Friday, 30 October 2020



Stefan Kirmse writes on law in imperial Russia in the Legal History Blog


Stefan B. Kirmse, senior research fellow at ZMO,  is guest blogger for October 2020 at the Legal History Blog. In autumn 2019, he published his most recent book "The Lawful Empire. Legal Change and Cultural Diversity in Late Tsarist Russia". In the blog posts, he now writes about the process of his research on that topic with many little anecdotes.

One article focuses on choices. How do you choose the period you focus on in your historical research, and which regions – in an empire as vast and diverse as the Russian one – do you select as case studies? Another blog entry picks up the matter of language, both as a subject of research and as a methodological challenge. Kirmse also writes about his experiences in archives between Kazan, Crimea, and St. Petersburg: "With archival research, life turned out to be a lot less predictable". His latest blog post is entitled "The Skariatin Code. Legal History Research on Imperial Russia".


2 November 2020, 5 pm, virtual event
Internationalist Activism under the Hammer and Sickle: The Czechoslovak Industrial Commune "Interhelpo" in Soviet Kyrgyzstan
Lecture by David Leupold (ZMO) as part of the lecture series "Central Eurasian Studies and Translocality. A Debate Unfolding"


The lecture sheds light on the historical trajectory of Interhelpo, an industrial cooperative from Czechoslovakia, and its role in shaping urbanization "from below" in the early-Soviet town of Pishpek (now Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan). Founded 1914 by Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, German internationalists and Ido-learners around the mountaineer and Bolshevik Rudolf Pavlovič Mareček in the Czechoslovakian town Žilina, the cooperative actively shaped urbanization in what would become known as the capital of Soviet Kyrgyzstan.
The event will be held via Zoom. Please register at

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9 November 2020, 5 pm, virtual event
Kashmir as a Borderland: the Politics of Space and Belonging across the Line of Control
Book presentation by Antía Mato Bouzas (London Metropolitan University)


In her book presentation, Antía Mato Bouzas will discuss the implications of examining the Kashmir dispute from a borderland perspective. She will focus on how conflict is manifested in territory, and more specifically, on the political space that the Line of Control (LoC, the provisional border dividing these territories) has created on both sides through a series of legal and material interventions. Ongoing transformations in this borderland attempt to bring these territories under the state purview and challenge the view that ‘nothing has substantially changed’ in the dispute.
The event will be held via Zoom. Please register at

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9 November 2020, 4 pm, virtual event
Lecture by Franziska Fay (guest researcher at ZMO) as part of the Baraza la Kiswahili la Berlin


Tukiongozwa na Franziska Fay amabye atajibu maswali juu ya utafiti wake kama ifuatavyo. Maana yake nini kuwa kijana (chini ya umri wa miaka 35) anayezungumza Kiswahili nchini Oman? Vijana wale wanajitambuaje kivipi katika muktadha wa inayoitwaZanzibari Diaspora’? Kwa njia gani kuwa Omani na kuwa Mswahili yanaenda sambamba? Ninapoanza na mradi mpya wa utafiti wangu wa kianthropolojia naomba nitumie nafasi ya BALAKI-BE kutafakari kuhusu maswali hayo na kukusanya maoni tofauti ya wale wanaoathirika na fikra hizo. Mazingatio yangu yanajengwa kwenye wiki chache ya utafiti wa awali nchini Oman na Zanzibar mwaka 2018/2019.
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9. November 2020, 19 Uhr, Online
Ökologie und Umweltpolitik im Nahen Osten. Konzepte und Krisen
Podiumsdiskussion, organisiert von der Gesellschaft zur Förderung des ZMO e.V., der Maecenata-Stiftung und der Katholischen Akademie Berlin.


Das Thema „Schutz der Umwelt“ stellt alle Länder dieser Welt vor neue Herausforderungen. Jüngste Vorhersagen gehen aber davon aus, dass der Nahe Osten und Nordafrika besonders von ökologischen Krisen und Klimawandel betroffen sein werden. Regionalwissenschaft, Politikwissenschaft und Theologie sowie Journalismus und Praxis haben dazu ihre eigenen Perspektiven. Wir geben ihnen Raum für die Darstellung des jeweiligen Standpunkts und bringen die Ansätze ins Gespräch. Auf dem Podium zu Gast: Juliane Schumacher (ZMO), PD Dr. Katrin Bromber (ZMO), Adnan Tabatabai (CARPO) und Prof. Dr. Mira Sivers (HU Berlin).
Die Veranstaltung wird über einen Livestream übertragen.

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10. November 2020, 12 Uhr, Online
Nachrichtendienste in der internationalen Politik
Sophia Hoffmann (ZMO) bei "Book a Scientist" der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft


Sind Nachrichtendienste eigentlich nationale oder internationale Akteure? Oder vielleicht beides? Aus welchen historischen Gemengelagen haben sich die modernen Nachrichtendienste entwickelt? Und welche Rolle haben internationale Verbindungen dabei gespielt? All diese Fragen werden von Nachrichtendienstforscherinnen und -forschern kontrovers diskutiert. Im Gespräch mit Sophia Hoffmann können Sie grundlegende Informationen zu den internationalen Beziehungen von Nachrichtendiensten erfahren und mit welchen Methoden sie wissenschaftlich untersucht werden können.
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16 November 2020, 5 pm, virtual event
Internationalist Nation-Builders. Soviet Youth Activism under Brezhnev
Lecture by Stefan Kirmse (ZMO) as part of the lecture series "Central Eurasian Studies and Translocality. A Debate Unfolding"


This talk discusses the interplay of nationalism and internationalism in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin. While these two political agendas were opposites insofar as one would later play no small role in tearing the union apart whereas the other was supposed to hold it together, there was much that united their language, strategies, underlying concepts, and problems. More than that: there were mutually constitutive. One was barely imaginable, or would have been much weaker, without the other. This talk illustrates this for the period from the early 1960s to the early 1980s, when nationalism and internationalism turned into mass phenomena across the USSR.
The event will be held via Zoom. Please register at

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23 November 2020, 5 pm, virtual event
Embattled Dreamlands. The Politics of Contesting Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish Memory
Book presentation by David Leupold (ZMO)


Embattled Dreamlands explores the complex relationship between competing national myths, imagined boundaries and local memories in the threefold-contested geography referred to as Eastern Turkey, Western Armenia or Northern Kurdistan. Spatially rooted in the shatter zone of the post-Ottoman and post-Soviet space, it sheds light on the multi-layered memory landscape of the Lake Van region in Southeastern Turkey, where collective violence stretches back from the Armenian Genocide to the Kurdish conflict of today. Based on his fieldwork in Turkey and Armenia, the author examines how states work to construct and monopolize collective memory by narrating, silencing, mapping and performing the past, and how these narratives might help to contribute and resolve present-day conflicts.
The event will be held via Zoom. Please register at

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26 November 2020, 5 pm, virtual event
Beyond the Struggle: South African student movements during the transition to democracy (c. 1990s)
Lecture by Anne Heffernan (Durham University) as part of the ZMO-Colloquium "Understanding Populism: State, Academia, and Civil Society"


This paper will reflect on the seeds of populism in democratic South African politics through the lens of student and youth organizations in the 1990s. The paper explores how South African student formations that were part of the anti-apartheid struggle situated themselves during the transition to democracy (c. 1990 to 1996). It considers their orientation to the newly democratic state, led by the ANC, and to one another. In particular, by examining the reconstitution of the ANC Youth League in 1991, and its relationship to both its mother party and to other affiliated student groups, the paper suggests that we can trace some roots of the populism that became prevalent in the early twenty-first century to these processes.
The event will be held via Zoom. Please register at

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Monatlich ab 2. November 2020
Vortragsreihe Basiswissen Islam

Mit dieser Veranstaltungsreihe im Schuljahr 2020/21 sollen pädagogisch tätige und interessierte Menschen eine Einführung in grundlegende Themen zur Religion des Islams erhalten. Es gibt viele individuelle Meinungen – aber nur wenig fundierte Kenntnisse zu den geschichtlichen, kulturphilosophischen und aktuell-politischen Grundlagen dieser Religion.
Die Reihe wird organisiert von Modul e.V. mit Unterstützung des ZMO. Mit dabei als Referent: unser ZMO-Kollege Noël van den Heuvel.

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Webinar series, next event on 11 November 2020
Climate Change, Political Economy and Connectivity in the Red Sea Region

With support from the Social Science Research Council’s Transregional Collaboratory on the Indian Ocean, this online seminar starts with the urgent question of how, in one ecological region, some of the richest and poorest societies in the world are weathering today’s profound climatic, economic, and political transformations. Hosting speakers from across the region, the seminar explores the structural connections of the Red Sea region by embodying those very linkages. Convenors: Alden Young (UCLA) and Nathalie Peutz (NYUAD).

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30 November - 1 December 2020
Contested Religious Spaces – Narratives as Evidence: de-centering and re-authenticating pasts for the future
Organised by Abdoulaye Sounaye (ZMO) and Heike Liebau (ZMO)

This conference brings together different disciplinary orientations (history, anthropology, religious studies, literary studies, heritage and museum studies) to examine claims of authenticity and construction of religious and political identity through competing narratives on religious and symbolic sites. It pays particular attention to the ways in which discursive traditions in multi-religious contexts influence constructions of the past, perceptions of history, and social interactions, as they relate to symbolic spaces and sites. Part of the agenda is to examine both the intersection and interdependence of religious and historical narrations in knowledge production, identity formation and belonging. The aim is to formulate questions and devise methodological tools which would allow for comparison both temporally and across regions.
The conference will be held via Zoom. Please contact the conference organisation team to register:,



Katrin Bromber
Education for Leadership.
The YMCA in Late Imperial Ethiopia, 1940s-1970s


In: Harald Fischer-Tiné, Stefan Huebner, Ian Tyrrell (Eds.): Spreading Protestant Modernity. Global Perspectives on the Social Work of the YMCA and YWCA, 1889-1970. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press 2020, pp. 237-258.




Stefan B. Kirmse
Raumkonzepte von Zentralasien: Ein historischer Überblick


In: Jakob Lempp, Sebastian Mayer, Alexander Brand (Eds.): Die politischen Systeme Zentralasiens. Interner Wandel, externe Akteure, regionale Kooperation. Springer VS: Wiesbaden 2020, pp. 19-39.




Tenders & Calls

Call for Applications for scholarships and places in the doctoral programme of the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies

Start: 1 October 2021
Deadline for submitting the application: 11 November 2020

International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS) Programme for Arab countries of the German Bundestag

The Programme grants up to 24 young and talented Arab graduates the opportunity to get to know the German parliamentary system during a one month programme in September 2021.
Deadline for submitting the application: 15 November 2020

ZMO in the Media

Ein politisches Trauma


Article by David Leupold.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 22 October 2020.

Available also as podcast in English!

Chasing dreams in the Gulf


Interview with Samuli Schielke.

The American University in Cairo Press, 19 October 2020.


Vor 50 Jahren wurde Anwar as-Sadat im Amt bestätigt


Radio feature with Sonja Hegasy.

 Deutschlandfunk, 15 October 2020.


التعددية والتعايش: أولغيكة فغايتج وتاريخ جدة: بوابة مكة في القرنين التاسع عشر والعشرين


Podcast with Ulrike Freitag.

Gheyn, 6 October 2020.


Parlamentswahl annulliert: Anschein einer dritten Revolution in Kirgistan


Article by Florian Coppenrath.

 Novastan, 6 October 2020.


Kirgistan: Regierungspartei siegt bei „dreckiger“ Parlamentswahl


Article by Florian Coppenrath.

Novastan, 5 October 2020.



DAVO-Dissertationspreis 2020 für Maria-Magdalena Pruß


Der DAVO-Dissertationspreis wurde in diesem Jahr zum 13. Mal für die besten deutsch- oder englischsprachigen Dissertationen aus dem Bereich der gegenwartsbezogenen Orientforschung vergeben. Maria-Magdalena Pruß, wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am ZMO, ist eine der drei Preisträger*innen. Sie wurde für ihre Arbeit zum Thema “Islamic Modernism in Colonial Punjab: The Anjuman-i Himayat-i Islam, 1884-1923” ausgezeichnet, die sie an der Princeton University verfasste.
"Die Autorin leistet mit ihrer Dissertation in mehrfacher Hinsicht Pionierarbeit. […] Herzlichen Glückwunsch an Dr. Maria-Magdalena Pruß und großes Lob für ihre innovative und äußerst verdienstvolle islamwissenschaftliche Dissertation!" schreibt Philipp Bruckmayr (Wien) in der Laudatio.


Alumni News

Prof. Dr. Nazan Maksudyan’s Ottoman Children and Youth During World War I has won the first place prize for the The Association for Middle East Children and Youth Studies (AMECYS) 2020 book award.

In their decision letter, the members of the committee, Leyla Neyzi, Nancy L. Stockdale, and Shahram Khosravi made the following praise: "All committee members agreed that Nazan Maksudyan’s book was impeccably written, highly readable, without the jargon that often accompanies academic tomes, providing both a new approach to the study of children and a new approach to working in and interpreting archives. This is simply a wonderful book that will be of interest not only to academics working on the Middle East but to a wide range of scholars across disciplines and regions with an interest in the study of children and childhood."




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