Petra Sijpesteijn holds the chair of Arabic at Leiden University and is chargée de recherche at the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in Paris. She was director of the Leiden University Centre for the Study for Islam and Society (LUCIS) from 2014-2018.
She obtained her PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, and was a junior research fellow at Christ Church, Oxford. Sijpesteijn is the principal investigator on a five-year ERC project to study the social foundations of the early Islamic Empire. She has widely published in the field of early Islamic history and Arabic papyrology and is the author of Shaping a Muslim State: The World of a Mid-Eighth-Century Egyptian Official, published by Oxford University Press in 2013. Her research concentrates on recovering the experience of Muslims and non-Muslims living under Islamic rule, using the vast stores of radically under-used documents surviving from the early Islamic world.