Project

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“Islamistische Umtriebe”? The encounter of Middle Easterners with and their experience in Helvetia from the 1920s to the 1940s

English title “Islamistische Umtriebe”? The encounter of Middle Easterners with and their experience in Helvetia from the 1920s to the 1940s
Applicant Reinkowski Maurus
Number 169289
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Seminar für Nahoststudien Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline General history (without pre-and early history)
Start/End 01.10.2016 - 31.08.2021
Approved amount 256'685.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
General history (without pre-and early history)
Political science

Keywords (14)

exile; Muslim intellectuals in Europe; students in Switzerland; Swiss policy regarding foreigners; Islam in Europe; interwar period; lifeworld; Arabs in Switzerland; Switzerland; Persians in Switzerland; Geneva; Muslim networks in Europe; Swiss policy regarding Middle Easterners; political activism

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
"Islamistische Umtriebe"? Muslimische Intellektuelle und Aktivisten in der Schweiz (1920er - 1940 Jahre)
Lay summary

Die Anwesenheit von Immigranten aus dem Nahen Osten und Nordafrika in Europa geht bereits auf die Zeit vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg zurück. Auch wenn ihre Zahl im Vergleich zu heute erheblich geringer war und sie keine Schlüsselfiguren innerhalb der politischen Landschaft Europas darstellten, so haben sie doch offensichtliche Spuren (Aufbau von Gemeindezentren, Herausgabe von Zeitschriften, Gründung von Vereinen) im Europa der Zwischenkriegsjahre hinterlassen. Die bisherige Forschung zu antikolonialen/-imperialistischen Aktivisten, nationalen Bewegungen sowie pan-religiösen Bestrebungen von Nicht-Europäern innerhalb Europas konzentrierte sich vor allem auf die Hauptstädte der Großmächte (Paris, London oder Berlin). Jedoch war auch die Schweiz, allem voran Genf, Lausanne und Zürich, ein wichtiger und vor allem sicherer Knotenpunkt für politische Aktivisten aus dem Nahen und Mittleren Osten. Das Forschungsprojekt untersucht die Präsenz von Immigranten aus dem Nahen Osten, insbesondere derer mit muslimischer Religionszugehörigkeit, innerhalb der Grenzen der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft sowie ihre Erfahrungen und Begegnungen mit der Schweizer Gesellschaft und Verwaltungsbehörden im Zeitraum von 1919 und 1948. Ziel ist es, neben einer quantitativen Erhebung der in der Schweiz ansässigen Immigranten – zumeist Studenten oder politische Flüchtlinge – auf Basis offizieller Ein- und Ausreisedokumente sowie Aufenthaltsbewilligungen, einen Einblick in ihre Lebenswelt und weltanschaulichen Standpunkte zu erhalten. Das Projekt bringt somit zwei Disziplinen und geographische Räume zusammen: Schweizer Geschichte und Islam-/Nahostwissenschaft resp. die Schweiz und die Region des Nahen und Mittleren Ostens.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 03.10.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Der Fall ist aussergewöhnlich. Die arabische Aktivistin Nur Hamada in Genf (1938-1939)
Djavid Khayati Sarah (2017), Der Fall ist aussergewöhnlich. Die arabische Aktivistin Nur Hamada in Genf (1938-1939), in Charrier Landry, Nicklas Thomas, Baudouï Rémi (ed.), Épure - Editions et presses universitaires de Reims, Reims, 139-160.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Dr. Armina Omerika, Ideengeschichte des Islam, Goethe University Frankfurt Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. em. Dr. Georg Kreis, Institute for European Global Studies, University of Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Dr. Fischer-Tiné, Modern Global History, ETH Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Alp Yenen, Alp Yenen, Lecturer Modern Turkish History and Culture, Leiden University Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Dr. David Motadel, International History, London School of Economics (LSE) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Dr. Umar Ryad, Arabic and Islamic Studies, LCSICS, KU Leuven Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Swissuniversities Transdisciplinary Doctoral Programme: Migration & Postcoloniality meet Switzerland Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Dr. Brigitte Studer, Contemporary History, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Swiss research colloquium of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (FoKI.ch) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Graduate School of Social Sciences, University of Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
The Ottoman Empire and the "Germanspere" in the Age of Imperialism Talk given at a conference Discussant to Panel I: Scientific Exchanges 29.07.2021 Zürich, Switzerland Reinkowski Maurus;
The Ottoman Empire and the “Germansphere” in the Age of Imperialism Talk given at a conference ‘My name is Alfred’: Migration of non-Muslim Ottomans to Switzerland in the aftermath of World War I 29.07.2021 Zürich, Switzerland Djavid Khayati Sarah;
Swiss research colloquium of Islamic Studies Individual talk Etudes, projets politiques, amour: La vie des Orientaux autour du lac Léman durant l’entre-deux-guerres 30.11.2019 Genève, Switzerland Djavid Khayati Sarah;
Post-Ottoman Challenges to the ‘New World Order (Panel at MESA Annual Meeting) Talk given at a conference ‘L’Orient aux Orientaux’: Middle Eastern Activists under International and National Surveillance in Interwar Switzerland 14.11.2019 New Orleans, United States of America Djavid Khayati Sarah;
Noon-Talks Individual talk The Making of a Muslim Community in Interwar Switzerland 24.09.2019 Basel, Switzerland Djavid Khayati Sarah;
History Lab of the Institute of Historical Research Individual talk In the Shadow of Lake Geneva: Anti-Imperialism, Transnational Entanglement and the Arab Gentlemen in Interwar Period 30.05.2019 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Djavid Khayati Sarah;
Global Islam in the Interwar World Talk given at a conference Between opportunities and limitations: Muslim émigrés in interwar Switzerland 27.03.2019 Leuven, Belgium Djavid Khayati Sarah;
Migration and social change: a long-term global perspective Individual talk The “Swiss” Lives of Middle Easterners in Interwar Europe: a–more or less–loose network 22.02.2019 Basel, Switzerland Djavid Khayati Sarah;
The Last Ottoman Generation and Interwar Europe Talk given at a conference The Swiss Experience of Late-Ottomans. Tracing the Forgotten Political Activists of the Levant in Interwar Switzerland 05.12.2018 Copenhagen, Denmark Djavid Khayati Sarah;
Transnational Conspiracy and Imperial Intelligence (Panel at WOCMES) Talk given at a conference Hosting the Great Powers’ enemies on the shores of Lake Geneva: Surveillance and transnational conspiracy of ‘Islamist’ agitators in interwar Switzerland 16.07.2018 Sevilla, Spain Djavid Khayati Sarah;
Swiss research colloquium of Islamic Studies Individual talk Leaving More than Footprints. The “Swiss” Life of Egyptian Journalist Alī al-Ghāyātī (1910-1937) 01.12.2017 Bern, Switzerland Djavid Khayati Sarah;
Cosmopolitanism in Context: Practices of World Citizenship in an Age of Empire (18th-20th Centuries) Talk given at a conference Discussant to panel "Cosmopolitanism and Non-Western Empires" 13.07.2017 Hannover, Germany Reinkowski Maurus;
Second Cycle of the Ottoman Studies Circle: Space and Mobility in the Ottoman World Talk given at a conference Diaspora als post-osmanischer Raum: Arabische Migranten in der Schweiz der Zwischenkriegszeit 17.02.2017 Basel, Switzerland Reinkowski Maurus; Djavid Khayati Sarah;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Migration and social change: a long-term global perspective, Prof. Dr. L. Lucassen (University of Leiden/IISH Amsterdam) 21.02.2019 Basel, Switzerland
Globalization and Regionalization in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Prof. C. Schayegh (Graduate Institute Geneva) 24.03.2018 Basel, Switzerland
Guided by Goethe. German-Jewish, Gay, Muslim Writer Hugo Marcus (1880-1966), Prof. M. D. Baer (LSE) 15.02.2018 Basel, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Zuhause in Basel und in der Schweiz: Muslimische Lebenswege in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhundert Talk 10.12.2019 Basel, Switzerland Djavid Khayati Sarah;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Video/Film Interview given in the documentary: Karlstraße 10: In Search for Muslims throughout Interwar Europe International 2019

Abstract

This research project aims to contribute to the history of the Middle Eastern Muslim presence on Swiss territory, their experience in Switzerland, and their encounter with the Swiss society and authorities between 1919 and 1948. The starting point of the analysis is based on the observation that Switzerland served as an important place for Middle Eastern political activists of all kinds of ideological aspirations during the first half of the 20th century. By conducting research on the still unexplored topic of Swiss-based Middle Eastern Muslims-mostly students and refugees, who were either exiled from their home countries by the mandate authorities or fled as political refugees to escape persecutions at the hands of their own governments-the project will enable bridging the two disciplines, namely the history of Switzerland and Islamic/Middle Eastern studies. At the same time, the study sheds light on the field of transnational history by analyzing the relationship between the local, such as the Swiss society and Switzerland’s administrative bodies, and the global, such as transnational ideas in the form of pan-religious aspirations and national movements performed in exile.The more or less welcoming attitude of Swiss authorities toward the new arrivals was often accompanied by suspicion of the so-called “Islamist activities and machinations” (Islamistische Umtriebe). The same-titled dossiers on such activities can be found in the Swiss Federal Archive in Bern. Moreover, the Swiss Federal Department of Justice & Police (FDJP) have opened personal files on those Middle Easterners who were under surveillance due to their political activism such as the case of the well-known Lebanese activist Shakib Arslan. These dossiers as well as relevant materials from the cantonal and university archives, such as lists of foreign students, will serve as a starting point for a comprehensive analysis of the lebenswelt (lifeworld) of Middle Eastern Muslims on Swiss territory. The sum of all sources-exchange of letters between different authorities, protocols, personal writings and letters, footage, and press media-serves as ego-documents in a wider sense.This project seeks to trace the presence of Middle Eastern Muslims, in order to explore the perception of the Swiss authorities regarding their activities, to frame their lifeworld and ideological points of view, and also to gauge their interconnectedness-both with their compatriots and with the Swiss civil society. Therefore, the study will provide answers to questions such as how ideas and ideologies were circulating, who was in contact with whom, and how the relationships between the different actors influenced their actions and points of view.This project will approach the topic by presupposing on the one hand the perspective of histoire croisee and on the other hand by implementing the method of lebenswelt. This method helps to emphasize both the micro and the macro historical level, since research on the lifeworld of an individual includes the analysis of social, political, and cultural structures.
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