The Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies will be funded for an additional five years and will be able to carry on its academic work.
What is it, exactly, that makes the “Islamic world” Islamic? What influence does Islam have on culture, law, and politics in the societies we call “Muslim” or “Islamic”? This, an important question for both academic study and social policy, is the core issue examined at the Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies, which trains young researchers working on a doctoral thesis concerned with the internal variety, historical changes and fluctuations, and global interrelations of Islamic cultures and societies.
The graduate school’s doctoral students not only have backgrounds in different disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, but they also come from all the continents of the world. The subject matter they are investigating is geographically focused on the Middle East, the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, Central, South and Southeast Asia as well as Europe and North America.
The dissertation projects range from text-critical analysis of the Qur'an in the context of its history to the study of converts to Islam in Germany and how they see themselves as German-Muslim citizens. What unites the various research projects is Islam is a frame of reference for religious, cultural, and social phenomena.
The graduate school accepts up to 15 students for its doctoral program and up to three post docs each year. The well-founded academic training and the practical skills they acquire in the program make graduates highly qualified to take on leading positions in academia, media, public policy, and cooperative cultural and economic enterprises.
The graduate school cooperates with Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin. More than 20 scholars from different research institutions in Berlin and visiting scholars from home and abroad are involved in training the doctoral students in this program.
With this pooling of expertise, Berlin is developing into a center for historical and contemporary research related to Islam. The renewed funding commitment under the Excellence Initiative underscores the importance of dealing academically with these issues that have a great deal of social and political relevance.