- Faculty Member, Asien-Afrika-Institut.
Over the past years he became known as a historian of the Middle East who has an equal command in the study of literary and legal sources, material culture, numismatics, and archaeological evidence. His focus is mainly on periods of transition and economic and cultural change in Islamic societies. Most prominent figure among his studies is the formation of the early Islamic empire, the apogee of the Abbasid Empire and the formation of the Middle Islamic civilization in the 12th and 13th century. He works with archaeological missions from Portugal to Mongolia, yet most of them excavate in Syria. In addition, he pursues a number of specific interests, the Abbasid invention of brass, the development of metalwork and neo-Mamluk art in the nineteenth century and the use of medieval history in modern visual political discourse as specific form of cultural memory. He also co-ordinated the activities of the Oriental Coin Cabinet Jena and the Alphons Stübel-Collection of Middle Eastern Photographs (1850-1890) which can be seen again on national and international exhibitions on Islamic art.
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