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Victoria Mummelthei, M.A.

Victoria Mummelthei
Image Credit: privat

Seminar für Semitistik und Arabistik

Arabic Studies

Lecturer and Researcher

Deputy academic advisor for the master’s programs Arabic Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East (ISME); responsible for scholarly communication of Arabic Studies and ISME and the ERC project "Kalīla and Dimna - AnonymClassic"

Office hours

Only by prior appointment via Acuity Scheduling:  https://mummelthei.as.me/ (Please see the notes on the General Data Protection Regulation here.)

As a student at Freie Universität Berlin, please use your ZeDat mail address for communication. 

Professional Career

From 2015 Research associate (praedoc), Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, subject area: Arabic studies; fields of research: modern Arabic literature, literary and translation theory, Arab folklore, digital humanities.
2012–2015 Studies of Arabic language and literature, Kurdish (Northern Kurdish/Kurmancî) language and literature, poetics of translation (courses in frame of August Wilhelm von Schlegel Guest Lectures), Freie Universität Berlin, degree: Master of Arts (M.A., 1,0), thesis: Sadness in the love poetry of Nizar Qabbani
2011–2014 Project assistance, Institute for Kurdish Studies, Berlin, field of work: dictionaries (Central Kurdish/Soranî and Northern Kurdish/Kurmancî)
2012–2014 Student assistant, Institute for Iranian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, area of studies: Kurdish studies
2010–2012 Student assistant, Institute of Islamic Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, area of studies: ERC-project Rediscovering Theological Rationalism in the Medieval World of Islam, rsearch unit Intellectual History of the Islamicate World (under the direction of Prof. Dr. Sabine Schmidtke)
2008–2012 Studies of Arabic language and literature, Persian and Kurdish (Central Kurdish/Soranî), poetics of translation (courses in frame of August Wilhelm von Schlegel Guest Lectures), Freie Universität Berlin, degree: Bachelor of Arts (B.A., 1,0), thesis: The "uncanny" woman in Surat Yusuf
2005/6 Stay abroad in United Arab Emirates

Academic Administration

Since April 2020 Deputy academic advisor master's programme Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East
Since February 2019 Representative of the research associates within the Department Council of the Department of History and Cultural Studies
Since July 2018 Member of a working group on the conception of an English-language master's program in Arabic, Iranian, Islamic, Jewish and Semitic Studies as well as Turkology.
Since 2017 Member of  the Digital Humanities working group of the Department of History and Cultural Studies

Since April 2016

Responsible for internet and Facebook pages of Arabic Studies (as well as the affiliated ERC projects since 2018)

Since April 2015

Deputy academic advisor master's programme Arabic Studies

Conference and event organisation

Since 2016 regularly June of each year

Planning and coordinating the programme of events for the Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies within the framework of the Long Night of Sciences (Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften)

March 2018 Documents and Manuscripts in the Arab-Islamic World, The Seventh International Society of Arabic Papyrology (ISAP) conference, co-organized with the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Humboldt Universität, Papyrus Collection of the Egyptian Museum, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz.


2018 Funding for an innovative teaching project by the SUPPORT für die Lehre of Freie Universität Berlin
Seminar "Thousand and One Nights"
Summer 2018
Co-developed and co-taught with Kathrin Wittler of the Peter Szondi Institute for Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin
50 students from both Arabic Studies and Comparative Literatures
Two integrated poster sessions


Victoria Mummelthei teaches courses for students of bachelor's as well as master's programmes, esp. in modules concerning Arabic literature.

Courses in winter 2020/2021

Courses in summer 2020

  • 14286 Semimar
    Araber und Orient in Hollywood (Victoria Mummelthei)
    Zeit: Di 21.04. 16:00-17:00 (Erster Termin: 21.04.2020)
    Ort: Online! Blackboard + Cisco WebEx
  • 14293 Hauptseminar
    Arabistik online - wie geht das? (Victoria Mummelthei)
    Zeit: Di 21.04. 12:00-13:00 (Erster Termin: 21.04.2020)
    Ort: Online! Blackboard + Cisco WebEx

Courses in winter 2019/2020

Courses in summer 2019

  • 14286 Lektürekurs
    Dichtung von Nizar Qabbani (Victoria Mummelthei)
    Zeit: Mo 10:00-12:00 (Erster Termin: 08.04.2019)
    Ort: 2.2059 Seminarraum (Fabeckstr. 23-25)

Courses in summer 2018

  • 14282 Seminar
    Tausendundeine Nacht (Victoria Mummelthei)
    Zeit: Di 12:00-14:00 (Erster Termin: 17.04.2018)
    Ort: 2.2058 Seminarraum (Fabeckstr. 23-25)

Courses in winter 2017/18

Courses in summer 2017

  • 14285 Vertiefungsseminar
    Koran und Literaturtheorie (Victoria Mummelthei)
    Zeit: Mo 14:00-16:00 (Erster Termin: 24.04.2017)
    Ort: 1.2052 Seminarraum (Fabeckstr. 23-25)

Courses in winter 2016/17

Courses in summer 2016

Courses in winter 2015/16

Courses in summer 2015

PhD project:

The Sea and the Beloved – A corpus-linguistic study of frequencies, keywords, and topics in the poetry of the Syrian writer Nizar Qabbani (1923–1998)

This thesis evolved from exploring a corpus of 1021 poems from 44 volumes of poetry by the Syrian poet and diplomat Nizar Qabbani (1923–1998). Statistical investigations with the corpus analysis tools Voyant and SketchEngine reinforced some of the ‘prejudices’ that both Arab and non-Arab readers and scholars usually harbour towards Qabbani’s texts: That they are mainly about women and love.

However, a distant reading using computations of frequencies, statistical keywords and topics yielded an unexpected result: The sea (Arabic al-baḥr) is the most frequently referenced geophysical entity; in 1021 texts, the type al-baḥr ‘the sea’ appears 265 times, and derivatives of bḥr, whose semantics are mainly related to the sea, 554 times, distributed over 286 of the 1021 texts. The review of these 286 texts revealed that bḥr-words have a particular effect when they’re used in the microcosm of a love relationship to characterise the addressee – the beloved woman. 75 poems show that &bḥr-words can be employed in three ways to conceptualise the beloved:

(1) she’s equated with the sea or marine and maritime entities such as fish and harbours;

(2) she has power over the sea, dominates it or even possesses it;

(3) her body – especially the eyes – is associated with the sea, or with the marine and maritime.

A close reading of 39 of these 75 poems supported by data visualisations with RAWgraphs evidenced that, cognitive-linguistically in the sense of George Lako7, various paraphiers of the source domain SEA come to e7ect when conceptualising the beloved as a target domain; most analogies, however, result from sensually perceptible qualities such as the colour of the sea. While in Arab literary discourse the focus is more on the land, Qabbani’s poetry bears a holistic understanding of the sea – including marine >ora and fauna, maritime aspects of seafaring, and the seascape – which inspires to read Arabic literature ecocentrically in general and thalassologically in particular.

Tags: corpus stylistics – style markers – love poetry – quantification – frequency analysis – keyword analysis – topic modelling –  imagery – metaphor – data visualisation – ...

Focus of research:

  • Linguistics of Arabic in Arabic literature,
  • Arabic literature as world literature,
  • translation Studies,
  • Arabic studies as a literary, cultural and linguistic discipline,
  • "Orientalism" in literature, music, performing and visual arts.

Further fields of interest:

  • scholarly communication,
  • digital scholarship, esp. visualisations of corpus-analysis data,
  • metaphor and motif research,
  • emotion research,
  • expressionist literature,
  • lyrics as literature,
  • film studies.