You are here: Home About Us People Principal Investigators Prof. Dr. Judith Pfeiffer

Prof. Dr. Judith Pfeiffer

Principal Investigator

Pfeiffer klein

Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn 
Department of Islamic Studies and Languages of the Middle East
Regina-Pacis Weg 7, 53113 Bonn
Tel.: +49 228 73-4591

Current Position: 

Alexander von Humboldt-Professor for Islamic Studies


1983-1992   M.A. Studies in Romance, German and Oriental Philologies/Islamic Studies and 
                   Pedagogy at University of Cologne
1994-1998   M.A. Studies in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at The University of Chicago, U.S.A.
1998-2000   Doctoral Scholarship, German Oriental Institute Istanbul
1998-2003   Doctoral Studies, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, The University of Chicago, U.S.A.

Academic Positions

2002-2003   Instructor, The University of Chicago, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, U.S.A.
2003-2016  University Lecturer in Arabic/Islamic History; Associate Professor of Arabic/Islamic History, The University of Oxford, Faculty of Oriental Studies
2016-present   Alexander von Humboldt-Professor of Islamic Studies, UoB

Participation in Centers and Collaborative Projects: 

Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Dynamiken der Religionsgeschichte zwischen Asien und Europa” ["Dynamics of the History of Religion between Asia and Europe"], University of Bochum; Principal investigator of the ERC Research Group IMPAcT "From Late Medieval to Early Modern: 13th to 16th Century Islamicate Philosophy and Theology" (Oxford); Alexander von Humboldt Kolleg Research Group "Islamicate Intellectual History" (UoB).

Additional Academic Activities: 

Co-editor of the “Journal of Islamic Manuscripts” (2009) and of the series “Islamicate Intellectual History – Studies and Texts” (2012); Member of the editorial board of the “Miroir de l'Orient Musulman” series (MOM) and of “Oriens” (2013); Collaboration with international research groups such as "Repenser la normativité en Islam post-mongol: courants ésotériques, syncrétistes et messianiques," CNRS, Paris; Soros Foundation "ReSET" Project on the Conception of "Eternal Capitals," Oxford-Tbilisi.


JP focuses on the Islamicate intellectual history of the late medieval and early modern periods, paying particular attention to historiography, social, intellectual and religious networks, and the circulation of knowledge in the wake of the conversion of the formerly Buddhist Mongol rulers to Islam at the turn of the fourteenth century. This knowledge ushered in a long period of experimentation in the Nile-to-Oxus Region (the predominantly Muslim Middle East). It is during this period that we witness the establishment of informal intellectual networks and the institutionalization of more formal socio-religious networks (‘Sufi monastic orders’), as well as the gradual integration of the learned classes into state apparatuses. Dependencies in this context are ubiquitous, and include student-teacher-relationships in the field of traditional learning, master and disciple relationships with the full range of rites of initiation in Sufism [‘mysticism’] and relationships of patronage that are often explicitly discussed as unwanted in the primary sources.
1 book, 4 edited volumes, 10 articles. 7 completed and 4 ongoing doctorates as well as numerous Master (M.Phil. and M.St.) and Bachelor theses as supervisor/dissertation committee member

Third-Party Funding: 

ERC Starting Grant, 2010-2016; Alexander von Humboldt Professorship - International Prize for Research in Germany (UoB, 2016-2021, Forscherkolleg "Islamicate Intellectual History"); Numerous awards and individual scholarships. Overall approx. 5.5 million euros ad personam.

Selected Publications:

  1. With S. A. Quinn (eds.), History and Historiography of Post-Mongol Central Asia and the Middle East. Studies in Honor of John E. Woods. Wiesbaden 2006.
  2. With A. Neuwirth, M. Hess and B. Sagaster (eds.), Ghazal as World Literature II. From a Literary Genre to a Great Tradition. The Ottoman Gazel in Context. Würzburg 2006.
  3. Reflections on a ‘Double Rapprochement’: Conversion to Islam among the Mongol Elite during the Early Ilkhanate, in: L. Komaroff (ed.), Beyond the Legacy of Genghis Khan. Leiden 2006, 369-389.
  4. With M. Kropp, Theoretical Approaches to the Transmission and Edition of Oriental Manuscripts. Würzburg 2007.
  5. Confessional Polarization in the 17th Century Ottoman Empire and Yūsuf İbn Ebī ‘Abdü’d-Deyyān’s Keşfü’l-esrār fī ilzāmi’l-Yehūd ve el-aḥbār, in: C. Adang and S. Schmidtke (eds.), Contacts and Controversies between Muslims, Jews and Christians in the Ottoman Empire and Pre-Modern Iran. Würzburg 2010, 15-55.
  6. Protecting Private Property vs. Negotiating Political Authority: Nur al-Din b. Jaja and His Endowments in Thirteenth Century Anatolia, in: R. Hillenbrand, A.C.S. Peacock and F. Abdullaeva (eds.), Ferdowsi, the Mongols and the History of Iran: Art, Literature and Culture from Early Islam to Qajar Persia. London 2013, 147-165.
  7. The Canonization of Cultural Memory: Ghāzān Khān, Rashīd al-Dīn, and the Construction of the Mongol Past, in: A. Akasoy, C. Burnett and R. Yoeli-Tlalim (eds.), Rashīd al-Dīn. Agent and Mediator of Cultural Exchanges in Ilkhanid Iran. London 2013, 57-70.
  8. Confessional Ambiguity vs. Confessional Polarization: Politics and the Negotiation of Religious Boundaries in the Ilkhanate, in: J. Pfeiffer (ed.), Politics, Patronage and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th-15th Century Tabriz. Leiden 2014, 129-168.
  9.  (ed.), Politics, Patronage and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th-15th Century Tabriz. Leiden 2014.
  10. Rashīd al-Dīn. Bayān al-Ḥaqāʾiq. Introduction and Indices by Judith Pfeiffer. Istanbul 2016.
Document Actions