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Thomas Schmidinger

was born in 1974 and is a political scientist as well as a social and cultural anthropologist. Since 1998 he attended study visits and journeys to various Middle East nations and Arabic, Turkish and Spanish courses in Cairo, Tunis, Istanbul and Guatemala. He has a lecturing position at the Vienna University's Institute for Political Science and at the University of Applied Science Upper Austria ; board memberships at LEEZA (an aid organization active in Iraq and Turkey). Schmidinger is secretary general of the Austrian Association for Kurdish Studies and member of the editorial board of the Journal Kurdische Studien. Since its foundation in 2013 he is also in the Editorial Review Board of the international peer-reviewed journal Kurdish Studies.
He is a member of the Austrian Society for Political Science, the Sudan Studies Association and reviewer for the Austrian Journal of Political Science (ÖZP) , the Austrian Journal of Sociology (ÖZS), the Journal of Religion in Europe, NECSUS - European Journal of Media Studies and the Austrian Exchange Service (ÖAD).
2009 until 2010 he was President of the university lecturers union IG Externe LektorInnen und freie WissenschafterInnen and he was a member of the Senate and member of the Works council for the Academic Staff of the University of Vienna .
2010/2011 he was Research Fellow at the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota and in 2012 at the Department of Political Science at the University of Prishtina. Since 2014, he has been working on various research projects at different research institutions on topics related to jihadist radicalization, Muslim communities in Europe, and the Middle East. The focus is on Kurdistan, Syria and Iraq, as well as religious minorities in the region. In addition, he is active in various fields of adult education and serves as a guest lecturer at universities in Iraq and Turkey.

Contact: thomas.schmidinger@univie.ac.at

List of Publications

Selected publications:

‘Muhajirun’ from Austria. Why they left to join ISIS and why they don’t return

Article on Austrian Jihadis, co-authored with Veronika Hofinger (IRKS).
Journal for Deradicalisation, Spring 2020, No. 22

Afrin and the Race for the Azaz Corridor

Syria Source, Atlantic Council, February 23, 2016

Kurds fight for selfdetermination amid civil war

Salih Muslim is co-president of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Syria-based Kurdish party fighting for self-determination. The PYD is a sister party of the leftwing Turkish-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The party is the ruling force in the Kurdish areas of Syria and took over three enclaves with Kurdish majorities in 2012.
Green Left Weekly, 5 February 2014

Unionism and Revolution in the Arab World

This paper presents an outline of trade unionism in the Arab world and its role in the revolutions of 2011. Without going into too much detail, I will present an overview and explore the examples of Tunisia and Egypt, where unions played an important role in the revolutionary process, while also relying on a literature survey and qualitative interviews with trade union leaders and intellectuals from Egypt, Syria, and Libya.
book contribution from:
Friedrich, Wiebke / Schwarz, Christoph / Voigt, Sebastian (eds.): Gewerkschaften im demokratischen Prozess: 10 internationale Beiträge. Trade Unions in the Democratic Process 10 international Contributions.
Düsseldorf, 2013, S. 27 – 52

Spring in Civil War

As of now the ‚Arab Spring’ in Syria has become a civil war that is increasingly showing signs of denominationalism. Under these circumstances the collapse of the Assad-Regime will not necessarily result in democracy.
OBSERVER: A Journal on threatened Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines, Volume 4, Number 1, June 2012

Islam, Migration, and the Muslim Communities in Europe: History, Legal Framework, and Organizations

A chapter of the book 'Looming Shadows. Migration and Integration at a Time of Upheaval. European and American Perspectives , edited together with Vedran Džihić, provides an overview of the Muslim communities in Europe, their ethnic and religious background, their social, economic and legal status, and their organizations.
Published in the book series of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Brookings Institution Press, Washington DC, December 2011

Tyrants and Terrorists: Reflections on the Connection between Totalitarianism, Neo-liberalism, Civil War and the Failure of the State in Iraq and Sudan

Failed states that foster warlords and terrorists are now an increasing challenge to state stability across the Middle East. This paper uses the case studies of Iraq and Sudan to show how a neo-liberal policy of dismantling the public sector by an illegitimate regime that combines tribalisation with the arbitrary use of power leads to dramatic weakening of the state and an increase in warlordism.
Civil Wars 11 (2009): 3, 359 — 379

Internationalism made in Austria

Review of Fritz Kellers book 'Gelebter Internationalismus. Österreichs Linke und der algerische Widerstand (1958 - 1963)'
Austrian Studies Newsletter, Fall 2011

Yemen: State Failure by Regime Support?

This article considers the causes of conflict in Yemen and poses the following question: can the western states’ strategy of providing financial, logistic and military support to the government under President Ali Abdullah Saleh contribute to stabilizing the country, or could it weaken the Yemenite state instead?
Orient, II/2010

Richard Buchta and the Kadi of Khartoum

The pictures of the Austrian traveler Richard Buchta from Sudan, his lost publication and the debate in the SSA-Bulletin
Sudan Studies Association Bulletin Vol. 28, NO.2, Fall 2010

Neuland: bringing refugees and Austrian residents together

Paper with Margerita Piatti about 'Neuland': The main issue of the project 'Neuland' (German: new ground) is to find a way of communication between Austrian residents and refugees in rural areas of Lower Austria.
Proceedings of cAIR10, the first Conference on Applied Interculturality Research (Graz, Austria, 7-10 April 2010)

Suppressed but not defeated: Unionism in Sudan

Sudan Studies Association Bulletin Vol. 27, No. 2, May-June 2009

A son’s death, a father’s centenary

The Kreiskys and postwar Austria
Austrian Studies Newsletter Vol. 23, No.1, Spring 2011

Brigitte Spreitzer´s psychoanalytic theory of art

Interview with Brigitte Spreitzer
Austrian Studies Newsletter Vol. 23, No.1, Spring 2011

European Strategies of the New Right - the example of the FPÖ

The European politics of the FPÖ (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs / Freedom Party of Austria) is not only a mirror of the entire diversity of a quite contradictory and in parts very tactical relationship of the entire New Right towards "Europe".
aus: Abramsky, Kolya: Restructuring and Resistance, Diverse Voices of Struggle in Western Europa United Kingdom, 2001


Contribution to a Kurdish book on Secularism and Religion (in Sorani).
Faruq Rafiq: Sikularizm wa Dīn
Suleymania, 2012

El Irán de Mahmud Ahmedineyad: ¿República revolucionaria o neoliberalismo islámico?

La muerte del gran ayatola disidente Hossein Alí Montazeri, de 87 años y de la era Jomeini, activó estos días las protestas de los reformistas iraníes, en medio del clima represivo instalado luego de la cuestionada reelección de Mahmud Ahmadineyad.
Pulso (Bolivia), 27 de diciembre al 9 de enero de 2010

min bagdhad ila or yahuda

Tariq al-Shaab (Arabic, Iraq) January 2007

La diglaua barau donau

Beyani (Kurdish/Sorani, Iraq) No. 12, 23th of April 2006