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PD Dr. Manfred Sing

Affiliated Scholar, Collaborative Project HISDEMAB
Room: 03-07, Diether-von-Isenburg-Str. 9-11, 55116 Mainz (Besucheranschrift)
Phone: +49 6131 39 39475
Fax: +49 6131 39 35326


Personal Details:

Born in 1966 in Aulendorf, Baden-Württemberg; 1994-2000: studied Islamic Studies, Sociology and History at University of Freiburg and the University of Damascus; 2005: doctoral dissertation in Islamic Studies at the University of Freiburg; 2005-2007: lecturer at the University of Freiburg; 2007-2008: postdoctoral project "Die Neuorientierung arabischer Post-Kommunisten im Nahen Osten nach 1989" at the University of Freiburg, funded by the German Research Foundation; 2009-2012: research associate at the Oriental Institute in Beirut.
Sing has been working at the IEG since February 2013.


Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient

Research Interests:

Transformation and entanglement of religious and secular concepts
Intellectual history of the Middle East
History of Islam

Selected Publications:

The Specters of Marx in Edward Said’s Orientalism, in: Die Welt des Islams 53,2 (2013), p. 149-191, together with Miriam Younes.
Brothers in Arms: How Palestinian Maoists Turned Jihadists, in: Die Welt des Islams 51,1 (2011), p. 1-44.
Lässt sich der Harem Muhammads feministisch deuten? Die Kontroverse zwischen Widad Sakakini und Bint ash-Shati', in: XXX. Deutscher Orientalistentag, Freiburg, 24.-28. September 2007. Ausgewählte Vorträge, herausgegeben im Auftrag der DMG von Rainer Brunner, Jens Peter Laut und Maurus Reinkowski, (16.07.2009), URL: http://orient.ruf.uni-freiburg.de/dotpub/sing.pdf
Sacred Law Reconsidered: The Structural Similarity of Islamic and Western Bioethical Discourses, in: Journal of Religious Ethics 36/1 (2008), p. 97–121.
Progressiver Islam in Theorie und Praxis. Die interne Kritik am hegemonialen islamischen Diskurs durch den roten Scheich 'Abdallah al-'Alayili (1914-1996), Würzburg: Ergon 2007.

Research projects:

Debates on Citizenship and Secularism in Semi-Colonial Egypt

Egypt became the main center of Arabic literary production and Islamic reform at the end of the nineteenth century. Various actors freely discussed the meanings of democracy, secularism, and independence as well as the significance of diverse cultural and religious identities. In the national independence movement and the political system, a secular consensus prevailed in the first half of the twentieth century. However, the 1929 Egyptian Nationality Law stipulated that only a person whose family had lived in Egypt since 1848 without interruption was an Egyptian. Thus, it discriminated against mobile Jewish, Greek, Italian, Armenian, and Syrian minorities, residing in Egypt since Ottoman times. By discussing the scope and limits of such concepts as democracy, secularism and citizenship in public debates, the research project aims to take a fresh look at the emergence of modern Egypt.

Secularization in Egypt between Border Crossing and Border Drawing

The research project of Manfred Sing investigates the ways in which Arab intellectuals and religious scholars adopted European concepts of religion in order to reject external stereotypes and, at the same time, to articulate the need for religious, social, and political reform.

Self-Determination under Occupation? Formation of the Modern Egypt, 1879–1956

This project explores the emergence of an independent Egyptian State and the institutions and practices thereof—an elaborate legal system and state medical apparatus, the election of an Egyptian parliament and promulgation of a constitution, and new understandings of citizenship and the rights and duties of the State—against the backdrop of transition from Ottoman rule, to British protectorate, through quasi-independence, toward greater autonomy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The leading research question is how modern Egypt came into being through multi-layered political, cultural, and religious negotiations of Ottoman, European, and Egyptian pasts.