Israel: Politics, Society and Culture -
In September 2019, the Chair of Jewish Studies offered a study trip to Israel for the third time. In order to get as close as possible to the heterogeneous topics that the country of Israel has dealt with in its history and up until now, 'theme islands' were created for the travel program. These ranged from coexistence in history (Akko) and the present (Haifa), Christianity in Israel (Nazareth, Kinnereth, Jerusalem), Jewish veneration of saints and pilgrimage (Tzfat), observations in the Old City of Jerusalem, cultures of remembrance (1. Yad Vashem, 2. Massada) to Zionism and Israeli history (Tel Aviv and Yaffo). On one day the group visited Bethlehem and discussed aspects of politics, religion and everyday life in the Palestinian territories.
On the one hand the excursion included sightseeing and meetings with the whole group. On the other hand the participants explored the Old City of Jerusalem in small groups; they also took part in synagogue services of various congregations. Several rounds of pedagogic reflection were included on the schedule. The topics were introduced by a tour guide, the two accompanying lecturers and/or the twenty participants.
International Workshop "Being the Other - Orientalization, Self-orientation and Deconstruction took place at the Bamberg Institute of Oriental Studies" (26.-27.07.2019)
From 26.07. to 27.07.2019 the workshop "Being the Other" - Orientalization, Self-orientation and Deconstruction took place at the Bamberg Institute of Oriental Studies. It was organized by students of the Elite Master's Program Cultural Studies of the Middle East under the direction of Prof. Dr. Charlotte Bank.
Scholars from Germany and abroad discussed the intertwining of Orientalism, processes of self-orientation and articulation of sexual and gender identities in the mirror of artistic and cultural production. Here you can find the program(2.9 MB) of the workshop.
Field Trip to Libanon (April 2019)
Report by Steven Lüke, student of the Elite Master's programme Cultural Studies of the Middle East
Lebanon, the multi-denominational Arab coastal state between Syria and Israel, is able to inspire with its rich history and cultural diversity. Supported by the DAAD and the Elite Network Bavaria, students of the Elite Master's Program and the Institute for Oriental Studies at the University of Bamberg had the opportunity to travel to Lebanon at the beginning of April 2019. The excursion was organized by the Chair of Islamic Art History and benefited especially from Prof. Dr. Ralf Bodenstein's and Çiğdem İvren's local networks and their detailed knowledge of urban planning and architectural developments, respectively modern and contemporary art. Dr. Anja Heidenreich enriched the trip with her archaeological expertise. Students organized individual guided tours at selected stations of the journey. In addition to the Central District of Beirut, which was restored by the semi-state construction company SOLIDERE, various institutions of art, culture and science were visited. Among others, the following should be mentioned: The Arab Center for Architecture, Beit Beirut, the Orient Institute, the Goethe Institute, the Sursock Museum, the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (MACAM), the Dar el-Nimer and the Agial Gallery. In addition to destinations of a more contemporary historical relvence, the group also visited important archaeological sites such as Byblos and Sidon, as well as the archaeological collections of the American University of Beirut and the National Museum of Beirut.
The Lebanese capital Beirut is particularly fascinating because of its palimpsestic character: The older layers of the region, which has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, are buried under many structural strata. Near the Martyrs' Square, Roman and Phoenician strata have been partially exposed, but, as activists emphasize, the vast majority of them were concreted in during the (demolition and) building boom of the last decades. If one removes oneself from the immaculately renovated, sterile Central District, one quickly encounters traces of the civil war and the political and social order that emerged from it: direct relics of the warlike destruction in the form of ruins and bullet holes, the graffiti of the militiamen, huge portraits of the political and military leaders of the denomination that predominates in the respective district. The latter points to the tendency towards sectarian homogenisation along the former demarcation line, which is linked to forced migration movements. Especially in the southern districts, it is the denominational-political network that maintains the urban infrastructure. The inactivity of the state in areas dominated by the Hezbollah following the bombing of the Israeli army in 2006 strengthened the parties stance as a social actor.
Cool luxury in privatized public space meets abject poverty in the cramped quarters of those who fled Syria and in the Palestinian refugee camps. In the pericentral quarter Zokak al-Blat buildings left to decay by their owners are waiting to make room for the architectural visions of international architects. But the city is not only known and loved as an investment property of rich Arabs, but also for its lively art and culture scene, its extravagant parties and its rich cuisine, which is best enjoyed with a glass of arak or wine from the Bekaa plain. Civil society organizations, which speak out against controversial building projects, the privatisation of public spaces, nepotism and corruption, are also a highly visible and vital part of Lebanese life.
International Workshop "Travellers to and from the Orient and their literature" (12.-13.07.2018)
The workshop(2.4 MB) was organized by students within the module "Theories and Methods" under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Elke Hartmann. The publication of the conference proceedings is planned for autumn 2020.
Field Trip to Paris 25.-31.05.2018
Paris is always worth a visit: this time especially for Orientalists. In an exciting, dense program we had the opportunity to get to know important research institutions, libraries and museums. Right on the first day Mme Chalvin from the Department of Turkish Studies guided us through the Bibliothèque universitaire des langues et civilisations (BULAC), M. Fressard took us through the impressive halls of the Bibliothèque nationale and afterwards showed us special research possibilities. We got to know the CNRS (Centre nationale de la recherche) and its main research areas, visited the library and museum of the Institut du monde arabe (not to forget the café and souvenir shop there) and met - not only in the lecture hall - with students of the Sorbonne (Department of Iranian Studies). By boat we went to the ethnological Musée du quai Branly, directly under the Eiffel Tower. Surely one could spend days and weeks in the Louvre, but Dr. Collinet (Islamic Art) led us purposefully on creeping paths to the central exhibits in the Louvre and infected us with her enthusiasm for the individual objects. It was five intensive days, it could have been even more. So Paris is still worth a trip...