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Lectures upon invitation


"How a Mirror of Princes became a Handbook of Popular Philosophy and Practical Ethics," Past and Future: Medieval Studies Today, 6th European Congress of Medieval Studies/ Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales (FIDEM), 2.9.18

A Rat and Its Redactors: Silent Co-Authorship in Kalīla wa-Dimna, Making the impossible possible: On the Methodology for Editing Medieval Works with Massive Manuscript Tradition, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa 28.6.2018

(with Marcus Pöckelmann, Universität Halle-Wittenberg), Adjusting LERA for the Comparison of Arabic Manuscripts of Kalīla wa-Dimna, 29th Digital Humanities Conference (DH2018), Mexico City, June 2018.

Ehekrach transkulturell. Ein Kapitel aus dem Fabelwerk Kalila und Dimna, Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, Freie Universität Berlin, 9.6.2018

Variations of Difference: Challenges in Editing Kalīla wa-Dimna, „Edition Practices,“ Anneliese-Maier-Project of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 1.6.2018.

Indian Wisdom in Kalīla wa-Dimna, Honorary Guest Speech, Approaches to the Study of Pre-modern Arabic Anthologies, American University of Beirut, 12.6.2018.

Goethe und Ta‘abbata Sharran: Seine dichterische Fassung des arabischen Klassikers, Master Class, Institut für Germanistik, Universität Osnabrück, 15.5.18.

Der Koran als Literatur, Ringvorlesung: Offenbarung und Sprache, Institut für islamische Theologie, Institut für katholische Theologie, Universität Osnabrück, 15.5.18.

Indian Wisdom in Kalīla and Dimna, The Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Universität Hamburg, 5.4.2018.

Three Copyists and a Rat: Anonymous redaction in manuscripts of Kalīla wa-Dimna, Distinguished Leibniz-Lecture, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, 15.2.2018.

Indian Wisdom in Kalīla wa-Dimna, Distinguished Leibniz-Lecture, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 13.2.2018.



“Arabic — My Inexhaustible Source” Keynote. Celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the German-Egyptian Year of Science and Technology, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), organized by the DAAD in cooperation with the STDF, Cairo 11/26/17

“Inconveniences of Book usage and possession in the Ninth century.” Media Transition and Cultural Debates in Arab Societies, Arab-German Young Academy (AGYA), Tunis, 11/24/17.

“The Arabic Anonymous in Kalīla and Dimna.” Anonymity in Premodernity, Kings College London, 11/17/17.

Kalila und Dimna: Standstill and New Solutions in a Complex Textual History”, research Cluster 1167 Power and Rule: Premodern Configurations in Transcultural Perspective, Universität Bonn, 7/7/17

“Union beyond the Grave in the Arabic Literary Tradition,” Opening Lecture, Islamic Eschatology New Perspectives, Humboldt Universität and Berlin-Brandenberg Academy of Sciences, 5/9/2017.

“Kalila and Dimna and Its Eastern-Western Literary Continuum,” Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, 2/22/2017.

“Sources on the Arabic Book revolution (9th century CE),” Universität Bonn, Internationales Forschnugscolloquium, 1/27/2017.


“Der Mond im Judentum, Christentum und Islam - Kalendarisch und Ikonographisch,” with Margit Kern and Hannna Liss, Berlin-Brandenberg Academy of Sciences and Zeiss-Grossplanetarium, Berlin, 11/24/2016.

“An Ottoman Manuscript Map of the Mediterranean as an Intersection of Theoretical and Practical Geographic Knowledge,” conference Knowledge is Power, University of Cyprus and Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, Nicosia, 11/4/2016.

“On the Two-Dimensional Page: The book in Abbasid times,” keynote lecture, Books in Motion conference, American University of Beirut, 5/5/2016.

“Modernity in the Ninth Century. The controversy around Abu Tammam ,” Leiden-Aramco Lecture on Arabic Language and Culture, LUCIS Institute, Leiden University, 2/4/2016.



“Des Dichters letztes Wort: (Pseudo?)-al-Shanfarā vs. Ibn al-Rūmī [The Poet’s Last Word: (Pseudo?)-al-Shanfarā vs. Ibn al- Rūmī],” Arabistisches Kolloquium über das Ende von Texten [Arabic Studies Colloquium on How Texts End], Bamberg University 2/6/2015.

“Abbasid Libraries,” international conference: Histories of Books in the Islamicate World: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid, 3/9/2015.

“More than a Sugar Box (Sukkardān),” international conference: The Sultan’s Anthologist: Ibn Abī Ḥajala and His Work, Universität Münster, 4/2/2015.

“On the Making of al-Ṣūlī’s Life and Times of Abū Tammām,” A Corpus not a Canon: The Library of Arabic Literature, Workshop, All Souls College, Oxford University, 4/25/2015 (on book published 2015a).

“Arabic—From the World, to the World,” keynote lecture, Five Years of Freie Universität Berlin Cairo Office, German Science Center (DWZ), Kairo, 5/15/2015.

“Of Rats and Wise Men—Versions of a Chapter in Kalīla wa-Dimna,” workshop: Translation and Transmission in the Eastern Mediterranean 500 B.C. – 1500 A.D., Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, Rom, 9/25/2015.

“Challenges and Changes in the Arabic Book Revolution,” international workshop: Media Transition in the Arab World: Actual and Historical Perspectives on Literature and Culture, Universität Münster, 10/30/2015.

“Die arabische Moderne im 9. Jahrhundert: Zur Kontroverse um Abū Tammām [Modernity in the Ninth Century: The Controversy around Abū Tammām],” Germanistisches Kolloquium [German Studies Colloquium], Osnabrück University, 12/9/2015.

Kalīla wa-Dimna—Wisdom Encoded,” Digital Arabic & Persian, Research Workshop, Digital Humanities, Universität Leipzig, 12/18/2015.



“How To Do Things with Arabic Poetry. Part I: A Survey of Its Genres, Themes and Social Context” and “Part II: The Modus Vivendi of Abbasid Poetry (8th – 10th Centuries) and the Birth of Arabic Poetics,” Master classes, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, 2014.

"The Information Age in the Ninth Century,” keynote lecture, Union Européenne des Islamisants et Arabisants, Helsinki, 2014.

“Establishing a Critical Edition: The example of Kalīla wa-Dimna,” international colloquium: Les Sept Sages et les Sept Viziers: vers une histoire comparée des textes, Université de Geneve, 11/7/2014.



“Leaving Home: Al-anīn ila l-awṭān and its alternatives in classical Arabic literature,” Princeton University, 2013 (publ. 2016c).

“Baghdad: Crossroads of literary conversations,” Baghdad — Space of Knowledge, TOPOI, Freie Universität Berlin, 8/21/2013 (in press).

“Wisdom from India in Pieces,” conference Transcultural Entanglements and Global Perspectives in the Pre-Modern World (Research Cluster 980 Episteme in Motion), Freie Universität Berlin, 7/12/2013;

Projet “Kalila wa Dimna” rencontre mi-parcours, Bibliothèque nationale de France – Université Paris-Sorbonne, 11/28/2013



“Buchkultur vor dem Buchdruck: Eine Fallstudie zum medialen Wandel im frühen 9. Jahrhundert [Book Culture before Book Print: A case study on the media change in the ninth century]” Freie Universität, Berlin, 2012.

“Diʿbil, Abū Tammām, and the Authority of the Notebook: Concepts of Authorship in Premodern Arabic Texts” Universität Bamberg in cooperation with University of Helsinki, 2012.

“Abbasid Poets and the Qurʾān,” The Qur’ān and Adab Traditions, The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS), London, 2012 (in press).

“Arabische Schrift als Chiffre und Spielfeld (Arabic Script as Code and Playing Field),” Symposium Götter und Schriften rund ums Mittelmeer [Symposium on Gods and Scripts around the Mediterranean], Center for Art and Media (ZKM), Karlsruhe, 2012 (publ. 2016b).

Warrāqūn: The unnamed agents of the Arabic book revolution,” The Globalization of Knowledge in the Mediterranean World of Post-Antiquity, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, 2012 (publ. 2016d).

“On Islamic Books,” Harvard University, History of the Book and Medieval Studies, 2012.



“Papyrus — Pergament —Papier: Über den medialen Wandel der arabischen Buchkultur [Papyrus – Parchment – Paper: On the media change of the Arabic book culture],” with Michael Marx, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2011 https://www.wiko-berlin.de/wikothek/lectures-on-film/2011-beatrice-gruendler-michael-marx/

“What Arabic Studies Can Contribute to Comparative Literature and Media History: Creative Poetics and Literary Debate in the Risāla Ḥātimiyya,” Comparative Philologies: Perspectives of Arabic Studies in the 21st Century, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Freie Universität Berlin, Junge Akademie, and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), 2011.

“Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurship, and the Free Sharing of Knowledge in Early Arabic Book Culture,” Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2011.

“Book Culture before Book Print: The Early History of Arabic Media,” American University of Beirut, The Margaret Weyerhaeuser Jewett Chair, Distinguished Lecturer Series, 2011 (publ. 2012b).

“Communicative Choices in Early Arabic-Islamic Book Culture,” Zukunftsphilologie (Revisiting Canons of Textual Practice), Friedrich Schegel Graduate School, Freie Universität Berlin, 2011.

“Pour une culture des médias arabes: la culture du livre à l’époque des Abbasides,” INALCO, Le Centre de Recherche Moyen-Orient Méditerranée (CERMOM), Paris, 2011.

“Divided Attitudes on the Homeland: Classical Arabic Precedents of the Motif,” Workshop Visions and Representations of Homeland in Modern Arabic Literature and Poetry, Lichtenberg Kolleg (Institute of Advanced Studies), Göttingen University, 2011 (publ. 2016c).

“Les versions de Kalīla wa-Dimna: und transmission et une circulation mouvantes,” 3e Colloque International Aliento: Enoncés sapientiels et littérature exemplaire, Center of Humanities, Nancy/INALCO, Paris, 2011 (publ. 2013a).

“Das arabische Buch als ‘Writing Space’ einer komplementären Kommunikation und Verteiler kosmopoliten Wissens [The Arabic Book as ‘Writing Space’ in a Complementary Communication and Dissemination of Cosmopolitan Knowledge],” Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, 2011.

Discussant, Methods of Digital Philology for the Study of Early and Classical Arabic Language, Berlin, European Science Foundation (ESF) Exploratory Workshop, 2011.



“Les concepts du livre et du savoir dans les préfaces de Kalīla wa-Dimna,” D’Orient en Occident: les recueils des fables enchassées avant les “Mille et une nuits” University of Geneva, 2010.

“Frühe islamische Buchkultur,” Forschungzentrum Gotha für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien [Research Center Gotha for cultural and social studies], Erfurt University, 2010.

“Pardon Those Who Love Passionately: A Theologian’s Endorsement of shahādat al-ʿishq,” Posthumous Love, Wissenschaftkolleg zu Berlin/Dahlem Humanities Center, Freie Universität Berlin, 2010 (publ. 2014a).

“Communicative Choices in Early Islamic Book Culture,” Institute of Advanced Study of Berlin [Wissenschaftskolleg], 2010.

“Survey of Papers and Discussion of the First Meeting” “Early Arabic-Islamic Book Culture” Conceptualizing Literary History: Foundations of Arabic Literature 7th to 17th Centuries, Second meeting, University of Paris VIII-St. Denis, INALCO and Sorbonne, 2010.



“Communicative Choices on the Eve of Arabic-Islamic Book-Culture (3rd/9th Century),” Convivencia Conference, Madrid, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 2009; German Oriental Institure, Beirut, 2009; Sabra Seminar on the History of Science and Culture in the Middle East, Harvard University, 2009.



“Farewell to Ghazal. Convention and Danger of the Arabic Love Lyric,” Poetry and History: The Value of Poetry in Reconstructing Arab History, The Americal University of Beirut, 2008; Colloquium lecture, The Major in the Humanities. Yale University, 2008 (publ. 2011a).

“Die Figur des Jesus in der arabischen Dichtung [The Figure of Jesus in Arabic Poetry],” Nachdenken über Epochengrenzen [Reflections on Boundaries of Periods], Symposium of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, 2008.

“Arabic-Islamic Book Culture: An Information Revolution in the 9th Century,” Boghazici University, Istanbul, 2008.



“Dem Ghazal Lebewohl! Konvention und Gefahr der Abbasidischen Liebeslyrik [Farewell to Ghazal. Convention and Danger of the Arabic Love Lyric],” Freie Universität Berlin, 2007.            

“Baghdad: Metropolis of the Pre-modern Near East,” PIER Outreach Program, Yale University, 2007.

“Pre-Modern Arabic Philologists: The Poet’s Friends of Foes?” Princeton University, History of Science Workshop, “Images of Philology,” 2007 (publ. 2011b).

“Having It Three Ways: The Vagaries of Short Vowels in the Arabic Alphabet,” Harvard University, Workshop on Semitic Philology, 2007.

“Creative Discontinuities between Pre-Modern Arabic Speech and Writing The Shape of Script: How and Why Writing Systems Change,” Colloquium, School of Advanced Research, Santa Fe, 2007 (publ. 2012c).                                                                                                                



“Why are Stories Told?” conference: The Arabian Nights — Eastern and Western Vantage Points, Harvard University, 2006.

“Objectivity and Fiction in Early Arabic Narrative,” Conference on The Sources and Art of the Arabic Novel, Yale University, 2006.



“Vowel vs. Consonant in the Arabic Script,” American Oriental Society, Plenary lecture, Philadelphia, 2005.



“Martyrs of Love in the Malady of Hearts (Iʿtilāl al-qulūb) by al-Kharāʾiṭī (d. 938),”

The Anis Makdisi Program in Literature, The American University in Beirut, 2004;

The Arabic Poetry Group, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, 2006.

“Bashshar’s Anti-Ghazals in Context: Two Poems by Bashshār b. Burd (713-83),” The Arabic Poetry Group, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 2004.

“How Arabic is the Arabic Language?” Opening Address, PIER Outreach Program, Yale University, 2004.

“Poetry in Action in Medieval Baghdad,” Council on Middle East Studies, Yale University, 2004.

“How to Do Things with Arabic Poetry,” Whitney Fellows Talk, Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, 2004.

“A Taste for the Abstract: Did Abbasid Audiences Appreciate Takhyīl?” The Arabic Poetry Group, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, 2004.

“Abstract Aesthetics and Practical Criticism in 9th Century Baghdad,” Center for Medieval and Byzantine Studies, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, 2004.



“The Story of the Stories of the Thousand and One Nights “ guest lecture in “World Literatures,” Dept. of Comparative Literature, Yale University, 2003.

“The Early Islamic Love Lyric and the Koran,” Faculty Seminar on Cultural Esthetics, Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, 2003.

“Sunnites, Shiites, and Institutions of Learning Panel: Iraq beyond the Headlines,” Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Yale University, 2003.

“Burning Libraries,” Panel: Iraq after the War, Yale Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University, 2003.

“Before Love Martyrdom: A Survey of Its Elements in al- Kharāʾiṭī’s Malady of the Hearts,” Colloquium: Martyrdom and Modernity, Working Group Modernity and Islam: Cultural Mobility in Near Eastern Literatures, Institute of Advanced Studies of Berlin [Wissenschaftkolleg], 2003 (publ. 2004d).

Takhyīl in Practical Criticsm of 9th Century Audiences,” workshop: Imagining and Imagination in Arabic Poetry, St. Johns College, University of Oxford, 2003 (publ. 2008d).       



Respondent to “Beautiful Monsters — Lessing’s Critique of Martyrdom” by Rainer Meyer-Kalkus, Colloquium on Martyrdom and Modernity, Working Group Modernity and Islam: Cultural Mobility in Near Eastern Literatures, Institute of Advanced Studies of Berlin [Wissenschaftskolleg], 2002.



“Verse and Taxes: The Function of Poetry in Literary Akhbār,” workshop Medieval Arabic Literature: Defining Fiction and Adab, New York University, 2000 (publ. 2005d).

“The Ghazal: Reflections and an Example of Its Curious Power of Survival,” Colloquium: The Middle East and The World — Literary Encounters, Washington University, St. Louis, 2000.      



“Motif vs. Genre: Reflections on the Dīwān al-Maʿānī of Abū Hilāl al-ʿAskarī” International Symposium: Ghazal as a Genre of World Literature, Orient Institute of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, Beirut, 1999; Yale University, Yale Arabic Colloquium, 1999 (publ. 2005b).



“The Binary World of innamā: Practice and Theory of the Use of the Particle,” with Dimitri Gutas and David Reisman, inaugural meeting, Yale Arabic Colloquium, Yale University, 1998.

“The Concept of Canon in Ancient Near Eastern, Arabic and Chinese Literature” with Beatrice Bartlett (Chinese Studies) and William Hallo (Assyriology), Yale University, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in conjunction with the New Haven Oriental Club, 1998.

“Emulation and Plagiarism in the Poetry of Ibn Darrāj al-Qasṭallī,” workshop Medieval Arabic Literature, New York University, 1998 (publ. 2008c).



“Andalusian Voices: A Sampling of Praise Poetry from the Late Umayyads to the Almohads,” Columbia University, University Seminar in Arabic Studies, 1997 (publ. 2000c).

Aṣwāt min al-gharb: mukhtārāt min al-madīḥ al-andalusī [Voices from the West: Selections of Andalusian Verse],” Princeton University, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Arabic Lecture Series, 1997 (publ. 2001b).                                                                                           

“The Motif of Marriage in Some Abbasid Panegyrics,” New York University Workshop in Medieval Arabic Literature, 1997 (publ. 1999).                                                                               



Taṭawwur al-khaṭṭ al-ʿarabī [The Development of the Arabic Script”],” Michigan University, Ann Arbor, 1996.                                                                                                                          



"‘Intercession’ as Indicator for the Changing Status of ‘Abbāsid Professional Poetry,” Center of Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, 1992.

“Shifting Poet and Changing Voices. An Analysis of Ibn al-Rūmī's Panegyric Poetry,” Center of Literary and Cultural Studies, Harvard University, 1992.

Conference lectures 


Functions of the Book in Kalīla wa-Dimna, Union Européenne des Islamisants et Arabisants (UEAI), Münster, 10.-14.9.2018.



“Two Kinds of Friends: Opinions of a Rat in Kalīla wa-Dimna,” Deutscher Orientalistentag (DOT) of the the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft (DMG), Jena, 9/20/17.



“Variations of a Chapter in Kalīla wa-Dimna,” Union Européenne des Islamisants et Arabisants (UEAI), Palermo, 2016.



“The Dialogical Nature of Arabic Rhetoric,” International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR), Tübingen, 2015.



“Book Culture before Book Print: A case study in media change,” School of Abbasid Studies,” Exeter University, 2012.



“Performing Majnūn: From Ibn Qutayba’s (d. 899) narrative to Helen Picket’s choreography,” World Literature and Translation,The New York University Abu Dhabi Institute, Abu Dhabi, 2011.



“Difference of Differences: The roles of the prefaces vs. the tales of Kalīla wa-Dimna in the project of a critical tradition,” Union Européenne des Islamisants et Arabisants (UEAI), Naples, 2010.



“Attitudes to Abbasid Poetry in Its Written Form,” American Oriental Society, Albuquerque, 2009.

“The Messiah in Classical Arabic Poetry,” Symposium: Roads to Paradise, Göttingen University, 2009; The American Comparative Literature Association, Boston, 2009.

“Poets’ Communicative Choices on the Eve of Arabic-Islamic Book Culture (3rd century AH/9th century CE),” Middle East Studies of America, Boston, 2009.



“Royal Brevity in the Early Islamic Appeals Court (Maẓālim),” Union Européenne des Islamisants et Arabisants (UEAI), Leipzig, 2008; The School of Abbasid Studies (SAS), Cambridge University, 2008; American Oriental Society, Chicago, 2008 (publ. 2009a).



“The Reconstruction of the Abbasid Qaṣīda in Performance and Reception,”  The American Oriental Society, Seattle, 2006 (publ. 2007b).

“Convention and Danger of the Abbasid Ghazal,” University of St. Andrews, The School of Abbasid Studies, 2006; Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants (UEAI) Sassari, Sardinia, 2006.



“Martyrs of Love in the Malady of Hearts (Iʿtilāl al-qulūb) by al-Kharāʾiṭī (d. 938),” American Oriental Society, San Diego, 2004.



“The Qaṣīda in Action: The Prose Dramaturgy of a Poetic Form,” Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants (UEAI), Palermo, Italy, 2002.



“Spoken and Written Verse in Early Literary Akhbār,” American Oriental Society, Toronto, 2001 (supported by the ILEX Foundation).



“The Social Context of Poetry in the Late 3rd/9th Century,” Writing the Middle East, British Society of Middle East Studies, University of Cambridge, UK, 2000 (publ. 2005c).



“Emulation and Plagiarism in the Poetry of Ibn Darrāj al-Qasṭallī,” American Oriental Society, New Orleans, 1998.                                                                                                                       



“Dramatic Discourse and Speech Act Theory,” Workshop: Modern Literary Theory and Its Application to Classical Arabic Literature, Harvard University, 1995.

“The Image of the Ruler in Medieval Arabic Madīḥ,” Middle East Studies of America, Washington, DC, 1995.

“Analyseansatz zum Madīḥ des Ibn ar-Rūmī [An Analytic Approach to the Madīḥ of Ibn ar-Rūmī]” Panel: Theoretische Wege zur arabischen Literatur: Neue Perspektiven und Projekte [Theoretical Approaches to Arabic Literature: New Perspectives and Projects], 26th Meeting, German Oriental Society (DMG), Leipzig, 1995 (publ. 2000b).



“Forms of Address in Abbasid Praise Poetry,” Middle East Studies of America, Research Triangle Park, NC, 1993.