• 2016 "Reconfiguring the (Non-)Political. Performing and Narrating Change and Continuity" in Tunis

    Vom 28. August bis 4. September 2016 fand in Tunis eine internationale Sommerakademie des Forschungsnetzwerkes Re-Konfigurationen und der DFG-Forschergruppe „Turning Points“, der tunesischen Université de la Manouba und dem ebenfalls in Tunis ansässigen französischen Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain statt. Die Akademie geschah in Kooperation mit dem Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin, sie schuf einen Rahmen, um mit einer Gruppe von ausgewählten KollegInnen verschiedener Fachdisziplinen aus 13 Ländern über die Transformationen in der MENA-Region seit dem ‚Arabischen Frühling‘ zu reflektieren. 30 DoktorandInnen und Postdocs sowie zehn TutorInnen aus Europa, dem Mittleren Osten und Nordamerika nutzten die Gelegenheit, um in einer ebenso privilegierten wie geschützten Atmosphäre intensiv über laufende Forschungsprojekte zu diskutieren und sich in verschiedenen Workshops zu übergreifenden Themen zu engagieren. Exkursionen, Vorträge und Podiumsdiskussionen sowie eine Filmvorführung zum spezifischen tunesischen Kontext rundeten das Programm ab.

    Die Sommerakademie wurde begleitet von von der Dokumentation auf dem EUME Trafo-Blog.
    Call for Applications

  • 2012 "Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe Summer Academy for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Researchers in Cairo"

    Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe
    Summer Academy for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Researchers
    in Cairo, September 16 - 27, 2012


    The research project Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe (EUME) of the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien and the Center for Translation Studies of the American University in Cairo hosted an international summer academy from September 16 through -27, 2012 at the American University in Cairo. This summer academy on the theme "Aesthetics and Politics: Counter-Narratives, New Publics, and the Role of Dissent in the Arab World" was held in cooperation with the Center for Near and Middle East Studies of Philipps-Universität Marburg, and Cairo University.

    Chaired by a group of scholars that included Randa Aboubakr (Cairo University), Michael Allan (University of Oregon), Ayman El-Desouky (SOAS London), Elias Khoury (NYU/Beirut), Samia Mehrez (American University in Cairo), Rachid Ouaissa (Philipps-University Marburg), Friederike Pannewick (Philipps-Universität Marburg), and Samah Selim (Rutgers University), 24 doctoral and postdoctoral scholars from different countries - and academic disciplines as diverse as comparative literature, art history, cultural anthropology, political science, sociology and media studies - were invited. 

    The topics addressed by the summer academy were clearly affected by the uprisings in the Arab world. These included: How can we grasp dissent and counter-narratives and what function do these articulations perform? What impact do old and new media have? Considering their by and large absence during the revolutions, do intellectuals get a new role? How have traditional paradigms of understanding politics and culture in the region been challenged and how should we grasp the significance of literature, and the arts in this new context?

    In order to promote fruitful debates and encourage new perspectives pertaining to these questions, the summer academy used four formats: presentations of individual research projects, thematic discussions, general lectures and panel discussions open to a wider public. 

    The 24 participants were split into three groups, each of which was chaired by three of the scholars mentioned above. The groups´ intention was that each present her/his current research project, whereupon - as the image to the left shows - the others participants in a critical and fruitful discussion on it. Thematic discussions were oriented around topics introduced by individual scholars for example, the question of the positionality of the researcher in Middle Eastern studies, or artistic expressions and cultural policies in Egypt. Apart from the discussions at campus the interdisciplinarity of these sessions extended to the urban space of Cairo. Participants were guided through down town Cairo to view the wide-spread graffiti and murals. As the image to the right shows, we could thus see and directly perceive the social meaning and political significance of this artistic practice as we observed how many people were active in creating and viewing street art. We also had the opportunity to speak directly to the artists.

    Another very insightful opportunity to sense the relationship between politics and urban space in Cairo was during a walk through the city guided by a summer academy participant who currently studies in his PhD-thesis the history of modern architecture in Egypt. Central places that were the site of intensive clashes between protesters and police, such as Mohammed Mahmud Street, or as can be seen in the picture below, Tahrir Square - with the huge Mugamma government building the Egyptian Museum, the American University in Cairo, and the now burned-down former headquarters of Hosni Mubarak´s National Democratic Party - were pointed out. 

    Aside from this, general lectures addressing various social and cultural themes, like the new role of intellectuals in the Middle East or contemporary art in Egypt, were given. For these, a number of scholars, writers, and artists were invited such as Lebanese author Elias Khoury, pictured to the right. The lectures were followed by discussions with the audience.

    Last but not least, there were panel discussions involving all participants of the summer academy featuring speakers who introduced specific topics and initiated the subsequent discussion. Participants utilized an innovative format during the session addressing the social and political meaning of Hip-Hop in Egypt and the Arab world. Alongside Egyptian Hip-Hop artists who were physically present, a Skype conference - pictured below - drew other Egyptian and Palestinian artists into the panel discussion.

    In conclusion, the gathering of scholars from such a wide variety of academic disciplines, and including writers and artists, proved to be a very inspiring and enriching endeavor. Particularly fascinating was to observe how the region is increasingly understood, discussed, and analyzed along congruent strands through new questions, approaches, and concerns. This demand for the “new” is exemplified especially by a longing to leave behind modernist thinking that is based largely on hierarchies and binarisms, such as Eurocentrism or a global-local hybridity. Instead, new analytic and topical categories and terminologies are displaying the networked character of reality. As the summer academy successfully demonstrated, a new interconnectedness between social and cultural studies, and grassroots aesthetics articulations derived from an interdisciplinary understanding of scholarship are required to understand political and cultural dynamics that are currently unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa in their entire breadth and depth.

    Call for Applications

    Public Lectures and Panel Program

    Complete Schedule

    Press Review