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Institute of Iranian Studies_Logo
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This course is archived
Course date
July 3–7, 2023
Application deadline
The application deadline has passed. We are no longer accepting applications.
ECTS Credits
Course delivery
SUN Packages
Tuition Waiver
Partial Scholarship
Full Scholarship

How is thinking and working with a manuscript different from working with an edited text? What challenges arise from a codex containing multiple texts with different dates and authors? How does ‘archival turn’ and social history of the collections inform how we approach manuscripts contained in them? How can digital tools be helpful in editing a text that differs from manuscript to manuscript? These are just some of the important methodological questions that students hoping to work with Islamic manuscripts face when embarking on research or while in the field, often without any recourse to practical guidance.

The proposed course will explore these and other questions by focusing specifically on how to think and work with Islamicate manuscripts, with an emphasis on the sources in Arabic, Turkish, and Persian from Central Asia and the Middle East (c. 1200-c. 1700). It will address cutting-edge methodological issues in the cross-section of Islamic and manuscripts studies, ‘archival turn’ in the histories of Eurasia, and digital humanities to offer a unique hands-on training experience for graduate students embarking on or already in the midst of fieldwork, researchers, as well as archival professionals. It aims to equip participants with methodological and conceptual insights (through readings, lectures, and discussions) as well as practical experience (through workshop sessions) in thinking and working with manuscripts, and also to provide feedback on participants’ projects by leading experts in the field (in seminars devoted to project presentations).

The course will take place in Vienna.

In the first part of the course, participants will explore methodologies and tools for critical manuscript research, including the difference between ‘text’ and ‘manuscript,’ the relationship between the text and paratext, the importance of genre and codicological features of a manuscript, etc. In the second part, the course would explore manuscripts in context, examining their existence in particular collections and absence in others; evidence of mobility; the identity of the scribes and possessors can tell us about their social history as well as the history of the collections. Finally, in the third part, we will explore questions of digital humanities and cultural heritage and their implications for the future of Islamicate manuscript studies. 

The course will focus on the following discipline areas:

  • Ottoman studies
  • Persian studies 
  • Arabic studies 
  • Islamic studies
  • Codicology
  • Digital Humanities 
  • Archival studies

Target groups:

  • advanced undergraduate and graduate students, post-docs   
  • archivists and curators of collections with Islamicate manuscript holdings
  • specialists in digital humanities and cultural heritage management

Minimum prerequisites:

  • 3 years of completed BA studies in Middle Eastern History or Islamic Studies (or a related field)
  • basic knowledge of Arabic, Persian, or Ottoman Turkish

Language requirements 

The language of instruction is English; thus, all applicants have to demonstrate a strong command of spoken and written English to be able to participate actively in discussions at seminars and workshops. Some of the shortlisted applicants may be contacted for an interview.

Please read the following directions carefully.  
Below is the list of the documents you need to prepare or arrange for submission: 

  1. Completed online SUN Application Form (see notes below)
  2. Full curriculum vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any
    Please upload your Curriculum Vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any.
  3. Statement of purpose (max. 1,000 words)
    In the Statement of Purpose, please describe how the course is relevant to your teaching, research, or professional work, and in what way you expect to benefit from it. If you are working on a concrete project (senior thesis, Ph.D., postdoctoral project, etc.), please outline key lines of inquiry and specify the type of sources you are working with as well as the major challenges you have faced in working with manuscripts. 
    The Statement of purpose should also indicate the most relevant courses in the field you have taken previously and specify the level of research experience and proficiency in relevant languages.
    Please also provide the name and contact email of a person (a faculty member, job supervisor, etc.) who can be contacted by the course directors to attest to your abilities, qualifications, and academic/professional performance.  
  4. Personal Statement on Financial Aid
    Those who are eligible and wish to apply for financial aid should specify their reasons in the “Personal statement on financial aid” section (Funding page of the application form). 
    We encourage applicants to explore the possibility of funding for summer schools at their own institutions before applying for the CEU SUN Financial Aid.

Optional attachments: 

You can upload further optional documents on the Qualifications page such as academic documents that you think may be relevant to support your application in the 'Other Supporting Documents' section. All documents should be merged into a single PDF file not exceeding the size 2 MB. No passwords and encryption are allowed. 

Completed CEU Summer University Application Form

We strongly advise the use of Google Chrome to enable the full functionality of the form.


  • You may apply to a maximum of two summer courses. In case of being admitted, you can only attend both if the two courses do not overlap in time.
  • If you applied to CEU before, please use your existing login and password to start a new application. If you do not remember your password from last year click on Forgotten Password. With technical problems, bugs, or errors related to the online application forms please contact the CEU IT Help Desk.
  • Right after login, please select the ”Summer University” radio button from the "Type of course" list, and leave all other fields empty.
  • All application materials must be submitted with the online application form(s). Materials sent by postal mail, electronic mail, or fax are not considered.
  • The maximum allowable file size for upload is 2MB per file and the acceptable file formats are PDF, JPG, and JPEG. Ensure all security features (e.g. passwords and encryption) are removed from the documents before uploading them.
  • Applications cannot be edited after submission. Please submit your application only when it is 100% final and complete.
  • Further user instructions for the online application are included in the form itself. Should you have questions regarding the application form, check the relevant Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If you need help or more information during the application process, please feel free to contact the SUN staff via email.


The SUN Office will notify applicants about the selection results in April. Please check the 'Dates and deadlines' section on the relevant course websites for notification deadlines planned earlier or later. The final decision is not open to appeal.