Alumni Project

Language, Identity and Cultural Exchange: Early Arabic Studies in Europe and the Middle East


At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Europe developed a growing interest in the Arab culture. Several universities in Germany, especially in Leipzig, Halle, and Berlin were crucial in establishing and promoting Arabic philology in Europe.
These developments also resulted in the establishment of Arabic Studies in Russia at the universities in St Petersburg and Kazan by German professors and Russian scholars trained in Germany. Among the leading Russian scholars of Arabic literature and language was Ignaz Krackovsky (1883-1951). A full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1921 and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1925, he became head of the Arabic Cabinet at the Oriental Institute of the Academy and chair of the Department of Arabic Philology at the University of Leningrad from 1944 to 1951. His major works focus on classical and modern Arabic literature, Arabic geography and Arab culture. In 1945, he published the book Among Arabic Manuscripts. Memories of Libraries and Men (Leiden: Brill 2016).
Building on a previous project phase, the current phase is focusing on two publications:
The first is the German translation (from Russian) and edition of Ignaz Krackovsky (1883-1951), ein Arabist in seiner Zeit. This biography was written by his former student Anna Dolinina and published under the title Newol´nik Dolga (“Slave of Duty”) in St Petersburg in 1994.  
The second publication is a volume on the history of Arabic Studies in the Arab world, which is largely based on yet unstudied archival material in Lebanon. The findings will contribute to contextualize the history of this academic field in the broader perspective of cultural exchange between Europe and the Arab world.

Further information on the two publications will be provided here in due course.

Members in Charge

Kirill Dmitriev

Arabic Studies
University of St Andrews School of Modern Languages

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Bilal Orfali

Arabic & Islamic Studies
American University of Beirut Faculty of Arts and Sciences Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages

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Funding Scheme

Alumni Project


Pictures by AGYA

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