At the award presentation (left to right): Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation Dr. Enno Aufderheide, host Cornel Zwierlein, award recipient Alan Mikhail and Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Education and Research Thomas Rachel.

Anneliese Maier Research Award goes to Historian Alan Mikhail

The University of Bamberg will host and support international research networking

For the first time, a scholar from the University of Bamberg successfully nominated a colleague for the Anneliese Maier Research Award. Historian Prof. Cornel Zwierlein, who is currently working at the chair of Early Modern History as part of a five-year Heisenberg fellowship, proposed Prof. Alan Mikhail of Yale University (USA) for receipt of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s award. Alan Mikhail is one of eight exceptional international academics from fields in the humanities and social sciences who accepted the award on 12 September 2018 in Berlin. Cornel Zwierlein recognises him as a “pioneer whose research combines early modern Ottoman history and environmental history.” It’s this combination that has led him, among many other valuable findings, to determine and reveal the complex management of hydraulic farming based on Nile flooding patterns, as well as the treatment of wood as a resource in the in Ottoman Empire from the 16th to 19th centuries.

This year, the University of Bamberg is the only host institution in Bavaria. “This rare and prestigious distinction is a true honour: it certifies that we have been successful in our involvement in international academic networking,” says former University of Bamberg vice-president for research Prof. Maike Andresen. The Anneliese Maier Research Award provides each recipient with five years of funding totalling €250,000 and financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The key objective of the award is to support international cooperation.

Alan Mikhail and Cornel Zwierlein are using the prize money in an unusual way: Mikhail is using only about 20 percent of the money for a 2021/22 winter semester research stay in Germany. With the involvement of other German scholars, particularly those in the University of Bamberg’s Turkish Studies department, he is planning to offer a series of workshops for junior researchers and to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues. He is already looking forward to this collaboration, particularly because “the history departments at the University of Bamberg are right in line with my own interests, especially their research on the early modern period, and Ottoman and Islamic history.”

Mikhail will be using the majority of the awarded money to support other historians’ research projects via annual travel grant programmes. For the first of these, Alan Mikhail and Cornel Zwierlein selected the best 17 projects from 233 international applications. Recipients each receive up to $4,000 which they can use for research travels to European archives, libraries and the like. All of this will help to build up a network around the University of Bamberg that will result in joint conferences and publications.

Further information on the Anneliese Maier Research Award and the research project can be found here: 

This News was translated by Ben Wilson.