The Centre for Modern Oriental Studies (ZMO) is the only German research institute devoted to an interdisciplinary and comparative study of the Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia from a historical perspective. Current research focuses on the interaction between predominantly Muslim societies and their relations with non-Muslim neighbours. ZMO was founded in 1996 as one of six independent, non-profit research centres. Its current director is Prof. Ulrike Freitag, a Modern Middle East historian.
The Centre's research programme currently comprises seven interdisciplinary projects, with twenty researchers working on different historical and cultural aspects of the "Modern Orient" since the 18th century. They explore the translocal movements of people, goods, symbols and ideas between the areas of the non-Western world and to Europe. The zones of cultural and social transition created by these movements have always been characterized by diverse processes of institutionalization. Furthermore the projects take into account relations between the "Modern Orient" since the 18th century and Europe, and their mutual perceptions.
The Centre focuses on cooperative and interdisciplinary research based on a combination of intensive archival work and field research, thereby transcending the disciplinary and regional boundaries of traditional fields of knowledge. While basic research remains the centre of attention, recent events have highlighted the need to investigate and better understand non-Western modernity.
ZMO is a member of the Collaborative Research Programme (SFB 640) of the German Research Council (DFG) that deals with "Changing representations of social orders. Intercultural and intertemporal comparisons".
The homepage of the centre gives you the latest news on activities, public events, and our most recent publications. The presentation will keep you up to date on how the Centre is evolving and inform you about the latest research programme. You will find summaries of current projects in German, English and French. Each section leads you to the relevant archive. Our annual reports and issues of all ZMO Bulletins are now available online in PDF format. Back issues of the three ZMO Series Arbeitshefte, Studien and Schriften can be ordered online as well.
The Centre for Modern Oriental Studies has an extensive up-to-date library, which includes a number of renowned special collections. The ZMO is now a partner of the Middle East Virtual Library (MENALIB). It also features ‘ber-waal’, a web database commissioned by the Berlin Senate Department of Science, Research and Culture containing Berlin knowledge resources on Asia, Africa and Latin America. A new media section provides articles that either deal with the ZMO itself or were written by ZMO staff, and you can even listen to ZMO radio interviews. Journalists will find printable photo material and a list of experts ready to brief them. A special link list will guide you to a number of useful resources and the relevant electronic libraries, as well as to our partner organisations.