Dr. Maria-Magdalena Pruß

Research Fellow

Phone: +49-(0)30-80307-238 Personal website:
Regional focus: South Asia, especially India and Pakistan
Dr. Maria-Magdalena Pruß
Dr. Maria-Magdalena Pruß


Since 01/2020
Research Fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient


2012 - 2019
Princeton University, USA: Ph.D in Religion (Subfield: Islam); Dissertation: “Islamic Modernism in Colonial Punjab: The Anjuman-i Himayat-i Islam, 1884-1923”
2011 - 2012
University of Oxford, UK: M.St. (Master of Studies) in Global and Imperial History (Subfield: South Asia)
2008 - 2010
Freie Universität Berlin: B.A. (continued) in Islamic Studies
2006 - 2008
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena: B.A. in Islamic and Religious Studies



Between Mosque, School and Printing Press: Islamic Modernism in Colonial Punjab (McGill-Queen's University Press, forthcoming 2024)


2020: (As Maria-Magdalena Fuchs) Co-editor of special section “Religious Minorities in Pakistan”, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 43:1.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

2023: “Din and Dunya: Religion and the World in South Asian Islamic Modernism ”, in: Special Issue on Din and Dunya in the Muslim World, ed. by Abdoulaye Sounaye (in preparation)

2022: The ‘Church of Islam’: Esotericism, Orientalism, and Religious Origin Myths in Colonial South AsiaJournal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 24:1.

2020: (As Maria-Magdalena Fuchs) With Simon Wolfgang Fuchs, “Religious Minorities in Pakistan: Identities, Citizenship and Social Belonging”, Introduction for a special section of South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 43:1, 52-67.

2016: (As Maria-Magdalena Fuchs) “The Public Sphere in South Asia: A Review Essay”Suedasien-Chronik.

2016: (As Maria-Magdalena Fuchs) “Walking a Tightrope: The Jesuit Robert Bütler and Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Pakistan”Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.

Encyclopedia Entries

2023: “Barakat Ullah, 1891-1972”, Encyclopedia on Christian-Muslim Relations, 1500-1900 (Brill)(accepted for publication)

Book Reviews

2023: Megan Eaton Robb, Print and the Urdu Public: Muslims, Newspapers, and Urban Life in Colonial India, Comparative Islamic Studies (summer 2022)

2020: M. Raisur Rahman, Locale, Everyday Islam and Modernity: Qasbah Towns and Muslim Life in Colonial India, Studia Islamica, 115, pp. 149-301.

2020: Deanna Ferree Womack, Protestants, Gender and the Arab Renaissance in Late Ottoman Syria, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

2017: Ian Talbot/Tahir Kamran, Colonial Lahore: A History of the City and Beyond, Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies.

Invited Talks

Universität Hamburg, Asien-Afrika-Institut: "Archivforschung in außereuropäischen Kontexten"
Martin-Luther-Universität Halle, Seminar für Südasienkunde: "Muslime in Indien: Jenseits der Hindu-Nation"
Reed College, Portland, OR: “Who is a Modern Muslim? Voluntary Associations and the Construction of Islamic Identities in Colonial North India”
Seattle University, Seattle, WA, Evening Talk: “Traversing Holy Places: Conversion and Religious Identity in Late Colonial Punjab”; Lunch Talk: “The State of Muslim-Christian Relations in Pakistan“
Jesuit Research Centre Loyola Hall, Lahore (Pakistan): “An Intellectual Encounter: The Jesuit Robert Butler and Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Pakistan”
Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst, Berlin, Germany: “Islamic Reform in the Modern Age”
University of the Punjab, Lahore (Pakistan): “Representing Islam in Public: Muslim Voluntary Associations and the Origins of Civil Society in Pakistan”

Other Talks and Panels

Deutscher Orientalistentag Berlin: “Religious Education in South Asian Islamic Modernism"
Virtual Annual Conference of the Association of Asian Studies, Co-organizer of the panel “Pan-Asian Modernity Beyond the Colonial Gaze: Education, Social Ethics, and Universal Religion”
Talk: “Dynamic, Non-Western and Spiritual: Images of Japan Among Muslims of Colonial South Asia” as part of the AAS panel
ZMO Berlin, Contested Religion Research Unit, Talk: “Orientalism and Muslim Identity in Colonial Punjab”
ZMO Berlin, co-organizer and presenter, workshop on "Din and Dunya in the Muslim World
Annual Conference of the Association of Asian Studies, Washington, DC: “Act in the Living Present: Muslim Voluntary Associations in Colonial Punjab and the Quest for a 'Modern' Islam”
DAVO-Congress, Frankfurt/Main, Germany: Co-organizer of the panel “The Emergence of Islamic Studies in the Muslim World”
Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI: “Redefining the Qaum: Religious Reform and Education in the Work of Muslim Voluntary Associations”
German Islamic Studies Conference (DOT), Jena, Germany: “Educating the Modern(ist) Muslim: Islamia Colleges and Schools in Colonial Punjab”
Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI: “Between Mosque, School and Printing House: Muslim Associations in Colonial Punjab”
European Conference on South Asian Studies, Zürich, Switzerland: “Muslim Converts to Christianity and the Creation of a Middle-Class Identity in Colonial Punjab”

Outreach and Knowledge Transfer

Talk: “One Faith, many Faces: Muslims in Germany”, hosted by the Ostritz Peace Festival, Germany
Film screening with Q & A and talk at the Ostritz Peace Festival, Saxony
2018 - 2020
Co-founder and co-director of the “Kompetenznetz Islam und Gesellschaft”, Think tank and consulting agency for government institutions, journalists, educators and civil society actors in Germany
Training Seminar: Pakistan – Limits of the Rule of Law, Government law enforcement officers, Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, Außenstelle Freiburg i.B.
Training Seminar: Pakistan – History, Political and Legal System; Government law enforcement officers, Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, Außenstelle Freiburg i.B.

Honors, Fellowships and Grants

Winner of the DAVO Award for the best dissertation in the fields of contemporary studies on the Middle East, North Africa and other parts of the Islamic world
Winner of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) South Asia Graduate Paper Prize for the best research paper in South Asian Studies
Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS), Princeton University; Research grant, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies
Travel scholarship, Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft; Travel grant, American Institute for Pakistan Studies; Travel grant, Whiting Foundation
Language Acquisition Grant, PIIRS
J. D. Rockefeller, Jr. Merit Fellowship, Princeton University
Study scholarship, Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst

Academic Organizations

  • Member of the American Institute for Pakistan Studies
  • Member of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft
  • Member of the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient

Travels and Field Trips

  • Pakistan: about 14 months of language training, extensive archival research, talks and presentations, and collaborations with local scholars, research institutions and civil society organizations
  • Syria and Lebanon: 2 months of Arabic language training and practice, travel, and cultural immersion
  • Iran: 4 weeks of travel and cultural immersion

Language Skills

  • German: Native Speaker
  • English: Advanced
  • Urdu/Hindi: Advanced
  • French: Reading Knowledge
  • Persian: Basic Reading Knowledge
  • Modern Arabic: Basic Reading Knowledge