Asia-Africa Institute

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The Asia-Africa Institute is an institution of the University of Hamburg with departments for African , Ethiopian , Austronesian , Indology , Iranian Studies , Islamic Studies , Japanese Studies , Korean Studies , Chinese Studies , Thai Studies , Tibetan Studies , Turkish Studies and Vietnamese Studies .


Main article: Hamburg Colonial Institute

Departments of the Asia-Africa Institute

Department of Language and Culture of Japan

  • Japanology
Entrance to the Asia-Africa Institute

The first German chair for the language and culture of Japan was established in Hamburg in 1914. The main interest of his founding ordinary, Karl Florenz, was in pre-modern literature and religion, but modern Japan was by no means neglected in teaching. Wilhelm Gundert took over the management in 1936, but was relieved of his teaching duties in 1945 due to his role in university politics during the Nazi era. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Oscar Benl taught as a literary scholar and translator and Günther Wenck (1916–1992) as a linguist. From 1957 to 1978 Géza Siegfried Dombrady taught (literature), from 1983 to 2005 Roland Schneider (language and literature of the Middle Ages), from 1987 to 1993 Klaus Antoni (cultural anthropology), from 1994 Manfred Pohl (state, politics and society), from 1995 until 1999 Kay Genenz (cultural development and language didactics) and since 2006 Jörg B. Quenzer (literature, intellectual and cultural history) at the seminar.

In addition to the publications of the OAG Hamburg (News of the Society for Natural and Ethnic Studies of East Asia (NOAG)) and communications of the Society for Natural and Ethnic Studies of East Asia (MOAG), the department, together with Sinology, also oversees the East Asian scientific journal Oriens Extremus .

Department of Language and Culture of China

The Chinese Language and Culture Department has a Korean Studies department. The department publishes the refereed journal Oriens Extremus .

  • Sinology

The Department of Language and Culture of China mainly offers the two courses “International Bachelor of Arts East Asia / Sinology” and “Economics and Culture of China (BA)”, as well as a Masters program in Sinology .

The expiring Magister Sinology in Hamburg is divided into the courses “Language and Literature of China” (Sinology I) and “State and Society of China” (Sinology II). Students had the opportunity to choose one of the two directions as a major and the other as a minor.

The two professorships in the field of Sinology are held by Michael Friedrich and Kai Vogelsang . There is also a professorship in the Korean Studies department.

  • Korean Studies

The department for Korean Studies has a professorship, which has been filled by Yvonne Schulz Zinda since 2012.

Department of Languages ​​and Cultures of Southeast Asia

  • Austronesian Studies (Indonesian and South Seas languages)

The academic study of the Austronesian language area goes back to the Hamburg Colonial Institute (founded in 1908). In 1931, Austronesian Studies was established as an independent field, then known as “Indonesian and Oceanic Studies”. Under the first director of the department, Otto Dempwolff, historical and comparative linguistics were the focus of research and teaching. Dempwolff's publications on phonology and his lexicon of Proto-Austronesian laid the foundation for contemporary historical studies. His successors Walther Aichele, Hans Kähler and Lode F. Brakel moved literary and cultural topics more to the fore. In 1990 Rainer Carle took up his position as professor for Austronesian Studies. He received his doctorate in the field of Austronesian and habilitated with a thesis on Opera Batak, the Toba Batak traveling theater in North Sumatra. He was supported for many years by the research assistant Martina Heinschke and the research assistant Arndt Graf as well as by the lecturer for the Indonesian language Dami Toda, who suddenly died in 2006. Monika Arnez has been junior professor for Austronesian Studies since April 2009 and Yanti Mirdayanti has been editing the Indonesian language since April 2010. The integration of Austronesian Studies into the Southeast Asia Department, which took place in 2005 together with Thai and Vietnamese Studies, the joint BA and MA courses as well as the cooperation with related subjects at the Asia-Africa Institute offer a variety of cooperation and development opportunities for Subject. Current research focuses on the modern literature of Indonesia as well as developments in the religions of the region, especially Islam. In teaching, we want to cover the entire breadth of the subject so that a large number of topics in the areas of language, literature, culture and history are covered. Four doctoral students are currently writing dissertations in the fields of religion, medicine and linguistics.

Languages ​​and Cultures of the Southeast Asian Mainland

  • Thai Studies

The beginnings of Thai studies in Hamburg go back to 1958. At the initiative of the Japanologist Oscar Benl, a teaching office for the Thai language was set up at the Chinese seminar. In the early years, the lecturer Luang Kee Kirati, who had already taught Thai under Walter Trittel in Berlin in the 1930s, played a prominent role in developing Thai studies. He was assisted by Klaus Wenk , who has a doctorate in law and primarily devoted himself to research into classical literature and Thai art. In 1970 Wenk was appointed professor of languages ​​and cultures of the Southeast Asian mainland at the newly established department of Thailand, Burma and Indochina, which he headed for the next 22 years. Also from 1970 until his untimely death in 1988, Klaus Rosenberg, whose main focus was on Thai philology, was a professor in the department. When his mother also died in August 1997, she had decreed in her will that her assets were intended for a Klaus Rosenberg Foundation. The sole purpose of the foundation is to send students from the department to Thailand for study purposes or to have Thai students come to Hamburg. Wenk's successor was the internationally renowned ethnologist and historian Barend Jan Terwiel , who had previously taught in Canberra and Munich, among others. Terwiel enriched the field of Thai studies by the inclusion of the cultures of the Tai peoples living outside Thailand (including Shan and Ahom). He introduced that every Thai studies student spends some time in Thailand in order to better understand the language and culture there. After a two-year vacancy, Thai Studies has been represented since the winter semester 2009/10 by Volker Grabowsky , who received his habilitation in Hamburg in 1996 with “Population and State in Lan Na”. As part of the Southeast Asia department founded in 2005, Thai Studies, together with Austronesian and Vietnamese Studies, offers BA and MA courses on the languages ​​and cultures of Southeast Asia. The cooperation with neighboring subjects at the Asia-Africa Institute opens up a multitude of cooperation and development opportunities in the subject. After Luang Kee Kirati's death in 1967, first Ms. Ampha Otrakul (until 1978) and then Ms. Patcharee Kaspar-Sickermann (until 2009) was in charge of editing, is currently carried out by Ms. Pannarai Büchmann. The current research focus is Thai and Laotian Buddhism, the history of the Tai peoples and their manuscript cultures. Twelve doctoral students are currently writing dissertations in the fields of history, culture and linguistics.

  • Vietnam Studies

The Vietnamese Studies has been set up as the first Vietnamese-editing at the former Department of Thailand, Burma and Indochina China seminar at the University of Hamburg, a tradition that dates back to the year 1972nd This editing department developed into an independent master’s degree in 1982, with the teaching position being upgraded to a professorship. Since 1972 Vũ Duy Từ has represented the subject of Vietnamese language and culture in teaching and research, initially as a lecturer for the Vietnamese language and from 1982 to 1999 as a professor. He researched the Christian-European influence on Vietnam and wrote a textbook on the Vietnamese language. From 1999 to 2002 this position was not filled. With the new appointment in 2002, efforts to preserve the subject - unique in German-speaking countries - were crowned with success. The integration of Vietnam Studies, together with Thai and Austronesian Studies, in the Southeast Asia Department founded in 2005 and in the joint BA and MA courses as well as the proximity to the large and important subjects of Asian and African Studies, especially Sinology and Japanology and Korean Studies, but also Indology and Islamic Studies, enable teaching and study of the language and culture of Vietnam to have favorable development conditions that are unique in Germany. In 2002 Jörg Thomas Engelbert began his work as a professor for Vietnamese language and culture. He received his doctorate in Vietnam studies and qualified as a professor in the history of Southeast Asia. Current research focuses on the modern history of Vietnam with special consideration of the south, ethnic developments and the relations between Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Vietnam and China as well as the folk literature of the Việt. In teaching, efforts will be directed towards representing the subject in all its breadth with special consideration of language, literature and history. Since 2006 there has finally been a permanent Vietnamese proofreading, which Mr. Cao Quang Nghiệp MA, a graduate of Hamburg's Vietnam Studies, completes. He is currently also working on a doctorate on the literature group “Tự Lực Văn Đoàn”. Four other doctoral candidates are currently writing dissertations on linguistics and literature.

Department of Language and Culture of India and Tibet

  • Indology
  • Tibetology

Four universities in Germany currently offer Tibetology as a subject: University of Hamburg , University of Munich , University of Leipzig and University of Bonn . The faculty in Hamburg includes a chair for Buddhist studies .

Department of History and Culture of the Middle East

The department was founded in 1908 as part of the Hamburg Colonial Institute. The first director was the founder of German Islamic Studies, Carl Heinrich Becker , whose historical tradition was continued after the Second World War by Bertold Spuler , then Albrecht Noth and which has been represented by Lawrence I. Conrad since 2001 . Originally, the seminar was supposed to prepare merchants and civil servants for work in the Orient through courses in language and culture. In addition to contemporary historical research and an introduction to language and cultural studies, general historical and philological studies have been added.

  • Department of Islamic Studies

The Islamic Studies focuses on the history and culture of the Islamic world from its beginnings to the present. The basis is predominantly written certificates in the literary languages ​​of this area (Arabic, Turkish, Persian). The main focuses of the work in this area are: early Islamic history and source criticism. Then there is the topic " History of Medicine in the Islamic World ". Taking into account the historical perspective, further work concentrates on the subject of the " enemy image " of Muslims / Arabs / Turks in the West and vice versa of Christians / Europeans in the Islamic world. In addition, there is the Arab press as a research focus. " Der Islam ", one of the oldest orientalist journals, is published in the work area.

  • Turkology Department

The subject of Turkology is the language, history and culture of the Turks. The research interests in Hamburg are mainly focused on: History and culture of the Ottoman Empire and the modern history of Turkey , Ottoman and modern Turkish literature and Turkish migrants in Germany; Azerbaijan is given special consideration in the Central Asian Studies. It was not until Annemarie von Gabain was appointed adjunct professor in 1948 that Turkish studies were removed from Islamic studies and anchored as a separate major, initially with an emphasis on general Turkic Studies (Old Turkish, Central Asian Turkic languages) and in close connection with Altaic and Finno-Ugric Studies and Sinology (Chinese and Central Asian Buddhism). Under her successor Barbara Flemming , Turkish language was added in the linguistic, historical and literary fields , while Hanna Sohrweide (1980) was particularly interested in Ottoman studies. With the appointment of Petra Kappert in 1979, Turkish Studies became a separate area of ​​work at the seminar.

  • Iranian Studies

The subject of Iranian Studies was represented by Heinrich Junker and H. Reichelt from 1919 to 1930 , then by Jehangir Tavadia from 1937 to 1954 . In 1948, with the appointment of W. Lentz , it switched from the linguistic and Indological seminar to the Oriental seminar, where in 1966 it became an independent work area. The former trade representative at the Department of Iranian Studies were mainly specializes in two areas of research: the Khotanische with his Buddhist literature and the Shahnameh .

Department of African and Ethiopian Studies

Professors in the department

Carl Meinhof

In 1909, a professorship for African languages ​​was established in Hamburg at the then Hamburg Colonial Institute. Hamburg can therefore claim to have created the oldest chair of its kind in the world. This position was filled with Carl Meinhof (1857–1944). Originally a pastor in Zizow, a village in Pomerania who devoted himself to his varied philological interests in his free time, Meinhof came into contact with African languages ​​by chance through a neighboring manor: he was supposed to give German lessons to a Duala boy who lived there.

In his work, which is not yet outdated today (in 1984 the third edition of the " Comparative Phonology of the Bantu Languages" was published again in English translation) Meinhof transferred the principles of comparative linguistics of the late 19th century to languages ​​based on could not look back on written records.

August blade lifting

Meinhof's successor in 1936 was August Klingenoben (1886–1967), who, after studying Semitic and theology, came to the Hamburg seminary in 1911 as a research assistant. From here he went on a long study trip to Sudan with Meinhof. After military service (from 1917 as a Turkish first lieutenant in the Middle East) he did his doctorate in 1920 on a Hausa dialect. Blade-raising concentrated his scientific interests on the areas in which a German Africanist could work without difficulty after the First World War : the non-colonized states of Africa, Ethiopia and Liberia.

Ernst Viktor Johannes Lukas

Klingenhebens was succeeded by Johannes Lukas (1901–1980), who went to Egypt as a private tutor for a longer stay, where he was able to make contact with numerous students from Central African countries at Al-Azhar University. He won them over as the first informants to work on their mother tongues.

Ernst Hammerschmidt

In 1970, the Ethiopian Ernst Hammerschmidt came to the institute as the successor to Lukas . His achievements lie in the development of fundamental sources and working materials for Ethiopian studies, for the publication of which he was responsible as editor of the series " Ethiopist Research " he founded . The Ethiopian Siegbert Uhlig was appointed as Hammerschmidt's successor , who now represents the "Ethiopian Studies" department within African Studies. In addition to the Chair for African Languages ​​and Cultures, a second professorship has existed since 1949.

Emmi Kähler-Meyer

The bantuist Emmi Kähler-Meyer held this professorship until her retirement in 1969 . As Meinhof's former secretary, she had (from 1927) completed her studies in African studies parallel to her job. During her long academic career, Ms. Kähler-Meyer felt particularly committed to Meinhof's legacy, which she preserved above all as long-time editor and editor-in-chief of the magazine "Afrika und Übersee" (today's name) founded by Meinhof in 1910.

Anton Vorbichler

From 1970 to 1974, the Steyler Father Anton Vorbichler held the second African professorship. In addition to dealing with Bantuistic topics, he drew the attention of his listeners primarily to the language world of Zaire, where he had worked as a missionary between 1954 and 1960.

Ludwig Gerhardt

In 1975 Ludwig Gerhardt succeeded Vorbichler. Gerhardt not only represents the closer Bantu Studies traditionally associated with this professorship, but also extends it significantly to include the West African languages ​​of the Niger-Congo language family, which are widely related to the Bantu languages ​​of East and South Africa.

Ekkehard Wolff

From 1983 to 1994 the institute had a third professorship. With their perception by H. Ekkehard Wolff , those areas of research and teaching were again represented that had been largely orphaned since Johannes Lukas left (1970): the Chadian languages ​​within Afro-Asian and the Saharan languages ​​within Nilo-Saharan and Berber .

Research department

The department includes the Collaborative Research Center for " Upheavals in African Societies and How to Cope with Them "

Associated institution: Center for Buddhist Studies (ZfB)

Since 2007, the Asia-Africa Institute has had the Center for Buddhist Studies (ZfB), an interdisciplinary facility dedicated to research into Buddhism from the perspectives of Indology, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, Sinology, Thai Studies, Tibetology and Vietnam Studies, and courses for students and offers to the public.

Interdisciplinary research at the Asia-Africa Institute

Since 2011, the DFG has been funding the Collaborative Research Center 950 Manuscript Cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe at the Asia-Africa Institute .

The library

The library of the Asia-Africa Institute is located on the ground floor of ESA-OST (Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1) and comprises around 370,000 media units on the topics of Africa, Austronesia, China, India and Tibet, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Middle East. It is open to all members of the university as well as city readers and offers not only academic texts but also beautiful literature from the countries. Books can be borrowed for two weeks, plus renewals, with a reading card from the library system of the University of Hamburg.


  • Jens Ruppenthal: Colonialism as Science and Technology. The Hamburg Colonial Institute 1908 to 1919 (Historical Communications Supplement 66), Stuttgart 2007 ISBN 9783515090049 .
  • Ludwig Paul (ed.): From the Colonial Institute to the Asia-Africa Institute. 100 Years of Asian and African Studies in Hamburg (German East Asian Studies 2), Gossenberg: Ostasienverlag 2003 ISBN 9783940527110 .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jörg B. Quenzer: On the history of the department for language and culture of Japan . In: Ludwig Paul (Ed.): From the Colonial Institute to the Asia-Africa Institute: 100 Years of Asian and African Studies in Hamburg (=  German East Asian Studies . No. 2 ). Ostasien Verlag, Gossenberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-940527-11-0 , pp. 32 f .
  2. Imprint of
  3. Internet presence of the Center for Buddhist Studies (ZfB)
  5. ^ AAI Webmaster: About the library: Library of the Asia-Africa Institute: University of Hamburg. Retrieved October 17, 2017 .
  6. See the article in the English language Wikipedia