5 Postdoctoral fellowships "Zukunftsphilologie: revisiting the canons of textual scholarship" (Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin)

5 Postdoctoral fellowships "Zukunftsphilologie: revisiting the canons of textual scholarship" (Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin)

Forum Transregionale Studien
From - Until
01.10.2012 - 31.07.2013
Georges Khalil

5 Postdoctoral fellowships for academic year 2012/13
(Location: Berlin / Closing Date: 10 January 2012)

The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien invites scholars to apply for 5 postdoctoral fellowships for the research project

"Zukunftsphilologie: revisiting the canons of textual scholarship"

Zukunftsphilologie is a Berlin-based research project that aspires to support research in marginalized and undocumented textual practices and literary cultures with the aim of integrating texts and scholarly traditions from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East as well as from Europe itself. The project takes as its point of departure the increasingly growing concern with the global significance of philology and the potential of philology to challenge exclusivist notions of the self and the canon.

The project endeavours to promote and emphasize primary textual scholarship beyond the classical humanistic canon by a critical recuperation of philology. In an age of advanced communication, intellectual specialization and unprecedented migration of knowledge and people, the discipline of philology assumes new relevance. The project draws on the recent calls for a return to philology as particularly emphasized by Sheldon Pollock and the late Edward Said.

The title “Zukunftsphilologie” is inspired by the 1872 polemic between the classicist Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff and Friedrich Nietzsche on the method and meaning of classical studies. The project draws on recent calls for a return to philology as particularly emphasized by Sheldon Pollock in his essay “Future Philology?” and the late Edward Said’s essay “The Return to Philology”.

In order to promote historically-conscious philology, the project will encourage research in the following areas: the genealogy and transformations of philological practice, philology’s place in the system of knowledge (e.g. its relation to science, theology, and jurisprudence), philology and the university, and philology and empire. Zukunftsphilologie aims to examine the role mobility, calamities, expulsions, and natural catastrophes play in the dissemination and globalization of knowledge. How does the mobility of scholars, books, and manuscripts bring about scientific innovation (e.g. in tenth-century Baghdad, during the European Renaissance, or during the Ming dynasty)? What kind of knowledge systems are also displaced by these processes of reorganization? What transformations and translations accompany such mobilizations?

The project Zukunftsphilologie is associated with and located at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies at Freie Universitaet Berlin. Zukunftsphilologie is directed by Angelika Neuwirth, Manan Ahmed and Islam Dayeh (all Freie Universitaet Berlin).


The fellowships are intended primarily for scholars of the major linguistic and philological traditions from Africa, Asia and Europe (for example, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Persian, Sanskrit, Syriac, Turkish), whose research explores linguistic practices and disciplinary entanglements in intellectual and literary history, comparative linguistics, philology, religion and the history of science. The fellowships are intended for scholars who currently reside outside Berlin and who wish to carry out their research projects in the framework of the initiative Zukunftsphilologie in Berlin. Applicants should be at the postdoctoral level and should have obtained their doctorate within the last seven years. Fellows are given the opportunity to pursue research projects of their own choice, provided the topic falls within the research agenda of the project. In the overall context of the project Zukunftsphilologie, they will participate in regular working meetings of the project group as well as in lectures, conferences and summer or winter academies, organized by the project and by the Forum Transregionale Studien.


Individual research projects should fall within the thematic framework of Zukunftsphilologie. Projects should have a comparative perspective, whereby the plurality of textual practices, polyphonic textuality, and the trajectories and genealogies of philological traditions since early modernity are examined.

Research projects focusing on intellectual debates, polemics, correspondences, and transregional encounters are especially welcome. In revisiting important philological debates, the goal is not to merely evaluate the argumentative worth of these debates, but to reflect on the wider cultural and political context in which these debates emerged and how they have shaped our knowledge of the past. Moreover, an examination of philological debates will shed light on marginal philological traditions and undocumented intellectual positions as well as the ways in which canonical positions were consolidated and normalized.


start October 1, 2012, and will end on July 31, 2013. Shorter fellowship terms can be considered. Postdoctoral fellows will receive a monthly stipend of € 2.250 plus supplements depending on their personal situation. Organisational support regarding visa, insurances, housing, etc. will be provided. Successful applicants will be fellows of the project Zukunftsphilologie at the Forum Transregionale Studien and Associate Members of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies. Through this association they will be integrated into the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at the Freie Universitaet Berlin and will have access to an academic milieu of literary and philological studies as well as to libraries and other research facilities.

Application Procedure

To apply, please send the following documents in English exclusively by e-mail as separate word or PDF files:

— a curriculum vitae
— a project description (no longer than five pages), stating what you will work on in Berlin if granted a fellowship
— a sample of scholarly work (maximum 20 pages from an article, conference paper, or dissertation chapter)
— a letter of recommendation from one academic faculty. It can be sent as a separate e-mail.

The application should be submitted in English and should be received by 10 January 2012, addressed to:


Forum Transregionale Studien
c/o Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Attn: Georges Khalil
Wallotstraße 19, D-14193 Berlin / Germany

Institutional Framework

The Forum Transregionale Studien is a new research platform of the Land of Berlin designed to promote research that connects systematic and region-specific questions in a perspective that addresses entanglements and interactions beyond national, cultural or regional frames. The Forum works in tandem with established institutions and networks engaged in transregional studies and is supported by an association of the directors of universities, research institutes and networks mainly based in Berlin. It supports four research projects: Zukunftsphilologie: Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship, Rechtskulturen: Confrontations Beyond Comparison, Global Prayers: Redemption and Liberation in the City, and Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe. The Forum Transregionale Studien is funded by the Senate of Berlin.


For more information on the Forum please see

For more information on Zukunftsphilologie please see