Working Groups

Photo by: AGYA

Common Heritage and Common Challenges

Processes of exchange across the Mediterranean, migration and refugee issues throughout history, shared cultural heritage, preservation of endangered historical sites, food as a cultural signifier - all these topics relate to questions of common heritage and common challenges in the Arab world and Germany. In different projects the Working Group aims at achieving a deeper understanding and a more profound awareness of processes of exchange in order to combine different research approaches.


Working Group Projects

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Media Transitions and Cultural Debates in Arab Societies: Transhistorical Perspectives on the Impact of Communication Technologies

Digital technologies have affected literature and culture, their authors and audiences. So has the transition from oral to script culture – many centuries ago. The AGYA conference explores the impact of ‘new media’ on modes of cultural expression and debate cultures in Arab societies.

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Dynamics of Cultural Impact: Arab and German Cultural Heritage of Zanzibar

The history of the Apfelstrudel cannot be told without taking a look at the history of cultural exchange and trade between Zanzibar and Germany in the 19th century. A conference explores contemporary and interdisciplinary aspects of Cultural Impact and Cultural Heritage with a focus on the “case study” of Zanzibar.

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Insatiable Appetite: Food as Cultural Signifier

Referring to Early Modern European banquet culture, Mikhail Bakhtin described the act of eating as an "interaction with the world". The conference aims at exploring this kind of interaction while analyzing cultural as well as scientific ramifications of food and foodways in Europe and the Mediterranean.

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Hot Encounters: Glass Blowing and Glass Art in the Middle East and Europe

Glass Blowing is believed to has been originated in the region of Syria in the 1st century BC, and rapidly spread throughout the ancient world. The Working Group has decided to bring attention to the cross-cultural elements of this fragile material.

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Fluid Nature, Fluid Cultures: Malta and the Mediterranean

The island of Malta was not only the thematic focus of this conference, but also the place of event. The organizers Prof Julia Hauser and Prof Jens Scheiner have realized an innovative conference format: investigating Malta as a physical and cultural space by visits to actual sites related to the conference topics.

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Members in Charge

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Nuha Al-Shaar

is Assistant Professor at the American University of Sharjah, specializing in Islamic intellectual history, and a Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.

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Kirill Dmitriev

is Lecturer in Arabic in the School of Modern Languages at the University of St Andrews and member of the German Die Junge Akademie.

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Barbara Winckler

is Junior Professor for Modern Arabic Literature and Culture at the University of Münster.

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Bilal Orfali

is Associate Professor at the American University of Beirut and was previously the Sofia Chair of Arabic Studies at the Ohio State University.

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