Call for application IMéRA-AMU & Edinburg University joint fellowship

In the framework of its Mediterranean programme, IMéRA (Aix-Marseille University’s Advanced Studies Institute) and Edinburgh University’s Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World are starting in 2020 a fellowship programme entitled:

‘Muslim solidarities in the face of crises in the Mediterranean’

This reject project directed by Prof. Frederic Volpi (IMéRA/Edinburgh University) proposes to study how solidarity mechanisms are created and implemented in a way that reshape contemporary Mediterranean identities in situations of crisis. Specifically, it investigates and analyses the role played by Muslim solidarities in the evolution of Mediterranean forms of civility and citizenship.

The multiplication of political, socio-economic and environmental crises generates an increase in the number of migrants and refugees across all the countries of the region. In this context, state policies are often unable to manage completely and/or effectively those movements of population and their consequences. As a result, actors from civil society, ranging from humanitarian to religious organizations become regular and often indispensable contributors to the issue.

Migratory fluxes and their associated risks are commonly studied from a security perspective, but the substantive answers produced from a societal perspective are far less investigated. Beyond the concrete and immediate responses that they produce, how do such interactions transform the humanitarian and religious organizations that come to supplement state policies? To what extent are such interactions shaped by public debates and governmental actions producing new forms of civility and citizenship that applies to both migrants and those they encounter? What is the impact of such a situation on the evolution of Muslim religious identity and their associated practices of religiosity?

This research project is grounded on the investigation of the role of Muslim solidarities in the face of the crises and movements of people across the contemporary Mediterranean world. It proposes to study first how these solidarities are articulated by organizations identified as Islamic, and then through the interactions between these organizations and other civil society actors, be they religious actors or not. By analysing these relations between individuals and communities on the move alongside those between civil society and state actors the project will shed light on the transformation of ideas and social and political practices that underpin a contemporary Mediterranean identity.

Main research topics

Theme 1: An evaluation of the discourse and formal positioning of civil society organizations (both Islamic and non-Islamic associations) on both shores of the Mediterranean confronted to a crisis situation generating movements of people with which they are directly involved (e.g. the Libyan migratory crisis)

Theme 2: The nature of these organizations’ actions and their interactions with people on the move, other civil society actors, and state institutions. Here the analysis focuses on the means of implementation and practical interactions (including situations of tension/confrontation) between different categories of actors, as well as the consequences of these actions for their intended targets and for the organizations themselves.

Theme 3: Analysis of the evolution of the ideas and practices of civility and citizenship around the Mediterranean. The study evaluates the relationship between on the one hand state policies and on the other hand the inclusion/exclusion of the actions and discourses of the abovementioned civil society actors through the prism of public debates as well as that of the different categories of people on the move.

Framework of the fellowship

The ‘Muslim solidarities’ fellow will make a contribution to the research project directed by Prof. Frederic Volpi. S/he will conduct a theoretical investigation and fieldwork linked to one of the themes of the project ‘Muslim solidarities in the face of crises in the Mediterranean’. In this context s/he will also be an associate fellow of the University of Edinburgh’s Alwaleed Centre.

This research is also part of the research initiative of the IMéRA’s Mediterranean programme, particularly its thematic focus on Mediterranean Islam.

The fellowship at the IMéRA is meant du produce on the basis of this period of investigation the groundwork for a database and an archive of observations contributing to the deepening and better understanding of the issues at the heart of the project. In particular, one of the objectives of the fellowship will be the joint production with the project director of an academic output (article, book chapter, etc.) at the end of the period of study. Additional activities might also include the organization of a workshop or seminar in Marseille and/or Edinburgh, and collaborating on an edited book.

  • Timetable

Application deadline: 14 December 2020 (inclusive)

Duration of fellowship: 5 months

Residency period: February to June 2021

  • Eligibility

* Proven ability and academic excellence in this field of study

* PhD/Doctorate required

* Be a junior scholar with a full-time postdoctoral experience comprised between 2 and 9 years

* Be a resident of the European Union or associated European countries. Researchers from the Aix-Marseille region are particularly welcome to apply.

  • Stipend

The fellowship is available to junior researchers regardless of whether they have a position in a university or a research institution.

Depending on their current position, the fellow receives a stipend or net salary (as part of a temporary work contract (CDD)) depending on his/her institutional status.

  • Practicalities

During the fellowship, the IMéRA provides to the fellow: (i) a desk and computer in the IMéRA offices and an access to its facilities (phone, printer), (ii) access to the online database and facilities of the AMU Library and (iii) administrative support.

For fellows who are not habitually resident in the Aix-Marseille region, the IMéRA can provide if necessary, a fully equipped accommodation located on the grounds of the IMéRA

  • Application

Applicants should send the following documents:

* A curriculum vitae including a list of publications

* A letter of motivation indicating the relevance of their studies, work experiences, and research for the project ‘Muslim solidarities in the face of crises in the Mediterranean’.

In this letter applicants should explain in detail to what project theme(s) they plan to contribute and how they intend to organise their research during the fellowship (particularly in terms of the investigative work and/or fieldwork they propose to undertake)

The application must be sent exclusively by email to the following addresses before 14 December at midnight (CET): ;