Konferenzen und Workshops

Die Forschungsgruppe Denkfiguren│Wendepunkte organisiert, eigenständig und in Zusammenarbeit mit ihren Kooperationspartnerinnen und -partnern, verschiedene Aktivitäten, um den wissenschaftlichen Austausch zum Zusammenhang zwischen kulturellen Praktiken und soziale Veränderungen in der arabischen Welt zu fördern. Zu diesen Aktivitäten gehören unter anderem Konferenzen, Workshops und Sommerakademien.

Außerdem veranstalten wir eine Reihe von Vorträgen und Vorlesungen mit angeschlossenen Seminaren (lecture-cum-seminar), in denen Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aus ganz unterschiedlichen Fachgebieten eingeladen sind, theoretische Perspektiven vorzustellen und zu diskutieren, die wichtig für die Forschungsfragen der gesamten Gruppe oder für einzelne Teilprojekte sind.

  • 2018 International Conference "Re-Centering a Region: the Maghreb in Motion"

    Vom 16. bis 17. Februar 2018 findet die internationale Konferenz „Re-Centering a Region: the Maghreb in Motion“ am Centrum für Nah- und Mittelost-Studien statt.

    Thematisches Anliegen der Konferenz ist, den Maghreb ins Blickfeld zu rücken als Region der Verflechtungen, des Transfers und der Mobilität.

    Die Konferenz ist eine Kooperation zwischen dem Fachgebiet Politik des Nahen und Mittleren Ostens des CNMS, dem DFG-finanzierten Projekt „Denkfiguren | Wendepunkte. Kulturelle Praktiken und sozialer Wandel in der arabischen Welt“ des Fachgebiets Arabistik des CNMS und dem Institut de recherches et d’études sur le monde arabe musulman (IREMAM), Aix-en-Provence.

    Am Vorabend der Konferenz hält der marokkanische Schriftsteller Fouad Laroui die Keynote gefolgt von einer Lesung aus seinem Werk, siehe separate Ankündigung.

    Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf der Website der Konferenz. 

    Mehr Informationen bei Julius Dihstelhoff und Charlotte Pardey.

  • 2017 Workshop "Because of the War…"

    “Because of the War…” – Tracing Transformations in/of the Syrian Field of Cultural Production

    Workshop, University of Marburg, 26-27 July 2017

    Research Group Figures of Thought | Turning Points (DFG, Leibniz)

    In the sixth year of the revolution/war in Syria, stating that the field of Syrian cultural production has changed amounts to stating the obvious. Academic discourse and the media alike have constructed the Syrian revolution/war as a ‘turning point’ in social, cultural, economic, historical and psychological terms, with a variety of ‘moments’ posited as thresholds, ranging from how the conflict questions the colonial partitioning of the Middle East in the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916) through to it signalling the collapse of the ‘wall of fear’ in the minds of Syrian citizens. The discursive consolidation of such turning points tends to blur relations of causality, however. As any war, – or revolution, for that matter –, the “war in Syria” consists of a complex array of social, political, economic and psychological processes which each have a history of their own. Attributing causality to “the war” as such clearly falls short of the aims any analysis should have which seeks to elucidate the recent changes witnessed in the field of Syrian cultural production, and so to the form and content of the works created in it.

    For this workshop, we would like to invite participants to reflect on the changes and innovations that have occurred in Syrian film, theater, music and literary production, in both mediatised and academic discourses, since 2011. These changes can be located on the level of form and content of the works themselves as well as on the level of the social, political, and economic processes that have impacted directly on cultural production; they can relate to a single individual as well as to a larger group, or indeed the structure of the field as a whole. They could include questions of exile, networks of literary and artistic production, new genres and art forms, new subjects and audiences as well as the question of what role “the Syrian war/revolution”, as a concept, has taken on, or been assigned, in different discourses.


  • 2017 Workshop "Reading the ‘1979 Moment’ in the Middle East"

    A two-day workshop held on June 15-16, 2017 at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin, Germany.

    Call for papers

  • 2016 Workshop "Arab Cultural Fields in Crisis"

    Organised by CNMS (University of Marburg) and IREMAM (CNRS, AMU) Aix-en-Provence, MMSH, 7-8 November 2016

    This workshop is set to investigate the relations between culture and politics in Arab societies in a state of serious political crisis - war, occupation, revolution - by going back to the contribution of Bourdieu's sociology to the study of cultural fields.

    One of the major contributions of field theory was to go beyond an opposition of internal and external readings of texts (and, beyond that, all cultural production) by showing how these cultural goods (or works) and the social actors who produce them are also the product of the history and structure of a specific, social space more or less autonomous vis-à-vis the field of power, that is, more or less independent from constraints imposed from outside.

    But how is that in the context of war or revolution? How does internal conflict (Lebanese and Algerian Civil Wars), occupation (Palestine, Iraq) or revolution (Egypt, Tunisia, Syria from 2011-2012) affect the players in the cultural field and their products? How does the “desectorisation” characteristic of political crisis affect the cultural field and, conversely, how do the forces of the field play out in these exceptional circumstances?

    Programme and further information

  • 2015 Joint Workshop "What's in a Year? Reflections on 1967"

    Joint Workshop: Turning Points Research Group (DFG, Leibniz) | History | Media Studies

    Centre for Near-and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS), University of Marburg, 10-11 December 2015

    Organising committee: Yvonne Albers, Malte Hagener, Felix Lang, Friederike Pannewick, Benedikt Stuchtey.


    Dr. Fadi Bardawil (UNC, Arab Intellectual History)
    Prof. Frank Bösch (Potsdam, Media History and Social History)
    Prof. Rembert Hüser (Frankfurt, Media Studies)
    Dr. Alexandra Ortiz Wallner (HU Berlin, Latin American Studies)

    From 1913 to 1967, from 1066 to 1776: years constantly feature as titles of novels, popular academic works or research monographs. The marketability of such publications, their ability to capture the readers' imagination, rests on the fact that certain years have been marked out as significant. Yet, just how sure can we be about what a particular year 'signifies'? The year of 1945, when Europe was liberated from Nazi occupation saw the brutal crushing of another liberation movement in Algeria. The year of 1967, a watershed moment for many Arab intellectuals on the other hand is not much more than a 'prequel' to the events which unfolded across Europe and the US in 1968. We want to take these publications as a starting point to reflect on the role years play in structuring and producing knowledge in different fields of the arts, humanities and social sciences: How and why do certain years come to mark a moment where 'the world has changed', the point whereafter things won't be that they were before? How do they become established as a caesura and starting points of subsequent developments? As a common reference point for this workshop, we propose the year of 1967. As year of the Naksa (setback, debacle) after the Six-Day war with Israel, 1967 occupies an eminently important place in the historical imaginary of many people in the Middle East. This stands in interesting contrast to a European context where 1967 is eclipsed by the events of 1968 when leftist student movements seemed to shake the foundations of postwar Europe.

    Further information

  • 2015 Konferenz "Spectres of Justice: The Aesthetics of Dealing with Violent Pasts"

    Spectres of Justice: The Aesthetics of Dealing with Violent Pasts (28-30 May 2015)

    International Conference of the Research Network
    Re-Configurations. History, Rememberance and Transformation Processes in the Middle East & North Africa

    In the ever broadening field of transitional justice studies, the arts have received scant attention. Yet, it is frequently artists, authors and intellectuals who are to be found at the forefront of civil society efforts to come to terms with a troubled past. Be it in Serbia, Lebanon, Cambodia, Argentina or South Africa, literature, film, theatre, visual arts, music and popular culture are deeply marked by the violent conflicts of the past and the present. While individual pieces of work have been the subject of academic inquiry in a number of disciplines, the relations of cultural production to processes of transitional justice have hardly been explored.On the one hand, artists, authors and filmmakers intervene in political debates on the past by creating spaces of potentiality and ambiguity which contrast with the judicial and documentary aspects of transitional justice and their focus on establishing consensual truths. On the other hand, narrative conventions and aesthetic forms shape the discourse of transitional justice and human rights as well as the implementation of specific instruments such as truth commissions or tribunals. By examining transitional justice as a cultural form and enquiring into the role of art and literature in phases of socio-political transition, this conference seeks to elucidate the interconnections and exchanges between these two spheres.

    The conference aims to investigate specific cultural products and situate them in their respective social and historical context. It will consider how notions of truth, justice, reconciliation and memory are constructed in works of art and literature, by the authors and artists, and in the reception of these works and artists in the media. Finally it will explore how this wider discourse on and practice of transitional justice is in turn shaped by cultural production.

    The confernce is organised by the research network Re-Configurations. History, Remembrance and Transformation Processes in the Middle East and North Africa at the CNMS, the Turning Points research groups (funded by DFG/Leipzig) and the Center for Conflict Studies.

    Organising Committee
    Dr. Jamal Bahmad, Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bonacker (Sociology), Prof. Dr. Susanne Buckley-Zistel (Peace and Conflict Studies), Prof. Dr. Malte Hagener (Film and Media Studies), Dr. Felix Lang, Prof. Dr. Anika Oettler, Prof. Dr. Rachid Ouaissa (Politics), Prof. Dr. Friederike Pannewick (Arabic Literature and Culture), Dr. Dominik Pfeiffer, Dr. Achim Rohde, Mariam Salehi, Alena Strohmaier.

    Contact: cnms-soj@staff.uni-uarburg.de


  • 2015 International Workshop "Commitment and Dissent - Transregional Perspectives"

    International Workshop "Commitment and Dissent - Transregional Perspectives" CNMS, Marburg, 23-24 January 2015

    A follow-up to the international conference "Commitment and Dissent in Arabic Literature since the 1950s" which took place at the CNMS in June 2013, this workshop approaches the interrelationship of literature, politics and society by going beyond the Arab world and reflecting aspects of commitment and dissent from a transregional angle. Together with a number of selected scholars from Asian, Latin American, African and Arabic literatures, we hope to explore differences and similarities in the way various (post-colonial) literatures, authors and their works relate to society and the political.

    The workshop aims at providing scope for collaboration among researchers with different regional perspectives and focuses on entanglements and potential interaction across national, cultural or regional borders. By trying to avoid unilateral perspectives as much as possible, this meeting is meant to transgress the traditional research perspective of East-West or South-North relations. We are interested in both contemporary developments as well as historical perspectives on the changes these relations have undergone since the middle of the 20th century.


    Further information 

  • 2014 Workshop "Denkfiguren" (Figurations of Thought) with André Reichert

    10-11 November 2014
    Philosopher André Reichert came to Marburg to discuss the concept of "Denkfiguren" as part of a "Diagrammatic of Thinking" he has developed in his recent publication Diagrammatik des Denkens: Descartes und Deleuze.

    He gave a talk entitled "De- und Refigurationen des Denkens. Ansätze zu einer Theorie der Denkfiguren" (De- and Refigurations. Approaches to a Theory of Figurations of Thinking). In a seminar we discussed the adaptability of the concept for literature and other, non-textual media. 

    Dr. André Reichert works at Freiburg University.

  • 2013 International Conference "Commitment and Dissent in Arabic Literature since the 1950s"

    International Conference at the CNMS, June 27 - 29, 2013

    As the ongoing popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa challenge tradi­tio­nal paradigms for understanding the region’s politics and culture this workshop strives to return to the conceptual beginnings of literary commitment in the Arab world.

    In the highly politi­cized period of the 1950s Jean Paul Sartre’s concept “littérature engagée” was appropriated by Arab intellectuals through its translation as iltizām(engagement/­com­mit­ment) which served as the benchmark for literary production in the subsequent period. Looking at commitment and dissent in literature from a conceptual perspective as well as historically and by way of case studies, the workshop traces notions of political agency, dissent and opposition in Arabic literature at the heyday of political ideologies and literary engagement during the 1950s and early 1960s, in postmodern approaches and in recent revolutionary contexts. It questions popular notions about the changing role of literature and the intellectual in society since the 1950s.

    The workshop will provide theoretical lectures and empirical case studies hoping to engage a discussion both on established terminologies and historizations / periodizations of Arab literary engagement. In a roundtable discussion, the workshop’s overarching focus of commitment and dissent in literature will be expanded by looking at contemporary art to gain a comparative interdisciplinary perspective. The workshop is a follow-up of the workshop The Middle East from Below – Dynamics of Subversion hosted at Marburg University in December 2011 and forms another part of a series of workshops that will be organized by our interdisciplinary research group over the coming years.

    Samia Mehrez - "The Making of a Revolutionary Culture" (Lecture, June 27th, 2013)

  • 2011 International workshop "The Middle East from below – Dynamics of subversion"

    Prof. Dr. Albrecht Fuess (Islamwissenschaft), Prof. Dr. Rachid Ouaissa (Politikwissenschaft), Prof. Dr. Friederike Pannewick (Arabistik)

    8.12.-10.12.2011, Marburg

    This international workshop represents a prelude to a series of workshops that will be hosted over the coming years within the framework of the Marburg University research group, "Triumph of subversion? The end of mass ideologies, and new oppositional dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa." It forms part of interdisciplinary research focusing on processes of individualization and new forms of oppositional dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa. Conveners were Albrecht Fuess (Islamic Studies), Rachid Ouaissa (Middle Eastern Politics), and the laureate of the Leibnizpreis, Friederike Pannewick (Arabic Studies), of the CNMS in Marburg.

    The apparent absence of organized mass ideologies in the ongoing social upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa is remarkable. Nationalism and Islamism were not the driving forces behind the mass protests. Instead, a new ideational orientation of actors, emphasizing individual desiderata—such as freedom, human dignity, and social equality—has figured prominently in the midst of the new developments. Processes of individualized opposition have been taking place under the surface in these regions for years. Various groups of social actors including intellectuals, artists, youth, and women have been engaged in subverting the dominant political, social, and cultural conceptions. In contrast to previous mass movements based on a collective consciousness, recent dynamics of resistance are characterized by individual, non-hierarchical, spontaneous actions and behavior.

    This workshop aimed to address issues of individualized opposition—which is constantly subverting not only political, but also social and cultural authoritarian systems—through providing theoretical lectures and discussions in connection with presenting empirical case studies.

    Further information 

  • 2011 Kurzworkshop "Subversion - Konzeptionen und Aporien eines schillernden Begriffs"

    Kurzworkshop mit Literaturwissenschaftler Dr. Thomas Ernst (Duisburg-Essen) am 24.01.2011, CNMS

    Dieser erste Kurzworkshop des Forschungsprojekts galt der konzeptionellen Reflexion des Terminus „Subversion“ als erkenntnisleitendem Begriff.

    Der Literaturwissenschaftler für neuere deutsche Literatur Dr. Thomas Ernst stellte in seinem Vortrag einige Ergebnisse seiner Dissertation zu subversiven Konzepten in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsprosa vor (erscheint 2012). Der Fokus seines Vortrags am CNMS lag auf der vielschichtigen Begriffsgeschichte, die Ernst in der Zusammenfassung einer umfassenden Diskursanalyse anschaulich und auf unseren Kontext zugespitzt reflektierte.

    Im Anschluss wurde die Definitionsproblematik des Subversions-Begriffs in enger Bezugnahme auf unser Projekt gemeinsam diskutiert.

    Ernst, Thomas: Literatur und Subversion. Politisches Schreiben in der Gegenwart. Bielefeld: transcript, 2011 (in Überarbeitung) (Zuvor unter dem Titel Pop, Minoritäten, Untergrund. Subversive Konzepte in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsprosa. Universität Trier: Dissertationsschrift, 2008).
    Ernst, Thomas (Hg.): SUBversionen. Zum Verhältnis von Politik und Ästhetik in der Gegenwart. Hg. von Thomas Ernst, Patricia Gozalbez Cantó, Sebastian Richter, Nadja Sennewald und Julia Tieke. Bielefeld: transcript, 2008.
    Ernst, Thomas: ‚Subversion’. Eine kleine Diskursanalyse eines vielfältigen Begriffs. In: Psychologie & Gesellschaftskritik. 32. Jg., Heft 128 (2008). S. 9-34.