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Bülent Bilmez teaches at the History Department of İstanbul Bilgi University since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from the Institute of Moderne Vorderasienstudein at Humboldt University, in Berlin (1998). The amended Turkish version of his PhD dissertation on the Eurocentric Modern Standardization Process in Modern Turkey was published in Istanbul in 2000. Before starting his work at İstanbul Bilgi University, he had taught at Freie Universität Berlin (1995-98), Elbasan Alexander Xhuvani University in Albania (1998-2001), and Yeditepe University in Istanbul (2000-2004). In the academic year of 2018-19, he taught as Aziz Nesin Guest Professor at the Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) and co-taught a course as a Guest Professor in the History Department of HumboldtUniversität zu Berlin, Berlin. The scope of his research, teaching and publishing includes: discursive construction of modern collective identities; cultural plurality, minorities and minority politics in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey; oral history, collective memory and confronting the past; history of Turkish Republic; modern history of the Balkans (especially Albanian history); socio-economic, intellectual and political modernization processes in the late Ottoman Empire; theories of (under)development, modernization, imperialism and globalization.

Massimo Leone is Full Tenured Professor (“Professore Ordinario”) of Semiotics, Cultural Semiotics, and Visual Semiotics at the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, University of Turin, Italy and Permanent Part-Time Visiting Full Professor of Semiotics in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, University of Shanghai, China. He is a 2018 ERC Consolidator Grant recipient, the most important and competitive research grant in Europe. His work focuses on the role of religion in modern and contemporary cultures. Massimo Leone has single-authored nine books, edited more than thirty collective volumes, and published four hundred and fifty articles in semiotics and religious studies. He has lectured in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. He is the chief editor of Lexia, the Semiotic Journal of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Communication, University of Turin, Italy, and editor of the book series “I Saggi di Lexia” (Rome: Aracne) and “Semiotics of Religion” (Berlin and Boston: Walter de Gruyter). He is currently vice-director for research at the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, University of Turin, Italy.

Magdalena Lubańska is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Warsaw, head of Centre for Anthropological Studies on Orthodox Christianity, author of “Muslims and Christians in the Bulgarian Rhodopes. Studies on Religious (Anti)Syncretism”, De Gruyter 2016. Her main research areas as an anthropologist of religion include anthropology of Christianity, interactions between Muslims and Christians in post-Ottoman territories, religious (anti)syncretism, sacrificial rites, embodied religion, agency of things, healing practices, material religion, secularization and post-secularism. Her most recent book: “Praktyki lecznicze w prawosławnych monasterach w Bułgarii. Perspektywa antropologii (post)sekularnej”, Warszawa: WUW, 2019 (Healing practices in the Orthodox monasteries in Bulgaria. The perspective of (post)secular anthroplogy” has been published this year and is under review in the process of “habilitation”.


in alphabetical order

Percy Arfeen holds a Masters in Ancient History from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, India. She then studied West Syriac and Sanskrit in Kerala following which she received the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) full scholarship to pursue her Doctoral research in Germany at the Centre for Religious Studies (CERES) at RU, Bochum. She is currently in her early second year of her doctoral research on Material culture of Sacred Spaces, 13th – 17th century CE Kerala, South India; under the supervision of Dr. Jessie Pons, based at her host institute and Dr. Ophira Gamliel, based in Glasgow University, UK.

Gruia Bădescu is a Balzan Prize Fellow at the University of Konstanz. He holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of Cambridge, with a dissertation on the relationship between post-war urban reconstruction and dealing with the past in Sarajevo and Belgrade. He has been a Departmental Lecturer and a research associate at the School of Geography at the University of Oxford, a researcher at New Europe College, and a visiting fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz and at the Center for Refugee and IDP Studies, University of Sarajevo. Gruia has published articles and book chapters on post-war reconstruction in Belgrade, Sarajevo, and Beirut and is now completing a monograph on the relationship between urban rebuilding and the sociopolitical processes of dealing with a difficult past. His current research at the University of Konstanz examines practices of syncretic place-making in and beyond Sarajevo.

Marko Barišić is an archaeologist and, at present, a PhD candidate and a graduate teaching assistant in social anthropology at the University of Kent. His current research focuses on mixed sacred landscapes in central Bosnia-Herzegovina with an emphasis on local Catholicism. Simultaneously, Marko is involved in numerous activist projects in Mostar concerning the use of public space, shared cultural heritage and the encouragement of increased political involvement amongst youth. His most recent activity is being a member of a team that endeavours to establish a free-access library which promotes alternative and subversive literature.

Ljatif Demir was born in 1961 in Skopje. He graduated General and Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Philology “Blaže Koneski”, University SS. “Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje.  He defended his doctoral thesis titled “Literary and Linguistic Aspects of Yerli Roma Culture in Macedonia” at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Demir is awarded Roma poet, author of short stories, and linguistic works and researches related to the Romani language, literature and culture.  He is coauthor of the History of Roma, Romani – Macedonian Dictionary, Croatian – Romani Dictionary, Romani Language Grammar, and textbooks for teaching Romani in the primary schools in Kosovo and Macedonia. Since 2016 he is employee at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, Department of Indology and Far East Studies MA studies of Romistics and teaches Romani language, literature, culture and history.

Olimpia Dragouni is a researcher at Humboldt University of Berlin working on “Shared Places of Cult of Muslims and Christians in Macedonia in everyday praxis and as seen by Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh)”, a post-doctoral project supported by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung. Having been trained in political sciences, Arabic and Islamic studies and Islamic theology, with fieldwork experience in North Macedonia (2011, 2013, 2016-2018), BosniaHercegovina (2013-2016) and Greece (2016-2018), her research addresses practical and discursive processes that characterize contacts between Greece and North Macedonia, as well as Islam in the Balkans in its doctrinal and performative varieties, inter-faith dialogue, cross-cultural contacts, discourse analysis, politicization of religion,nationalities and nationalisms, genocide studies.

Patrick Franke is professor of Islamic Studies and member of the management team of the Centre for Interreligious Studies at the University of Bamberg. His research focuses on the history of Islamic thought in the early modern period, Shi’i currents (Alawites, Twelver-Shiis) and the history of Islamic sexual ethics. He was especially influential with his monograph on the figure of Khidr, an Islamic counterpart of Jewish Elijah (Begegnung mit Khidr – Quellenstudien zum Imaginären im traditionellen Islam, BeirutStuttgart 2000). His other publications include “Are the parents of the Prophet in Hell? Tracing the history of a debate in Sunnī Islam” in Bamberger Orientstudien 1 (2014) and “Islam: State and Religion in Modern Europe” in European History online (2016). Since 2013, he is engaged in building up the Bamberger Islam-Enzyklopädie, a novel online reference work on the history of Islam integrated in German Wikipedia.

Dragi Gjorgiev is the Head of the Institute for National History in Skopje, full professor at the same Institute and specialises in the socio-economic and cultural history of the Balkans during Ottoman rule. He is a Correspondent Member of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, an Honorary Member of the Turkish Historical Society and a professor at the Institute of National History within its Cultural History of Macedonia Ph.D. programme. He served as president of the Association of Historians of the Republic of Macedonia from 2004–2006 and was a member of the Center for Ottoman Studies (Belgrade). He is editor-in-chief of the journal „Glasnik“ of the Institute of National History, as well as a member of several other scientific boards of foreign historical journals. His most recent monograph is  [Turkish Documents on the History of Macedonia. Censuses from the 19th Century] (2018; in Macedonian).

Dženita Karić is an intellectual historian and a teaching fellow at University of Tübingen who primarily focuses on religious transformations in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Bosnia. She received her PhD (SOAS, University in London) in 2018 with a thesis titled “Multiple Paths to the Holy: Continuity and Change in Bosnian Hajj Literature”. She has written several articles (BJMES, POF) and encyclopedia articles and is currently preparing her book for publication.

Marzena Maciulewicz is a PhD candidate within the scope of Joint Trans-Disciplinary Doctoral Studies at the Faculty of ‘Artes Liberales’, University of Warsaw. Graduated from Western and Southern Slavic Studies, (MA, Cultural Studies) and East European and Central Asian Studies (MA, East European Studies), University of Warsaw. Awarded with the following scholarships: Erasmus Mundus Sigma Agile (University of Niš, 2015/2016), Central European Exchange Program for University Studies (University of Pristina, 2017), International Visegrad Fund (University of Belgrade, 2017/2018) and the UN Mission in Kosovo small grant for the inter-ethnic project in the framework of Youth4Youth Program (2017). The secretary of the Polish Commission of Balkan Culture and History AIESEE (2015-2018). Currently employed as coordinator of Research Support Office in Institute of Slavic Studies PAS.

Tomasz Rawski is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw, researcher at the Post-Yugoslav Area Research Center (PROP). In 2018 he completed with distinction his PhD thesis on Bosniak nation-building and memory politics in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. He graduated from Sociology and South Slavic Studies at the University of Warsaw. He was a scholarship holder of, among others, University College London, Uppsala University and the University of Sarajevo fellowships. His research interests follow two main directions: (1) symbolic politics, nation- and statebuilding in Eastern and Southeastern Europe; (2) sociology of East European film. His latest book Bosniak nationalism. Strategies of nation-building after 1995 has been published in 2019 in Polish (Scholar), and in 2020 will be published in English.

Evelyn Reuter studied Ethnology, Protestant Theology and South Eastern European Studies at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (2007-2011) and at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (2011-2014). Since 2016, she has been a PhD candidate in the South Eastern European Studies at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. The working title of the dissertation is “Interreligious Christian-Muslim Saints Veneration in South-eastern Europe by the Example of Naum” („Interreligiöse christlich-islamische Heiligenverehrung in Südosteuropa am Beispiel Naums“). For her dissertation she received scholarships from the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst e.V. and from the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) Mainz. Her research interests include: Balkans as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious space, religious minorities, veneration of saints, Islam in the Balkans, Sufi Orders, culture of remembrance, shared religious places.

Agata Rogoś is a post-doc fellow of Fritz Thyssen Stiftung at the Humboldt University of Berlin where she develops her research project “Transmigrant Albanian Communities in Berlin”. She has worked in a DFG project based on borderland discourses in Albania and Macedonia led by prof. Christian Voß. She defended her PhD thesis on Slavic and Albanian collective memory and contemporary identity discourses in Macedonia at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland). Her research addresses the interface of visual culture, anthropology and memory studies, and focuses on South Slavic-Albanian borderlands. She has published extensively on issues of collective memory and identity discourses in the Balkans.

Thomas Schad is a Phd Candidate at the Department of Southeast European History, HU. Upon his two years stay (2000-2002) in Sarajevo, he was one of the founding members of the Campaign for Conscientious Objection in BiH. He studied East-European Studies, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and Political Science in Berlin and Istanbul. One of his main interests is the history of the post-Ottoman Balkans and Turkey. He graduated from Freie Universität and Humboldt-Universität in Berlin (Magister Artium). From 2009-2013, he worked at the International Office of FU, and from 10/2013, he is a member of Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, enrolled as a doctoral student at HU’s Department of Southeast European History.

Katarzyna Sidło is an arabist and economist specializing in the political economy of the broadly understood MENA region, with a specific focus on the EU Southern Neighborhood. She gained her professional and research experience in Poland, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and the United Kingdom. Educated at the University of Warsaw, School of Oriental and African Studies, and the University of Jordan, Katarzyna Sidło holds a PhD (summa cum laude) from the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw, an MA in Arabic and Islamic Studies, and a BSc in Economics. Currently, she is a Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research and serves as an Editor at Islamic Legal Studies Program (ILSP): SHARIAsource at Harvard Law School. Previously, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Carol Silverman is a Professor of Anthropology/Folklore and Public Culture at the University of Oregon, has been involved with Balkan culture for over 40 years as a researcher, teacher, activist, and performer.  Focusing on Roma in Bulgaria and Macedonia and the American and West European Romani diasporas, her research explores the intersection of politics, music, human rights, religion, gender, and state policy with a focus on issues of representation. Her book Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora (Oxford University Press) won the 2013 book prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. She is curator of Balkan Music for the international digital RomArchive and Board member of the American-based NGO Voice of Roma. Her recent articles appear in Critical Romani Studies, Western Folklore, Ethnomusicology Forum, Oregon Historical Quarterly, and the edited volumes The Romani Women’s Movement and Music in the American Diasporic Wedding.

Krzysztof Skonieczny is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw. His interests include contemporary French philosophy, animal studies and the question of atheism. He co-edited (with Szymon Wróbel) Ateizm. Próba dokończenia projektu (DiG 2018) and Atheism Revisited. Rethinking Modernity and Inventing New Modes of Life (Palgrave 2020, in production). He recently finished his first book, Immanence and the Animal. A Conceptual Inquiry (Routledge, 2020, in production).

Christian Voß is a Professor and Head of the Department for South Slavic Studies at Humboldt University of Berlin since 2006. His research addresses the interface of sociolinguistics, historiography, and anthropology. He is the principal researcher in several research projects, e.g. „Melting Borders” between North Macedonia and Greece, on identity issues among Balkan Muslims, on linguistic gender mainstreaming in Croatia, Serbia, and Albania, and on the historical boundaries in the Albanian-Macedonian contact zone. Since 2016, he is the director of the newly founded Interdisciplinary Center for transnational border research „Crossing Borders“ and supervisor of the emerging Competence Network „Liberal Arts in the Western Balkans“.