Common Heritage and Common Challenges

Dynamics of Cultural Impact: Arab and German Cultural Heritage of Zanzibar


Conference and Working Group Meeting

The history of the Apfelstrudel cannot be told without taking a look at the history of cultural exchange and trade between Zanzibar and Germany in the 19th century. But then, neither without acknowledging Zanzibar’s very long Arab merchant tradition since the 7th century. Zanzibar became an overseas territory of the Sultanate of Oman in the 16th century, in 1832  the royal court of Sultan Sayyid Said was even moved from Muscat to Zanzibar.

This conference explores contemporary and interdisciplinary aspects of Cultural Impact, Cultural Memory and Cultural Heritage from a general perspective as well as a comparative historical perspective on the “case study” of the cultural entanglements of Zanzibar, Oman, and Germany.

The conference tackles the following questions:
Which are the ways, forms, and consequences of colonial Arab and German cultural impact on Zanzibar? How did Arabs and Germans shape local cultural identity on Zanzibar? What was their impact on language and literature, art and architecture, music and dance, cinema and theatre, food and cuisine, dress and fashion of Zanzibar? How did Arab and German cultures interact on Zanzibar with each other? What were the impacts of Arab-German cultural contacts on Zanzibar, and how have they been preserved and represented in cultural memory in Germany and the Arab world?

Panel 1: Cultural Memory and Cultural Impact
2 August
With a Keynote by Prof. Dr. Ramzi Baalbaki, American University of Beirut, on The Present Status of the Arabic Language and Its Future Prospects

Further Inputs by Prof. Dr. Carola Richter, Dr. Norman Domeier, Dr. Henda Mahmoudi, Prof. Dr. Oliver Korn, and Prof. Dr. Ahmad Sakhrieh.

Excursion to cultural heritage sites of “The Land of the Frankincense”

3 August

Panel 2: Dynamics of Cultural Impact: Arab and German Cultural Heritage of Zanzibar
4 August
With presentations by Prof. Dr. Ammar Abdulrahman, Dr. Kirill Dmitriev, Prof. Dr. Nawar Al-Hassan Golley, Prof. Dr. Bilal Orfali, and M.A. Ayman Jalloul
Working Group Meeting Common Heritage and Common Challenges
5 August

DATE and Venue of the project:

1-6 August 2017
Salalah, Oman

Pictures by AGYA

Members in Charge


Bilal Orfali

is Associate Professor at the American University of Beirut and was previously the Sofia Chair of Arabic Studies at the Ohio State University.

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Kirill Dmitriev

is Lecturer in Arabic in the School of Modern Languages at the University of St Andrews and member of the German Die Junge Akademie.

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Nuha Al-Shaar

is Assistant Professor at the American University of Sharjah, specializing in Islamic intellectual history, and a Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.

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