Call for a 4-year doctoral research at the Faculty of Letters, Translation and Communication - Université libre de Bruxelles

Faculty of Letters, Translation and Communication ( of Université libre de Bruxelles is looking for a fully funded four-year doctoral student in the field of African History/Arabic and Swahili Languages.
Located at the heart of Europe in the city of Brussels, ULB is a comprehensive university with 12 faculties, schools, or institutes, covering all major research fields. Its Faculty of Letters, Translation and Communication is composed of three departments (Languages and Humanities, School of Translation and Interpretation ISTI - Cooremans, and Information and Communication Sciences) and five research centers.

General conditions
The successful candidate will be awarded a four-year PhD grant (starting on October 1st, 2024) and be primarily based at the Solbosch campus, ULB, and will benefit from a stimulating scientific environment (international exposure through scientific events, research seminars, networking activities at national and international level, etc.). They will be writing a PhD dissertation on the following topic: Arabic and Ajami Swahili Documents from late 19th century Congo: A Study of the Historical data. This study will focus on existing documents housed in several Belgian museums and archives, as well as on expected new documents that could be found in other archives during the 4-years project. The dissertation will be written in French or in English. It will be conducted in the framework of a larger research project on Arabic and Ajami Swahili documents of Central Africa, directed by Pr. X. Luffin, ULB.
The monthly net fellowship is expected to be around 2320 €.
The successful candidate will be granted a fully funded doctoral untaxed fellowship contract that is equivalent to an employment contract. Depending on the nationality of the beneficiary, this fellowship contract is subject to the general (Countries of the EEA and Switzerland or countries linked with Belgium by a bilateral social security agreement - Algeria, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Croatia, United-States, India, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Morocco, Philippines, Republic of Montenegro, San Marino, Servia, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay) or to the partial   (One of the countries that is not listed above, or which is not part of the EEA) provisions of the Belgian Social Security System covering health insurance, maternity leave, sick pay in case of hospitalization, disability insurance, national pension system, national unemployment system, insurance against workplace accidents, family benefits and provisions towards occupational diseases. For all recipients of a doctoral fellowship, whether it is subject to the general or partial social security system, the scholarship holder may receive family allowances for the children in their household.

How to apply?
Eligibility criteria:
The applicant holds a MA degree or equivalent in African History or Arabic Studies and/or African Studies or more generally in Humanities. They will have a good knowledge of Arabic and Swahili. Mastering Ajami Swahili is an asset.
This program is opened to applicants of any age and any nationality.
Applicants must have obtained a Master degree or equivalent for maximum 2 years at the latest on the application deadline. This latter maximum period of time is extended for one additional year per childbirth and/or adoption.

Applications should be written in English or in French, and submitted as a single .pdf file, by email to by March 1st, 2024 at 17:00 Brussels time (UTC+ 2)

The application file should contain the following parts:
A motivation letter
A published article in the field of African History, Arabic and/or Swahili studies or a copy of the MA thesis
Personal information:
surname, first name, middle name(s)
street address, city, post (zip) code, country
phone, email
date of birth, place of birth, nationality
sex, marital status, children.
Awards and honours and/or international experience.
List of publications (published or accepted).
Professional experience in and outside academia if relevant for the project.

Supporting documents:
Copy of the ID or Passport.
Certificate of achievement or Copy of the diploma.
Grade transcripts of the master’s degree(s) or equivalent.
Childbirth and/or adoption certificate (if relevant).
Names of two referees (senior academics who are familiar with your academic work and who can judge your potential as a PhD student) or two recommendation letters from these referees, sent directly to

Application deadline: Deadline for receipt of the completed application is March 1st, 2024 at 17:00 Brussels time (UTC + 2)
Admission: All candidates will be notified of the outcome of their application by the end of March 2024.