Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Associated and Visiting Fellows


Handan Çağlayan, PhD


Status: Guest Researcher (Einstein Foundation Scholarship, Oct 2020 - Dec 2021)


As a guest researcher, I was hosted by Department of General Linguistics / Institute of Oriental Studies at Otto-Friedrich University Bamberg between 2017-2019. I have been teaching at a Turkey-based online Human Rights School since 2018. Before, I taught at the Human Rights department of the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Ankara (2011-2016). I also served some trade unions and women NGOs as a gender equality expert and as lecturer during and after my PhD. Among these organizations are Egitim Sen (Trade Union of Education and Science Workers) and KADER (Association for the Support of Women Candidates). I gained my PhD degree in political sciences from the Faculty of Political Science at Ankara University in 2006, and my MA (1999) and BA (1992) degrees from the same university. 

Areas of my academic interest are gender, nationalism, women’s labour, migration and, sociolinguistics. I have conducted field research related those areas and (co)authored a couple of books. My field research related to the intergenerational language shift among Kurdish people in Turkey, and on women’s experiences of forced migration. My PhD dissertation analysed Kurdish women’s political activism in post-1980 Turkey. My MA thesis focused on gender inequality and women’s agency. I examined gender inequality at the workplace and the role of trade unions in fighting it. 

During my current fellowship, I am working on immigrant women’s experiences of learning the language of the host country. A particular part is devoted to experiences of the women who recently migrated from conflict areas of the Middle East to Germany. I consider this issue very important – not only because my academic areas of interest have focused on gender, migration and sociolinguistics, but also as a women’s rights activist. Learning the language of host country fluently is one of the core factors that facilitate immigrant women’s independence from male members of a family and serve their social inclusion. It also increases women’s opportunities for entering the labor market. My research addresses both the factors that facilitate learning German and those that make learning German difficult for women.


  • 2020. Women in the Kurdish Movement. Mothers, Comrades, Godesses. London & NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2014. Same Home Different Languages, Intergenerational Language Shift. Tendencies, Limitations, Opportunities – The Case of Diyarbakır. Diyarbakır: DISA Publications.
  • 2011. (co-authored with Semsa Özar & Ayse Tepe): Ne Değişti? Kürt Kadınların Zorunlu Göç Deneyimi [What Has Changed? The Experiences of Forced Migration by Kurdish Women]. İstanbul: Ayizi.



Faiza, PhD


Status: Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin (Post-Doc)



I completed my Masters in English literature and graduated in Islamic theology in 2010. During the years, 2012-13 I enjoyed learning teaching methods as a teacher of English as a second language at Frontier women University, Peshawar. My teaching years in Islamic studies at Jinnah College for Women, University of Peshawar (2010-2014) made me curious to learn more. It led me to do my PhD at University of Erfurt, Germany from 2014-2020 (Title of dissertation: “Twice removed from reality? Female madrasas in Pakistan”). During my years at Erfurt, in addition to my research project, I worked as a research assistant at a research cum dialogue project: Religious pluralism & religious plurality: towards an ethics of peace, at the Chair of Islamic studies, University of Erfurt, Germany. Since Oct 2015, I am co-teaching interdisciplinary courses in religious studies at University of Erfurt together with Prof. Dr. Christoph Bultmann (Martin Luther Institut, University of Erfurt). I also acquired a Post-graduate diploma in Madrasa Discourses from Notre Dame University, USA, which focused on social scientific, historical, philosophical and scientific approach to understanding the discipline of Islamic studies. 

My research interests include gender and religion, language and gender, eco-theology and Islam, interreligious dialogue, religion and consumer identities, and South Asian Islamicate. 

Currently I am engaged as a Post-doctoral researcher in the project, Women's Pathways to Professionalization in Muslim Asia: Reconfiguring Religious Knowledge, Gender, and Connectivity. I will be working together Claudia Derichs and Prof. Manja Stephan-Emmrich. This research focuses on the diverse ways in which Muslim women translate their religious knowledge into their professional lives. The unique character of this project lies in the fact that it brings together experts from multiple areas in Asia including, South-east Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and MENA region. 


  • (forthcoming) 2021. Female Madrasas in Pakistan: Twice removed from reality? Leiden: Brill.



Sarah Holz, PhD


Status: Visiting Fellow (DAAD Rückkehrstipendium 2020-2021)

E-Mail: holzsara(at)


From 2017 to 2020 I served as DAAD Long Term Guest Professor at the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad/Pakistan. Previously, I have worked as Teaching and Research Fellow at the Department of South Asian Studies, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany (2016-2017). In 2011-2012 I was Program Coordinator for Hanns Seidel Foundation, Pakistan Office. I received my PhD in political science from Freie Universität Berlin, being part of the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, and obtained my Master of Arts in South Asian Area Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London/UK. 

My research interests lie in governance, religion and politics, justice and dispute resolution. In my doctoral research I worked on configurations of the administration and regulation of religion as a category of governance in Pakistan, with a focus on the Council of Islamic Ideology. 

As part of my visiting fellow activities, I will be involved in the BUA research cooperation CO2LIBRI – Conceptual Collaboration Living Borderless Research Interaction, funded by the Berlin Centre for Global Engagement as well as in the Study Group Researching in Times of a Pandemic – COVID 19 RM Working Group on Pakistan, organising an online lecture series and an early career researcher colloquium. Together with my colleagues Dr. Abida Bano (University of Peshawar), Dr. Rosa C. Castillo (IAAW) and PD Dr. Andrea Fleschenberg (IAAW) I am part of the guest editorial team for the special journal issue “Negotiating Research Ethics in Volatile Contexts”, forthcoming with the International Quarterly for Asian Studies in early 2022. In addition, I am currently working on a monograph, titled Governance of Islam in Pakistan: An Institutional Study of the Council of Islamic Ideology (forthcoming with Sussex Academics Press).