Religion – Knowledge – Discourse

Johanna Francesca Montanari

PhD project:

Curated Public: An Ethnography of Journalistic Practice in Jordan


In my dissertation I investigate the production of a (trans)national public sphere through journalistic practices and what role the secular plays in them. The aim of my research is to critically reflect on the concept of the public sphere of Western modernity as developed by Habermas in a non-Western, post-colonial and predominantly Muslim context. In doing so I want to to go beyond simple dichotomies of the West and Other.

I analyze journalistic practices as situated, bounded by historical interdependencies and current political conditions and limited by subjective room for manoeuver. As a tool for analysis I use the praxeological metaphor of "curating". My field research is carried out in Amman at the Jordan-produced English-language daily The Jordan Times.

My work links postcolonial studies to the tradition of a practice-oriented anthropology, specifically "critical Europeanization research" and its reflexive methodology as developed at the Institute for European Ethnology at HU Berlin.



Johanna Montanari gained her M.A. in "Critical Media and Cultural Studies" from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 2012. In 2010, she completed her B.A. at Free University Berlin in Social and Cultural Anthropology (minor subjects: Political Science and Italian). In her M.A. thesis titled "The Ramallah Syndrome: Between Notions of Clubbing and Resistance" she did a discourse analysis and studied different representations of the Palestinian city Ramallah in various newspaper articles and an art installation.

Johanna Montanari also works as a freelance writer and journalist.