Research 2008 - 2013




Projects 2014-2019

Projects 2008-2013

Projects 2006-2007

Projects 2004-2005

Projects 2000-2003

Projects 1996-2000

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Muslim Worlds - World of Islam? (BMBF-sponsored) | In Search of Europe (BMBF-sponsored) | Joint Research Projects | Single Projects (DFG-sponsered)


Muslim Worlds - World of Islam?
Conceptions, Practices, and Crises of the Global

sponsored by Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

The Centre's research programme currently comprises three interdisciplinary projects, with twenty researchers working on different historical and cultural aspects of the "Modern Orient" since the 18th century. They explore the translocal movements of people, goods, symbols and ideas between the areas of the non-Western world and to Europe.

Research programme (full text)


Concepts of World and Order

A Contest between worlds of Sport: competing patterns of order and forms of representation in body cultures in Africa and Asia
PD Dr. Katrin Bromber: Running at the Top: East African Competitive Sports
between National Hallmark, Local Bone of Contention
and Object of Supra-Regional Trade

Dr. Paolo Gaibazzi: The Making of Entrepreneurs in a West African Muslim Trade Diaspora

Dr. M. Ali Raza: Communist Internationalism and the South Asian Left ca. 1917-1979

PD Dr. Dietrich Reetz: Muslim “Globalities”: Another World?

Dr. Abdoulaye Sounaye: Islam, Youth Religiosities and Sermon Practices in Contemporary Niamey, Niger

PD Dr. Steffen Wippel: Tanger - Salalah: Globalising 'Regional Cities'

Dr. Jörg Matthias Determann: New Science in Arabia: Networks in the History of Biology in the Gulf

Dr. Dyala Hamzah: The world(s) of Islam as articulated by the production and reception of the panislamic journal 'al-Manâr' (1898-1935)

PD Dr. Christoph Herzog: Making sense of Turkish history: symbolic and interpretative uses of historiography in Turkey

Dr. Marloes Janson: Operating within the global umma: Gambian Tablighis religious beliefs and practices
Dr. Marloes Janson: The Emergence of Chrislam in Lagos (Nigeria):
Moving Toward "Islamic Pentecostalism"

Prof. Dr. Roman Loimeier: What is “reform”? Muslim movements of reform in sub-Saharan Africa and the negotiation of modernity

Dr. Antía Mato Bouzas: Centre and peripheries: dynamics of interaction in South Asian borderlands

Karin Mlodoch: Violence, memory and dealing with the past in Iraq: the example of the survivors of the Anfal operations in Kurdistan

Dr. Lutz Rogler: Normativity, ethics, social philosophy: the paradigm of maqasid al-sharia as the foundation of "universal" legal morals

Dr. Dina Wilkowsky: Contesting public spheres: "discussion clubs" in Kazakhstan between politics, science and Islam


Microcosms and the Practices of the Local

Dr. Yasmine Berriane: The Youth Centre of Hay Mohammadi: the Making of a Participatory Sphere Institution in Morocco

Dr. des. Erdem Evren: Fluid Destinies of Çoruh: Techno-Capitalist Development and the Politics of Water in the Eastern Black Sea Region, Turkey

Dr. Jeanne Féaux de la Croix: Activists for a better future: a comparison of Muslim missions, late Soviet and contemporary development work in Kyrgyzstan

Prof. Dr. Ulrike Freitag: Migration and the constitution of urbanity in Jeddah in the 19th century

Feras Krimsti: From the province to the centre: translocal perspectives and representations of Istanbul in the travelogues of the 17th and 18th centuries

PD Dr. Nora Lafi: Living together in the Ottoman city: rules, norms and conflict management patterns in Cairo, Aleppo and Tunis

Dr. Katharina Lange: The Production of Historical Knowledge and Politics of
Memory in Rural Northern Syria: Histories of the Welde

Prof. Marc Baer: Cosmopolitanism and the end of Empire: The Dnme of Salonica

Dr. Jeanne Féaux de la Croix: Competing forms of knowledge in Kyrgyzstan: inter-generational debates over the pastoral economy

Britta Frede: Shaykhâni (Manna Abba ibn Muhammad at-Tulba, 1908-1986) and the revival of the Tijaniyya in Mauritania

Dr. Malte Fuhrmann: Being European in the late Ottoman port cities

Dr. Sebastian R. Prange: Writing a homeland: the creation of Muslim identity on an Islamic frontier

Dr. Florian Riedler: The newcomers and the old-established: creating urban life in late Ottoman Istanbul

Dr. Nitin Sinha: Circulation on the Ganges, 1700-1900


Actors in Translocal Spaces

Dr. Chanfi Ahmed: From West Africa to Arabia. West African ulama in Mekka and Medina, 19th and 20th centuries

Dr. habil. Tilo Grätz: New Media Technologies and Media Entrepreneurs in West Africa

Dr. Wai Weng Hew: Translocal and Cosmopolitan Islam: Chinese-style Mosques in Indonesia and Malaysia

Dr. Heike Liebau: Reading Clubs in Colonial India – a Translocal Perspective

Bettina Gräf: Production and adaptation of fatwas in the era of electronic media with reference to the works of Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Dr. Knut Graw: Migration as postcolonial praxis: life histories and social theory from the African-European borderzone

Dr. Kai Kresse: Muslim discourses and reform: investigating the postcolonial experience in coastal Kenya

Dr. Heike Liebau: The First World War in Indian public spheres: from perception of war to the reconfiguration of identities, world views and world orders

Dr. Hassan Mwakimako: Changing times: Muslim religious debates in old and new cosmopolitan Mombasa and Nairobi

Dalila Nadi: The emergence of new translocal labor markets in Algeria
Dalila Nadi: Chinese migrants in Casablanca and Amman

Dr. Sophie Roche: Youth and Identitiy in Text and Context: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Islamic Fundamentalism among Young Tajik Men

Dr. Samuli Schielke: Imaginary cosmopolitans: engaging the world in provincial Egypt

Dr. Benjamin Zachariah: Indian exiles in Berlin, 1914-1945


In Search of Europe: Considering the Possible in Africa and the Middle East / ISOE Exhibition

sponsored by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

“In Search of Europe: Considering the Possible in Africa and the Middle East” is an interdisciplinary research project based at Zentrum Moderner Orientfrom 2010 until 2014. The research team consists of four regular and two associated researchers, who are combining anthropological and historical approaches. The project aims to gain an interdisciplinary, empirically grounded and theoretically reflective understanding of the ways people in Africa and the Middle East engage the idea of “Europe” as a metonymy of possibilities, both in its affirmative and in its critical forms. The images they present of Europe are far from unified.

Vanessa Díaz: Europe and the Image of one's own in the contemporary art of Mozambique

Dr. Knut Graw: Picturing Europe in Migration and Diaspora

Dr. Bettina Gräf: Public Debates in Transcultural Space: The Concept of Islam as Political Order at the Beginning of the Cold War

Dr. Aïssatou Mbodj: The Making of Ordinary Imaginations of Europe Between France and Mali: Migrants” Letters and Domestic Archives

Leyla von Mende: "Today's neighbour - yesterday's subject": The Balkans between Ottoman Empire and Europe from the perspective of Ottoman travellers, 1870-1918

Dr. Samuli Schielke: Engaging the World between Egypt and Europe - Reasons to Write after 2011

Daniela Swarowsky: Curator of exhibition project "In Search of Europe: Considering the Possible in Africa and the Middle East"

Joint Research Projects


Urban Violence in the Middle East


"Urban Violence in the Middle East" is a joint Anglo-German research project based on a collaboration of ZMO and SOAS from 2010 until 2013. The project is funded by DFG and AHRC. The main objective of the research project is to investigate the emergence and different forms of public and popular violence in selected Ottoman, Arab and Iranian cities from the early 19th century to the 1960s in a wide geographical setting which stretches from Tunisia to Iran.


Transforming Memories: Cultural Production and Personal/Public Memory in Lebanon and Morocco


- Dr. Sonja Hegasy
- Dr. habil. Saadi Nikro
- Makram Rabah
- Monika Borgman
- Laura Menin
- Christine Rollin (until August 2012)

In Cooperation with UMAM D&R, BeirutSponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


Crossroads Asia


The Crossroads Asia competence network is an interdisciplinary research project conducted at several German universities and institutes and coordinated at Bonn University. Over a period of four years, 2011-2014, the project will study the interaction between emerging and evolving social 'figurations' (Norbert Elias) and mobility in and between the neighbouring regions of South and Central Asia. ZMO participation emphasises cross-regional aspects between Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Kashmir region and post-Soviet Central Asia.

funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Just Boedeker: The Baloch Borderlands: The Conflict of Tribe and State in a Globalized World

Dr. Antía Mato Bouzas: Plural Affinities in Contested Borderlands

In and Out of South and Central Asia: Transnational Community-Building in Religious and Ethnic Networks

Dr. Aksana Ismailbekova: Conflict Dynamics, Local Strategies and Trans-local Ties in the Fergana Valley

PD Dr. Dietrich Reetz: In and Out of South Asia: Transnational Community-Building in Religious and Ethnic Networks


Actors of Globalization


Joint Research Project with Freie Universität Berlin, HU zu Berlin, Universität Hamburg and ETH Zürich

Dr. Dyala Hamzah: Societies, Scouts and Schoolbooks for the Arab Nation: A case study of Pan-Arabist Darwish al-Miqdadi (1897-1961)

Nils Riecken: The Journalist, Writer, and Traveler Yūnus Sālih Bahrī al-Ğabūrī (1903-1979) between Anti-Imperialism, Arabism, and National Socialism

Nushin Atmaca: Constructing Saudi Arabia: Generational narratives of global training and local development


Muslime in Europa

Verbundprojekt "Muslime in Europa"

Head of the Project: PD Dr. Dietrich Reetz (ZMO). In cooperation with: the Universität Frankfurt/Oder (Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie, Prof. Dr. Werner Schiffauer), the Universität Hamburg (Religionspädagogik, Prof. Dr. Wolfram Weiße) and the Universität Halle (Südasienwissenschaften, Prof. Dr. Rahul Peter Das).


SFB 640: Representations of Changing Social Order


Subproject A7: Tourismus, Krieg und Erinnerung in Postkonfliktstädten. Beirut und Sarajevo im Vergleich
Project director: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Freitag
Researcher: Anja Peleikis, Jens Adam

Subproject A5: Europa-Repräsentationen und transnationale Öffentlichkeiten im Vergleich: Europa, arabische Welt, Russland, 1850er-1910er Jahre und 1990er Jahre
Project director: Prof. Freitag, Prof. Baberowski, Prof. Kaelble
Researcher: Dr. Ahmed Badawi, Benjamin Beuerle, Johan Grußendorf, Andreas Weiß

Subproject A7: Arabische Identitätspolitik - Identitätspolitik in Neuordnungsprozessen in Marokko und Irak
Project director: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Freitag
Researcher: Dr. Andrea Fischer-Tahir


Europe in the Middle East - the Middle East in Europe


A collaborative research programme of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.


Invisible Borders in East-Central Europe


Competence network with Centre Marc Bloch Berlin, MLU Halle, HU Berlin

Dr. Florian Riedler: Urban Borders in post-Ottoman Cities of South-Eastern Europe. Edirne and Niš from a comparative perspective


Projet de coopération franco-allemand: La question du pouvoir dans les recompositions sociales et religieuses contemporaines de l’Afrique du Nord et de l’Ouest (PRANO)

with Dr. Elisabeth Boesen, Dr. Laurence Marfaing and Dr. Christine Hardung


Single Projects

Completed Single Projects:

sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschafte (DFG):
Dr. Caterina Bori: Islamic pathways of reform: The reception of Ibn Taymiyya between the 16-18th centuries

sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschafte (DFG):
Dr. Rana von Mende Altaylı: The debate on polygamy in the late Ottoman modernisation discourse.

Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies (BGSMCS):
Dr. Patrick Desplat: Culturalization of religious practices and the local relevance of conspiracy theories

Hatsuki Aishima: Karate as a Vehicle to Modernity? Islam, Art and Body Culture in Egypt