Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
The research group brings together scholars from various departments and faculties at the University of Bergen who are interested in the study of Islam, the Middle East, and neighboring regions.
In the funding period 2023–2025, the activities of the interdisciplinary research group focus on the research theme Transregional Developments and Local Communities in the Islamic World, thereby capitalizing on the expertise of its members in studying global interconnections and local conditions in areas such as North and East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, Turkey, South Asia, and Muslim minorities in Europe.
Research Group Goals
The group seeks to:
- serve as a nodal point of research networks in Bergen and beyond,
- produce high-quality publications on its research theme,
- contribute to the career development of junior researchers,
- assist its members in developing research projects,
- foster interdisciplinary exchange,
- disseminate knowledge about Islam and the Middle East,
- and increase the visibility of pertinent research activities at the University of Bergen.
To reach these goals, the research group organizes regular activities such as academic lunches, guest lectures, PhD seminars, and international workshops.
In its activities, the research group relies on its Middle East research library and collaborates with other research groups, projects, and units at the University of Bergen, the Chr. Michelsen Institute, and academic institutions in Nordic countries and beyond.
Market area in the centre of Sanaa, Yemen, at dusk.
Activities of the research group in the spring semester 2023 include:
Bergen Middle East Lunch: Welcoming of new members and presentation by Christian Mauder on the theme “Transregional Developments and Local Communities in the Islamic World”
Bergen Middle East Lunch: Presentation by Anne K. Bang on transregionality, local communities, and manuscript/print culture in East Africa based on the MprinT project
Bergen Middle East Lunch: Presentation by Eirik Hovden on transregionality, local communities, and manuscript culture in Zaydi law based on the CanCode project
Bergen Middle East Lunch: Presentation by Alexandros Tsakos on the Middle Eastern manuscript collection of the University of Bergen Library and discussion about project ideas based on the collection
Bergen Middle East Lunch: Presentation by Robert Forster on his dissertation project
Bergen Middle East Lunch: Presentations by master students on their finished theses
Members of the research group are involved in the following projects:
- Cabo Delgado: Conflict, Resilience and Reconstruction
- CanCode: Canonization and Codification of Islamic Legal Texts
- Effects of Externalisation: EU Migration Management in Africa and the Middle East
- Gender-Gap in Political Endurance: A Novel Political Inclusion Theory (SUCCESS)
- The Invisible Ceiling
- MprinT@EAST_AFRICA. Islamic Manuscript, Print and Practice: Textual adaptations in coastal East Africa, c. 1880-2020
- Urban Displacement, Development and Donor Policies in the Middle East (URBAN3DP)
Agricultural terraces in Bayt Qadam, Hajja, Yemen.
Recent publications by members of the research group include:
Mauder, Christian. “Ottomanization before the Conquest? Mamluk-Ottoman Religious and Cultural Entanglements in the Courtly Salons of Qāniṣawh al-Ghawrī and Post-Conquest Gatherings.” In The Mamluk-Ottoman Transition: Continuity and Change in Egypt and Bilād al-Shām in the Sixteenth Century II. Edited by Stephan Conermann and Gül Şen, 409–453. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2022.
Tsakos, Alexandros. “Coptic Literary Texts from Nubia.” In Coptic Literature: Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium of Coptic Studies by the Saint Mark Foundation Monastery of St. Bishoi (Wadi al-Natrun), 10-14 February 2019. Edited by Samuel Moawad, 323–336. Shaker Heights: Saint Mark Foundation, 2022.
Vikør, Knut S. “Pathways and Formations of ‘African Sufism.’” In Routledge Handbook of Islam in Africa. Edited by Terje Østebø, 50–61. London: Routledge, 2022.
Vikør, Knut S. “When Does a Ṭarīqa Become a Ṭarīqa? The Story of a Break-up.” In Islam, Revival and Reform: Redefining Tradition for the Twenty-First Century. Essays Inspired by John O. Voll. Edited by Natana DeLong-Bas, 53–83, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2022.
Vikør, Knut S. “Legal Authority and Interpretation in Islamic Law.” In Sharia Law in the Twenty-First Century. Edited by Muhammad Khalid Masud and Hana Jalloul Muro, 87–104. London: AnchorWorld Scientific Publishing Europe, 2022.
Bang, Anne K. “The ‘Travelling Scholar’ in African Islamic Traditions: Local, Regional, and Global Worlds.” In Routledge Handbook of Islam in Africa. Edited by Terje Østebø, 21–35. London: Routledge, 2021.
Hafsaas, Henriette, and Tsakos, Alexandros. “Michael and other Archangels behind an Eight-Pointed Cross-Symbol from Medieval Nubia: A View from Sai Island in Northern Sudan.” Pharos Journal of Theology 102 (2021): 1–17.
Heiss, Johann, Hovden, Eirik, and Kommer, Odile. “Conceptualizing City-Hinterland Relations and Governance: Medieval Sanaa as a Case Study.” In Practicing Community in Urban and Rural Eurasia (1000–1600): Comparative Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Approaches. Edited by Fabian Kümmeler, Judit Majorossy, and Eirik Hovden, 103–117. Leiden: Brill, 2021.
Hovden, Eirik. “Defining Rules of Rural-Urban Flows: Endowments, Authority and Law in Medieval Zaydi Yemen in a Comparative Perspective.” In Practicing Community in Urban and Rural Eurasia (1000–1600): Comparative Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Approaches. Edited by Fabian Kümmeler, Judit Majorossy, and Eirik Hovden, 309–322. Leiden: Brill, 2021.
Hovden, Eirik. “al-Manṣūr bi-llah Qāsim b. Muḥammad.” Edited by Kate Fleet et al. In Encyclopaedia of Islam Three. Leiden: Brill, 2021.
Jacobsen, Christine M. “God Will Reward You: Muslim Practices of Caring for Precarious Migrants in the Context of Secular Suspicion.” Contemporary Islam 15 (2021): 153–168.
Mauder, Christian. In the Sultan’s Salon: Learning, Religion and Rulership at the Mamluk Court of Qāniṣawh al-Ghawrī (r. 1501-1516). 2 vols., Leiden: Brill, 2021.
Kümmeler, Fabian, Majorossy, Judit, and Hovden, Eirik, eds. Practicing Community in Urban and Rural Eurasia (1000–1600): Comparative Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Approaches. Leiden: Brill, 2021.
Mauder, Christian. “Between Religious Pluralism and Confessional Identity: The Ethical Writings of Miskawayh’s Teacher Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī.” In Islamic Ethics as Educational Discourse: Thought and Impact of the Classical Muslim Thinker Miskawayh (d. 1030). Edited by Sebastian Günther and Yassir El Jamouhi, 161–177. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021.
Mauder, Christian. “‘And They Read in That Night Books of History’: Consuming, Discussing, and Producing Texts about the Past in al-Ghawrī’s Majālis as Social Practices.” In New Readings in Arabic Historiography from Late Medieval Egypt and Syria: Proceedings of the Themed Day of the Fifth Conference of Mamluk Studies. Edited by Jo van Steenbergen and Maya Termonia, 401–428. Leiden: Brill, 2021.
Mauder, Christian. “Education and Learning among Members of the Mamluk Army: Results of a Quantitative Analysis of Mamluk Biographies.” In History and Society during the Mamluk Period (1250–1517): Studies of the Annemarie Schimmel Institute for Advanced Study III. Edited by Bethany Walker and Abdelkader Al Ghouz, 61–88. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2021.
Mauder, Christian. “A Severed Head, a Poetry Slam, and a Shiʿī Visiting al-Shāfiʿī’s Tomb: Symbolic and Literary Communication in Mamluk-Safawid Diplomatic Encounters.” In Studies on the History and Culture of the Mamluk Sultanate (1250–1517). Edited by Stephan Conermann and Toru Miura, 139–161. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2021.
Tsakos, Alexandros. “Invoking Archangels Graphically: The Archangel Michael in Nubia as a Case Study.” In Inventer les anges de l’Antiquité à Byzance: Conception, représentation, perception. Edited by Delphine Lauritzen, 461–478. Paris: Association des Amis du Centre d’Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance, 2021.
Tsakos, Alexandros, “Medieval/Christian Nubia.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History. Edited by Thomas Spear et al. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.
Vikør, Knut S. “Sufi Sultanates and Imamates.” In Sufi Institutions (Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 1. The Near and Middle East: 1. Handbook of Sufi Studies, 1). Edited by Alexandre Papas, 322–331. Leiden: Brill 2021.
Heiss, Johann, and Hovden, Eirik. “Zaydī Theology Popularized: A Hailstorm Hitting the Heterodox.” In Cultures of Eschatology, vol. 1: Worldly Empires and Scriptural Authorities in Medieval Christian, Islamic, and Buddhist Communities. Edited by Veronika Wieser, Vincent Eltschinger, and Johann Heiss, 415–440. Berlin: DeGruyter, 2020.
Mauder, Christian. “Being Persian in Late Mamluk Egypt: The Construction and Significance of Persian Ethnic Identity in the Salons of Sultan Qāniṣawh al-Ghawrī (r. 906–922/1501–1516).” Al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā: The Journal of Middle East Medievalists 28 (2020): 376–408.
Mauder, Christian. “The Development of Arabo-Islamic Education among Members of the Mamluk Military.” In Knowledge and Education in Classical Islam: Religious Learning between Continuity and Change. Edited by Sebastian Günther, 963–983. Leiden: Brill, 2020.
Mauder, Christian. “Der Sultan, sein geschwätziger Barbier und die Sufis: Ibn Iyās über den Fall des Kamāl ad-Dīn b. Šams im Kairo des 16. Jahrhunderts.” In Macht bei Hofe: Narrative Darstellungen in ausgewählten Quellen: Ein interdisziplinärer Reader. Edited by Stephan Conermann and Anna Kollatz, 79–98. Schenefeld: EB-Verlag, 2020.
Vikør, Knut S. “Ibadism and Law in Historical Contexts.” Oñati Socio-Legal Series 10.5 (2020): 960–984.
Manuscript confirming estate ownership, North Darfur, Sudan. O’Fahey Collection, Archive 47.