[Contrat doctoral] ERC The Finances of the Caliphate: Abbasid Fiscal Practice in Islamic Late Antiquity (lim. 3/05/2021)

This European Research Council award offers one studentship to an academically outstanding candidate who is intending to study on a PhD programme.

ERC project: The Finances of the Caliphate: Abbasid Fiscal Practice in Islamic Late Antiquity (CALIPHAL FINANCES)

The studentship will be funded by the European Research Council and will cover UK level of tuition fees for the PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.


The Award will cover the UK level of tuition fee and an annual stipend of £15,285 and will be awarded for a maximum of three years subject to satisfactory annual progress. 

Only the home tuition fee will be covered by the award, successful overseas applicants will be liable for the difference between the UK and Overseas fees rates.  


The award is open to UK and overseas students commencing a PhD degree in the academic year 2021-2022.

It is imperative that the candidate has previously studied Classical Arabic at the undergraduate and/or graduate level. They will select a topic of Abbasid fiscal history for their dissertation, based on the study of published documents in Arabic.

The candidate must be willing to work on the topic of fiscal history using papyrus documents written in Arabic dating to the 8th-10th century CE.  It is imperative that the candidate is fluent in Arabic.

Only applications to year one of the PhD programme of study will be considered.

CALIPHAL FINANCES offers an ambitious new account of a seminal period in Islamic history. It will for the first time provide a view from below on Abbasid fiscal history through a study of papyrus documents in Greek, Coptic and Arabic written in Egypt. This project will refocus scholarship on the totality of Abbasid administration. It will be the first large-scale research project on Abbasid administrative and fiscal history to make use primarily of documentary sources. Egyptian papyri are concerned with everyday arrangements for fiscal collection in secondary urban centres and villages of the Nile valley. Capitalising on this material, the project will study the organisation of tax collection, tax rates and categories of taxpayers (Muslims/non-Muslims, landowners, merchants, among others). The project team will trace how provincial revenues reached the caliph, incorporating information found in provincial chronicles with that in the papyri. Connections between administrators and local elites, religious and linguistic communities, their convergence on fiscal questions, their loyalty or resistance to the caliphate will all be assessed. In a field largely dominated by religious history, CALIPHAL FINANCES will renew our understanding of the dynamics of change in pre-modern state structures, with a focus on the complexity of local agency.


In order to be considered for the scholarship, please ensure that you have applied for the PhD programme in the first instance and then use the application form below to apply for the scholarship, the deadline for both the PhD and Scholarship applications is the 3rd May 2021. 

Applications for the PhD can be made via the online admissions portal.

Successful applicants will be advised by no later than the end of June 2021.

Before you apply, we strongly recommend that you look at the pre-application information and guidance on our website and follow the steps indicated on the page.

Applicants are encouraged to get in touch with the project principal investigator, Dr Marie Legendre before applying.

The scholarship application must be emailed to LLC PG Scholarships

ERC PhD Application Form 2021 (44.6 KB Word)

Enki Baptiste

Doctorant en Histoire médiévale (Université Lumière Lyon 2 - CIHAM UMR 5648 / CEFAS USR 3141)

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Enki Baptiste

Doctorant en Histoire médiévale (Université Lumière Lyon 2 - CIHAM UMR 5648 / CEFAS USR 3141)

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