About Fikrun

    Fikrun wa Fann was a cultural magazine published by the Goethe Institute from 1963 to 2016 that supported and shaped the cultural exchange between Germany and Islamic countries. Together with the publishing of the last issue, “Flight and Displacement” (issue 105), in autumn of 2016 the maintenance and updating of this online portal was ceased.
    Dome of the prayer chamber of Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore. Photo: Stefan Weidner


    When Sigmund Freud invented psychoanalysis at the end of the nineteenth century, psychology became a science and theory which, like medicine, laid claim to universality. But is this claim legitimate? Do Sigmund Freud’s writings have any meaning for people in India or the Arab world today? By Stefan WeidnerMore ...
    Bat, owl, or other bird of prey with spread wings. This motif, recurring with slight variations, is found above the vase pictures in the passageways
to the prayer chamber of the Wazir Khan Mosque. Photo: Stefan Weidner © Goethe-Institut

    Can Freud Be Globalised?
    Psychoanalysis and the Non-Western World

    Accommodating the tension between the fundamentally similar nature of man across the world and the differing existential narratives of East and West, it becomes clearer and clearer that while Freudian metapsychology has a universal validity, the developmental notions and therapeutic methodology of psychoanalysis are Euro-centric. On the other hand, it is encouraging to see that Freud’s skeptical reductionism vis-à-vis God’s existence has mushroomed into theoretical notions of much larger scope. By Salman AkhtarMore ...
    A Sudanese sufi at a Dhikr ceremony in Al-Bakri cemetery
in Omdurman. Photo: Stefan Weidner © Goethe-Institut

    More Relevant than Ever
    Psychology in the Arab World Today
    Interview with Jalil Bennani

    Morocco is among the African and Arab countries where there is currently the biggest uptake of psychoanalysis. Martina Sabra spoke to the renowned Moroccan psychotherapist Jalil Bennani about the reasons for this, and about the difficulties psychoanalysis in the Islamic world still has to deal with. By Martina SabraMore ...
    A little girl’s shoe in the rubble of a Syrian house. Photo: Ziad Homsi © Goethe-Institut

    The Rape of Women in Wartime
    Psychoanalytical Considerations

    Rape is one of the most brutal aspects of war and civil war, during which it is used as a psychological weapon. The resulting psychological damage is huge, as is demonstrated by cases from Syria and Iraq. In a cultural context that is markedly patriarchal, and fuelled by the legal opinions (fatwas) of reactionary religious scholars, contempt for the other sex continues to be a central problem in the current crises in the Islamic world. By Houria AbdelouahedMore ...
    Syrian children in a ruined street in Aleppo. Photo: Nour Kelze © Goethe-Institut

    Lifetime Trauma?
    The World of War Children in Syria

    The Syrian revolution was not just one of the surprises of the Arab spring. When it broke out three and a half years ago, one of its most striking features was that it began with ordinary children and adolescents in a town called Deraa that wasn’t usually in the headlines. Since then life has changed for Syrian children, and for many of them the changes have been tragic, especially for those who have had the misfortune to witness the most destructive and frightening phases of the conflict. By Jamal Khalil SobehMore ...
    Back to School. By the Syrian Artist Tammam Azzam © Goethe-Institut

    The End of a Taboo
    Iranian Discussion of Child Abuse

    Shhh! Girls Don’t Scream is the name of a film by the (female) director Pouran Derakhshandeh, which was shown in Iranian cinemas in 2013 and which touched many people very deeply. Despite all criticism, one important point that must be taken into account: the film brought the subject of the sexual abuse of children right into the heart of society. By Parisa TonekaboniMore ...
    Frescoes in the prayer chamber of the Wazir Khan Mosque. Photo: Stefan Weidner © Goethe-Institut

    Islam as a Projection Screen for Our Attitudes and Feelings
    The Psychological Background to Islamophobia

    The time has come to consider the emotive debates about Islam in the West from a psychological angle. It is quite possible that Islam is providing a projection screen for opinions and feelings that have little to do with Islam itself. Moreover, critics of Islam are often accused of being ‘Islamophobic’, in other words of having an irrational fear of Islam. This article considers where reservations about Islam are well-founded, where there is an element of irrational fear of Islam, and in what ways Islam is used as both projection surface and lightning rod. By Stefan WeidnerMore ...
    Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, in 1926. Photo: Ferdinand Schmutzer

    ‘Herr Frau Doctor’
    Interview with PD Dr med Schouler-Ocak

    Meryam Schouler-Ocak was born in Turkey in 1962. She came to Germany at the age of seven. She is a senior doctor at the Psychiatric University Clinic at St Hedwig’s Hospital in Berlin. The clinic belongs to the Charité, one of the largest university hospitals in Europe. Dr Schouler-Ocak is also director of the German-Turkish Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosocial Health (DTGPP). One of her main areas of research is transcultural psychiatry and psychotherapy. By Alem GrabovacMore ...
    A boy in a Sudanese village. Photo: Stefan Weidner © Goethe-Institut

    The Scent of a Foreign Land
    Migration and Banishment from Childhood

    A psychotherapist tells of the patients from North Africa and the Middle East who come to her seeking help. Many of them either came to Germany as children or grew up here as children of immigrant parents. This situation puts very specific psychological strains on a child – strains that also shape their experiences as an adult. In such cases, it can be helpful to gain an understanding of this situation by way of psychoanalytical treatment. By Sigrid ScheifeleMore ...
    Can you hear? by the Syrian artist Wissam al Jazairy. The pictures and photos of Syrian artists presented in this edition are from the book Innenansichten aus Syrien (Inside Syria), edited by Larissa Bender, edition faust, Frankfurt 2014 © Goethe-Institut

    Of Cow-Bells and Homesickness
    When Home Is Elsewhere, and Elsewhere Is Not Home

    In a globalised and densely networked world where mental and physical mobility continue to grow in importance, it seems counterintuitive to continue speaking about home and homesickness. At the very least, it would seem to require an explanation. For this reason, this article seeks to show how addressing the subject of homesickness is not only philosophically, psychologically and socio-politically meaningful but also necessary in the present day. By Haci-Halil UslucanMore ...
    Rosa Yassin Hassan. Photo: Larissa Bender © Goethe-Institut

    Translating the Unforgotten
    Trauma in Contemporary Arab Literature

    Until recently, modern research into trauma concentrated on cases in the ‘white’ and Western world, taking as its point of reference everyday realities in industrial societies. But which forms and kinds of traumas develop in colonised or post-colonial societies – and in which contexts is it justified to speak of trauma? These questions are also valuable for the field of Arabic literary and cultural studies. By Stephan MilichMore ...
    View from the courtyard towards the vestibule building
with the two chatri kiosks that form the entrance to the Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore. Photo: Stefan Weidner © Goethe-Institut

    Zahir and Batin
The Picture Puzzles of Lahore

    The seventeenth century is regarded as the golden age of Mughal rule on the Indian subcontinent. Mughal painting and architecture drew on existing Islamic traditions, but augmented these by using elements that had seldom been seen before in Islamic art. In scarcely any other period in Islamic history have people adopted such a creative and playful approach to the prohibition of images.By Stefan WeidnerMore ...

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