Aug 23, 2010

CfA: Winter school 2011 "Textul practices beyond Europe 1500-1900",

Call for Applications:

Cairo, December 5-16, 2010
'Zukunftsphilologie : Revisiting the Canons of TextualScholarship'

Within the framework of the Project 'Zukunftsphilologie : Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship' and in cooperation with the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations at the American University in Cairo, the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien and the American University in Cairo invite applications for an international Winter School on the theme:


The Winter School is scheduled for December 5-16, 2010at the downtown-campus of the American University in Cairo (AUC). Twenty-four scholars will be given the opportunity to present and discuss their current research on the function, development, meaning, and practice of philology across varied communities and geographies. The Winter School will be chaired by a group of scholars including Manan Ahmed (Institut fuer Islamwissenschaft, Freie Universitaet Berlin), Muzaffar Alam (Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago), Islam Dayeh (Freie Universitaet Berlin), Nelly Hanna (Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations, AUC), Martin Mulsow (Universitaet Erfurt), and Angelika Neuwirth (Institut fuer Arabistik und Semitistik, Freie Universitaet Berlin).

The project Zukunftsphilologie endeavours to promote and emphasize primary textual scholarship beyond the classical humanistic canon. In an age of advanced communication, intellectual specialization, and unprecedented migration of knowledge and people, the discipline of philology assumes new relevance. Zukunfts-philologie aspires to support research in marginalized, undocumented and displaced varieties of philology by revisiting pre-colonial texts and scholarly traditions in Asia, Africa, the Middle East as well as in Europe.

In order to promote historically- conscious philology, the project will foster research in the following areas: the genealogy and transformations of philological practice, philology’s place in the system of knowledge (e.g. its relation to science,
theology, and jurisprudence) , philology and the university, and the relation of philology to nation and empire. Zukunftsphilologie aims to examine the role mobility,
networks of scholars, calamities, and expulsions play in the dissemination and globalization of knowledge. What is the impact of migration, expulsions and calamities (such as the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Al-Andalus, the plague, or the displacements and movements accompanied by the expansion of the Ottoman, Mongol or British Empires) on textual practice? How does the mobility of scholars, books, and manuscripts bring about scientific innovation (e.g. in tenth-century Baghdad, during the European Renaissance, during the Ming dynasty or during the 18th and 19th century)? How can the world of readers and carriers which surrounded a text since its inception be imagined? How can the literary imagination within texts, their transformative powers, and social function be investigated historically, historiographically , and now, in our own present time? How did texts have different
meanings for different readers, or different layers of meanings, which could
be utilized by readers or users? How have sacred texts been used in different societies to guide their readers or to control them? How were texts used as a source of power? How did certain groups gain or consolidate their power through texts? To situate a text philologically, historically, culturally is to trace also the networks of readers, and to delineate its movements across linguistic, geographical and temporal borderlines.

A text emerges from a particular context; it also emerges among a context of readers; how can one trace the way that readers absorb or alter it, or appropriate it in different geographical, linguistic and temporal contexts? What types of knowledge systems do processes of canonization and reorganization displace? What kinds of transformations, translations and re-translations (e.g. from Sanskrit to Persian, from Greek to Arabic, from Chinese to English or from ancient or medieval to modern) accompany such mobilizations across regions? How did translations and translations of
translations change meanings as they were appropriated by different cultures?

With these questions in mind, the Zukunftsphilologie Winter School aims to support critical reviews of historical and philological practice beyond and within Europe. "Textual practices" refers to the wide range of production and engagement with texts,
regardless of content (be it historiographical, legal, literary, religious, scientific, etc.). The Winter School will consider issues such as notions of
authorship, genre, periodization, readership, interpretative methods, textual transmission, translation, textual integrity, the archive, editorial choices and policies, the philological curriculum, as well as important philological encounters and debates. By concentrating on textual practices beyond Europe in the period between the 16th and 19th century, the aim is also to contribute to the historicization and pluralization of philology and to reflect on the wider cultural and political context in which texts and the art of reading emerged and how this has shaped our knowledge.


Participants receive a stipend covering travel and accommodation. The program targets doctoral and post- doctoral researchers of Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Persian,Sanskrit, Syriac, Turkish, and other linguistic and philological traditions from Africa, Asia and Europe, as well as scholars of intellectual and literary history, of comparative linguistics, philology, religion and the history of science, who wish to present their ongoing projects in a comparative perspective in relation to the questions raised above.

The researchers' work should be clearly relevant to the themes of the Winter Academy. The working language is English. The application should likewise be in English and consist of

- a curriculum vitae
- a three- to five-page outline of the project the applicant is currently working on, with a brief summary thereof,
- the names of two university faculty members who can serve as referees (no letters of recommendation required)

SENT BY EMAIL as ONE PDF FILE or in ONE WORD DOCUMENT. The application should be submitted in English and should be received by 5 September 2010, addressed to:


Forum Transregionale Studien
c/o Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Attn: Georges Khalil
Wallotstrasse 19, D-14193 Berlin

Zukunftsphilologie is an initiative of the Seminar for Semitistik and Arabistik at the Freie Universitaet Berlin. The project is coordinated by Angelika Neuwirth and Islam Dayeh (both Freie Universitaet Berlin), hosted and supported by the Forum Transregionale Studien.

The Forum Transregionale Studien is a new research platform of the Land of Berlin designed to promote research that connects systematic and region-specific questions in a perspective that addresses entanglements and interactions beyond national, cultural or regional frames. The Forum works in tandem with already existing institutions and networks engaged in transregional studies and is supported by an association of directors of research institutes and networks mainly based in Berlin. It started its activities in 2010 by supporting three research projects in the fields of Law, Philology, and Urban Sociology. The Forum Trans-regionale Studien is funded by the Senate of Berlin.

For more information please see

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