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Arabic Studies Scholar Beatrice Gründler Awarded 2019 Berliner Wissenschaftspreis

Award Presented by Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller

№ 333/2019 from Nov 07, 2019

Arabic studies scholar Beatrice Gründler from Freie Universität was awarded the 2019 Berliner Wissenschaftspreis. She received the award on Thursday evening during a ceremony in the Berlin Natural History Museum. It was presented by the Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller, who is also the Berlin Senator for Higher Education and Research. Müller highly praised both Beatrice Gründler and physicist Dr. Steve Albrecht from Technische Universität and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, who received an award for junior investigators. The Berliner Wissenschaftspreis has a monetary value of 40,000 euros and is the highest endowed research award presented by the State of Berlin. The young talent award has a value of 10,000 euros.

Müller pointed out that the research of Professor Beatrice Gründler provides important insights into the world of Arabic literature with its multifaceted global interweavings, covering almost a millennium and a half. Her work continuously contributes to a more differentiated public discourse on Arabic-Islamic culture.

Prof. Günter M. Ziegler, President of Freie Universität Berlin, congratulated Beatrice Gründler on behalf of the university. He called her an outstanding scholar, who through her research, builds bridges between cultures and paves the way for tolerance. Ziegler pointed out that she has received three prestigious research awards since 2017: the Leibniz Prize, an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council, and the Berliner Wissenschaftspreis. This is a unique tribute to her work.

Prof. Beatrice Gründler has been a professor of Arabic studies at Freie Universität Berlin since 2014. Her main fields of research include Arabic writing and literature, classical Arabic literature and its socio-historical contexts, and the role of Arabic literature as a link between Asia and Europe. Her work is characterized by an innovative combination of methods, analytical virtuosity, and philological competence. Since 2015 she has been investigating the history of the origin and reception of the collection of fables entitled “Kalīla wa-Dimna,” one of the earliest Arabic prose texts and a central text of Arabic wisdom literature from the 8th century CE. She is working on the first commented critical digital edition of this collection. With her work and her institutional commitment, Beatrice Gründler makes an important contribution to the profile and visibility of humanities research in Berlin and to the development of the field of digital humanities in Berlin.

Beatrice Gründler studied in Strasbourg, Tübingen, and at Harvard University, where she earned her doctorate in 1995. After a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Dartmouth College, she taught at Yale University, beginning in 1996 as an assistant professor, and since 2002 as a full professor of Arabic literature. In 2014 she returned to Germany, where she has been teaching and doing research at Freie Universität Berlin ever since. She is currently a Principal Investigator at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies and the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies. She is a member of the board of the Dahlem Humanities Center at Freie Universität Berlin. Beatrice Gründler was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) from 2010 to 2011, and she served as the president of the American Oriental Society from 2016 to 2017. She has been honored for her outstanding research with prestigious awards at home and abroad. In 2017, she received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation, the most important German research grant, and an ERC Advanced Grant, the highest award of the European Research Council.

Steve Albrecht received the Young Investigators’ award in recognition of his innovative work in the field of photovoltaics. Since 2008, the Berlin Senate has been awarding the Berliner Wissenschaftspreis and the Nachwuchspreis (Young Investigators’ Award) for groundbreaking research achievements that have emerged in Berlin and have particular significance for society. The award ceremony took place as part of the Berlin Science Week.

Press Photo

Prof. Dr. Beatrice Gründler

Prof. Dr. Beatrice Gründler
Image Credit: DFG/David Ausserhofer

The press photo may be used free of charge in connection with reporting on the Leibniz Prize, provided that due credit is given to the source: DFG/David Ausserhofer. Please note that the photo may only be used for reporting on the awarding of the Berliner Wissenschaftspreis and may not be saved.

Further Information

Prof. Dr. Beatrice Gründler, Department of History and Cultural Studies, Freie Universität Berlin; Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies; Tel.: +49 30 838 60489, Email: beatrice.gruendler@fu-berlin.de