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A note on Nelly Hanna’s “In Praise of Books”

Only recently, I finished reading Nelly Hanna’s 2004 monograph “In Praise of Books”. Honestly, while the book raises some interesting questions, it has not aged all that well. But first, what is it about? It is less about the books mentioned in the title and more about “A cultural History of Cairo’s Middle Class, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century” as the subtitle clarifies. In this context, Hanna argues that the written word became more important than it was before, and that it now began to … Continue reading A note on Nelly Hanna’s “In Praise of Books”

Into a bicycle history of the Middle East

And now, to something completely different: the bicycle in Middle Eastern History. Whereas today the bicycle is – arguably – mostly known as a vehicle for leisure, around 1900 it was not only a major means of individualized transportation but it also stipulated the restoration and expansion of road networks that would make the automobile viable, and bicycle races inspired public attention and drew crowds that today seem unimaginable. Moreover, this early history of the bicycle is intricately connected to histories of colonialism, modernity, and … Continue reading Into a bicycle history of the Middle East

Let’s talk survival bias

How many manuscript copies were produced of any given texts? How many were circulating at any given time? When were they lost, discarded or destroyed?  How often are the works penned on their pages cited in other texts by the same or different authors? These questions lie at the very heart of our epistemology and are usually subsumed under the term ‘survival bias’. Works that survive longer obviously have a greater chance at being read, recited, reproduced, acknowledged. And it is today commonly assumed … Continue reading Let’s talk survival bias

Medieval Damascus: Was there no garbage problem ever?

Reading two articles on Medium, one about rat kings and another about an early car named by its creator Horsey Horseless and which featured “a life-size replica of a horse head, down to the shoulders, and attaching it to the front of a carriage“, I got into thinking. I have to add here that I am no specialist in this field. More specifically, together these articles made me wonder what did Medieval Damascenes do with their garbage and how did they avoid to have recurrent garbage … Continue reading Medieval Damascus: Was there no garbage problem ever?

Ibn Tulun manuscripts in Leiden

Among other libraries, Leiden University hosts several autographs by Ibn Tulun (for an introduction of the Oriental MS collections, see here). The collection is quite extraordinary among those, since every Ibn Tulun text is bound individually, even though most of them are of modest size. Their page numbers range between single and low double-digits. Judging by my experience that would make them ideal candidates for publication in majmu’as (and I address that issue in an article submitted to the Journal of Islamic Manuscripts). Unfortunately, I … Continue reading Ibn Tulun manuscripts in Leiden

Global South Perspectives: Towards decolonization, de-stratification and de-centralizing of social knowledge production

International Workshop 18-19 April 2018 Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Keynote speech: Pei-Chia Lan, National Taiwan University Plenary speech: Franz Waldenberger, German Institute for Japanese Studies,  The Max Weber Foundation Call for papers Social knowledge and knowledge production, on a global level, is heavily stratified. Most centers of social knowledge production, such as globally high-ranked universities,  ‘international’ academic journals, ‘competitive’ conferences and major funding bodies lie in Western countries. Producers  of social knowledge, especially those of greater influence and prestige, tend to be White, from Western societies, or had to undergo training at high-ranking Western universities and display in-depth familiarity with the academic and cultural grammars disseminated there. Critics in the fields of Postcolonialism, Cultural Studies, Global South-driven Critical Theory, and Critical Race and Whiteness Studies have argued that this imbalance in global knowledge production, initiated by imperialism and colonialism and maintained and re-inscribed by vast contemporary global inequalities,is systematically distorting the knowledge that is produced. As Walter Mignolo and others have pointed out, knowledge production is carried out under Western master frames or ‘cosmologies,’ which center and mainstream Western theory and findings as the scholarly ‘core’ and the foundation that new knowledge must be built on, while provincializing and trivializing non-Western past and present knowledge production, and relegating non-Western territories to sites for data collection. It has been … Continue reading Global South Perspectives: Towards decolonization, de-stratification and de-centralizing of social knowledge production

Rich interdisciplinary exchange at the workshop ‘Global South Perspectives’

On April 20th, 2017, the workshop ‘Global South Perspectives’ was held, organized by the research group ‘Migration, China, and the Global Context,’ with generous support of the Max Weber Foundation and the Hong Kong Baptist University Faculty of Social Sciences. The workshop gathered local and overseas scholars to discuss theoretical and empirical perspectives gained in the Global South with the aim of de-centering and revising scholarship from the Global North. It united scholars from a wide variety of regions, including Hong Kong, Mainland China, … Continue reading Rich interdisciplinary exchange at the workshop ‘Global South Perspectives’

Caroline Schöpf presented ‘An integrated theory of migrant incorporation’ at the conference ‘Migration and Diasporas’

Caroline  Schöpf presented the paper ‘An integrated theory of migrant incorporation’ at the conference  ‘Migration and Diasporas – Emerging Diversities and Development Challenges’ 22-23. March 2017, at Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, India. The following paper was presented: An integrated theory of migrant incorporation Caroline Schöpf, Hong Kong Baptist University; Max Weber Foundation Matthew M. Chew, Hong Kong Baptist University Sociological theorizing on migrant incorporation lacks integration and contains the following problems: A too strong, uncritical reliance of human capital, a too limited investigation of the causes of discrimination, a too narrow investigation of influences of supra-national power relations, and a lack of linkage between acculturation and power … Continue reading Caroline Schöpf presented ‘An integrated theory of migrant incorporation’ at the conference ‘Migration and Diasporas’

New book of member

Katy N. Lam, Research Fellow of the research group and Assistant Professor in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has recently published a book entitled, Chinese State Owned Enterprises in West Africa: A Triple-Embedded Globalization. with Routledge. Abstract This book investigates the globalization process of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in West Africa, primarily in Benin and Ghana, based on ethnographic research. It challenges the dominant vision of “a powerful China in Africa”, and argues that the so-called “Chinese business advantages” – monolithic Chinese state and … Continue reading New book of member

Grußworte

Hans van Ess (Max Weber Stiftung) Miloš Řezník (DHI Warschau) Otto Hochreiter (GrazMuseum) Stefan Karner (Ludwig Boltzmann-Institut für Kriegsfolgen-Forschung, Graz)

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Panel 1 | Session 1 Habsburg International Moderation | Moderator: Jonathan Gumz (University of Birmingham) Jan Vermeiren (University of East Anglia, Norwich): Deutschland und der Zusammenbruch der Habsburgermonarchie Jens Boysen (Warschau): Mit oder gegen den „Pangermanismus“: Österreich-Ungarn und das Deutsche Reich als Projektionsräume polnischer Staatsbildungsbestrebungen im Ersten Weltkrieg Martin Gabriel (Universität Klagenfurt): „Zivilisierungsmissionen“ im globalen Vergleich: Bosnien-Herzegowina und die Philippinen als Schauplätze von Herrschaftsausübung in imperialen Randzonen Alexandre Toumarkine (Orient-Institut Istanbul): Is the Ottoman Case That Far from the Habsburgian One? On the Causality … Tag 2 | Panel 1 weiterlesen

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Panel 3 | Session 3 Städte als Orte des imperialen Diskurses (II) Cities as Locales of Imperial Discourse (II) Moderation | Moderator: Raoul Motika (Orient-Institut Istanbul) Silvia Richter (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): Wien und Budapest als jüdische Lebenswelten Ende des 19. und Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts – ein Vergleich Péter Techet (Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte, Mainz): Nationale Indifferenz und nationalisierende Narrative in den inner- und anti-katholischen Konflikten des österreichisch-ungarischen Küstenlandes, am Beispiel des Kirchenstreites in Drenova 1908 Wolfram Dornik (Stadtarchiv Graz): Imperiale Diskurse in der … Tag 2 | Panel 3 weiterlesen

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Panel 4 | Session 4 Vielfältige Identitäten (I) Multifaceted Identities (I) Moderation | Moderator: Clemens Ruthner (Trinity College Dublin) Borislav Chernev (University of Exeter, Plymouth): The Habsburg Mobilisation of Ethnicity and the Ukrainian Question during the Great War Dennis Dierks (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena): Zivilisierungsmissionen im Widerstreit: Imperiale Integrationsideologie und serbischer Nationalismus im habsburgischen Bosnien-Herzegowina Gábor Egry (Institute of Political History, Budapest): Regional Elites, Nationalist Politics, Local Accomodations: Center-Periphery Struggles in Late Dualist Hungary

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Panel 5 | Session 5 Vielfältige Identitäten (II) Multifaceted Identities (II) Moderation | Moderator: Nikolaus Katzer (DHI Moskau) Alexei Miller (Central European University, Budapest): Malorossy: Identification Strategies Behind the Term Darius Staliunas (Universität Wilna | Vilnius University): “Krajowcy” Concept as an Opposition to Cultural Nationalism Karsten Brüggemann (Universität Tallinn | Tallinn University): Under the Spell of Nationalizing Projects in the Neighborhood? On the Options of Being German in the Russian Baltic Provinces between the Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 Andrei Cusco (Staatliche Pädagogische Universität … Tag 3 | Panel 5 weiterlesen