1. Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient
  2. Research
  3. Overview of Main Research Programme
  4. Trajectories of Lives and Knowledge
  5. Arab Actors from a Global Historical and Epistemic Perspective: Shared Histories of Modernity and Islam

Life paths and knowledge

Dr. des. Nils Riecken

This research project addresses the lives and works of three individuals: the Moroccan historian, intellectual and novelist Abdallah Laroui (*1933), the Iraqi journalist, writer, and traveller Yūnis Baḥrī (1903-1979) and the Syrian intellectual and author ʿAbd al-
Raḥmān al-Kawākibī (1855-1902). Laroui is a well known figure in contemporary debates on modernity, historical thought, Islam and reform in the Maghreb (Western North Africa) and the Mashreq (Middle East). Baḥrī is known as the "Iraqi traveller" and as a speaker for the National Socialist radio propaganda in Arabic during World War II. His many journeys led him across the Mashreq, the Maghreb, North Africa, Western Europe and South East Asia. Al-Kawākibī was one of the major modern reformist thinkers in the Mashreq, concerned with the issue of reform and political rule in Arab countries. The overarching concern in all three case studies is the historical connection between ways of representing the self, time and the political. Methodologically, the project relies on the approaches of global history, the history of concepts and the history of knowledge by focusing on discursive logics, ways of arguing and processes of translation. By adopting a transregional perspective, this project seeks to produce new insights into the history of modernity and its translation at various historical sites in tension to the confines of Eurocentrism.