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Biography

Hey there, my name is Tilmann Kulke. After defending my PhD thesis in May 2016, I took a position in Ilia State University, Tbilisi, as assistant professor for Islamic and global history.

Before arriving at the EUI, I trained at the universities of Cologne and Bonn, the German Historical Institute Paris, Doğuš Üniversitesi Istanbul, and Damascus University. I also attended the German School in Delhi. My personal love for India started there. Since then, I have been primarily interested in narratological analyses of premodern Islamic texts and global history, with a particular focus on the Mughal Empire and early modern Georgia. Currently, I am attempting to retrace the premodern cultural connections between both of these fascinating cultures. I have working proficiency in German, English, French, Italian, Latin, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish; I am now learning Georgian.

As an editor, I have been collaborating with several online peer-reviewed journals within German-speaking academia, such as ‘sehepunkte’, ‘zeitenblicke’, ‘geschichte.transnational’, ‘h-soz-kult’, and, most recently, ‘connections’. I am the initiator and editor-in-chief of the researchers’ journal at the historical department of the EUI in collaboration with ‘geschichte.transnational’ and ‘connections’. Together with Stephan Conermann (Bonn), I initiated the online review journal ‘Islamische Welten’ in collaboration with ‘sehepunkte’. Here, I also work as a specialist editor for Islamic history and early modern global history.

I have taught Arabic at the University of Cologne from the early stages of my studies. As I know from my own experience how hard it often is to continue studying the complexities of unfamiliar languages, I have always been passionately committed to explaining difficult new tasks in an easy and comprehensible way. I also consider it a teacher’s duty to motivate his/her students to follow their studies with passion and joy, which includes focused preparation for exams and teaching them how to avoid stress and to get the most possible out of their work. The last two skills mainly derive from my second great passion besides new academic endeavours: basketball. 

With regards to discipline, resilience, and passion for studying the history of ‘other’ cultures, I learned most  not only from my ever-supportive family but also from my friends, life-long teachers, and leading connoisseurs of human nature Ulf Jesper, a sensei in Latin and religious studies, and Markus Kirschner, the best joiner and employer in Cologne. 

Finally, Jorge Flores and Stephan Conermann both have consistently encouraged me to broaden my view beyond the confines of Islamic studies and to utilise approaches from early modern global history and comparative literary studies.  Ever since the beginning of my studies in Bonn and Florence, these scholars have been the epitome of studious enthusiasm and scientific freedom. In recent years, both men have been much more than just academic supervisors. During all the ups and downs in this phase of my life, I never sensed any negative pressure from them; instead, I always felt understood. It is my aim to pass that torch of academic passion and curiosity to my students.