Participants

Panel 1: Ontological Underpinnings of Neighborliness

Chair: Birgit Schäbler has been Director of the Orient-Institut since October 2017. She holds the (only) Chair of History of West Asia (or: Near and Middle East) in Germany, at the University of Erfurt, from which she is on leave. After studying History of the Middle East, Islamic Studies and Political Science at the universities Würzburg, Erlangen and Berkeley, USA, she held positions and fellowships at Erlangen University, Duke University, Harvard University and Georgia’s Public Liberal Arts University. She founded the first German trans-regional research platform in 2008 at the University of Erfurt. Her research interests have been combining history and anthropology, focusing on the modern history of the Levant (bilad al-Sham) from the 19th and 20th centuries to the present. She has also published on questions of the history of the Middle East (as area history) and its relations to global history, as well as the history of Orientalism and Oriental Studies in Germany. Her publications include Aufstände im Drusenbergland: Ethnizität und Integration einer ländlichen Gesellschaft Syriens vom Osmanischen Reich bis zur staatlichen Unabhängigkeit, 1850-1949 (also in Arabic)Globalization and the Muslim World: Culture, Religion, and Modernity (co-edited)Area Studies und die Welt: Weltregionen und neue Globalgeschichte, as well as Moderne Muslime. Ernest Renan und die Geschichte der ersten “Islamdebatte” 1883. Currently she is interested in the concept of neighborhood/neighborliness, editing a volume on Reconstructing Neighborhoods of War and organizing the Stiftungskonferenz on Neighborliness in Global Perspective.

Thomas Hieke

Dr. theol. Thomas Hieke is Professor for Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany, since 2007. He studied Catholic Theology at Bamberg (Germany) and Innsbruck (Austria). From 1992 to 2000, he was a member of the International Q Project for the Reconstruction of the Sayings Gospel Q. Simultaneously he did his doctoral studies on Psalm 80 and the psalms of communal lament (Dr. theol. in 1996) and was a researcher in the project “Synoptic Concordance” (publisher: Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York). From 2000 to 2003, he analyzed the genealogies of the book of Genesis and published his Habilitationsschrift in 2003 (“Die Genealogien der Genesis:” Herders Biblische Studien 39). Then he started his work on the large commentary on the Book of Leviticus. This 1100-pages opus magnum was published in 2014 (Herders Theologischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament). His current research project aims at a commentary on Chronicles. The publication is planned for the series “Zürcher Bibelkommentare”.

William D. Melaney is a Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the American University in Cairo. He holds an MA in English from the University of Chicago and received a doctorate in Comparative Literature from Stony Brook University. He served as Department Chair from fall 2004 to Spring 2006 and again in spring 2012 and is currently Director of Graduate Studies. He has published over forty journal articles in the fields of literary criticism and Continental philosophy and has authored three peer-reviewed books that engage both literature and philosophy on a comparative basis, adopting a central theoretical problem as their point of reference in each case.His most recent book, Alterity and Criticism (London and New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017), is a contribution to ethical criticism that also examines the work of Immanuel Lévinas and Julia Kristeva comparatively. His approach to the theme of the conference adopts the later work of Jacques Derrida and the more recent work of Jean-Luc Nancy in order toinvestigatethe compatibility of globalization and the phenomenon of the neighbour, when considered in both its textual and social modalities. 

Panel 2: The Role of the Media – Neighborliness in the Media

Chair: Dr. phil. Christiane Kuller is Professor for Modern and Contemporary European History at the University of Erfurt since 2013. She studied History and Political Science in Munich and obtained her PhD from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich with a study on Family Policy and the German Welfare State. Her postdoctoral qualification (second book) at the LMU was a study on the role of the finance authorities in the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany. She has taught as an Assistant Professor at the University of Munich (2004-2010), and as a guest Professor for Contemporary History at the University of Erfurt (2011-2012) and at the Free University of Berlin (2012-2013). Her publications include books about social policy, such as “Familienpolitik im föderativen Sozialstaat. Die Formierung eines Politikfeldes in der Bundesrepublik 1949-1975”, Munich 2004, and about bureaucracy and persecution in Nazi Germany, such as „Bürokratie und Verbrechen. Antisemitische Finanzpolitik und Verwaltungspraxis im nationalsozialistischen Deutschland“, München 2013, but also about the History of Religion, such as “Aus Verantwortung. Der Protestantismus in den Arenen des Politischen”, Tübingen 2019 (co-edited Christian Albrecht, Rainer Anselm and others). Recently she has started a new research focus on everyday life in GDR and Transformation after 1990. Currently she is speaker of a research network on experience and remembrance of everyday life in GDR and Post-GDR 1970-2010, and she leads a Project creating a digital citizen-science-platform for the exchange of personal experiences with Cinema in the GDR (with Patrick Rössler and René Smolarski).

Simon Unger-Alvi is a research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Rome. He gained his PhD in 2018 at the University of Oxford, where he also taught classes in modern European history. Before taking up his current position in Rome, Simon Unger-Alvi was a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington DC (2018–2019). His research is concerned with patterns of accommodation and criticism in fascist dictatorships, but also with political language and religion in the twentieth century. Currently, he works on a new project under the title ‘The Loyal Opposition – Religious Europeans between Fascism and Christian Theology, 1918-1968’.

Foued Djeddou is Professor and Researcher at the Faculty of Law and Political Science, Department of Political Science, and Associate Professor in the Department of Human Sciences, Information Division of the University of Mohamed Kheidr, Biskra, Algeria. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Mohamed Kheidr and is interested in Media Security and Security Studies. He has contributions to a collective book on human rights and many scientific articles in the Arabic language in many national and Arabic scientific journals, and he also has many posts in international and national conferences.

Dr. Maryam Vaziri is an Iranian Ph.D. holder in Communication and Journalism from India and mostly works on social media especially in the field of education, political communication, and intercultural communication. The Ph.D. thesis is on public diplomacy and united nation affairs, so she is interested in peace studies, middle eastern, and interfaith affairs on social networking sites. Observing the interaction of the public matters, her methodology is mostly qualitative data analysis based on observing as data collection tools.

Panel 3: Neighborliness across Borders

Chair: Fatih Ermiş joined the OIB in 2018 and is responsible for the in-house production of Bibliotheca Islamica (BI). His doctorate from the University of Erfurt was for his thesis “Ottoman Economic Thinking before the 19th Century.” He holds an MA in economic history from Marmara University and a BA in economics from Boğaziçi University, both in Istanbul. Before joining the OIB, he worked as a research assistant for the Chair of History of West Asia at the University of Erfurt and, most recently, as a post-doctoral associate at the Centre for Islamic Theology, University of Tübingen. His main research interest is pre-modern Islamic intellectual history, with a particular focus on intellectual endeavours in Ottoman lands. His work is also concerned with economic, social, religious and literary writing as well as with Sufi thought. His research at the OIB focuses on a famous book of ethics, Aḫlāq-i ‘Alāʾī, written in Damascus by the Ottoman scholar QinālīzādeʿAlīČelebī (1510 – 1572).

Christian Methfessel studied History, Political Science, and Sociology at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Essex. His PhD thesis dealt with the media coverage of the imperial expansion in England and Germany. He has been a research associate at the Chair of Global History at Erfurt University since 2013. With the support of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation he has been working on a research project on annexations and secessions during the Cold War since 2018.

Johann Nicolai studied Jewish Studies, Philosophy and Religion at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2008 he received a Fulbright fellowship and continued his studies at the Baltimore Hebrew University for one more academic year. Following his stay in the US, Johann Nicolai joined the London Wiener Library in 2010 as an intern for half a year. Based on his research project as an intern on the Centralverein collection he developed his dissertation concept on this topic. From 2011 to 2014 he was fellow of the Walther-Rathenau- Kolleg at the Moses-Mendelssohn-Zentrum in Potsdam. He defended his dissertation in December 2014. As a Post-Doc Johann Nicolai is active in various positions: in January 2018 he was a Post- Doc fellow at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw, from April to September 2018 he worked as an Research Assistent at the Berlin Institute for Comparative State-Church-Research and in autumn 2018 he was a short time Post-Doc fellow at the University of Haifa. In the following year, 2019, he joined the German-Polish research project “Topography of the Shoa in Breslau/Wroclaw 1933-1949“.

Zeba Khan is a visiting lecturer at Middle East Technical University (METU), Department of International Relations, Ankara, Turkey. She is a research scholar at the Centre for West Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She is currently continuing her Doctoral research at the Department of International Relations at Ankara YildirimBeyazit University, Ankara, Turkey. Her research interests include Islam and democracy, Arab women and Body Politics, lived history, Arab fashion and public life, street politics in everyday lives in West Asia and North Africa (WANA).

Panel 4: Neighborly Relations on the Ground I

Chair: Katharina Waldner is Professor for General Religious Studies at the University of Erfurt since 2009. From 2008 to 2009 she was the Head of the interdisciplinary courses “Master of Ancient Culture” and “Trinational Master of Ancient History” at the University of Basel. From 2007 to 2008 she was Junior Professor for “Theory and History of Ancient Religions” at the University of Erfurt. From 2003 to 2007 she was also a Project collaborator in the DFG priority program “Roman Imperial and Provincial Religion” at the University of Erfurt.

Margret Otto is currently a PhD candidate at Freie Universität Berlin, Department of Political Studies. She works on her dissertation with the title: “Knitting Networks of belonging. The construction of neighbourhoods in times of transition in Khartoum.” After an occupational career in the Sector of Education she started Peace Studies at Open University Hagen in 2005. From 2005 – 2017 she travelled in different regions in Sudan and South Sudan for visits and fieldwork; during this periodshe participated at projectsof AHFAD University for Women, Omdurman and Khartoum University. She received her MA in2011 from Open University Hagen with a thesis on “FriedenskonzeptesudanesischerBürgerinnen und Bürger in der Postkonfliktzeit” (Concepts of Peace of Sudanese Citizens in the Postconflict Period.) Since then she is contributing with presentations and lectures at various international conferences in the fields of Peace Studies, Sudan Studies and Sociologie. She is member of Sudan Studies Association, (SSA) USA and Arbeitskreis Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, (AFK) Germany

Derya Özkaya is a Ph.D. candidate at the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin. She is currently working on her dissertation titled “From a Revolutionary Moment to Coalitionary Politics under the Authoritarian Regime: The Post-Gezi Political Opposition in Turkey.” Based on ethnographic fieldwork in two cities of Turkey, she explores the affective dynamics of the political organization focusing on the local political alliances which emerged following the Gezi uprisings of 2013. She received her bachelor’s degrees in both Sociology and Political Sciences from Istanbul Bilgi University and her M.A. in the Cultural Studies Program from Sabancı University, Istanbul. During her graduate study, she worked as a teaching assistant at Sabancı University. She then worked at the Centre for Middle Eastern and North African Politics at FU Berlin as a research associate in the DFG-funded research project “Political Participation, Emotion and Affect in the Context of Socio-Political Transformations using the example of ‘Tahrir’ and ‘Taksim’” between 2015 and 2018. Her research interests center on social movements, collective memory, commemorative practices, revolutionary movements in Turkey, collective emotions and political affect.

Thom Sicking is the Director of the “Centre d’études et d’interprétation du fait religieux” (CEDIFR) of the Faculty of Religious Sciences at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. He is Doctor of Sociology and Former Dean of the Faculty of Religious Sciences. He also is member of the Editorial Board of the magazine “Proche-Orient Chrétien”. His research interests are Sociology and Anthropology of religion.

Panel 5: Neighborly Relations on the Ground II

Chair: Sabine Schmolinsky received her PhD in German philology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and her ‘Habilitation’ in Medieval History and Auxiliary Sciences of History at the Helmut-Schmidt-University, Hamburg. Since 2009 she is a Professor of Medieval History at the University of Erfurt. She specialises in concepts of time and future and their spatial dimensions and is interested in conceptualisations of the Medieval and in Medievalisms. These research interests intertwine with her memberships in the “Erfurt Spatio-Temporal Studies Group” and in the research group “What is western about the West?” As a member of the research group “Voluntarism” she specialises in medieval martyrdom.

Yunus Uğur completed his BA degree in Sociology and received his MA and Ph.D degrees in History at Boğaziçi University. From 2003 to 2004 he worked at New York Binghamton University in History Department as a researcher. His area of interest covers urban history, Ottoman urban history, social spaces, digital history, and historical geography. Uğur has written about the topics such as the relation between historiography and historical sources, the development of Ottoman urban history and historiography, and 17th-18th century Ottoman historiography. He is a faculty member of History Department at Istanbul Sehir University and Director of Centre for Urban Studies.He is an editor-in-chief of the Turkish Studies Review (TALID), as well. He is on the Board of Directors of Global Urban History Project (GUHP) and a member of European Association of Urban History (EAUH). He completed recently a project, supported by TUBITAK, entitled “Typologies and an Atlas of the Ottoman Cities (1450-1700)”. He is now studying new projects supported by TUBITAK entitled “Mapping the Ottoman Cities: Socio-Spatial Conjunctions and Distinctiveness (1520-1540)” and “A Spatialization of the Nineteenth-Century Istanbul Dervish Lodges: Mapping of their Positions and Networks.”

Waqas Halim is a cultural critic, a policy analyst, a social scientist and a development consultant. Currently, he works as a faculty member at the Information Technology University (ITU) Lahore, Pakistan. His areas of interest lie at marginality and its implication on society. He heads the Centre for Technology in Education and the Smart Cities Initiative at ITU, and teaches courses related to development issues, public policy and society. Waqas holds a Master’s from Columbia University and is a Fulbright Scholar. Additionally, he is a human rights lawyer in Lahore and focuses on digital rights advocacy. 

Asad Ahmad Khan is a research scholar based at the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University. He holds a Masters in South Asian Studies from Heidelberg University and a Masters in History from Punjab University, Pakistan. He has diverse academic and social interests. He is a Transgender rights activist and has been actively campaigning for their social inclusion. Through his research and activism, he has brought awareness and sensitized people about the issue. Furthermore, he writes about technology and innovation in developing countries and has worked on various development projects related to educational technology and governance.

Panel 6: Ancient Rome

Chair: Mara Albrecht is Deputy Director at the Orient-Institute Beirut (OIB) in Lebanon. Before joining the OIB, she worked as research associate at the Chair of History of West Asia at the University of Erfurt, Germany. She received her doctorate from the University of Erfurt in 2014. Her thesis “War of symbols. Political parties and political culture in Lebanon (1975-2013)” (in German) is concerned with political narratives as well as symbolic forms and practices relevant for the creation of political culture in contemporary Lebanon. Currently, she works on her habilitation project with the working title “Spatio-temporal practices of violence during the riots in Belfast and Jerusalem and their assessment by the British Empire”. This project is concerned with the interconnectedness of urban space, urban rhythms and practices of violence as well as practices of policing. It argues that a transfer of knowledge about urban violence took place from Ireland to Palestine in the context of relocating officers, troops, and administrative personnel. Her research interests include urban violence, spatial history, contested histories and memories, political cultures in the Middle East, the modern history of Lebanon, symbolic representations and cultures of violence, nationalisms in the Middle East and the history of the Middle East mandates.

Johanna Leithoff studied Ancient History, Latin and Archaeology at the Gutenberg-University of Mainz. She earned her doctorate at the Goethe-University of Frankfurt a.M. and the Leopold-Franzens-University of Innsbruck with a thesis on ‘Gaining, consolidating, and shaping the principate under Vespasian, Titus and Domitian’. Johanna Leithoff is a research associate at the Chair of Ancient Culture (Classics) at the University of Erfurt since 2015. She is currently working on a research project on straits in Greek and Roman Antiquity.

Panel 7: Neighborly Relations in Film and Literature

Dr. Kaveri Devi Mishra is Associate Professor at the Amity School of Communication, India.  She has rich experience as Journalist, Author, and Researcher in the field of Mass Communication and Journalism. She holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication & Journalism. Dr. Mishra’s research interest includes Mass Media, Development Communication, Human Rights, gender equality, migration, global media and International Relations. She has worked across Middle East, Canada, South Asia, Ethiopia, and Papua New Guinea. She has published academic and opinion pieces in India, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, and Nepal. Passionate about Indian Music, yoga and traveling.