Dr. Samer M. Ali
I was a fellow in the Working Group Modernity and Islam – a predecessor of EUME – in 2000-2001, and it was an experience that has reverberated throughout my career until today. Permit me to cite briefly three ways: First, I had the chance to meet and interact with a hand-selected group of co-fellows from Morocco, the Cormoro Islands, Iran, Russia, France, Malaysia as well as with junior and senior colleagues based in Germany, who took an interest in my research and professional development as I learned from them and their work. Nowhere else I experienced such a variety of experiences and different perspectives. No three-day conference could have offered the long-term contact with colleagues over months that this Forum offered. I have kept in touch with many of them and continue to consult them via email and at conferences. Second, I developed a strong working relationship with scholars from Berlin, such as Prof. Angelika Neuwirth, which has forged ties between our two institutions: University of Texas at Austin and Free University. This has yielded mutual benefits for our students and faculty, and which put Berlin – its scholars and its phantastic libraries and manuscript collections on our intellectual geography. Third, I have returned to Berlin to conduct research 6 times since my fellowship – the last time being summer 2013 – and the Forum has facilitated my research on several occasions by its caring and welcoming support – administrative and intellectual – by providing letters of introduction and a community of scholars and activities. These tangible benefits have made Berlin by far the most useful site to conduct my research and they have motivated me to apply for research funding to work there and I have encouraged my students to do as well.
Associate Professor, Arabic and Islamic Studies, Comparative Literature, University of Texas at Austin, Fellow of the Working Group Modernity and Islam 2000/2001
Dr. Haggag Ali
EUME constitutes an interdisciplinary research program where I have developed my understanding of European and Egyptian critiques of modernity. It helped me differentiate between real critique and polemic discourses that see the world only in terms of solid dualities and binary oppositions: the West and the East, Church and State, Science and Religion, etc. Thanks to EUME’s bi-weekly seminar, workshops, and discussion rounds, I received a unique intellectual input and feedback from a large number of German, and international scholars, and managed in my own work to underline the convergence and relatedness of European and Egyptian critiques of modernity. EUME has also advanced my research by setting me in contact with a number of research institutions in Berlin where I gave lectures, attended workshops and seminars relevant to my field of research. Among them are Free University of Berlin (particularly the Arabistik Seminar) and the Zentrum Moderner Orient (particularly the Ottoman Urban Studies Seminar, jointly organized by EUME and the ZMO). I remained connected to German academia since then.
Junior research group leader, Cairo University, Centre for Civilization Studies and Dialogue of Cultures, EUME Fellow 2008/2009
Prof. Dr. Michael Allan
At a time of increasing retrenchment into national frameworks for scholarly analysis, the EUME program is exceptional for its commitment to a truly international collaboration among scholars. I learned richly from the organization of the Forum for Transregional Studies and the vision it offers those of us working across national and disciplinary traditions. Most important was the group of scholars it gathers together. My friends and colleagues from my year in Berlin remain key interlocutors, and an entire network of EUME fellows helps to define many of the debates in the field of Middle East Studies. Another crucial benefit was how the EUME program placed German universities and libraries squarely within my project on transformations of literary form in colonial Egypt. The holdings of the Staatsbibliothek, colloquia at the Schlegel school of the Freie Universität, talks at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and the seminars at Forum Transregionale Studien, and the Wissenschaftskolleg, all helped to link the city of Berlin integrally with the sorts of questions, methods, and considerations of my research. I not only have been a Fellow of EUME but have participated in three of its international Summer Academies, in Alexandria, Beirut and Cairo as a doctoral student, as a post-doc and later as a member of the convening group of scholars. I remain indebted to the friendships, resources, and questions that EUME and the Forum makes possible, and I have incorporated its frameworks directly into my teaching in the department of Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon.
Department of Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, EUME Fellow 2011/2012
Dr. Yazid Anani
EUME has been a benchmark experience in my academic career as an architect vis-à-vis my practice, as a curator, as a scholar, and as an artist. Being part of an exceptional intellectual environment for the extended period of a year, with scholars from the Middle East and Germany has finally made me realize that I'm not alone; and I share with scholars from my generation similar values and approaches of thinking that are different from that of the older patriarchal generation in our part of the world, in regard to the current social and political environment and development in the Middle East. The experience of EUME has refined my thoughts and shifted my academic practice, hence, cultural activism into more polished approaches that connect the concerns of my generation in the region and yet help transform the microenvironment that I'm living in. As a Palestinian academic living under the constraints and the borders of a particular political geography this experience was of great importance. Through my tenure with EUME I discovered Berlin as a city that seems to have recovered its high culture and intellectual uniqueness thorough welcoming international and German exchange of thought, culture and knowledge and through its scholarly and cultural initiatives. Berlin – in my opinion – became the only place left in Europe that enables the production of critical knowledge and exchange of ideas on a global level. EUME provided me with the chance to benefit from this and enables me to go back to my geography and share this distinctive experience and induce change.
Bir Zayt University, Ramallah, EUME Fellow 2012/2013
Dr. Sinan Antoon
The EUME program is an internationally-recognized, unique space for intellectual and scholarly exchange. It has hosted some of the best and most innovative scholars in the field of Arabic and Islamic Studies in recent years who have gone on to enrich the debates and research in their subfields. The program’s structure, dynamism, and, most importantly, its location, provide rare access to a rich pool of resources and bridge discursive gaps. It is a model that should be replicated elsewhere.
Associate Professor, New York University, EUME Fellow 2008/2009
Dr. Tarek El-Ariss
As a EUME Fellow working in literature, I had an office and a visiting-scholar affiliation at the Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies at the Free University in Berlin. My postdoc project, Making a Scene: Literature, Social Media, and the Arab Spring, is the subject of my second book which I expect to complete in Fall 2014. The book explores the way modes of confrontation, circulation, and exhibitionism shape writing practices and critiques of power in the Arab world. My research greatly benefited from EUME’s stimulating intellectual environment to which various institutes, centers, and departments in Berlin contribute. I gave several lectures at EUME seminars and workshops, participated as an affiliate at the Free University in seminars, dissertation defenses, and talks at the Free University, the University of Marburg, and became involved with collaborative projects with German academics, like a book project on Ahmad Faris Shidyaq (an Arab contemporary of Kant), a conference by the University of Bochum, or the panel I organized at the American Comparative Literature Association in Toronto in March 2013. This panel on the cultural practices of the Arab Spring included colleagues from the Schlegel School in Berlin, and provided a forum for scholars of Middle Eastern studies and comparative literature from Europe and the US to engage across disciplines and learning traditions. My EUME fellowship has opened doors for me and facilitated an academic cooperation that will reflect positively on the entire field of Arabic Studies and on the cultural and intellectual exchange between Berlin, Germany, Europe, the US, and the Middle East.
Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, EUME Fellow 2012/2013
Dr. Fadi A. Bardawil
I have rarely experienced a hub that draws together different generations of academics, a range of disciplines, polyvalent research communities as well as worldly public intellectuals as during my tenure in Berlin as a EUME Fellow in 2010-11. My research on the intimate entanglements of contemporary Arab thought with European intellectual traditions could not have found a better vantage point than both the program and the city for its unfolding. Why? Well, simply because EUME lays bridges across detached archipelagos. How? My work profited greatly from the inter-generational and multi-disciplinary dialogue I had with German, Iranian, South Asian and Arab scholars I encountered through the EUME network in Berlin. This is not all. EUME performs the rare feat of bridging academia’s specialized research with the city’s public culture. During my time in Berlin, I participated in panel on ‘the return of the religious’ in the two-day conference of the Forum Transregionale Studien Ten Years of 9/11: Politics, Language and Images in the 21st Century at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and had an essay on the Arab uprisings appear in Kulturaustausch, a magazine published by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen. Connecting academics to each other and connecting academia to the city’s public culture is what makes EUME one of Berlin’s most vibrant learning communities.
Collegiate Assistant Professor, Social Sciences, Harper Fellow, Society of Fellows, The University of Chicago, EUME Fellow 2010-11
Dr. Ziad Elmarsafy
I teach at the university of York (UK) where my research focuses on the relationship between Middle Eastern and European literatures on the one hand, and literature and religion on the other. It would be no exaggeration to say that the research activities and output generated by the EUME Program (Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe) of the Forum Transregionale Studien has consistently defined the cutting edge of my field for a number of years. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. Indeed, the inspired conception of this program sets it apart from many others that emphasise separation and specificity rather than interdisciplinary and interregional thinking. Needless to say, a cursory glance at the news today (or any day) is enough to convince anyone of the urgent need for such thinking in today’s world. Furthermore, the location of this program in Berlin is especially fitting due to the strong tradition of research in German higher education and the synergies established with other institutions there.
Graduate Chair, Department of English & Related Literature, University of York
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Freitag
EUME stellt insofern eine wichtige Bereicherung dar, als es erlaubt, jedes Jahr eine internationale Arbeitsgruppe um ein Thema herum zu bilden, die im besten Fall nahöstliche, europäische (deutsche und andere) sowie US amerikanische Perspektiven zusammenbringt und damit – über die thematische Weiterentwicklung heraus – auch eine Reflektion über die unterschiedlichen Verwendungen gleichklingender Konzepte und Begriffe erlaubt. Die Anwesenheit der EUME Fellows ist nicht nur für mich, sondern für Kollegen und Studierende vom MA Level bis zur Professur eine Bereicherung. Gerade jüngeren Kolleginnen und Nachwuchswissenschaftlern erlaubt EUME die Etablierung eines internationalen Netzwerks, das sich schon verschiedentlich als außerordentlich tragfähig erwiesen hat. Dies betrifft die unterschiedlichsten Kontakt- und Arbeitsformen, von gemeinsamen Konferenzen und Veröffentlichung bis hin zur Hilfestellung in türkischen, tunesischen oder ägyptischen Bibliotheken, Universitäten und Archiven. Umgekehrt sind diese Kontakte auch für andere Wissenschaftler in den Herkunftsländern, die mit ehemaligen EUMEs zusammenarbeiten, ein Anknüpfungspunkt nach Berlin und darüber hinaus.
Direktorin, Zentrum Moderner Orient
Prof. Dr. Shalom Goldman
I had the opportunity to participate in the July 2012 workshop on Jonah in the Scriptural Traditions. I want to say at the outset that it was in my opinion an outstanding success. Both the individual presentations and the ensuing discussions were at the highest level of expertise and collegiality. As a professor of religion and Middle Eastern Studies I have been present at many attempts over the past three decades to have a true ‘meeting of the minds’ between scholars of the monotheistic traditions. These attempts were convened in the US, Europe and Israel. Most of these attempts have failed. Politics and religious difference have intruded and turned discussions into polemics – almost as if the participants had returned to the medieval world that we were supposed to be studying. But in the case of the EUME – Transregional Forum workshop, the conversation, though often passionate, never became acrimonious. The exemplary scholarship of the three main presenters, and the civility of their discourse, set the tone for the other participants in the discussions. Though there were some twenty participants present I am sure that the net effect of these conversations will be profound. Each of us came away from the workshop with a sense that something extraordinary had transpired, and that it could only have transpired in the Berlin Forum setting. Political and religious difference was, for two days, transcended – and this gave us all hope that such interactions could become the norm, rather than the exception. My heartfelt thanks to you and your organization for enabling this to take place.
Professor of Religion, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
Dr. Magdi Guirgis
I have been a Fellow of EUME in 2006/2007, and this fellowship has been the first exposure for me to western academia. The fruits of this fellowship were two books, and three articles. As an Egyptian historian, I profited immensely from the opportunity to concentrate on research and writing in a way that I never experienced before. The work I produced where crucial for my further academic career. The fellowship also opened up new horizons to me through the interaction with co-fellows from other Arab and Middle Eastern countries, and with colleagues from Germany. History in Egypt is a very Egyptocentric discipline. I had to learn to relate my work to those of others and to reframe my own questions and approaches. I am deeply indepted to this experience. Through the network of EUME, I established contacts with scholars of literary and religious studies; with historians, architects and anthropologists; with scholars at other German institutions and Universities, with scholars at other foreign institutions based in Berlin. EUME is a unique program, that in my view has no peer. It provides for a very special intellectual and administrative hospitality and openness. That is why I chose to be affiliated by EUME once again, when I had the honour of getting Alexander von Humboldt foundation fellowship for 15 months (October 2012- December 2013). Berlin has obviously become an international center that attracts well-known, and emerging international scholars. This context provides a unique opportunity for intellectual encounters and discussions. On the other hand, Berlin has become an alternative ground of encounter with colleagues from other Middle Eastern countries who share similar concerns for the democratic development of their societies, a space we do not have either in Egypt or the Arab world. EUME plays a very important role in this.
Assistant Professor, Kafr El Shaikh University, Egypt, EUME Fellow 2006/2007 and affiliated Alexander von Humboldt Fellow of EUME 2012/2014
Dr. Zeina G. Halabi
Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe (EUME) promotes a unique interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Middle East. During the academic year 2012-2013, I was a postdoctoral fellow at EUME, which provided me with the institutional support that allowed me to complete my manuscript on modern Arabic literature. As a fellow at EUME, I saw my research scope grow in ways that only EUME could have made possible. At the numerous conferences, workshops, and seminars organized by EUME, I was able to discuss and share my work with a vibrant and inspiring community of Middle Eastern scholars from different intellectual and disciplinary backgrounds such as art history, architecture, film, and Islamic studies. Similar to distinguished international academic institutions that promote interdisciplinary research, EUME encourages its fellows to adopt a cross-disciplinary approach, which has added depth and nuance to my own work on literature. The program has been particularly successful in hosting Arab scholars who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas. This exceptional interdisciplinary and international dialogue advances not only German academic institutions, but also, the European, North American, and Middle Eastern universities to which EUME fellows eventually return. The location of EUME in Berlin is instrumental to its success. Its presence in the political, intellectual, and artistic center of Germany increases its visibility and facilitates its engagement with art forums, political institutions, as well as distinguished research centers such as the Zentrum Moderner Orient, the Wissenschaftskolleg, and the Freie Universität, all based in Berlin. Furthermore, Berlin’s first-rate libraries, particularly those dedicated to Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, provide EUME scholars with rare resources that contribute to the success of their projects. It was EUME that brought Berlin and Germany onto my own intellectual map.
Assistant Professor, Department of Asian Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, EUME Fellow 2012/2013
Prof. Dr. Almut Höfert
EUME bietet ein akademisches Programm mit großer gesellschaftlicher Relevanz: Forschende aus Europa, dem Nahen Osten und anderen Weltregionen finden hier ein Forum, um auf Augenhöhe miteinander zu diskutieren. Kontroversen um islamischen Feminismus, historische Debatten, die quer durch nahöstliche und europäische Kulturen gehen, gelehrte Dispute, in denen Araber und Israelis frei und befreit von ihrem nationalem Kontext argumentieren: Während meiner Zeit am EUME habe ich mehrfach von Forschenden aus dem Nahen Osten und Israel gehört, daß sie nirgendwo (sic!) sonst ein solches Forum finden. Mir ging es genauso – weder in arabischen Ländern noch in Israel oder in Europa habe ich einen vergleichbaren transnationalen Raum erlebt: Das erzähle ich immer wieder interessierten Kollegen und KollegInnen. Für meine Forschungen war die Zeit am EUME intellektuell und persönlich ein Meilenstein – die dort geknüpften Kontakte haben meinen akademischen Werdegang entscheidend bestimmt. Die langjährige Expertise am EUME ist für ein solches Forum unverzichtbar und mit der akademischen Welt in Berlin eng verzahnt. Berlin ist am EUME im besten Sinn kosmopolitisch und leistet mit diesem weltweit einzigartigen Forum einen nachhaltigen Beitrag für den globalen akademischen Dialog für eine pluralistische, kritische Gesellschaft. Ob im Nahen Osten mit europäischen Waffen Frieden geschaffen werden könnte, ist eine höchst zweifelhafte Frage. EUME ist im besten Sinn friedensfördernd, indem es ein akademisches Forum auf Augenhöhe für alle Seiten bietet.
Dr. Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim
I was a EUME fellow in 2011-2012 after finishing my PhD at Georgetown University in the US. During the ten months I spent at the EUME program in Berlin I was able to write a journal article and finalize my first book as a young academic. My article is now out and the book is currently under review by a major US University Press. I attribute some of the success of my research projects over the last couple of years to the work I was able to do in Berlin where I – for the first time – had much exposure to German academia through an amazing concentration of academics with similar research interests in Berlin. The abundance of universities and research institutes in Berlin to which EUME and the Forum Transregionale Studien has introduced me – has made it possible for me to get enough feedback on my work not only through the Berliner Seminars organized by the EUME program but also other lectures and seminars organized by the Forum and its other programs, at Freie Universität Berlin or the Humboldt-Universität.
Assistant Professor of Islamic Law, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, EUME Fellow 2011/2012
Dr. Biray Kolluoğlu
I am writing this letter to express the importance of the working group Modernity and Islam in my academic career and in my intellectual development. I was a fellow of the group in 2003-2004. The stimulating atmosphere gave me the opportunity to be with other scholars with common interests and also access to an accumulated intellectual tradition that had been growing over the years. If I had not have the opportunity to spend a year in Berlin the book, Cities of the Mediterranean: From the Ottomans to the Present Day, that I have edited with another fellow, Meltem Toksöz, who was there with me in that year, would not have materialized. Perhaps more important than enabling the production of a book project that offered valuable contributions, what I deem invaluable about my experience in Berlin is my introduction to the intellectual world of the German academia which I would have remained alien as a person who have been educated solely in the Turkish and the Anglo-Saxon tradition. The Working Group Modernity and Islam as well as is successor program Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe for me – as well as l as for numerous colleagues of mine – has been and is a bridge to Germany.
Associate Professor, Sociology, Boğaziçi University, Fellow of the Working group Modernity and Islam 2003/2004
Prof. Dr. Erol Köroglu
My year in Berlin as an EUME fellow absolutely affected my approach to my work and academia in general. I am a “literary cultural historian of modern, i.e. 19th-20th centuries, Turkish literature” and this disciplinary specificity was challenged by staying in a European capital (which is very rich in cultural and academic traditions and sources, in every sense) in connection to a multi- and interdisciplinary academic group of social and human sciences focusing on the Middle East. This complicated existence affected my understanding of the scholarly field, i.e. Turkish literature. I don’t see it any more just as an unproblematic and self-contained field of study. Whenever I study a literary text or topic in Turkish literature, I think and try to grasp it in a spectrum of comparisons that lies between west and east. I think the multi- and interdisciplinarity of EUME’s academic structure offered us this challenge and I, as a person who accepted this challenge, can say that it transformed richly my understanding of scholarly production. I cannot say that it is easy and soothing, but it is undoubtedly more realistic and rewarding for today’s socio-political conditions of academic practice. We, eleven people, became comrades, although we were totally separate in our research fields. The fellows, however, had a much more effective equality among themselves. All the same, the presence of Koranic experts, or a Coptic historian, or a scholar of Islamic feminism was not a direct contribution but another challenge to relocate my position in this increasingly wide academia. I learnt a lot by listening to their conferences and discussing or even chatting about our subjects among ourselves. But the thing I learnt most by working with other fellows was to see my limits and to accept them in order to be able to produce further research/work. The goal-oriented programs, academic organizations, neo-liberal and technocratic work-placeization of universities cannot be the only solution. This tendency is a problem and it will destroy academic research. Academic research may, can, and sometimes should be helpful (or pragmatic), but it is not possible any time. Sometimes academic research is against the grain and this is not worthless, too. I think the EUME helped me to see this. I am more self-confident in the face of the accusations of productivity or utility. I know that I am doing a very important job when I interpret a literary work. Berlin is one of the most efficient centers to construct and develop academic relationships all over the world and the Middle East. I met not only academics but also journalists, politicians, and artists.
Turkish Language and Literature, Boğaziçi University, EUME Fellow 2006/2007
Dr. Nora Lafi
I myself have been a fellow of the Working Group Modernity and Islam, and was attracted to move from France to Berlin by the program several years ago. As the co-director of the “Cities Compared” sub-field of the EUME program, we have been able to develop a framework to address and discuss the question of how people from different religions, ethnicities, languages, and social classes lived together or apart in the cities around the Mediterranean, how difference and conviviality was conceptualized and governed, and how it was challenged by violence. We were able to welcome in Berlin every year several young researchers working on these issues from different experiences and viewpoints. This not only contributed to the advancement of the historical knowledge on questions of central importance for our own future as citizens of plural cities, but also established Berlin as a major centre for reflections on a such crucial issue in a time of tensions in the region of the Middle East. A whole network of scholars has been created, from Cairo to Istanbul and Jerusalem to Tunis, with Berlin as its centre. This is a precious ressource for a city that prides itself of its own openness, which is worth cultivating.
Zentrum Moderner Orient, Fellow of the Working Group Modernity and Islam 2004/2005
Dr. Ghada al-Madbouh
EUME was an unusual experience for my studies. I had a PhD in comparative politics mainly in studying Islamist social movements and their dynamic relationship with regimes in the Middle East. During my post-doc Fellowship at EUME I had the chance to develop my ideas on the political thought of such movements; mainly on how modern Islamic movements mix liberal and religious discourses. Islamists borrow the former from the European thinkers of the Enlightenment, and the latter from their “Enlightenment” (nahda) era of the Arab-Islamic civilization in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Sometimes this mixture was conscious and other times it was not, but it has been indicative of transforming political (Islam), actors and thought. My interaction with the scholars I encountered through the EUME program was instrumental in revising my own understanding of entangled histories, it was about how we see the legacies of Europe in the Middle East and how the Middle East relates to Europe. I received my education in Palestine, had completed my Masters and PhD degrees during the previous 10 years in the USA, and thus had been exposed to the American style of life and Academia. Yet, EUME was a totally exceptional and unique experience and program to me. The interdisciplinary exposure to academics at the EUME seminars and overall academic community was unprecedented in the very sense of the word, and opened my own intellectual horizons to Germany and Europe in a profound way. During my last years in the US I had been meeting mainly scholars of Political science, socialized with them, studying with them and attending conferences with them. EUME was something else! We were 10 Post-docs specialized in the Middle East region but from various academic and personal backgrounds that included humanities and social sciences. I had learnt from these fellows during our very frequent meetings and vibrant discussions about new theories in history, literary theory, linguistics, archeology, political thought, and art and philosophy. We attended outside lectures together, arranged panels and co-presented papers in various universities and research centers in Berlin. Being in Berlin as a EUME Fellow was the peak of my post-doctorate. I had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with scholars from Germany, and other countries, prominent and emerging younger scholars from various fields during the talks and events organized by EUME. Through EUME I got the chance to be affiliated with the Middle East Institute at the Political Science Department at the Free University where I met wonderful PhD students and faculty in my field. As a matter of fact I am writing a book chapter now for a book edited by my colleague there. For me, my 10 months in Berlin was incomparable to the 10 years in the US. EUME opened up an amazing intellectual space for me, that I had not encountered in USA. After my return to Palestine, I was hired by Birzeit University to teach at the Political Science Department and at the Philosophy and Cultural Studies Department. My post-doctorate at EUME shaped my teaching and research at Birzeit. I am teaching Modern Arab Thought and theories of social and political movements now in relation to Modern European Thought and try to show how knowledge is accumulated and how one civilization is not in CLASH with the others but compatible and related to others. In light of the current turmoil in the Middle East, EUME becomes more than ever a necessity for probing different ways of thinking and intellectual practice beyond the temptations of parochialism. We are in need for more interdisciplinary platforms to understand the messy situation in the Middle East and to bridge the gaps between the Middle East and Europe and other neighbors.
Assistant Professor, Political Science Department, Philosophy and Cultural Studies Department, Birzeit University/Palestine, EUME Fellow 2009/2010
Prof. Dr. Angelika Neuwirth
Das Forschungsfeld „Der Qur’an als Text einer gemeinsamen Antike und geteilten Geschichte“ nimmt eine besondere Stellung im EUME-Programm ein. Hier debattieren Fellows, die direkt aus dem Nahen Osten zu uns kommen und in der Regel zum ersten Mal mit der westlichen oder europäischen Wissenschaftstradition in Berührung kommen – in den letzten Jahren kamen sie aus Israel, Iran, Libanon, Makedonien, Türkei, Syrien, Tunesien – mit einer bereits etablierten Gruppe von Berliner Koranforschern aus dem Umkreis des – maßgeblich aus dem Zusammenhang des Arbeitskreises Moderne und Islam hervorgegangenen BBAW – Projekts Corpus Coranicum – über die Grundlagen ihrer Forschung. Es geht über wissenschaftliche Einzelprobleme hinaus um Grundsätzliches: die Frage der Kompatibilität der beiden sehr verschiedenen hermeneutischen Traditionen, die zu den bekannterweise eklatant verschiedenen Geschichtsbildern in Ost und West geführt haben. Diese methodische Abgleichung der Forschungsgrundlagen ist daher nicht nur für die Fachwissenschaft, sondern für die weitere Wissenskultur in Ost und West relevant - kein Wunder also, dass einzelne EUME Fellows bereits Positionen an deutschen Universitäten, vor allen den neu errichteten Zentren für Islamische Theologie, erhalten haben (Assad Kattan aus dem Libanon ist nun Professor für Byzantinische Theologie in Münster; Lejla Demiri aus Makedonien ist Professorin für Islamische Theologie in Tübingen; Samer Rashwani aus Syrien arbeitet ebenfalls in Tübingen). Durch die Vermittlung der EUME Fellows in der Region öffnen sich wiederum deutschen Forschern neue Diskussionsforen vor Ort – gegenwärtig in der Türkei, in Iran und in Marokko – und werden Besuche von Vertretern wichtiger Forschergruppen wie der „Rabitat al-Muhammadiyya li' l-'Ulama'“ in Marokko, der Universität Ankara und den Universitäten Mashhad und Qom möglich, die einen nachhaltigen Austausch versprechen.
Professorin für Arabistik, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Aslı Niyazioğlu
I was very fortunate to have participated in the Working Group Modernity and Islam, the predecessor of EUME, during the 2003-2004 academic year. The program was unique in bringing together scholars of Persian, Arabic and Turkish literatures and histories, a very much needed but rare intellectual collaboration. At our program, we were also able to work at a precious, and equally rare, interdisciplinary environment along with historians and religious scholars. The program’s location at Berlin was crucial for all of us. Not only it allowed us to learn more about the inspiring work of our German colleagues which many of us were not very familiar before, but also provided a fertile ground to develop common projects. I was fortunate to be guest lecturer at an Arabic literature course at the Freie Universität, to begin collaboration at the ego-documents project of FU History Department, and to participate in the vibrant seminars at the Zentrum Moderner Orient. My fellowship had provided me with one of the most intellectually enriching working environments in my academic life. I am very grateful for this unique opportunity.
Assistant Professor, History Department, Koç University, Istanbul, Fellow of the Working Group Modernity and Islam 2003/2004
Dr. Nabila Oulebsir
A program as EUME (Europe in the Middle East-The Middle East in Europe), located in Berlin, gives the scientific and institutional argument of a new field of research which take in consideration the transcultural transfers in both Europe and the Middle East. The various studies in the disciplines of History, History of Art and Heritage, in France, Germany and United Kingdom, have recently opened their approaches in this direction. I can quote as example in France the recent project Borders of Heritage: circulation of Knowledge, objects and Works of Art (EHESS, Paris). It would be an unfortunate decision if the program EUME conducted in the “longue durée” goes to the stalemate instead of nourishing the various scientific projects of the international scholars as it is doing currently. The program EUME represents an experienced scientific model. I plead to keeping it up and I give my fervent support to it.
Senior lecturer and researcher, History of Art and Archaeoloy, University of Poitiers, Fellow of the Working Group Modernity and Islam, 1998-1999
Prof. Dr. Friederike Pannewick
Ich habe die wissenschaftliche Arbeit von EUME und dem vorhergehenden Format AKMI (Arbeitskreis Moderne und Islam) seit Ende der 1990er Jahre kennen und schätzen gelernt. Zunächst als Doktorandin, später als Post-Doc und Leiterin eines Forschungsfeldes („Cultural Mobility“), durfte ich bei EUME-Workshops, Tagungen und Sommerakademien erfahren, wie ein ideales interdisziplinäres Arbeiten auf internationaler Ebene realisiert werden kann. Dies hat mir neue Wege für meine eigene wissenschaftliche Arbeit, die sich zwischen Theaterwissenschaft, Arabistik, Komparatistik und Kulturwissenschaft bewegt, bewusst gemacht und mir bis heute bestehende, intensive Austauschbeziehungen mit Kollegen aus der beforschten Region vermittelt. Das Fach Arabistik in der von mir verfolgten literatur- , theater- und kulturwissenschaftlichen Ausrichtung hat sich in den letzten 10 Jahren entscheidend verändert. Wichtige Impulse für eine Öffnung des Fachs auf zeitgenössische Fragestellungen und für intensivierte Kooperationen mit vor allem Nachwuchswissenschaftlern aus dem Nahen Osten gingen von EUME aus und wirkten im universitären Alltag und in Antragstellungen für Drittmittelprojekte weiter. Auch eine dringend notwendige Reform des Fachs Arabistik in Bezug auf theoretisch-methodische Fragen sowie Kooperationen mit den systematischen Disziplinen bekamen in den letzten Jahren durch EUME deutlichen Rückenwind, getragen nicht selten von EUME-Mitgliedern oder ehemaligen post-doc-fellows.
Professororin für Arabistik, Centrum für Nah- und Mittelost-Studien (CNMS), Philipps-Universität Marburg
Dr. Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin
I do not think that scholarly projects can easily change reality, but I am convinced that EUME contributes to the search for a new language. We need an alternative language against the logic of division, partition, sectarianism, and parochialism, a language that is more inclusive, and that relates the experiences of Europe to the Middle East and vice versa, a language that connects Arabs to Jews, that overcomes secular and religious binaries. Hundreds of scholars have gone through the EUME school so far. The networks created during the years of the project, the impact it has on young intellectuals and scholars in the Middle East and in Europe – are of crucial importance in generating hopes, and in searching for new modes of thinking. I am sure that in the future we will know to recognize the fruits of this work. I am convinced that this can be done only in Berlin, in the special atmosphere provided by a city in the heart of Europe, that is standing on the ruins and graves of a lost plurality and that now became once again a symbol of openess, variety and pluralism. I do not know any other place, like EUME, that offers such a ground for encounters beyond conventional forms of dialogues that too often are monologues. I truly cannot think about any program – small as it is in terms of funding and form - that combines scholarly erudition with political sensitivity with such an impact. EUME is indeed first of all a scholarly project that also provides a meeting place for young intellectuals who elsewhere would or could never meet, share and discuss ideas, including students from different parts of the Arab, the Muslim world and Israel. In fact, I believe that for the moment EUME is one of the few places for a serious inner-Middle Eastern conversation between Arabs, between Arabs and Israeli Jews, between scholars from the Middle East with those from Europe, to debate foundational issues and questions. In my view as an Israeli Jew, EUME provides the only permanent and continuous framework for generating ways of thinking that are different. This is made possible by the openness, and the freedom of inquiry, that can be political because it does not intend to lead to any political conclusions or shortsighted benefit, but addresses foundational narratives and preassumptions through common discussions of common questions. EUME inspired me personally in many ways, and I try to implement many of the observations and insights I reached during my long involvement in the project in many ways.
Chair, Department of Jewish History, Ben-Gurion University
Dr. Dana Sajdi
I was a fellow at EUME in 2006-2007. While there I researched several projects, the result of which were an edited volume on Ottoman culture, a monograph on popular historical narratives in 18th-century Syria, and an article on print culture in the Middle East. The article came out of an international workshop that I organized for EUME. The ideas and publication of this article were due to my interaction with the other fellows in the program and engagement with German scholarship. Currently, I am still working on a project on Middle Eastern cities, which I started while a fellow in Berlin. Being in Berlin was crucial for the success of my research and for my development as a scholar. The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin contains a treasure trove of manuscripts for Ottoman Syria, which I used extensively in my monograph. Also, Berlin proved to be a veritable crossroad for scholars passing through from every which direction. Till today, I have convivial professional relations with scholars in Berlin and Germany, but also from Turkey, and Egypt, whose ideas and activities are refreshingly different from those found in the American academy. In other words, thanks to EUME, I am still being challenged to widen my scholarly horizons.
Assistant Professor, Department of History, Boston College
Dr. Samah Selim
EUME is a unique postdoctoral program in Middle East Studies that has demonstrably pushed the field into new and cutting-edge directions. Not only has EUME advanced analysis and research on the Middle East in an international context, it has also created an extremely important international network of scholars, artists, and media/culture workers that has contributed to shaping the discourse on the region and its relationship to Europe. Needless to say this work has become even more important at a time when the region itself, and its relationship to Europe is under extreme pressure, and when research and analysis have clearly begun to suffer as a result. That this vibrant network is based in Berlin is a testament to the notion that Germany has indeed recreated itself as “the land of ideas”, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the international community of scholars as EUME’s reputation has grown exponentially over the past few years.
Associate Professor of Arabic Literature, Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian, Languages and Literatures, Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, Fellow of the Working Group Modernity and Islam2004/2005
Dr. Shaden M. Tageldin
The Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe (EUME) postdoctoral fellowship program galvanized my research on ideologies of literary, epistemological, and political translation in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Egypt and the role of French and British Orientalisms therein. While U.S. comparative literary studies, as late as the mid-2000s, still trafficked in anodyne notions of European-Middle Eastern cultural “encounter,” on the one hand, or imperialist decline/renaissance models in which European modernity “awakens” Arab-Islamic medievalism, on the other, EUME’s innovative research paradigms challenged me to explore the complex interplay of dialogism and inequality in literary-political relations between “Europe” and “the Middle East.” Once the seat of an empire that played a less direct geopolitical role in the colonization of what is today the Middle East, Berlin nonetheless produced much of the Orientalist philological scholarship that shapes Middle Eastern studies even today. Berlin’s paradoxical position as at once a political periphery and an intellectual power in the historical Arab-Islamic world makes it an ideal location for EUME’s anti-hegemonic efforts, today, to redefine how we know Europe and the Middle East, and how both geographies and trajectories are interconnected. It also underpins EUME’s unique and all-important capacity to attract both Middle Eastern and Western scholars to its vibrant intellectual community.
Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota, EUME fellow 2006/2007
Dr. Yücel Terzibaşoğlu
I was a fellow (2004/5) of the predecessor program “Working Group Modernity and Islam”. I spent a year in Berlin and had participated in the summer school of the Working Group in 1999 in Casablanca on notions of law and order in Muslim Societies. The multi-disciplinary, international academic and research environment provided by the programme, and above all the academic and intellectual atmosphere of Berlin had been formative in many ways in my future work and research. The academic and intellectual contacts I had established during my stay in Berlin with the German academia (other researchers, universities and research institutes) which was enormously facilitated by the programme continues to this day in the form of joint research projects and intellectual collaboration.
Associate Professor of History, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Fellow of the Working Group Modernity and Islam 2004/2005