The Traditional China Chair at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies of the University of Zurich is looking for a doctoral candidate in Middle Iranian linguistics. Work towards the Ph.D. will be carried out under the auspices of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) project “Sino-Indo-Iranica rediviva – Early Eurasian migratory terms in Chinese and their cultural implications” (PI: Prof. Wolf­gang Behr). The project will investigate Central Asian loan words of Iranian, Indian, Tochar­ian and other linguistic origins in Chinese epi­graphi­cal and transmitted texts from early antiq­uity to the beginning of the Sui dynasty (581 CE). Linguistic results will be compared to evi­dence from material culture and the natural en­viron­ments, as reflected by archaeological, paleob­otanical, -zoological or art historical data, with the aim of gaining deeper insights into the de­velopment of the flourishing trade routes lin­king China and Central Asia since the on­set of writing in China. 

As part of the project, a database of Chinese terms with their (putative) foreign equivalents and cultural correlates will be compiled and published online. The successful applicant will be responsible for the inputting of all Iranian lexical data known from the secondary litera­ture. S/he will systematically analyze the loanwords found in Early and Medieval Chinese texts, contextualize them against what is known about Indian and Tocharian loanwords, and contribute to the comparisons from material culture in close coordination with the other three project participants and external collaboration partners.

Within 3-4 years, the successful applicant will

- write a Ph.D. thesis and publish academic articles actively attend relevant conferences in the field, participate in the organization of two international workshops on the project topic at the University of Zurich 
- collaborate with the PI, the Ph.D. candidate in Sino-Indian historical linguistics and the specialist in archaeology/material culture on a regular basis and participate in the publication of joint articles
- be open to teach undergraduate courses related to the project theme in order to gain teaching experience

Candidates should have an MA university degree in Iranian studies or Indo-European lin­guistics, preferably with a focus on Middle Iranian philology and historical linguistics, and a sustained interest in the earliest contacts between China and its Eurasian neighbors. Excel­lent knowledge of the relevant source languages and good English academic writing skills are required. Proficiency in Classical Chinese is an asset, but not mandatory.

You will work in an interdisciplinary and international team in a vibrant and research-active department under the employment conditions for SNF doctoral positions at the University of Zurich (60% FTE, ca. 47-50k CHF p.a. plus a modest travel allowance). The position is fixed term, limited to a maximum of four years, beginning on January 1, 2019, but a later start
can be negotiated.

Applicants are requested to submit (preferably in one integral .pdf file attached to an e-mail or as a download link)

- a cover letter
- a CV, including a transcript of records from all previous university studies
- a piece of writing of no more than 30 pages that best represents the applicant’s re­search, e.g. a published article, a seminar paper, or a chapter of an M.A. thesis
- copies of all university diplomas, language certificates acquired
- the names and e-mail addresses of up to three references who may be contacted for letters of recommendation

by Dec. 18, 2019. 

Kindly address your correspondence and any further inquiries to Wolfgang
Behr: <> with a subject line “[Postdoc Sino-Indo-
Iranica rediviva].”

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