Recognition for Isabel Toral-Niehoff

Arabic Studies Scholar at Freie Universität Receives Iran's Book of the Year Award

‘ 045/2017 from Mar 09, 2017

Dr. Isabel Toral-Niehoff, Privatdozentin at the Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies at Freie Universität, was awarded the prestigious World Book Award of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the German-speaking world. Toral-Niehoff received the award on March 9, 2017, for her work Al-Hira: Eine arabische Kulturmetropole im spätantiken Kontext (Al-Hira: An Arabic Cultural Metropolis in Late Antiquity). The book deals with the religiously diverse cosmopolitan composition of the pre-Islamic Arab city of Al-Hira near today’s Kufa, which was located in the cultural sphere of influence of the Iranian Sasanian dynasty. The work represents profound research on one of the most important places closely linked to Iranian culture and civilization both before and after the introduction of Islam, according to the selection panel. Hira was a gateway for social and cultural exchange between Iran, the Romans, and the Arab world. The award is endowed with 5,000 euros.

Dr. Isabel Toral-Niehoff was born in 1965 in Madrid, Spain. She majored in Islamic studies and history at the University of Tubingen, where she earned her doctorate in 1997. Then, as a member of the Collaborative Research Center "Identity and Alterity" at the University of Freiburg, she explored the emergence of Arab identity during Late Antiquity. Since 2008 she has been at Freie Universität, teaching and doing research on cultural transfer and cultural contact in the early Islamic and classical Islamic period, the cultural history of Islamic countries, the origin of Islamic culture in late antiquity, Arab historiography, and identity discourses in classical Islamic culture. Other topics she explores in her research include the history and literature of Al-Andalus, "secret knowledge and magic," historical social anthropology in the Middle East, and urban history.


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