Thursday, 1 October 2020



The Sound of Friendship: Warm Wavelengths in a Cold, Cold War?


In her documentary film ‘The Sound of Friendship’, Anandita Bajpai (ZMO) traces the trajectory of Radio Berlin International (RBI), a GDR based international radio broadcaster, from the perspective of its journalists and listeners, based in present day Germany and India. The film is to be released in December 2020. View the trailer now on our YouTube channel!

The film is a story of the radio station’s Hindi Programme aired from 1967-1990. It takes viewers from locales in Berlin, where the station was located, to Madhepura, Bihar in India where a Listeners’ Club called the Lenin Club was active. How were transnational ties of friendship performed among actors from India and the GDR through the sonic medium of short waves during the Cold War? And how are those ties remembered today, 30 years after the shutdown of the station?


19 October 2020, 5 pm, virtual presentation
German, Jew, Muslim, Gay. The Life and Times of Hugo Marcus
Book presentation by Marc David Baer (London School of Economics and Political Science)


Hugo Marcus (1880–1966) was a man of many names and many identities. In 'German, Jew, Muslim, Gay', Marc David Baer uses Marcus’s life and work to shed new light on a striking range of subjects, including German Jewish history and anti-Semitism, Islam in Europe, Muslim-Jewish relations, and the history of the gay rights struggle.
Marc David Baer is professor of international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
This event will be primarily a Q&A session with the author. A longer book talk can be viewed prior to the event on
ZMO's YouTube channel here.

More info

26 October 2020, 5 pm, virtual presentation
Migrant Dreams. Egyptian Workers in the Gulf States
Book presentation by Samuli Schielke (ZMO)


What kind of dreams for a good or better life drives labor migrants? What does being a migrant worker do to one’s hopes and ambitions? How does the experience of migration to the Gulf, with its attendant economic and legal precarities, shape migrants’ particular dreams of a better life? Based on ten years of ethnographic fieldwork and conversations with Egyptian men from mostly low-income rural backgrounds who migrated as workers to the Gulf, returned home, and migrated again over a period of about a decade, Samuli Schiielke explores and engages with these questions and more, as the men reflect on their strivings and the dreams they hope to fulfill...

More info

29 October 2020, 5 pm, virtual presentation
Cinema, Sacred History and the State
Lecture by Nacim Pak-Shiraz (University of Edinburgh) as part of the ZMO Colloquium "Understanding Populism: State, Academia, and Civil Society"

The representation of religious figures in Islam has become particularly controversial in recent years. The creation of religious films is, therefore, a highly sensitive undertaking, evident in the very small number of such films produced by Muslim countries. This paper will examine Muhammad: The Messenger of God (2015) directed by Majid Majidi, one of Iran’s internationally acclaimed filmmakers. Muhammad is a significant development not only in the history of representations of the Prophet but also in the genre of religious epics. Drawing from extensive fieldwork in Iran, this paper will study the film’s claims of being an authentic narrative of the Prophet...

More info


Orient Bulletin Nr. 38, September 2020


Read now our latest Orient Bulletin with a focus on the Corona pandemic! The Bulletin also informs about developments in the library, our new staff, the ZMO-Colloquium and much more.




Tenders & Calls

Open position of a student assistant in the project “Normality and Crisis: Memories of Everyday Life in Syria as a Chance for a New Start in Germany”

Start: 15 October 2020, 40 hours per month
Please submit your application until 4 October 2020.

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

ZMO in the Media

Das Tor zu Mekka


Podcast with Ulrike Freitag.

 tell me a history, 28 September 2020.


Animal diseases as threats to state power in the SRSR


Podcast with Steven Serels.

 Appraising Risk, 22 September 2020.


Looking away from Europe


Podcast with Samuli Schielke.

 EuroStorie Podcast, 18 September 2020.


Niger: Fear of terror — and the military


Article with Abdoulaye Sounaye.

Deutsche Welle, 16 September 2020.


Kirgistan: 16 Parteien nehmen an der Parlamentswahl im Oktober teil


Article by Florian Coppenrath.

 Novastan, 11 September 2020.


Triumph auf blanken Sohlen


Article with Katrin Bromber.

Spiegel Geschichte, 10 September 2020.


This summer of our discontent. Some Notes on Listening to Land of Gold


Article by Farhana Latief and Reyazul Haque.

हाकारा hākārā, September 2020.



„Fritz-Steppat-Prize“ for promoting young researchers


Congratulations to the awardees of the Fritz-Steppat-Prize 2020!
Rahina Muazu (ZMO) has been awarded for her dissertation "Qurʾan Recitation and the Nudity of the Female Voice in Nigeria" and Shaul Marmari (Dubnow Institute) for his MA thesis "Red Sea Horizons. Palestine and the Jewish-Yemeni Diaspora, 1881–1948".

The prize is awarded every two years by the Gesellschaft zur Förderung des ZMO e.V. for an outstanding scientific text by a young researcher.

Alumni News

Ginu Zacharia Oommen appointed a Honorary Fellow at the Middle East Institute New Delhi

Dr. Ginu Zacharia Oommen has been appointed a Honorary Fellow at the Middle East Institute New Delhi. He is a member of the Kerala Public Service Commission. His research is focused on migration and international development with a Focus on GCC contries and South Asia. In 2014, Oommen was a Visiting Research Fellow at ZMO.




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