The Center for Modern Middle East and Muslim Studies is a research center at the Department of History, University of Southern Denmark. Founded as “Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies” in August 1983, its aim was to provide practical information about the culture, politics, and economy of the contemporary Middle East with relevance for Danish businesses and state employees. Since then, however, the Centre has developed into an internationally acknowledged academic institution whose research agenda clearly transcends the boundaries of Middle East area studies. Today the Center’s research predominantly addresses an international scholarly audience with interdisciplinary studies on the Modern Middle East and on Muslim majority and minority countries, including transnational dynamics in a globalized world.
The academic staff of the Centre represents different disciplinary backgrounds such as History, Political Science, Sociology, Geography, Islamic Studies, and Linguistics. This multi-disciplinary background is reflected in the Centre’s MA course that is taught in English. The curriculum combines the modern history of the Middle East with social, economic, cultural, and political developments in the region, as well as among Muslim peoples beyond the Middle East. Moreover, it addresses pertinent questions about the relationship between “Islam and the West”. The course is open for students from the Humanities and the Social Sciences without demanding specific regional language skills. Instead it includes an internship period through which students are able to acquire both vocational skills and regional expertise.
The Center’s research and teaching activities are organized in three units. One unit – Modern Muslim Studies – addresses cultural, political, and social issues of modern Muslim life, with the major part of its research organized in the research program “The Modern Muslim Subjectivity Project”. The other unit – Modern Middle East Studies – conducts research on contemporary Middle Eastern affairs with a special emphasis on International Relations, Political Economy, and Security Studies. Finally, the Centre exercises its educational tasks through its MA course.