Research

Philological, cultural, and historical research at the Department of Near Eastern Studies treats essentially the entire Near and Middle East, including neighboring areas heavily influenced by these regions (particularly North Africa, Central Asia, and the Balkans). The required areas of emphasis are derived from the scientific disciplines primarily represented at the Institute: Ancient Near Eastern Studies (Assyriology), including Near Eastern Archeology; Arabic Studies; Islamic Studies; and Turkish Studies. An extension of this range of subjects, particularly in the fields of Iranian Studies and South Arabian Studies, is being sought or has already been initiated. The internal connection of these historical as well as contemporary subjects is the product of the cultural and linguistic continuity that characterizes the past and present of the Near and Middle East. It is reflected in interdisciplinary research interests and in the interdisciplinary training of students on the Bachelor’s level, to which all disciplines represented at the institute contribute.

Ancient Near Eastern Studies (Assyriology) and Near Eastern Archaeology deal with the languages, culture and material legacy of the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia. Our philological and historical work and the strongly research-oriented teaching concentrate above all on cuneiform texts in Sumerian and Assyrian Babylonian. In Vienna, the main research areas, including third-party funded projects, are in the area of Mesopotamian social and economic history and the history of religion. As a necessary complement to this, the Near Eastern Archaeology division deals with practical field research as well as with the art historical and architectural developments in Mesopotamian materials.

Arabic in all its forms is the primary object of Arabic Studies. At the University of Vienna, the Arabic Studies Programme is seat of one of the leading research groups in the field of Arabic dialectology in Europe. Thus, field research funded by third parties and in-the-field documentation of spoken varieties of contemporary Arabic are frequently at the center of research. The strong contemporary relevance of this work and its concern with non-normative or elite cultural expressions results in a secondary research focus in the fields of popular culture and popular religion in the Islamic world. Here one finds essential references to Islamic Studies, which examines the entire range of religious phenomena in the realm of Islam, including Islamic law. At the University of Vienna, research in Islamic Studies is very strongly related to the present. Key topics include research on jihad and on the ways in which Islam is displayed on the Internet. For this, a project funded by a third party has been established at the Institute.

As a philological discipline, Turkish Studies at the University of Vienna deals primarily with Turkish in the broader context of other Turkic languages. The focus of our research is on the various forms of Ottoman Turkish. Our historical, cultural, and scientific research has Ottoman Studies as its main focus. A typical form of our work is the publication of text-critical editions with commentary, for which we are able to draw most notably from the rich Viennese archival holdings