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Department of Middle Eastern and South East Asian Studies


The Department of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian Studies of the University of Cologne is an interdisciplinary institution for research and teaching in the field of Islamic Studies and Near and Middle Eastern Studies. The department currently has four chairs. In addition, several research fellows, one lecturer (Akademischer Rat), and various contract lecturers work at the department.

The department's regional focus is on the modern Arabian societies, the Iranian cultural area, the countries of Southeast Asia, and Turkey. A further subject area is Islam in Germany.

In the bachelor's and master's degree programs, the Department of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian Studies cooperates with the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology and the Department of Political Science. The roughly 300 students acquire well-founded knowledge of the developments of the regional focal areas in terms of cultural and social history and the history of ideas from the emergence of Islam to the present. The basis for pursuing Islamic studies in a qualified manner is the study of regional languages—students can select from Modern Standard Arabic, Persian, Indonesian, and Turkish, as well as individual regional dialects (Egyptian and Syrian-Palestinian or Dari). Studying the languages and cultures of the Islamic world also enables students to critically examine religious, historical, political, and cultural aspects and research questions of the focal regions employing avenues and approaches from the social and cultural sciences.

The department's holdings include the departmental library and the Malayan studies collection as well as two libraries important especially in the context of the history of the field: the library of the Max Freiherr von Oppenheim Stiftung and the Shia Library.