Alumna (Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien)

Foto Nora Lafi

Zur Person

Nora Lafi is in 2020 a Senior Research Fellow with the research group on religion and urbanity at Max-Weber-Kolleg (Erfurt Universität).  She was born in 1965 in Istres, near Marseilles. She studied History and Arabic in Aix-en-Provence and Cairo, with long research stays in Damascus, Tunis, Istanbul, Tripoli and Rome. She got her PhD in 1999 and her HDR (Habilitation) in 2011 from Aix-Marseille University. She has been a Research Fellow, and then a Senior Research Fellow, with Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin since 2004 and she teaches Islamic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. She specializes on the study of cities of the Ottoman Empire, with a focus on the local civic sphere and on the governance of diversity.


Among her main publications:

  • The City in the Ottoman Empire (co-ed, Routledge, 2010)
  • Urban Governance under the Ottomans (co-ed, Routledge, 2014)
  • Urban Violence in the Middle East (co-ed, Berghahn, 2015)
  • Understanding the City through its Margins (co-ed, Routledge, 2017)
  • Esprit civique et organisation citadine dans l'empire ottoman (Brill, 2019).

She also published extensively in scholarly journals, including The History of Family, New Geographies, International Development Policies, Journal and Turkish Studies Association, Histoire Urbaine, Cahiers d'Histoire.

She is a member of the editorial board of various journals, including Urban History (Cambridge University Press) and Planning Perspectives (Routledge).


In Erfurt, she is working on a research project dedicated to the urban spatialities of religion in Ottoman Tunis.