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Opening Ceremony of Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies

№ 168/2009 from Jun 25, 2009

What is “Islamic” about the “Islamic World”? What influence does Islam have on the culture, law, and politics of Muslim societies? These types of questions will be addressed by the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies of Freie Universität Berlin. An opening ceremony for the graduate school was held on Thursday in the Museum of Islamic Art in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

The Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies was selected for funding in the German federal and state Excellence Initiative. The graduate school investigates the plurality of Muslim cultures and societies in the past and present. Particular attention is given to relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe, Africa, and Asia, as well as forms of inter- and intra-cultural communication. As of the fall of 2009, Freie Universität will establish two new chairs for junior professors at the graduate school, one with a focus on “Islam in Europe” and the other on “Muslim Cultures in Southeast Asia.” 

The graduate school is organized into five research areas. The main themes to be investigated include:

  • how spatial and social mobility, communications, and media shape and change Islamic traditions,
  • the influence of religion on social cohesion and relationships between religious and social heterogeneity and political tensions – including social violence or violence that appears to have religious motivations,
  • how ideas about origins, genealogies, and identity shape Islamic regulations,
  • how turning to religion functions as an element of identity building and power politics viewed from both past and present perspectives,
  • the forms and media in which religious ideas are expressed.

The Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies works closely with over 30 research institutions in Germany and abroad. It offers doctoral students intensive supervision for their dissertation projects and a broad, methodologically sophisticated training, preparing them to assume leadership roles in academia, media, and politics. Per academic year, 15 doctoral students are admitted. The three-year program begins each year in October. The faculty includes ca. 20 humanities scholars and social scientists from Freie Universität, Humboldt-Universität, and the Zentrum Moderner Orient.

On the occasion of the graduate school’s official opening, a workshop entitled “Prayer in the City – Islam, Sacred Space, and Urban Life” will be held at the graduate school, Altensteinstraße 48, 14195 Berlin, on June 26 and 27.

Link to information online:

For further information, please contact:

  • Prof. Dr. Gudrun Krämer, Director, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies,
    Tel.: ++49-(0)30-838-52487, Email:

  • Dr. Arnim Heinemann, Managing Director, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Tel.: ++49 (0)30 838 53417, Email: