Wednesday, 29 April 2020



Corona crisis: local perspectives of a global challenge

The beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic has marked a significant change in ZMO's work routine. Not only is everyone working from home now, but also visits to conferences are cancelled and no one knows when it is possible to conduct fieldwork again, a central part of ZMO-based research. However, we continue to be strongly connected to our regions of research (some of us are on site). As we are in exchange with colleagues, friends and interlocutors, we are following closely to what extend the Corona pandemic and the subsequent health and economic crisis is affecting people’s experience in their everyday lives, how the state intervenes and regulates, and what else is changing. As scholars of the humanities and social sciences we do not contribute to research on the virus in scientific and medical terms, but we can contribute by adding certain critical and historical perspectives to the discussion, as well as information about specific social contexts as they are experienced by people in the regions. Adding such kinds of insights, commentaries, and reflections on the corona crisis, both on and from our regions of research, and making them accessible, we think, is itself a valuable contribution to the understanding of the current crisis as a complex and locally specific global phenomenon. It is by no means certain what the experiences of the Global South will be and we underline the openness of what we are currently imagining to witness.

We have asked our researchers, colleagues, alumni and former academic visitors to share with us their thoughts, observations, reflections and first reports in this unique situation. All contributions that have reached us so far are listed below and on our Website.
We highly recommend the thematic blogs from our partner institutions, the blog of the project
"Religious Matters in an Entangled World" at Utrecht University and the blog Medizinethnologie”.

Kirgistan setzt auf private Spenden


Bericht von Florian Coppenrath über die
aktuelle Lage in Kirgistan.

21 April 2020



After COVID-19, only a “middle way” can save us


"Neither over-digitalisation nor dehumanisation of relationships."
An article by Mohammed Hashas.

 21 April 2020


Wie die Cholera Mekkas Hafenstadt modernisierte


Ulrike Freitag schreibt im Tagesspiegel über die Seuchenabwehr im 19. Jahrhundert in Jidda.

15 April 2020



Corona and the Geographical Paradox


David Leupold reports from Kyrgyzstan where he conducted fieldwork when the Coronavirus arrived.

 15 April 2020


An Enemy of the People – A Berlin Corona Virus Diary


"Everyone has returned to their quarter at the same time". Observations by Sonja Hegasy in Berlin Bazzar.

13 April 2020

An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen. Stage direction: Thomas Ostermeier, Schaubühne. Photo: Arno Declair.


A call for unity or ‘rituals of authoritarianism’?


"Indian leadership is sculpting a different route to authoritarianism", writes Nitin Sinha in his Blog.

12 April 2020



On exponentials and the return to normality


Thoughts by Samuli Schielke on
labour, economy and justice during
and after the crisis.

 9 April 2020



7-8 April, Colombo, Sri Lanka


Farzana Haniffa writes on her day-to-day life and the challenges her country faces during the lockdown.

7-8 April 2020


Modi to Trump to Macron, everyone loves a good war analogy. But coronavirus is not an ‘enemy


Opinion piece by Reyazul Haque in The Print on the rhetoric used by some state leaders.

 4 April 2020



When the Janata Curfew and Clanging are Over, the Coronavirus Will Still Need Fighting


Comment by Nitin Sinha in The Wire on the measures taken by the Indian government.

22 March 2020


Tenders & Calls

Doctoral scholarship in Amman (Jordan) as part of the research project “Historicity of democracy in the Arab world” (HISDEMAB)

Duration: 36 months
New deadline for submitting the application: 30 May 2020

Graduate Student Award for MA thesis based on ZMO archival collection (Petra-Heidrich-Papers)

Research starting in September/October 2020 (if circumstances allow)
Deadline for submitting the application: 1 June 2020

Call for Papers
Conference: “Land to the Tiller?” Hopes and Ruins of Agrarian Reform in Africa, Asia and the Middle East

12-13 November 2020, ZMO Berlin
Deadline for applications: 1 May 2020

New Publications

David Leupold
Embattled Dreamlands. The Politics of Contesting Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish Memory


Routledge 2020, 248 pp.

A virtual book presentation can be found here.



Samuli Schielke
Migrant Dreams.
Egyptian Workers in the Gulf States


The American University in Cairo Press, 2020, 137 pp.



Hilal Alkan, Nazan Maksudyan (eds.)
Urban Neighbourhood. Formations Boundaries, Narrations and Intimacies


Routledge 2020, 260 pp.




Sophia Hoffmann
Arab students and the Stasi: Agents and objects of intelligence


In: Security Dialogue, published online on 31 March 2020.



ZMO in the Media

Kulturelle Vielfalt kurz vor Mekka


Interview mit Ulrike Freitag.
Deutschlandfunk Kultur,  26 April 2020 



Die Faszination der Stadt


Rezensionen von Jürgen Gottschlich, u.a. von Malte Fuhrmanns Buch "Konstantinopel – Istanbul, Stadt der Sultane und Rebellen".
taz, 21 April 2020 




The Lawful Empire: Legal Change and Cultural Diversity in Late Imperial Russia

Book summary by Stefan B. Kirmse on his latest monograph in TRAFO - Blog for Transregional Research.




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