Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Historical Studies (CHS)


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

Dr Mohamed el-Merheb (VENI grant)

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.

Coping with decline: Comparative social-historical analysis of depopulation and community welfare in Europe, 1950-2022 (DEPOP)

Dr Yuliya Hilevych (ERC grant)

Until now, Europe’s population has been growing. However, after 2023, it is projected to decline continuously. The underbelly of this decline has been regional depopulation – that is decline in population and decline in welfare since the 1950s. Yet, we still know little about how these two historical declines have been linked, and how communities have coped with them.

My team and I will address this lacuna by producing the social history of depopulation in Europe, the first of its kind. DEPOP will shed a new light on the histories of ‘stayers’ in rural and urban communities, and on their welfare in health and care sectors by paying close attention to the role of gender, class, age, ability, and ethnicity/race. We will focus on the North-West-East comparison: Finland –the Netherlands – Ukraine.

By doing so, DEPOP will illuminate regional depopulation as a potent example of a slow burn crisis – occurring over extended periods of time. Our historical findings will help to better understand how and why some communities have been more resilient to the slow burn crisis of depopulation.

Optimizing Orientalism? Rethinking the Global Jewish Elite

Dr Sasha Goldstein-Sabbah (VENI grant)

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.

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

Dr Elizabeth Marteijn (VENI grant)

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.

Grammars of Preaching: lexis, mapping, staging (Middle East, 19th-21st centuries)

Prof. Dr Karène Sanchez-Summerer (ANR grant)

From the end of the 19th century to the present, religious and political transformations and reconfigured borders have profoundly reshaped modes of preaching. Despite being the driving force in making someone believe, preaching and preachers in the Middle East (19-21th c.) remain understudied in their connected and dynamic dimensions. Seen as a tool, namely the presence of one or more individuals in a territory in order to deliver a message, preaching seeks to constitute or consolidate a community of believers. The terms used to describe it are different for Islam, Christianity and Judaism and do not always refer to the same social realities. This project considers preaching as an insightful vantage point for religions ‘in movement’ (Hervieu-Léger), along with their social and political implications, from the 19th to the 21st century. PredicMo intends to extend our knowledge of contemporary redefinitions of preaching via a connected approach and cross-analysis of case studies from the Middle East, as well as their variations over the longue durée. It will bring together an international and interdisciplinary team (methodologies and theoretical frameworks from humanities and social sciences). It will propose a corpus of archives and fieldwork surveys, paying attention to the lexis of preaching, its mapping and its staging. It will produce an online dictionary of the vocabularies on preaching, an indexed catalogue of sources, a mapping tool as well as an itinerant exhibition and web-documentaries. Thanks to the collaboration with Mucem Museum, certain items from the survey-collection will be included in the museum’s collection.

Environmental Histories of Resource Extraction in Africa: Understanding Cultural and Political Responses to Environmental Transformation (AFREXTRACT)

Dr Iva Peša (ERC grant)

This research project is funded by the European Research Council under the Horizon Europe programme, grant number 101039920. The AFREXTRACT project runs from 01 September 2022 until 31 August 2027. If you would like to get in touch, please contact the PI, Dr Iva Peša.

Last modified:22 November 2023 10.38 a.m.