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November 2021

Martin Beck published the article “On the making of the German ‘Refugee Crisis’: Securitizing Muslim Immigrants in 2015 and Beyond”, Journal of Refugee Studies 34 (2): 1307-1326. For more information see

Dietrich Jung published the article “Islamism, Islamic Modernism and the Search for Modern Authenticity in an Imaginary Past”, Religions 12 (11): 1-13. The article is available und this link: Open access (

Sofie Pedersen defended her PhD thesis “Gør som os! En undersøgelse af, hvordan rollemodeller med etnisk minoritetsbaggrund fortolker ’god integration’ gennem livsfortællinger i statssanktionerede kampagner”. The thesis was funded by a grant of the humanities programme of the VELUX Foundation and is a part of the Center’s larger research programme “The Modern Muslim Subjectivities Project”. The PhD committee consisted of Associate Professor Martin Hvidt (chair; SDU), Professor Mikkel Rytter, Institut for Antropologi, Aarhus Universitetet and Professor Susanne Olsson, Institutionen för etnologi, religionshistoria och genusvetenskap, Stockholm Universitetet. The supervisor of the thesis was Professor Dietrich Jung (SDU).

August 2021

New book edited by Martin Beck and Thomas Richter (GIGA Institute, Hamburg): “Oil and the Political Economy in the Middle East: Post-2014 Adjustment Policies of the Arab Gulf and Beyond”. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 

The book delivers the first comprehensive analysis of the Middle Eastern political economy in response to the 2014 oil price decline. The volume connects oil market dynamics with an understanding of socio-political changes. The studies in the book reveal a large diversity of country-specific policy adjustment strategies: from the migrant workers in the Arab Gulf, who lost out in the post-2014 period but were incapable of repelling burdensome adjustment policies, to Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, who have never been able to fulfil the expectation that they could benefit from the 2014 oil price decline. With timely contributions on the COVID-19-induced oil price crash in 2020, this collection signifies that rentierism still prevails with regard to both empirical dynamics in the Middle East and academic discussions on its political economy.

For more information, see:

Dietrich Jung will spend four months at the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Leipzig, in Germany. He is a Senior Fellow in the research programme “Multiple Secularities – Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities” which investigates forms and arrangements of differentiation between religious and other social spheres in different regions. For more information about this research programme:

Peter Seeberg published the article “Neo-Ottoman expansionism beyond the borders of modern Turkey: Erdoğan’s foreign policy ambitions in Syria and the Mediterranean”, De Europa, 4 (1): 107-123, 26 June, 2021. The article is available under this link Open access

May 2021:

New Project: ”The Arctic Muslim”: Islamic Traditions and Modern Subjectivity in the Western North

The Danish Research Council for the Humanities (FKK) granted Dietrich Jung 5.703.840 DKK for a new project on Islam in Arctic regions. He will conduct the project together with Kirstine Sinclair throughout the years 2022-2026 at the Center and in close collaboration with colleagues and academic institutions in Canada and Norway. The project aims at taking the study of Islam in the West in new directions. It will go beyond the current focus on the construction of pietistic and Salafi Muslim identities in metropolitan areas, exploring modern Muslim subjectivity formation in Arctic Canada and Norway. Theoretically, the project takes its starting point from discussions on religion in world society, the study of religion as everyday practice, and theories of the geography of religion. Thereby, the Arctic serves us as a novel prism for addressing the relationship of Islam and modernity in an innovative way. How do Muslims in the Arctic practice Islam in everyday life? In which ways do they negotiate their religious subject positions under the unique social and geographical conditions in the Arctic? Answering these questions, we aim at new insights into the contemporary interpretations of Islamic traditions, making original contributions to core debates at the disciplinary crossroads of Islamic and Religious Studies. 

April 2021:

New book (in German) by Dietrich Jung: Der Islam in der globalen Moderne. Soziologische Theorie und die Vielfalt islamischer Modernitäten. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

The book combines sociological theory building with studies on the Middle East and on Islam. It relates the historical observation of multiple modernities to the theoretically grounded claim of living in a modern world society. Throughout the book, a number of empirical excursions into Islamic history substantiate this claim. The book is a critique of confusing modernization with Westernization in discussing the rise of various projects of specifically Islamic modernities as an integral part of global modernity. In this way, the book contributes to conceptual debates about modernity in social theory, illustrated by historical material from Middle Eastern and Muslim histories.

Ahmed Abou El Zalaf received a grant from the Danish Institute in Damascus (DID) in order to support the publication of his PhD thesis – The Muslim Brotherhood and State Repression: The Rise of Clandestinity and Militancy in an Islamist Organization – with an international publishing house.

March 2021:

New book edited by Annabelle Böttcher (SDU and DHBW-VS) and Birgit Krawietz (Freie Universitt Berlin): “Islam, Migration and Jinn. Spiritual Medicine in Muslim Health Management”. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

This book explores the agency of Jinn, the so-called “demons of Islam”. In a globalized world with forms of forced and voluntary migrations, Jinn are likewise on the move, interfering in the human world and affecting the mental and physical health of Muslims. This continuous challenge has so far been mainly addressed by traditional Muslim health management and by the so-called spiritual medicine or medicine of the Prophet. This book shifts perspective. Its interdisciplinary chapters deal with the transformation of manifold cultural resources by first analyzing the doctrinal and cultural history of Jinn and the treatment of Jinn affliction in Arabic texts and other sources. It then discusses case studies of Muslims and current health management approaches in the Middle East, Spain, Denmark, Great Britain and Guantanamo. This book, a workshop on Jinn, and other research activities of Annabelle Böttcher were funded by the Welfare Innovation Fund of the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in Odense from 2017 to 2021.

Line Mex-Jørgensen defended her PhD thesis “The Egyptian Revolution. Imaginaries of the Good Life during the 18 Days of Revolution at Tahrir Square in 2011”. The thesis was funded by a grant of the Danish Council for Independent Research – Humanities (FKK) and is a part of the Center’s larger research programme “The Modern Muslim Subjectivities Project”. The PhD committee consisted of Associate Professor Kirstine Sinclair (chair; SDU), Associate Professor Erin Cory (Malmö University) and Associate Professor Ehab Galal (University of Copenhagen). The supervisor of the thesis was Professor Dietrich Jung (SDU).

February 2021:

New book (in Danish) by Kirstine Sinclair: Karikaturkrisen, Aarhus University Press. 

The book is part of the series “100 Danmarkshistorier” which aims at telling Denmark’s history through 100 stories about 100 specific events of great importance to the country’s history and the population’s self-understanding. The book examines how the cartoon controversy raised big questions about the ways in which a democratic society strikes the balance between securing the freedom of speech for all and protecting the feelings of religious minorities. Such questions were not limited to a Danish debate but became global as the controversy crossed international borders and reactions to the cartoons spread from Lahore to Cape Town to Washington. The book is about how a democratic state must adjust to shifting realities and changes to populations’ needs, just as it is about Denmark’s new role in a globalized world.

January 2021:

Martin Beck published the book chapter “Security Threats from the Southern Mediterranean as Viewed by Europe: “A Comparative Analysis of the ‘Long Year’ of 1989 and the 2010s”. In Robert Mason (ed.) 2021: Transnational Security Cooperation in the Mediterranean. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan: 19-39. Further information on the book can be found at:

Together with Federica Zardo (Centre for European Integration Research, University of Vienna) Peter Seeberg published the article: “From Mobility Partnerships to Migration Compacts: Security Implications of EU-Jordan Relations and the Informalization of Migration Governance”. In Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies , online first, 18 Dec. 2020. You can find the article under this link, restricted access:
December 2020

Peter Seeberg published the article “Transnationalism and exceptional transition processes. The role of the Libyan diaspora from Qadhafi’s Jamahiriyya to post-revolutionary civil war and state collapse”. British Journal of Middle East Studies 47 (5): 757-773. It was published online first on 18 December 2018. You can find the article under this link, restricted access:

Martin Hvidt published the book chapter “The Emergence and Spread of the ‘Dubai Model’ in the GCC countries”. In Mehran Kamrava (ed.) 2020: Routledge Handbook of Persian Gulf Politics. London and New York: Routledge: 203-215.
Further information on the book can be found at

November 2020

Ahmed Abou El Zalaf
 defended his PhD thesis “The Muslim Brotherhood and State Repression: The Rise of Clandestinity and Militancy in an Islamist Organization”. The thesis was funded by a grant of the University of Southern Denmark and is related to the Center’s larger research programme “The Modern Muslim Subjectivities Project”. The PhD committee consisted of Associate Professor Kirstine Sinclair (chair; SDU), Professor Mark Sedgwick (Aarhus University) and Professor Brynjar Lia (University of Oslo). The supervisor of the thesis was Professor Dietrich Jung (SDU).

October 2020


Martin Hvidt published the book chapter: ‘Economic Diversification and Job Creation in the Arab Gulf Countries: Applying a Value Chain Perspective’. In Giacomo Luciani and Tom Moerenhout (eds.)When Can Oil Economies Be Deemed Sustainable? (Palgave MacMillan, 2021) p. 281-300.


The issue of economic diversification has once again reached the top of the political agenda in the region. The ‘2014 oil price collapse,’ which halved the income from oil in year 2015 to 2016 compared to previous years, demonstrated how volatile the income from oil is and, not least, how closely tied the performance of the Gulf economies is to the oil income. The crisis, thus, has served as a stark reminder of how little diversified the Gulf economies are. Against this background, the chapter discusses economic diversification in the Arab Gulf countries with special emphasis on job creation. Applying the concept of value chains to provide insight into the type of jobs and especially their knowledge content that is likely to be most beneficial for the Gulf countries to further develop their societies.

The book is published Open Access and can be downloaded here:

September 2020

Semester Start

On 1 September 2020, we welcomed 26 new students to our 2-year MA course in “Middle East Studies”, and all but seven were able to be physically present in Odense. We were positively surprised to be able to greet students from Greece, Lithuania, England, the Czech Republic as well as a considerable number of female journalists all the way from Copenhagen! The coming semester with lots of course work revolving around lectures on campus seemed promising. But alas, only a few days later, we decided to take all teaching activities online after the first students within the faculty were tested positive with the Covid-19 virus. And teaching activities remain so until further notice as we consider our programme especially fragile due to the number of commuting students, the size of the lecture room and the vulnerability of faculty members. All in all, we are happy to be back, happy to work with new students and just hope for everyone’s cooperation, patience and flexibility in these trying times. At least we are in this together.

Kirstine Sinclair, Head of Studies.

New book (in Danish) edited by Peter Seeberg and Mikkel Thorup (University of Aarhus):The Crisis of Democracy and the New Autocracies, University Press of Aarhus (Demokratiets krise og de nye autokratier, Århus Universitetsforlag)

Today, there seems to be a consensus that liberal democracy is worn out and tired, if not tipping over. Thinkers like David Runciman and Jan Zielonka see democracy in deep crisis and claim that new autocratic and populist tendencies are threatening the foundations of our political system. Cases in point are new right-wing movements in Germany and Italy, ultra-conservative parties in Hungary and Poland, or the nationalist rhetoric of political leaders in the US, Russia, Brazil and Turkey. This newly published book has three sections: The first section consists of an editorial preface, the introduction and a thematic chapter discussing neoliberal democracy theory. The following section deals with the crisis of democracy, populism and autocracy, with a point of departure in European states. The third section, then, features chapters analyzing examples of democratic backsliding and increasing autocratic tendencies in states outside of Europe.

August 2020


Mehmet Ümit Necef published the article: “Former Extremist Interviews Current Extremist: Self-Disclosure and Emotional Engagement in Terrorism Studies” inStudies in Conflict & Terrorism. The article has been pre-pulished online on July 30, 2020. The article is not open-access, but you can find it under this link:

June 2020

Dietrich Jung and Kirstine Sinclair published the article: “Religious Governmentality: The Case of Hizb ut-Tahrir” in TEMENOS Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion. TEMENOS is an open access journal and you can find the article under the following link:

Peter Seeberg co-edited (with Jan Claudius Völkel, University of Freiburg) a Themed Section of Mediterranean Politics entitled “Arab responses to EU foreign and security policy incentives”, published online first. The contributions are Federica Zardo & Chiara Loschi, “EU-Algeria (non)cooperation on migration: A tale of two fortresses”; Jan Claudius Völkel, “Fanning fears, winning praise: Egypt’s smart play on Europe’s apprehension of more undocumented immigration”; Peter Seeberg, “Syrian refugees in Jordan and their integration in the labour market: Jordanian migration diplomacy and EU incentives”; Irene Fernández-Molina & Miguel Hernando De Larramendi, “Migration diplomacy in a de facto destination country: Morocco’s new intermestic migration policy and international socialization by/with the EU”. The introduction by Peter Seeberg and Jan Claudius Völkel you will find under this link:


Peter Seeberg & Jan Claudius Völkel


May 2020

Martin Beck has co-edited (with Thomas Richter, GIGA, Hamburg) the special section “Fluctuating Regional (Dis‐)Order in the Middle East” in Global Policy 11(1). The contributions are Open Access:
Gry Hvass Pedersen defended her PhD thesis “Modernity, Islamic Tradition and Higher Education. Visions of Modern Muslim Selfhoods among Contemporary Students at Islamic Universities in Asia”. The thesis was funded by a grant of VELUX Foundation and is part of the Center’s larger research programme “The Modern Muslim Subjectivities Project”. The PhD committee consisted of Associate Professor Kirstine Sinclair (chair; SDU), Associate Professor Simon Stjernholm (University of Copenhagen) and Professor Paul Bramadat (University of Victoria, Canada). The supervisor of the thesis was Professor Dietrich Jung (SDU).


Writing Social Theory in Arabic

Dietrich Jung received a grant (90.000 DKK) from the Danish Institute in Damascus for an authors’ workshop on “Writing Social Theory in Arabic”. The workshop will be arranged together with Florian Zemmin, a senior researcher at the University of Leipzig and Sari Hanafi who is chair of the sociology department at the American University in Beirut and editor of Idafat the “Arab Journal of Sociology”. The workshop brings together a group of international and Danish scholars in order to discuss works on social theory in Arabic language. What are the concepts, themes and historical narratives in contemporary Arabic social theory? In which ways do Arab social theorists provide us with alternatives to the conceptual apparatuses employed by so-called Western social theory? The workshop contributions will be published in an edited book.


New Book edited by Dietrich Jung and Kirstine Sinclair: Muslim Subjectivities in Global Modernity. Islamic Traditions and the Construction of Modern Muslim Identities, Brill: Leiden

“With critical reference to Eisenstadt’s theory of “multiple modernities”, the book discusses the role of religion in the modern world. The case studies all provide examples illustrating the ambition to understand how Islamic traditions have contributed to the construction of practices and expressions of modern Muslim selfhoods. In doing so, they underpin Eisenstadt’s argument that religious traditions can play a pivotal role in the construction of historically different interpretations of modernity. At the same time, however, they point to a void in Eisenstadt’s approach that does not problematize the multiplicity of forms in which this role of religious traditions plays out historically. Consequently, the authors of the book focus on the multiple modernities within Islam, which Eisenstadt’s theory hardly takes into account.”

Last Updated 01.12.2021