Thursday, 3 June 2021



Anti-colonial Movements in the Middle East and the Question of Democracy


On 10 June at 3 pm, Rashid Khalidi (Columbia University, New York) will present an online lecture at The Historicity of Democracy Seminar.
In his lecture he will examine the issue of democracy in the Palestinian liberation struggle, over three periods: 1. The Mandate, when there were few avenues allowing a democratic movement to emerge, and the still dominant elites were clientelist and patriarchal rather than democratic in orientation; 2. The period of the revived national movement, 1950’s-1980’s, when the political groups enjoyed a measure of internal democracy, and the PLO broadly represented sectors of the Palestinian people, but the leadership was often not responsive to the base or democratic in its inclinations; 3. The Oslo era, until the present, saw a brief period of formal democracy for the minority of Palestinians, which was soon abandoned in favor of authoritarian governance under overall control by the occupation.

The seminar is organised within the framework of the HISDEMAB international and collaborative research programme of the Leibniz-Association (ZMO, ZZF, IEG) in collaboration with IFPO Amman and Manouba University, Tunis. For registration, please send an email to You will then receive an invitation with the respective link in due course.


7 June 2021, 4 pm, virtual event
Miaka 50 ya Somo la Fasihi ya Kiswahili Baada ya Uhuru
Baraza la Kiswahili la Berlin with Farouk Topan


Katika kikao hiki tutazungumzia vipengele vinne vya fasihi ya Kiswahili namna vilivyotiririka tangu miaka ya 1960 hadi miongo miwili ya karne hii. Cha kwanza, vile fasihi ya Kiswahili ilivyofundishwa na kuwekwa imara nje ya Afrika ya Mashariki (hata kabla ya kipindi cha miaka hii); pili, ilivyofundishwa na kujengwa (na pengine kujengeka) Afrika ya Mashariki; tatu, mjaribio wa kuunda nadharia ya/za fasihi ya Kiswahili; na nne, ukuzaji wa fasihi ya Kiswahili na mwingiliano wake na fasihi zingine katika maeneo mbali mbali ya kitaalamu na nadharia.
Farouk Topan ni mwandishi na msomi mashuhuri wa lugha, utamaduni na fasihi ya Kiswahili. Alianzisha kufundisha somo la fasihi ya Kiswahili katika Chuo Kikuu cha Dar es Salaam mwaka 1968. Amesomesha pia vyuo vikuu vya Nairobi, Riyad, London (SOAS) na sasa yupo Chuo Kikuu cha Aga Khan, huko huko London.
Kazi zake za kubuni ni tamthilia na hadithi fupi.
Please klick on the link to find the zoom link for participation.

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11 June 2021, 6 pm, virtual event
Vom Nahen Osten in die DDR
Podiumsdiskussion mit Sophia Hoffmann (ZMO), Stella Kneifel (Universität Erfurt), Ala Al-Hamarneh (Orient-Institut Beirut)und Patrice Poutrus (Universität Erfurt)


Kooperationsveranstaltung des DDR Museums mit dem Orient-Institut Beirut.

Zwischen 1951 und 1991 studierten ungefähr 75.000 Menschen aus dem Ausland an den DDR-Universitäten. Im Jahr 1988 waren 13.400 Studierende aus 126 Ländern immatrikuliert, davon etwa 2.000 aus dem Nahen Osten. Wer waren diese jungen Leute? Wie wurden sie von der Gesellschaft gesehen, vom Staat behandelt und von der Staatssicherheit kontrolliert? Wie beeinflusste der Alltag im Sozialismus ihre Sicht auf die DDR und auch auf ihre Herkunftsländer? Welche Erfahrungen brachten sie mit zurück in ihre Heimat? All das stellt die Podiumsrunde zur Diskussion. Ausgangspunkt ist dabei ein Forschungsprojekt des Orient-Instituts Beirut und seiner Partnerinstitute in Moskau und Warschau.
Diese Veranstaltung wird live über den YouTube-Kanal des DDR Museum übertragen.

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14 June 2021, 5 pm, virtual event
Bounded Knowledge. Doctoral Studies in Egypt
Book presentation by Daniele Cantini (Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, affiliated research fellow at ZMO), organised in cooperation with the Research Cluster/Graduate School "Society and Culture in Motion" at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg.


Much scholarship has been devoted to debates around how global inequalities of knowledge production arise from asymmetric power relations and disparities in access to material resources, as well as values and practices that prioritize certain academic disciplines and research outputs over others. The central role played by universities in producing both knowledge and researchers is similarly acknowledged, with the doctorate increasingly recognized as a crucial phase in establishing both. Bounded Knowledge: Doctoral Studies in Egypt (AUC Press) explores these debates from a uniquely Egyptian perspective.
Please register at

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22 June 2021, 6 pm, virtual Event (postponed from 18 May)
Launch of 3al-Janib
Newspaper presentation by the research project "Liminal Spaces"


3al-Janib (‘ala -l-janib or ‘on the side’) tells stories from the margins about moments where the world around us can be reimagined differently. These liminal moments, when individuals or groups decide to bend formal regulations and rethink the use of resources around them, are moments where new social relations and knowledge are forged, and alternative conceptualisations of a brighter future are introduced. The newspaper format allows for the drafts and the notes that are already present in the different research projects on which the publication builds, and which were part of a collaborative effort by partners in Morocco, Egypt, Palestine and Germany entitled Liminal Spaces as Sites of Socio-Cultural Transformation and Knowledge Production in the Arab World (funded by Volkswagen Foundation).
Please klick on the link to find the zoom link for participation.

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24 June 2021, 3 pm, virtual event
Colonial contingencies: the political marginalisation of the municipality of Jerusalem under the British Mandate
Lecture by Falestin Naili (Ifpo Amman/LARHRA Lyon) as part of the "The Historicity of Democracy Seminar"


During the transition from the end of the Ottoman period to the instauration of the British Mandate rule in Palestine, the sphere of urban governance in Jerusalem underwent a major transformation. Ottoman civic institutions such as the municipal council were slowly stripped off their power in favor of confessional representatives and British “experts”. Under British military rule, many powers originally vested in the municipality, such as town planning, were transferred to the Pro-Jerusalem Society, a non-governmental organization established by Governor Robert Storrs. Once the mandate was officially established, these powers were given to the Town Planning Commission. The municipality thus lost much of the influence and importance it used to have during the late Ottoman period. Whereas the composition of the Ottoman municipal council had been determined by the condition of Ottoman citizenship, population statistics and the censitary suffrage system, during the Mandate period, confessional identity became a structuring element of this level of governance. In fact, the mayor had to be Muslim, one deputy mayor Jewish and the other Christian.
For registration, please send an email to

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24 June 2021, 5 pm, virtual event
Ahmad Baba, a late 16th/17th century West African intellectual, and his treatise on political theory: Acquiring blessings and repelling affliction by avoiding unjust rulers
Lecture by Shamil Jeppie (University of Cape Town & Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) as part of the ZMO Colloquium


Aḥmad Bābā (d.1627) is the most famous scholar from the West African desert-edge, town of Timbuktu, and probably the entire Sahara, in the late 16th and 17th century and beyond. When the Sa’adian rulers based in Marrakesh ordered the invasion of Timbuktu and other locations in its environs in the early 1590s Bābā was eventually captured and sent into exile in Marrakesh; his entire library was seized as well. Dozens of works are attributed to him but hardly any of his works have been edited and published or translated. His two biographical dictionaries have always in use and have been edited. His fatwa (legal opinion) dealing with slavery has been edited and translated into English, and two other texts edited and translated into French. The availability of his material is obviously a challenge to a greater appreciation of his work.
Please register at

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28 June 2021, 5 pm, virtual event
A Geography of Jihad. Sokoto Jihadism and the Islamic Frontier in West Africa
Book presentation by Stephanie Zehnle (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel)


"A Geography of Jihad" (ZMO-Studien 37) addresses the Jihad movement that created the largest African state of the 19th century: the Sokoto Caliphate, existing for 99 years from 1804 until its military defeat by European colonial troops in 1903. Zehnle carves out the entanglements of jihadist ideology and warfare with geographical concepts at Africa’s periphery of the Islamic world: geographical knowledge about the boundary between the “Land of Islam” and the “Land of War”; the pre-colonial construction of “the Muslim” and “the unbeliever”; and the transfer of ideas between political elites and mobile actors (traders, pilgrims, slaves, soldiers), whose reports helped shape new definitions of the African frontier of Islam. Research for this book is based on the study of a very wide range of Arabic and West African (Hausa, Fulfulde) manuscripts. Their policies reveal the persistent reciprocity of jihadist warfare and territorial statehood, of Africa and the Middle East.
Please register at

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30 June, 2 pm, virtual event
Translocal Encounters Between Islam and Permaculture
Lecture by Shadia Husseini de Araujo (ZMO) as part of the Berlin Anthropology Seminars


This seminar series constitutes a joint initiative by anthropologists from FU Berlin, ZMO, and Ethnologisches Museum. It intends to shape and cultivate an inclusive platform and open regular meeting point for exchange and discussion on current research by Berlin based anthropologists. Please spread the word among colleagues, junior or senior, who may be interested.
For further questions contact

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18 June 2021, 10 am, virtual event
The Fourth Deportation of Abaza – Adyghe (Circassian-Tscherkessisch) Refugees from Syria: In Abkhazia & Turkey
Webinar organised by Ergün Özgür (FU Berlin)

This interdisciplinary webinar will discuss the fourth deportation of the descendants of Abaza-Adyghe (Circassian) refugees from Syria after the war in 2011 and their resettlement in Turkey and Abkhazia. It will follow a historical perspective starting from their first exile from the Caucasus (homelands) after the Russian-Caucasian War in 1864 and till the last one after the War in Syria. Turkey received over 3.6 million refugees since the beginning of the conflict and war in Syria (2011). At first, the refugees were accepted as ‘guests’ and provided temporary protection because of Turkey’s reservation to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its protocol in 1967. In 2013, 'the Directorate General of Migration Management' was founded, and the ‘Law on Foreigners and International Protection (6458)’ was issued. Later on, the Refugee Deal aimed to limit the entrance of refugees to Europe signed in 2016.
Please provide your Name, Surname, Institution, Title and register at the following address until 16.06.2021:

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Tenders & Calls

Call for Chapters
The Historicity of Democracy in the Arab and Muslim worlds

In the framework of the HISDEMAB research project on the historicity of democracy in the Arab and Muslim worlds, funded by the Leibniz-Association, we are welcoming original chapters for a collective book edited by Nora Lafi (ZMO). The authors will be invited to present their chapter in a workshop in Berlin in March 2022.
Abstract deadline: 9 July 2021


Randa Aboubakr, Sarah Jurkiewicz, Hicham Ait-Mansour, Ulrike Freitag (Ed.)
Spaces of Participation.
Dynamics of Social and Political Change in the Arab World


AUC Press, Kairo, 2021, 302 p.




Randa Aboubakr, Yazid Anani, Mokhtar ElHarras, Sarah Jurkiewicz, Hicham Ait-Mansour, Ulrike Freitag (Ed.)
3al Janib - «on the side»


Project newspaper by the research project "Liminal Spaces", 2021, 66 p.




Abdoulaye Sounaye
My Religiosity is not in My Hijab": Ethics and Aesthetics among Salafis in Niger


In: Loimeier, Roman (Ed.).Refugees Negotiating the Religious in Contemporary Everyday Life in the “Islamic World”. Göttingen University Press, 2021, p. 129-145. 




Fuat Dündar
Challenges of examining the Ottoman/Turkish immigration policies


ZMO Working Papers, 28, 2021, 16 p.




Abdoulaye Sounaye
Révolution salafiste en Afrique de l’Ouest

In: Politique Africaine, 161-162, 2021, p. 403-425.


Hilal Alkan
The gift of hospitality and the (un)welcoming of Syrian migrants in Turkey

In: American Ethnologist, 48, 2, p. 1-12.

Norman Saadi Nikro
Immersive soundscapes: Rana Eid’s Panoptic

In: Jump Cut, A review of contemporary media, 60, 2021.


Ergün Özgür
Individual Values and Acculturation Processes of Immigrant Groups from Turkey: Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands

In: Journal of Identity and Migration Studies, 15, 1, p. 69-97.

Bettina Gräf
Medien-Fatwas@Yusuf al-Qaradawi


Klaus Schwarz Verlag, Berlin, 2010. Reihe: ZMO-Studien, 27, 541 p.





Knut Graw, Samuli Schielke (Ed.)
The Global Horizon. Expectations of Migration in Africa and the Middle East


Leuven University Press, Leuven, 2012,
200 p.





ZMO in the Media

عندي حكاية - صامولي شيلكه: باحث أنثروبولوجي مولع بمصر


Interview with Samuli Schielke.

Deutsche Welle Arabic, 16 May 2021.


«Nos débats ont souligné la nécessité d’éviter la surinterprétation religieuse; par leur nature, nos sociétés sont plurielles et elles ne s’en portent pas si mal que ça»


Interview with Abdoulaye Sounaye.

L'Independant Plus, N°259 , 23 April 2021.



Bishkek Cemeteries: Mirror Images of the City

Article by Zarina Adambussinova, David Leupold, Temi Isikalu, Ulan Gabdushev.

Bishkek Blog, SILK American University of Central Asia, 2021.


Architecture of Bishkek's Central Yards

Article by Emil Nasritdinov, Otabek Nigmatov, Seth Fearey, David Leupold.

Bishkek Blog, SILK American University of Central Asia, 2021.



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