Barbara Henning

 Barbara Henning
  • History

Areas of Expertise:
Turkish & Ottoman history; Ottoman-Kurdish history; Memory studies; Conceptual history, Cultural translation, History of knowledge

since 2021


Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany

Department of History
Jakob-Welder-Weg 20
55128 Mainz

+49 6131 3921157
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About me

I am a professor for Islamic history at Mainz University with a focus on Ottoman and Turkish history and a theoretical grounding in cultural history and social anthropology. For my PhD, I followed the trajectories of members of a late-19th century Ottoman-Kurdish family, working on the basis of self-narratives and qualitative network analysis. The overarching questions of memory, difference, and belonging have stayed with me since: I am currently researching Ottoman concepts of social boundaries, drawing on Ottoman advice literature, the example of the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, and the management of diversity in Ottoman urban contexts.

In AGYA, I can unlock new perspectives and synergies for my research, teaching, and professional outlook.

Topics that I currently work on include memory studies, conceptual history, and urban transformation – all of which are best explored not in isolation, but in a broader collaborative and interdisciplinary setting like AGYA.

Academic career
2020 - todayProfessor for Islamic History of the Eastern Mediterranean (Jun.-Prof., tenure track), History, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany
2018 - 2020

Post-doctoral research associate in the DFG Priority Program Transottomanica, Turkish Studies, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany

2017 - 2018Consultant for cultural policy (film, literature, and translation), German Federal Foreign Office, Berlin

Ph.D. in Ottoman History, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany, awarded with Dissertationspreis der Gesellschaft für Turkologie, Osmanistik und Türkeistudien (GTOT) and Promotionspreis der Hans-Löwel-Stiftung

2013 - 2016Research Associate and Ph.D. candidate, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany
2012 - 2013Member of the Ph.D. program ‘Interdisciplinary Near and Middle Eastern Studies’, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
2012M.A. in Turkish Studies, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany
My Commitment to AGYA
Member in Charge of the Working Group 'Common Heritage and Common Challenges' (since 2022)

On a personal note

Must read in my discipline:
A Culture of Ambiguity: An Alternative History of Islam by Thomas Bauer

Favourite novel:
Unterleuten by Juli Zeh

The scientist from my country you should know:
Cultural Theory & Translation Studies by Doris Bachmann-Medick