Irmgard Coninx Prize Fellowship for Transregional Studies

The Forum Transregionale Studien together with the Irmgard Coninx Foundation have awarded the Irmgard Coninx Prize for Transregional Studies since the academic year 2014/2015. The prize is given to a research project that relates disciplinary and area-based knowledge in an exemplary way. The prize consists of a research fellowship of up to ten months and the possibility to participate in the scholarly activities of the Forum in Berlin. The prize was not awarded in the academic year 2016/17.


For the academic year 2017/18 the Irmgard Coninx Prize Fellowship has been announced in the framework of the research program Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe (EUME) and is addressed to the Turkish scholar Seda Altuğ. Seda’s research interests cover state-society relations in French-Syria, land issues, empire, minorities, divisions and memory. She has recently started working on land and property regimes in the Ottoman East and Syria under the French mandate in terms of their political, economic, judicial and social dimensions.


Saima Akhtar

The winner in the academic year 2015/16 is the architect Saima Akhtar
As a Fellow, Saima will work on completing her book manuscript, which examines how the social engineering projects of the Ford Motor Company’s capitalist enterprise shaped the social and material worlds of labor migrants in the first half of the twentieth century. Her project focuses on the company’s appeal to emerging markets in the so-called “Orient” through a type of cultural imperialism, which used film, advertisements, and photography to advocate for technological modernity, civility, and Americanism. These messages were distributed to cities in the greater Middle East with the aim of creating opportunities for American commerce abroad while also having the effect of drawing immigrant workers to assembly lines in Detroit. The analysis for this project is located between the (moving) image and the built environment, which became key sites of power and struggle between corporate forces and immigrant groups. In its entirety, the book examines how visual propaganda and the built environment figured into the growth of a major American enterprise and Fordist constructions of identity, citizenship, and nationalism.


The 2014/15 fellowship was awarded to the art historian Clare Phyllis Davies
In her research project “From Alexandria to Bandung and Back Again: Transregionalism in Arab Art After 1955” she studies the influence of initiatives aimed at strengthening Afro-Asian and Mediterranean networks of affinity, respectively, on art practice in the Arab world. The Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia took place in April 1955 and the Alexandria Biennale in Egypt was inaugurated in July of the same year. Both events critically informed exhibitions, works of art, and publications identified with a concept of “Arab art” (fann ‘arabi) promoted by Arab governments in the 1970s. Davies addresses the ways in which Arab art—a category, which would seem to deliberately exclude a consideration of other regions—engaged transregional frameworks developed in the 1950s and 60s as alternatives to a Eurocentric vision of international artistic modernism.
Davies majored in Rhetoric with concentrations in LGBTI studies and art practice at the University of California, Berkeley before receiving an MA in modern and post-war European and American art from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University in 2008, and a PhD from the same institution in 2014. As a freelance researcher for CULTNAT, she authored of an index of the historic photographic archive of the Egyptian Geographical Society. She writes regularly for contemporary arts publications.