Research Fields

Research Fields

Europe in the Middle East — the Middle East in Europe supports and rests upon five interconnected research fields that are associated at universities and extra-university institutions in Berlin:

Travelling Traditions: Comparative Perspectives on Near Eastern Literatures
represented by Friederike Pannewick (Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies/Department for Arabic Studies, Philipps-Universität Marburg) and Samah Selim (Rutgers University) reassesses literary entanglements and processes of translation and canonization between Europe and the Middle East.

Cities Compared: Governance, Participation and Diversity
represented by Ulrike Freitag and Nora Lafi (both Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin) contributes to the debates on civil society, participation, deliberation, opinion formation, citizenship, migration and mobilization from the experience of cultural and religious differences in cities around the Mediterranean and beyond.

Tradition and the Critique of Modernity: Secularism, Fundamentalism and Religion from Middle Eastern Perspectives 
represented by Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin (Ben-Gurion University, Beer Sheva) tries to rethink key concepts of modernity like secularity, tradition, and religion in the context of experiences, interpretations, and critiques from the Middle East in order to contribute to a more inclusive language of culture, politics and community.

Politics of Change, an Archaeology of the Present, and the Processes of Transformation in the Middle East
are research themes that emerged during the last years and are represented by the work of several members of the Collegium and Fellows (e.g. Cilja Harders, Friederike Pannewick, Rachid Ouaissa).

The Prison Narratives of Assad's Syria: Voices, Texts, Publics (SYRASP)
is a five-year project, pursued by EUME Fellow Anne-Marie McManus in the framework of an ERC Starting Grant since April 2020. The project will collect and analyse Syrian prison narratives of the left and the Islamic movement since the 1970s, and thus deal with narratives of resistance and survival that are of particular importance to the political culture of Syria and its diaspora.

These research fields and themes contribute to our knowledge of Middle Eastern cultures and societies and their relations to Europe. At the same time, they attempt to re-center the significance of academic disciplines for the study of non-European contexts, in this case the Middle East. Thus, EUME supports historical-critical philology, rigorous engagement with the literatures of the Middle East and their histories, the social history of cities and the study of Middle Eastern political and philosophical thought (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular) as central fields of research not only for area or cultural studies, but also for Europe and the academic disciplines.

The research fields constitute the framework for the fellowship program that forms the center of EUME. Since 1997, more than 270 scholars from and of the Middle East have been EUME Fellows who, by their scholarly projects and their questions relating to the order of knowledge, society and politics, shape the academic program of EUME.