Laufende Projekte


flagge German

Projekte 2014-2019

Projekte 2008-2013

Projekte 2006-2007

Projekte 2004-2005

Projekte 2000-2003

Projekte 1996-2000

DFG - Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis PDFLog



The Production of Historical Knowledge and Politics of
Memory in Rural Northern Syria: Histories of the Welde

Dr. Katharina Lange

In post-colonial Syria, history has for a long time been represented in unifying narratives, emphasizing Arabic nationalism and Syrian unity. Potentially divisive aspects such as ethnic or confessional particularities and tribal or local affiliations – although significant in internal political calculations – have been largely written out of these ‘official’ narratives.
Behind this unifying historical discourse, however, more particularist historical narratives can be discerned. Among the Arab population of the Syrian Euphrates valley, accounts of the past are unfolded from the perspective of the tribal group (ashira). In recent years, these oral narratives have been supplemented by written versions of more ‘local’ or tribal histories. Oral narratives, publications by Syrian authors, and earlier writings of European travellers and Orientalists are now used as references for these histories, while larger narratives of Arab/Syrian nationalism and the anti-imperialist struggle have been appropriated as the structure in which these new narratives are told.
As a continuation of an earlier project within the framework of the collaborative research centre (SFB) 586 ‘Integration and Difference’ at the universities of Leipzig / Halle (2001-2004, dir. Dr. A. Nippa), this project analyses the polyphonic production of historical knowledge (in which the ethnographer’s presence constitutes yet another voice) by tracing written and oral narratives on the history of the ‘Welde’, one of the tribal groups of the Syrian Euphrates valley.