May-June 2011: Prof Dr Gregor Schoeler (Universität Basel)

Dr. phil. Gregor Schoeler is Professor Emeritus in Islamic Studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland. He read Oriental Studies (in particular Islamic Studies and Semitic Languages) at the Universities of Marburg, Frankfurt/Main and Giessen (Germany) and obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Giessen in 1972. In the 70's and 80's he was a collaborator of the "Abu Nuwas" project and the "Cataloguing of Oriental Manuscripts in Germany" project, and a member ('Referent') of the Orient-Institut of the "Deutsche Morgenlaendische Gesellschaft" in Beirut (Lebanon); subsequently, he was appointed a lecturer ('Hochschulassistent') at the University of Giessen. He obtained his Habilitation in 1981 at the same University. Between 1982 and 2009 he held the Chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Basel (Switzerland). He also lectured at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes à la Sorbonne in Paris and at the Universities of Freiburg (Germany) and Zurich. In 2010, he was Messenger Lecturer at Cornell University and was invited to lecture at the Universities of Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Santa Barbara.

His academic interests cover classical Arabic and Persian literature, Arabic manuscripts, Islamic Philosophy, the history of early Islam, in particular the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, and the problem of orality and literacy in early Islam.

April-May 2011: Prof Dr E. Ulrich Kratz (SOAS, University of London)

Dr. E. U. Kratz is a Professorial Research Associate in the Centre of Southeast Asian Studies of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). He is also a Senior Fellow of the Southeast Asia Department of J. W. Goethe Universität, Frankfurt/Main. He is Professor Emeritus in Indonesian and Malay at SOAS, University of London. His academic interests cover the societies and cultures of the Malay speaking world. He continues to work philologically on traditional Malay texts and remains interested in the contemporary literatures in Indonesian and Malay.

June 2010: Prof Hamza M. Njozi (Muslim University of Morogoro, Tanzania)

Prof. Hamza Mustafa Njozi is currently serving as the Vice-Chancellor of the Muslim University of Morogoro, Tanzania. Before his appointment as Vice Chancellor in 2007, Prof. Njozi was for 23 years teaching Literature at the University of Dar-es-Salaam. He did his B.A and M.A at the University of Dar es Salaam and his doctoral studies at the National University of Malaysia. Prof. Njozi served as a Visiting Scholar at the Centre of African Studies, University of London in 1998, and as a Fulbright Scholar at the Center for African Studies, University of Florida in 1999-2000, and as a Guest Scholar at Uppsala University in 2001-2002. Prof. Njozi has written several books and many articles in the field of Literature, Folklore and politics.

May-June 2010: Prof Dr Avihai Shivtiel (University of Leeds)

Avihai Shivtiel was born in Palestine (Israel). He graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he read Arabic language and literature, Islamic studies and Hebrew language and linguistics, towards the degrees of B.A. and M.A (1971). In addition he taught Arabic at the Hebrew University and Bar Ilan University. Between 1972-1978 he taught Hebrew and Arabic at Cambridge University where he also obtained his Ph.D. in Arabic linguistics. In 1979 he moved to Leeds University where he taught Semitic languages, literatures and cultures and served as the head of the Department of Semitic Studies and later Arabic studies. Concurrently, he also worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Taylor-Shechter Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge university until his full retirement in 2007. His publications include over 150 books, articles, reviews and entries for the three Encyclopaedias of Islam, Language and Linguistics and Arabic Language and Linguistics. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Semitic Studies and the Linguistic Researches.

October-December 2009: Haeree Park, PhD (University of Washington)

I received my PhD at the University of Washington in 2009 with a dissertation on recently discovered early Chinese bamboo manuscripts from the Warring States period (481-221 B.C.). I am currently working on two books on early manuscripts. The first one, which is titled "A Handbook of Warring States Manuscripts" accounts for the phenomenon of graphic variation in the Warring States script from the perspective of script evolution and language history. The focus of this book will be on the existence of semantic and phonetic rules that govern the variation as well as historical continuity of forms and rules of variation in the early Chinese writing system. The second book is "A Dictionary of Three Thousand Chu Characters" (with "Chu" referring to the name of the region where the great majority of Warring States manuscripts are excavated.), which will lay out the facts that correspond to the theory presented in the handbook. Each of the three thousand entries in this dictionary, headed by a word and its modern standard character, is composed of Warring States variant forms for the same word with notes on etymology and graphic structure. I hope to make these two books useful for sinologists who are concerned with reading early manuscripts and further, understandable to general readers who are interested in the history of Chinese language and writing system.

June/July 2009: Prof Dr Jost Gippert (University of Frankfurt/Main, Germany)

Studied Comparative Linguistics, Indology, Japanese and Chinese at the universities of Marburg and Berlin (FU). Degree of philosophical Doctor (Dr.phil.) in 1977 with a study on the infinitive syntax of Indo-European languages. Various positions as a lecturer and university assistant in Indo-European linguistics in Berlin, Vienna, and Salzburg (1977-1990). Worked as a computational linguist in the field of Oriental languages at the University of Bamberg from 1990 to 1993. Since 1994 holder of the chair of Comparative Linguistics at the University of Frankfurt / Main. Member of the Academy of Sciences of Gelati (Georgia) and the Academy Project Turfan Studies of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. Developer of various computer programs concerning Eastern languages and non-Roman scripts. Founder and leader of the TITUS project aiming at a comprehensive collection and WWW edition of texts in ancient Indo-European (and neighbouring) languages (since 1987). Manuscript studies on palimpsests of Caucasian origin (Georgian, Armenian, "Caucasian-Albanian") and on manuscripts of Indian and Central Asian provenance ( Tocharian, Avestan, Maldivian, etc.)

February/March 2009: Dr Agnieszka Helman-Ważny (Cornell University)

Dr Agnieszka Helman-Ważny is a paper conservator and manuscriptologist. She received her Ph.D. in art theory and history from Nicolaus Copernicus University in 2007 and her M. A. in paper conservation from the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art at the Fine Arts Academy in Warsaw, Poland. Her main research area is the history of paper and books in Tibet and China. Her recent research projects include “The Archaeology of Tibetan Books” and “The Lost Fragment of Wanli Kanjur from Berlin in Jagiellonian Library in Poland? Evaluation of Authenticity of Tibetan Books from Pander Collection.” She also works for the International Dunhuang Project at the British Library, London, on Tibetan book formats and microscopic paper identification. Previously, she conducted archival research on Tibetan books and conservation surveys on the collections of the British Library, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, the National Library in Beijing, the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Collection in New York City, the Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw, and the Jagiellonian University Library in Cracow. Helman-Ważny has also conducted field research in Nepal, Thailand, and South Korea.