Dr. Fouad Gehad Marei


Junior Fellow (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)


Max-Weber-Kolleg (Steinplatz 2) / Raum 312b (2. OG)

+49 361 737-2809

Office hours

nach Vereinbarung

Visiting address

Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Steinplatz 2
99085 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Dr. Fouad Gehad Marei

Personal Information

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Fouad Gehad Marei joined the Max-Weber-Kolleg for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the Universität Erfurt. Prior to that, Fouad was a Visiting Research Fellow at the German Orient-Institut Beirut and a Lecturer in Middle Eastern and North African Politics at Freie Universität Berlin. He holds a PhD from Durham University, UK. Fouad is also the recipient of research grant awards from the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS), the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) and the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL), amongst others.

Based on extensive fieldwork in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, his research focuses on faith-based political activism, the politics of sectarianism, development and governance in contexts of conflict and post-conflict situations, and social movements. His current research investigates forms and iterations of Shi’i-Islamic activism and Shi’i ritual practice in the Middle East and diasporic and exilic communities.

In addition to his academic research, Fouad served as a Conflict Transformation and Stabilisation Consultant and Project Manager. He authored numerous policy papers on the Syrian war examining civilian and local administration structures, emerging justice and police sectors, faith-based activism, and violent extremism. He also partook in developing and implementing Integrated Community Security Programmes.

Research Project

Fouad’s current research project, „Feeling Sectarian? Shi’i Ritual Practice, Affective Relations, and Sectarianism in the Middle East,” examines the sensory–affective experiences of Shi’i ritual practice and cultural and artistic productions. It probes into how ritual eulogy reciters and associations and production companies affiliated with them sophisticatedly employ the emotive powers and political impulses of the Shi’i faith and its ritual practices in relation to the imagination and construction of a globalised Shi’i social group in times of sectarian conflict. The research concerns itself with how Shi’i ritual reciters produce, perform, communicate, and mediatise cultural and artistic productions associated with “the Islamic Resistance” and the Shi’i “Holy Defence” and, in so doing, affectively mediate, operationalise, reinterpret and reinvent the immersive and participatory emotive experience of Shi’i ritual practice through politicised and mass-mediatised expressions of Shi’i religiosity.

The purpose of this research is threefold. Firstly, it exposes how temporary states of sensory–affective collective excitement collapse past, present and future and merge multiple geographies into a liminal state blurring the distinction between the transcendental and profane, the material and im/non-material. Secondly, it proposes the analysis of ritualised sensory–affective states and emotive experiences of religiosity as a methodological tool for empirical inquiry into how religious actors and sectarian communities cultivate and popularise affective solidarities, mobilise adherents into identification with the social group, and immerse them into its social and political life. And, finally, it debunks the naive liberal myth of the rational, autonomous, self-possessed individual governed by reason, a clear sense of interest, and rational capacity for judgement. Instead, it demonstrates that inter/national politics—not only in the Middle East, and not only in times of conflict—entail ritualized interactions governed by the interplay between emotion and reason.


  • Marei, Fouad Gehad, M. Atia, L. Bhungalia and O. Dewachi (2018), “Interventions on the Politics of Governing the “Ungovernable””, Political Geography, doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2018.01.003 .
  • Bachmann, O., F. G. Marei and F. Olonisakin (2018), “Revisiting Governance: Extended Statehood in Africa and Beyond”. In Was es (heute) heißt, Soldat zu sein (What it means to be a Soldier today), ed. by Martin Elbe and Gerhard Kümmel. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.
  • Marei, Fouad Gehad (2016), “Preaching Development: Shi’i Piety and Neoliberalism in Beirut”. In Religious Activism in the Global Economy: Promoting, Reforming or Resisting Neoliberal Globalization?, ed. by Sabine Dreher and Peter J. Smith. Washington, DC: Rowman and Littlefield. Pp. 167-187.