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10 Postdoctoral Fellowships for Academic Year 2008/2009

CAS 20/11/2007


The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin invite scholars to apply for ten post-doctoral fellowships for the research program


This research program seeks to rethink key concepts and premises that link and divide Europe and the Middle East. The project draws on the international expertise of scholars in and outside of Germany and is embedded in university and extra-university research institutions in Berlin. 'Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe' 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 European intellectual history and other academic disciplines. The program explores modernity as a historical space and conceptual frame. The program puts forward three programmatic ideas:

1) supporting research that demonstrates the rich and complex historical legacies and entanglements between Europe and the Middle East; 2) reexamining genealogical notions of mythical 'beginnings', 'origins', and 'purity' in relation to culture and society; and 3) rethinking key concepts of a shared modernity in light of contemporary cultural, social, and political entanglements that supersede identity discourses as well as national, cultural or regional canons and epistemologies that were established in the nineteenth century.

The program 'Europe in the Middle East - the Middle East in Europe' is funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. It supports and builds upon the following interconnected research fields:

Cities Compared: Cosmopolitanism in the Mediterranean and Adjacent Regions

This research group is directed by Ulrike Freitag and Nora Lafi, both of the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin. It contributes to the debate on cosmopolitanism and civil society from the historical experience of conviviality and socio-cultural, ethnic, and religious differences in the cities around the Mediterranean;

Islamic Discourse Contested: Middle Eastern and European Perspectives

This research group is directed by Gudrun Krämer, Institute for Islamic Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. It analyzes modern Middle Eastern thought and discourses in the framework of theories of multiple or reflexive modernities;

Perspectives on the Qur'an: Negotiating Different Views of a Shared History

This research group is directed by Angelika Neuwirth, Seminar for Arabic Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, and Stefan Wild, Universität Bonn. It situates the foundational text of Islam within the religious landscape of late antiquity and combines a historicization of its genesis with an analysis of its reception and perception in Europe and the Middle East;

Travelling Traditions: Comparative Perspectives on Near Eastern Literatures

This research group is directed by Friederike Pannewick, Centrum für Nah- und Mitteloststudien, Philipps-Universität Marburg, and Samah Selim, IREMAM, Aix-en-Provence. It reassesses literary entanglements and processes of canonization between Europe and the Middle East.

Tradition and the Critique of Modernity: Secularism, Fundamentalism and Religion from Middle Eastern Perspectives

Is a special forum, directed by Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Ben Gurion University that attempts to rethink key concepts of modernity like secularity, tradition, or religion in the context of the experiences, interpretations, and critiques of Jews, Arabs, and Muslims in the Middle East and in Europe.


The fellowships are intended above all for scholars of history, literature, philology, political philosophy, religion and sociology from the Middle East who want to carry out their research projects in connection with the Berlin program. Fellows gain the opportunity to pursue research projects of their choice within the framework of one of the above-mentioned research fields and in relation to the program 'Europe in the Middle East - the Middle East in Europe'. In Berlin, they will be integrated into a university or non-university research institute. The working language of the research program is English.

Fellows will receive a monthly stipend of 1.800 € (supplement for accompanying spouses: 250 €) and are obliged to work in Berlin and to help shape the seminars and working discussions related to their research field.

As a rule, the fellowships begin on 1 October 2008 and end on 31 July 2009. The applicant's doctorate should have been completed no earlier than 2000.

An application should be made in explicit relation to one of the research fields and consist of a curriculum vitae, a 2 to 4 page project sketch, a sample of scholarly work (maximum 20 pages from an article, conference paper, or dissertation chapter) and a letter of recommendation by one university instructor. The application should be submitted in paper form, by fax or by E-mail in English and should be received by 31 January 2008, sent in to:

Europe in the Middle East - the Middle East in Europe
c/o Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Attn: Georges Khalil
Wallotstrasse 19,
14193 Berlin
Fax +49 30 - 89 00 12 00
E-mail: .

For further information on the program 'Europe in the Middle East - the Middle East in Europe' and for detailed information on the research fields, please see: http://www.eume-berlin.de

For information on the research institutions in Berlin participating in the program, please visit:

Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences: http://www.bbaw.de/
Center for Literary Research: http://www.zfl.gwz-berlin.de/
Centre for Modern Oriental Studies: http://www.zmo.de/
Institute for Islamic Studies: http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~islamwi/
Seminar for Arabic Studies: http://web.fu-berlin.de/semiarab/
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin: http://www.wiko-berlin.de/

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