Wednesday, 2 February 2022



Universal Jurisdiction as Iustitia ex Machina: Speaking Justice for the Victims of ISIS and the Syrian Civil War in Germany


In a recent article in The Greater European Journal  (3 (1), December 2021. pp. 35-48), ZMO research fellow Robin F.C. Schmahl offers a brief survey of four legal cases in Germany dealing with ISIS foreign terrorist fighters and former Syrian officials who were charged for torture, genocide, as well as crimes against humanity. At the centre of public attention in 2020 and 2021, these cases moved beyond of being a matter of national law towards a renegotiation of how Germany envisions itself to take up international responsibility on the basis of universal jurisdiction. Robin shows how the discussion surrounding the trials can be understood as a form of Gegenwartsbewältigung that purports a reaffirmation of German identity in the present. Lastly, he provides a brief problematisation of universal jurisdiction within national law and its current predominance in German public discourse from a postcolonial perspective.


February 2022, 4 pm, virtual event
Fasihi Simulizi na Changamano la Bahari Hindi
Baraza la Kiswahili la Berlin with Elizabeth Sekwiha Gwajima


Wasilisho hili linachunguza fasihi simulizi ya Zanzibar. Linalenga kujua maana na mafunzo ya baadhi ya majina ya mahali huko Makunduchi. Muktadha wa karne ya ishirini na moja umehusishwa na changamano la bahari ya Hindi. Kupitia mahojiano na wakaazi na usomaji wa maandishi ya kihistoria, hoja inatolewa kwamba, mbali na kazi asilia ya visasuli ya kuelezea mwanzo wa vitu na mahali (alivyofafanua Mulokozi, 2017), visasuli pia vina dhima ya kuelimisha. Pia, bahari ya Hindi bado ina athari ya kale katika fasihi simulizi; ni kiungo muhimu kati ya nchi na nchi, bara moja na jingine; na ni wigo, nafasi na mahala pa fikra za ubunifu. Hata hivyo, kwa kuwa fasihi simulizi inabadilika kuendana na wakati, matokeo ya utafiti yamegundua mabadiliko ya mawazo: wakati visasuli vingi vinaelezea maana ya majina ya mahali, vingine vinahoji historia ya jamii vikiashiria jitihada za kutafuta utambulisho wa Wazanzibari. Wasilisho linahitimisha kwa kutoa wito wa juhudi za kurekodi visasuli vilivyosalia visipotee katika ulimwengu wa intaneti na utandawazi na kuhatarisha uwepo wa fasihi simulizi.

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7 February 2022, 4 pm, virtual event
Between Elections and Constitution: ‘the people’ as body politic (1943-1963)
Lecture by Matthieu Rey (IFPO) as part of The Historicity of Democracy Seminar.


Matthieu Rey is currently director of contemporary studies at IFPO. He graduated at EHESS Paris in 2013. He is the author of numerous books and papers on the question of parliamentarism in the Middle East, and particularly in Iraq in the 1950s.  His research focused on mechanisms of protest and moblization with, for example, a 2010 paper: “La Wathba: manifester en Irak en 1948“. Matthieu Rey developed an attention to the scale of neighbourhoods too with a 2013 chapter on Syria: “La révolte des quartiers: territorialisation plutôt que confessionalisation“. He also studied the impact of the Cold War on local politics in the Middle East with “Domestiquer la Guerre froide au Moyen-Orient” and “‘Fighting colonialism’ versus ‘non- alignment’: two Arab points of view on the Bandung Conference” as well as the interaction between international organizations and the region: “How Did the Middle East Meet the West? The International United Nations Agencies’ Surveys in the 1950s“.
The online seminar is free and open to the public upon registration:

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7 February 2022, 5 pm, virtual event
Islam and the Arab Revolutions — The Ulama Between Democracy and Autocracy
Book Presentation by Usaama al-Azami (University of Oxford)


The Arab revolutions of 2011 were a transformative moment in the modern history of the Middle East, as people rose up against long-standing autocrats throughout the region to call for ‘bread, freedom and dignity’. With the passage of time, results have been decidedly mixed, with tentative success stories like Tunisia contrasting with the emergence of even more repressive dictatorships in places like Egypt, with the backing of several Gulf states. Focusing primarily on Egypt, this book considers a relatively understudied dimension of these revolutions: the role of prominent religious scholars. While pro-revolutionary ulama have justified activism against authoritarian regimes, counter-revolutionary scholars have provided religious backing for repression, and in some cases the mass murder of unarmed protestors.
Please Register here:

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24 February 2022, 5 pm, virtual event
Capitalist Relations on Indonesia’s Indigenous Frontiers
Lecture by Tania Murray Li (University of Toronto) as part of the ZMO Colloquium Political Economies of Original Inhabitation


In globally circulating discourses, autochthonous or Indigenous People are often characterized by their dedication to preserving lifeways that are community oriented and non-capitalist. Yet this image has a double edge: protective, from one perspective, it also enables large scale corporate investors to insist that they alone are capable of developing the national economy. Drawing on ethnographic research in Sulawesi and Kalimantan, the lecture challenges this problematic polarity by exploring the enthusiastic, three-century engagement of Indonesia’s indigenous farmers with global markets and traces the consequences of consigning them to a subsistence or non-market niche.
Please register here:

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10 February 2022, 5 pm, virtual event
Tradition und Erneuerung im Ringen um die Zukunft: Der Nahe Osten seit 1906
Online-Buchvorstellung und Diskussion mit Udo Steinbach (Maecenata Stiftung) und Daniel Gerlach (zenith, Candid-Foundation), organisiert von der Deutsch-Arabischen Freundschaftsgesellschaft e.V.

Der Raum zwischen Mittelmeer und Hindukusch befindet sich im Umbruch. Innere Transformationsprozesse und externe Interventionen prägen die politischen und gesellschaftlichen Entwicklungen der Region im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert. In seinem 2021 im Kohlhammer Verlag erschienenen Buch „Tradition und Erneuerung im Ringen um die Zukunft: Der Nahe Osten seit 1906“ untersucht Prof. Dr. Udo Steinbach die Umbrüche, geschichtlichen Verflechtungen und Interdependenzen im Raum von Nordafrika bis Afghanistan und analysiert die vielfältigen Beziehungen Europas zu seinen Nachbarn.
Bitte registrieren Sie sich hier:


Tenders & Calls

Call for Papers:
Seeking Justice. Ideas and Practices from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East

Conference at ZMO from 30 November to 2 December 2022.
Deadline for Abstracts: 31 March 2022.


Call for Papers:
Iconic Figures: Intersecting Religious and Political Narratives of the Past

Conference at ZMO from 7 to 9 December 2022.
Deadline for abstracts: 31 March 2022.





Katharina Lange
“Normality” and “Crisis”: encounters, memories, and new beginnings between Germany and Syria


ZMO Working Papers, Nr. 32, Berlin 2022, 15 p.




Veronica Ferreri
The wondrous life of legal documents. Transformations and continuities in the encounter of Syrian papers with German bureaucracy


ZMO Working Papers, Nr. 31, Berlin 2022, 12 p.




Antía Mato Bouzas, Lorenzo Casini (Eds.)
Migration in the Making of the Gulf Space.
Social, Political, and Cultural Dimensions


Berghahn, New York, Oxford, 2022. Series: Worlds in Motion, 11, 182 p.




Nora Lafi
Longue-Durée Reflections on Anti-Colonial Movements in the Middle-East (1798–today)


In: Dimitris Bouris, Daniela Huber, Michelle Pace (Eds.). Routledge Handbook of EU–Middle East Relations. Routledge, 2022.




Nitin Sinha
Genealogies of “Verification” Policing the Master –Servant Relationship in Colonial and Postcolonial India


In: International Review of Social History, 16/12/2021, 33 p.




Nitin Sinha
Domestic Servants and Master–Servant Regulations in Colonial Calcutta, 1750s–1810s


In: Past & Present, 15/12/2021.




ZMO in the Media

Cédéao: Trois coups d'Etat en 18 mois


Article with Abdoulaye Sounaye.

Deutsche Welle 24 January 2022.


Frauenbewegung für das Patriarchat


Article with Abdoulaye Sounaye.

Riffreporter 24 January 2022.


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


Interview with David Leupold.

New Books Network,  18 January 2022.

The radio station at the heart of an India-GDR friendship


Article with Anandita Bajpai.

Aljazeera,  9 January 2022. 



Erika Danneberg Essaypreis 2022 for Juliane Schumacher

Our colleague and associated research fellow Juliane Schumacher won the Austrian Erika Danneberg Essaypreis for a piece titled "In Zeiten der Solidarität". In her essay, she reflects on the meaning of solidarity in our society and it's chances for the future.


Journeying and Religious Conversion - Video of conference presentation

In September 2021, ZMO research fellow Deepra Dandekar presented at the International conference on Maharashtra, organised by the Asian Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. A Video and a podcast of the presentation are now made available. In her presentation, Deepra speaks About the first vernacular novel in India that outlined concerns about women's reform, widow remarriage, and Christian feminism.


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