New Perspectives on Old Traditions

The Arab world, from a different angle.

NYU Abu Dhabi scholars have produced an impressive collection of books and articles about the Arab world’s rich intellectual, religious, and cultural history.

Their work explores a range of topics from falconry, philosophy, poetry, and gender studies, to the history of oil and incense burners and has helped position NYUAD as a significant global contributor to humanities research on the Middle East and its geographical and historical connections.

Vice Provost of Intellectual and Cultural Outreach Reindert Falkenburg says NYU Abu Dhabi’s Humanities Research Fellowship Program, of which he is the principal investigator, “aims to create an energetic, multi-faceted research environment for the humanities,” and it has.

Since 2014, the program has awarded 37 fellowships to senior researchers and postdoctoral fellows from around the world, including a handful to PhD students from NYU New York. In that time, researchers have collectively produced more than 35 publications and held over 20 academic events, many attended by 100 or more international scholars.

The power of the program, Falkenburg says, is that it has the potential to reach out beyond Abu Dhabi. “We are open to a wide variety of disciplines, from history, culture and heritage, to museum studies, and all variations of humanities. We’ve received fantastic applications from young scholars as well as senior researchers at many of the world’s leading universities."

It’s critical research, which seeks to reflect the Arab world from various angles.

Martin Klimke

“Each fellow gets to host a mini-workshop where he or she can invite leading experts to Abu Dhabi to work on that particular project or research area, and that has been very successful,” explains Vice Provost of Academic Policies and Governance Martin Klimke, who's also the program head of history at NYU Abu Dhabi, and one of the fellowship's co-principal investigators.

The fellowship is open to scholars working in all areas of the humanities, but Klimke says specific themes have emerged in the program’s first five years, such as:

  • (Early) Islamic culture
  • Bedouin poetry
  • History and culture of falconry
  • Gulf Council Countries leadership studies
  • Museum and heritage studies

Topics are particularly relevant to the Gulf, Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia and often connect thematically to existing research initiatives in the divisions of Arts and Humanities and Social Science. Moving forward, Klimke expects to see even more crossovers and collaborations with researchers across NYU Abu Dhabi.

“It’s critical research, which seeks to reflect the Arab world from various angles: its rich literature and history, its cultural and artistic heritage, and its manifold connections with other cultures, past and present.”