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Prof. Dr. Jakob Krais

Modern Cultural History of North Africa 

Institute of Cultural Studies


Tel.: +49 89 6004-3962


Since August 1, 2022, Jakob Krais has been Professor for the Modern Cultural History of North Africa at University of the Bundeswehr Munich. He studied History, Islamic Studies, and Philosophy in Berlin and Rome and obtained his PhD from Freie Universität Berlin in 2014 with a dissertation on historiography and nation-building in Qaddafi’s Libya. He taught at FU Berlin and Hochschule Bremen. Between 2015 and 2019 he was a research fellow with the Gerda Henkel Foundation in the framework of its special program “Islam, the Modern Nation-State and Transnational Movements.” Apart from that, he has been affiliated with Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Centre Marc Bloch of Humboldt-Universität Berlin, and with the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS) at Philipps-Universität Marburg. Stays abroad have taken him to Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria, among other places. At Ruhr-Universität Bochum, he did research within the project “Late Ottoman Palestinians: Social Differentiation, Human Development and Governmentality, 1880-1920” (LOOP) as well as in the Collaborative Research Center “Metaphors of Religion: Religious Meaning-Making in Language Use.” There, in 2022, he also completed his habilitation with a study on the cultural history of the body in colonial Algeria.


Research Interests

  • Cultural history of North Africa, especially the Maghreb
  • History of the body, sports, and youth
  • Gender studies
  • Nationalism and statehood
  • Islamic reform
  • Postcolonial thought


Selected Publications

  • “The French Connection: Political Islam from the Algerian War to the Iranian Revolution.” Middle Eastern Studies 58, no. 1 (2022): 214-28.
  • Spielball der Scheichs. Die WM in Katar und der arabische Fußball. Bielefeld: Die Werkstatt, 2021.
  • “Of Saints and Scouts: Performing Religious Ethics in Colonial Algeria’s Youth Movements.” Journal for Islamic Studies 38 (2020): 53-80.
  • “Internationalist Nationalism: Making Algeria at World Youth Festivals (1947-62).” In The Arab Lefts: Histories and Legacies, 1950s-1970s, edited by Laure Guirguis, 110-26. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2020.                                                       
  • “Re-Centering Libya’s History: Mediterranean Bulwark, Defender of Africa, or Bridge between Continents?” Lamma: A Journal of Libyan Studies 1 (2020): 13-36 (open access, URL:
  • “Decolonizing Body and Mind: Physical Activity and Subject Formation in Colonial Algeria.” In Muslim Subjectivities in Global Modernity: Islamic Traditions and the Construction of Modern Muslim Identities, edited by Dietrich Jung and Kirstine Sinclair, 33-54. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2020.                                                                   
  • “Muscular Muslims: Scouting in Late Colonial Algeria between Nationalism and Religion.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 51, no. 4 (2019): 567-85 (open access, DOI: org/10.1017/S0020743819000679).                       
  • “Girl Guides, Athletes, and Educators: Women and the National Body in Late Colonial Algeria.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 15, no. 2 (2019): 199-215.                                                      
  • “Mastering the Wheel of Chance: Motor Racing in French Algeria and Italian Libya.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 39, no. 1 (2019): 143-58.    
  • “Youth and Sports in Algeria’s Diplomatic Struggle for International Recognition (1957-1962).” The Maghreb Review 42, no. 3 (2017): 227-53.
  • Geschichte als Widerstand. Geschichtsschreibung und nation-building in Qaḏḏāfīs Libyen. Würzburg: Ergon, 2016.