ones. Some interest in intellectual and conceptual history is desired.

Knowledge or skills gained from the experience: 

The research assistant will gain experience in archival research, data management, and working with a faculty member on a cutting-edge research project.

Application Process: 

To apply for this opportunity, please submit in *one* pdf document the following materials, saved as your "LAST NAME, First_Shamsy RA 2021": 

  • Current CV with the names and contact details of two references
  • Statement of interest in the opportunity (up to 350 words), including a description of your language proficiencies
  • Unofficial transcript

Please do not apply if you do not have the requisite language competencies.

Submission instructions: your application file should be emailed directly to the CCRF research team at

Appointment details: this position will begin in winter quarter with the option to stay on through the spring. It is funded through one of CCRF's research grant programs.

Application Requirements: 

  • Submit CV
  • 350 Word Statement of Interest
  • Names of Two References
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • For more information on this opportunity, please contact:

    Ahmed El Shamsy
    Faculty Title: 
    Associate Professor
    Faculty Bio
    Affiliated Research Institutes (Optional): 

    Franke Institute for the Humanities; Divinity School