The Chair of Islamic Studies, in both research and teaching, is concerned with questions of intellectual history, as well as the history of religion and of science. Foundational to this is the analysis and methodologically reflective interpretation of original-language sources, especially in Arabic and in Persian. The goal of research and teaching is to confront key moments and effectively formulate problems in the intellectual history of the Islamic World, seeking to unite historical perspective with systematic analysis.
Four thematic areas stand in the foreground and are approached partly through collective projects, partly through the work of individual researchers at the Chair: (1.) The history of philosophy in the Islamic World from its beginnings until the present; (2.) the history of science, with a focus on astronomy, alchemy and medicine; (3.) Islamic theology, historically and in the present; (4.) the history of knowledge, in the framework of which the construction and organization of knowledge and the taxonomy of the sciences is investigated.
Research and teaching at the Chair of Gender Studies and Islamic Studies covers themes in the modern and contemporary cultural and social history of the MENA-region (Middle East and North Africa), uniting a theory-driven approach to question formulation with a philologically grounded treatment of original-language sources (Arabic, Turkish).
Teaching activities of the Chair in Islamic Studies focus on the following topics: Religion and politics, state and nation building, political cultures, Islamic law and social change, intellectual encounters between the Middle East/North Africa and Europe, gender and sexuality, reform movements and protest.
Individual research interests within the team working at the chair coalesce around three thematic foci, which also facilitate networking and collaboration within Islamic/Area Studies and Gender Studies more widely. The focus points are “Religion and Politics”, “Gender-Culture-Difference” and “(Re)constructing Sex”. A fourth field of research, “Cultures of Knowledge”, that has more recently emerged, cuts across the different thematic foci.