The history of mentalities and everyday life in the Mamluk period (13th to 16th century)
Research ot the Arabic rhetorical tradition
Contributed to the inter-religious dialogue; worked to improve the integration of Muslims living in Germany
Perception and portrayal of the Orient in 19th-century German literature
The Culture of Ambiguity
Compared to the Occident, pre-modern Arab-Islamic culture (8th-19th centuries) has a far greater tolerance of ambiguity. This can be seen in many areas of Islamic science (such as Quran exegesis, Islamic law, and linguistics, the latter yielding significant findings, especially in rhetoric), in numerous literary genres, but also in the mentality of people and in social relations (tolerance towards religious minorities; perception of foreignness; high social mobility). Also significant is the largely conflict-free coexistence of religious and secular discourses in classical Islamic culture, which is in stark contrast to the supposed inseparability of Islam and the secular sphere today. Specific conditions spared Islam many of the crises that beset the Occident, but this is also an important cause of the current conflicts between Islam and Western modernity. The clash of Islam with a culture that was barely familiar with and that tended to reject such tolerance of ambiguity led to a reformulation of the foundations of Islam in the form of ideologies that conform to modernity. These ideologies are marked both in their liberal pro-Western form and in their aggressive Islamist variant by the far-reaching rejection of their own cultural tradition. The study of cultural ambiguity promises not only insights into other cultures, but also a better understanding of one’s own cultural foundations; only through cultural comparison is it possible to discern the relativity of these foundations.
Classical Arabic Literature