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Veni grants for four ICOG researchers

04 September 2023

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has decided to award Veni grants to four researchers from ICOG: Mohamad El-Merheb, Sasha Goldstein-Sabbah, João C. Magalhães and E. S. Marteijn. With the grant money, the researchers will be able to further develop their own research ideas for three years.

In total, the NWO has provided Veni funding up to €280,000 each to 188 promising early-career researchers. The Veni grants, together with the Vidi and Vici grants, are part of the NWO Talent Programme. The Veni grants are designed for outstanding researchers who have recently gained a PhD. Within this Talent Programme, researchers are free to submit their own topics for funding. The NWO selects the researchers on the basis of their quality, the innovative nature of their research, the expected societal impact of their research proposal, and the possibilities for knowledge utilization.

The following proposals from ICOG were awarded a Veni grant.

Sovereignty, Sanctity, Violence and Conversion in the Outremer: the crusades of Louis IX in Arabic and 'Islamicate' political thought

Dr Mohamad El-Merheb

This project innovatively brings the Eastern Mediterranean’s contact with Latin Christianity during the crusades into the history of premodern Islamic political thought. By examining an Arabic corpus of understudied treatises by Muslim, Jewish, and Christian authors, and the material culture produced around Louis IX’s Crusade and his stay in the East, this research uncovers how the ideological enterprise of the king of France moulded novel Islamicate conceptions of sovereignty, legitimacy, the Latin West, and the papacy. This project uncovers further fundamental transformations ensuing from this contact in Islamic views on sanctity, the justification and rules of war, and religious conversion.

Optimizing Orientalism? Rethinking the Global Jewish Elite

Dr Sasha Goldstein-Sabbah

How did Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Jewry build transnational philanthropic, commercial, and diplomatic networks in the period between 1860-1948? This project explores the agency of MENA Jewry, using documents from private and institutional archives to rethink the connection between transnational religious networks and empire building. In doing so this project demonstrates the centrality and agency of Jewish communities located outside of Europe, in ways that challenge assumptions about the center and the periphery within empire. I hypothesize that, within the context of European imperial ambitions, MENA Jewry consistently challenged the social norms and political expectations of colonizers.

(Re)forming Moderation of Platform Content

Dr João Magalhães

Social media platforms’ ability to define and govern what is objectionable and desirable (platform content moderation) has reconfigured disputes over free speech worldwide.

Yet little is known about the history of these governance regimes – whose interests platforms heeded and ignored as they navigated the unique political, technical, legal, and economic difficulties of policing speech at scale. Tracing this development is crucial to better understand and reform platforms’ power.

This project will study the critical moments in the making of moderation rules and use its findings to create guidelines for remaking online speech control, producing open datasets in the process.

Rituals in Flux: Diasporic religion of Christian Palestinian refugees, 1948-present

Dr E. S. Marteijn

The vast majority of Christian Palestinians worldwide live in diaspora. Academic knowledge about these communities is scarce. This research project traces the formation and global entanglements of Christian Palestinian refugee communities from 1948 to the present, and examines how their theological ideas and religious practices are affected in situations of violent conflict and forced displacement. It does so by studying these refugees in three different contexts: Israel (internal displacement), Lebanon (displacement in the region) and Germany (displacement outside of the region). Ultimately, this project develops an interdisciplinary theoretical framework to further our understanding of the connection between religion and refugees.

Last modified:06 September 2023 4.04 p.m.
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