The events that followed the Arab Spring in 2011 have demonstrated the strength of social media in the digital communication sphere and the challenge they represent towards the traditional media. Well before the civil unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan witnessed the Web 2.0 as a potential political tool for public mobilisation especially during the emergency law declared in November 2007. A number of flash mobs took place during that period organised by gadget savvy Pakistani youth through SMS and Facebook. However, despite the popularity of new media and internet there is a huge digital divide within the Pakistani civil society among those who favor traditional media and those who favor the new, social media. Similarly, the fact remains that the critical study of social media, new media or internet as a part communication science discipline remains absent in academic discourse in many Pakistani universities. In order to study the role of new or social media at academic and cultural level, the Chair of Muslim Cultural & Religious History at the University of Erfurt wants to engage with the University of Peshawar and University of the Punjab in Pakistan to collaborate over a number of academic and cultural activities related to social media.
For 2014 there are four major activities planned namely, Summer School on Cyber Culture, Fall School on Politainment, Women Writers' Forum Workshop and International Symposium on Social Media in Muslim Countries.
Summer School: Cyber Culture
The word cyber popularly refers to the use of computers, virtual reality or the Internet. The Internet as it stands is deeply penetrating in our lives and become parts of daily routines. However, we rarely have the chances to review what the Internet actually means to us. More
Fall School: Politainment
The infotainment industry is changing the way politics & politicians are represented. In the multimedia advertising world, candidates cast themselves as celebrities and use non-traditional forms of communication to reach their audiences. More
The symposium focuses on the rapidly changing role of digital social media and the way it is traversing not just the personal but also the socio-political lives of people. Civil unrest in the Arab world, 2009 elections in Iran & 2014's protest movement in Pakistan. More
Semi Academic Activities
Women Writers' Forum Workshop
Women Writers' Forum is a Peshawar based organisation which regularly conducts literary gatherings. Over the past two years WWF is actively engaged with the Chair of Muslim Culture & Religious History to conduct writing workshops in Pakistani languages for female students.
Since 2012, the Chair of Muslim Culture & Religious History offers University of Erfurt students' a unique opportunity to do internships with its civil society partners in the field of socio-political and development aid.
Thesis Support Programme
Since 2012, the students in partner universities of Peshawar & Punjab University are offered to visit Erfurt in order to seek support & academic assistance for their MA or Ph.D. dissertations.
January - April, 2014 90.000 Euro für Dialogprojekt an der Universität Erfurt (Details)