Prof. Dr. Serena Tolino

Associate Professor, Director, Study Counselling at all Levels, Mobility Coordinator

+41 31 684 46 67
Postal Address
University of Bern
Institute for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Societies
Lerchenweg 36
3012 Bern
Consultation Hour
Wednesday 13.30-15.00. Please make an appointment here:

Since 2020 – Professor for Islamic Studies, Institute for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Bern

From 2022 – Member of the Standing Committee for Equal Opportunities at the phil.-hist. faculty of the University of Bern

2016-2020 – Junior Professor for Islamic Studies, Asia and Africa Institute, University of Hamburg

April 2019 – January 2020 Gender Equality Faculty Officer, Asia and Africa Institute, University of Hamburg

2019 – Special Prize of the Claussen Simon Foundation for the 100th anniversary of the University of Hamburg for the teaching project “One Foot in the Past - One in the Future: Young Investigators and the Tradition of Middle Eastern Studies in Hamburg”

2015-2019 – University didactics training at “Didactica” (University of Zurich and ETH) and at the Centre for University Teaching and Learning of the University of Hamburg (Basic Certificate for University Didactics: 2017; Consolidating Certificates for Teaching Competences and for Leadership Competences: 2018; Consolidating Certificate for Media Competences: 2019)

2018  –  Italian National Habilitation as Associate Professor of “History of Islamic countries” (Abilitazione scientifica nazionale come “Professore di seconda fascia”, macrosettore 10/N1, Culture del Vicino Oriente Antico, del Medio Oriente e dell’Africa, settore L-OR/10, Storia dei paesi islamici)

May 2018 – Visiting Professor at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”, Erasmus Mobility Grant

2018-2019 – Coordinator for the University of Hamburg of the project “SLAFNET “(Slavery in Africa: A Dialogue between Europe and Africa,

Since 2018 – Secretary-Treasurer of the “International Society for Islamic Legal Studies” (ISILS)

2012-2016 – Post-doc at the University of Zurich in the project “Gender Ambiguities in the Orders of Knowledge and Power in the Arab and Latin Middle Ages”, financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and directed by Prof. Dr. Almut Höfert

Since 2015 – Board member of the “International Society for Islamic Legal Studies” (ISILS)

Summer 2015 – Visiting Professor at the “Universidade da Coruña”, International Summer School, Swiss-European Mobility Grant

Fall 2013 – Stipendiary Visiting Fellow, Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard University, Cambridge (MA)

2012 – Ph.D. in “Islamic Studies” (Martin-Luther-Universität, Halle-Wittenberg) and Doctor Europaeus in “Studies on the Near East and Maghreb: Cultural Specificities and Intercultural Relations” (University of Naples “L’Orientale”) (summa cum laude)

2008-2012 – Ph.D. Fellow, Graduate School “Society and Culture in Motion”, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

2005-2008 – Research and Study in Cairo

2007 – MA in “Sciences of Languages, History and Cultures of Islamic and Mediterranean Countries”, University of Naples “L’Orientale”

2005 – BA in “Languages, History and Cultures of Islamic and Mediterranean Countries”, University of Naples “L’Orientale”

Gender and Sexuality in Islamicate societies

Islamic Law

Slavery and Dependency in Islamicate Societies

History of Modern and Contemporary Egypt

Fatimid History






Books and Edited volumes

Almut Höfert, Matthew M. Mesley, Serena Tolino (eds.): Celibate and Childless Men in Power: Ruling Eunuchs and Bishops in the Pre-Modern World. London and New York: Routledge, 2018.

Serena Tolino (ed.), Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in the Constitutions of the Middle Eastern and North African Countries, special issue of Oriente Moderno, 98, 2 (2018).

Carlo De Angelo, Serena Tolino (eds.): Minorities and Islamic Law, special issue of the Journal of Islamic and Arabic Studies 17 (2017).

Serena Tolino, Omosessualità e atti omosessuali tra diritto islamico e diritto positivo: il caso egiziano con alcuni riferimenti all’esperienza libanese. Naples: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 2013.



“Eunuchs in the Fatimid Empire: Ambiguities, Gender and Sacredness”. In: Celibate and Childless Men in Power: Ruling Eunuchs and Bishops in the Pre-Modern World, ed. by Almut Höfert, Matthew M. Mesley, Serena Tolino. London and New York: Routledge, 2018, pp. 246-266.

“Gender Equality in the Egyptian Constitution: From 1923 to 2014”. Oriente Moderno, 98, 2 (2018): 140-165.

 “Crossing Borders: Women, Gender and Islam in Italian Scholarship”. Daimon. Annuario di diritto comparato delle religioni (2018): 155-182.

“Transgenderism, Transsexuality and Sex-Reassignment Surgery in Contemporary Sunni Fatwas”. Journal of Arab and Islamic Studies, 17 (2017): 223-246.

“The Approach to Homosexuality in Contemporary Fatāwā: Sexual Practices or Sexual Orientation?”. Zeitschrift für Recht & Islam, 1 (2016): 141–158.

“Homosexual Acts in Islamic Law: Siḥāq and Liwāṭ in the Legal Debate”. GAIR-Mitteilungen, Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Arabisches und Islamisches Recht, 6 (2014): 187-205.

“Homosexuality in the Middle East: An Analysis of Dominant and Competitive Discourses”. DEP. Deportate, Esule, Profughe, 25 (2014): 72-91.

“Identità omosessuale in tribunale nell’Egitto e nel Libano contemporanei”. Genesis. Rivista delle Storiche Italiane, 11, 1-2 (2012): 115-140.