Petra Sijpesteijn studied history and Arabic at Leiden University (MA), the University of Damascus, Cambridge University, Cornell University, and Princeton University (MA, PhD), where she defended her dissertation in Near Eastern Studies in 2004, being awarded the department’s annual prize for best thesis. She was a junior research fellow in Oriental Studies at Christ Church, Oxford (2003-2007), before moving to the CNRS in Paris as a chargée de recherche. In 2008 she was appointed full professor on the chair of Arabic language and culture. In 2007 she was awarded a Starter’s Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). She was the founding president of the International Society for Arabic Papyrology (2001-2014) and the Andrew H. Mellon research fellow in the papyrus digitisation and cataloguing project at the Austrian National Library (2013-14). She has held visiting professorships at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences-Sociales (EHESS), Paris, University College London Qatar, and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. Since 2014 Petra Sijpesteijn has been the director of the Leiden Center for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS). She speaks regularly on the radio and in public fora on issues in Islamic history and Middle Eastern current affairs.
Professor of Arabic, Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University