Fellow Program 2021

The Iranian-German DFG Priority Program (SPP 2176) 'The Iranian Highlands: Resilience and Integration of Premodern Societies' invites applications for a new Fellow Program in 2021. This fellowship supports short-term research visits for young researchers (early career researchers) at universities or institutions that are associated with the SPP 2176.
The SPP 2176 is an interdisciplinary research program focusing on expressions of resilience in premodern Iranian Highland communities, their environment and long-term developments in the Iranian Highlands. It is represented by 12 individual projects employing archaeology, inorganic and organic archaeometry, geo-sciences, ancient history, Near Eastern studies and linguistic research. Key research areas are: i) Landscapes and raw material regimes; ii) Daily life and institution; iii) Mobility and networks.
We invite researchers and particularly Iranian young researchers to submit proposals for the Fellow Program 2021 to carry out their own research in cooperation with a university or institution that is associated with the SPP 2176. Young researchers can apply for the funds by submitting separate applications for travel cost and research expenses. For both forms of applications (travel and research) the agreement of the respective institution is required. In addition to the fellowship, a family allowance for parents with young children can be granted. Due to the current situation the program will additionally support successful applicants in mandatory measures related to Covid-19 when necessary. The following average rates can be considered as a guideline for the Fellow Program:


Travel costs / fellows from Iran: up to € 800,-
Travel costs / fellows from Europe: up to € 500,-
Travel costs / fellows from Overseas other than Iran: up to € 1000,-
Research grants for Iranian scientists: up to € 2500,-
Family Allowance: up to € 800,-


Applications should consist of a brief project description (max. 700 words) including project goals, applied methods, a research schedule, a feasible and detailed budget plan and a commitment from the host university or institution for research and/or travel costs.
The Fellow Program supports any kind of research activity (e.g. archaeological, laboratory or archival research, museum studies, or workshop or conference contributions) but proposals have to relate to at least one of the listed key research areas; proposals must be submitted in English.
The deadline for submission is 15. November 2020. Proposals submitted after the deadline and proposals that do not meet the above listed requirements will not be considered.
Successful applicants will be notified in January 2021.


Please send your application to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


For details of the program, please check https://iranhighlands.com/index.php/en/ or https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/402379177?language=en 
For questions, the committee of the grants program is at your disposal: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


*** Please note that 'The Iranian Highlands' Fellow Program also includes opportunities for Senior and Junior Fellows starting in late 2021. ***

Applicants Professorin Dr. Birgitt Hoffmann
Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
Fakultät Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften
Lehrstuhl für Iranistik
Professor Dr. Lorenz Korn
Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
Fakultät Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften
Lehrstuhl für Islamische Kunstgeschichte und Archäologie
Subject Area Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Islamic Studies, Arabian Studies, Semitic Studies
Term since 2019
Project identifier: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - Projekt number 424142753

Project Description

The Ilkhanid dynasty (c. 1256-1335), founded by Chingiz Khan’s grandson Hülegü, had a deep and long-lasting impact on the political, social, demographic and cultural condition of Iran. For the first time after the Islamic conquest in the 7th century, Iran regained the status of a distinct political-territorial entity. The Ilkhanid polity was encircled by hostile neighbors (Mamluks, the Mongol rulers of the Golden Horde and of the Ulus Chaghatay) – a situation that resulted in territorial confinement. The influx and permanent stay of a great mass of Mongols and Turks of pastoral nomad background into a habitat characterized by agriculture and sedentariness meant a considerable challenge for the conquerors and the conquered alike. Entanglement between Mongol and Iranian elites was the result. Therefore phenomena and processes of resilience and integration can be observed on both sides. For maintenance of their nomadic lifestyle the Mongols had to concentrate in areas favorable to pastoral nomadism, i.e. the northern and northwestern territories of the Iranian highland. The Iranian administrative elite were constantly on the move together with the center of power, the royal encampment (ordu). The Ilkhanid rulers turned out to be passionate builders. They commissioned buildings alongside their seasonal routes of migration and initiated urban development or even the founding of new cities – directly as patrons or indirectly via their Iranian administrators. In the wake of earthquakes, war and deliberate demolition only few architectural or archaeological remnants of the Mongol period are still visible. This situation is aggravated by the fact that Iranian research has rarely considered the Mongol period a rewarding topic.For a better understanding of spatial concepts, patterns of migration and urban development our transdisciplinary project will evaluate textual and archaeological evidence. Spotting and mapping the routes of migration and the sites of seasonal dwellings into a geo-dated map is a first objective of the project. The resulting map will be used as a basis for selective field research. One promising site is the vicinity of Bustanabad (60 km SE Tabriz), which preliminary soundings suggest as the location of the important seasonal residence of Ujan. Mongol agency in urban development is also reflected in the narrative and documentary sources of the period. In Tabriz, archaeological exploration of one of the largest pious foundation complexes of the period, the Rabʿ-i Rashīdī, is under way in a German-Iranian project. In this case, too, textual and archaeological evidence complement each other. The present application aims at expanding and supplementing the ongoing project, with excavations in three campaigns. Again, the creation of a geo-dated map based on textual sources and physical data will guide further archaeological field work.