Cluster: Processes of Transformation in Urban and Rural Societies

A miller in Nahr Ustuwan, Lebanon © Stephen McPhillips

The projects in this research cluster share a focus on the effects of change, transformation and long-term development in both urban and rural societies of the Middle East since 1500. They aim to shed light on the constitutive fabric of urban-rural relations in the political, administrative, economic and cultural life of Middle Eastern societies. With a particular emphasis on often overlooked and marginalised groups and settings, such as the Bedouin or rural areas in general, we counter the widespread neglect of a wide range of non-urban and non-elite actors in scholarly research as well as in political analysis. Continue reading

Cluster: Power and Legitimacy

Anonymous Venetian orientalist painting. The Reception of the Ambassadors in Damascus, 1511 (Louvre Museum, public domain)

The convergence of power and the legitimacy of rule or order of the state and society is an ubiquitous phenomenon. As such, it has occupied political actors as well as authors continuously throughout history. Authority and political order also rely on discursive strategies for the generation of their legitimacy, and thus are intricately intertwined with knowledge production more generally. Continue reading

Cluster: Higher Education as the Subject and Object of Critical Discourse

Billboard in Cairo, 6th October Highway © Daniele Cantini

The importance of universities can hardly be overestimated. Their numbers have grown massively, as have the number of the people enrolled in them relative to the total population worldwide. They exert multiple functions in the production and dissemination of knowledge. Moreover, they are ascribed the role to evaluate and certify knowledge in
the form of professional and scholarly status, curricula, as a basis for policies and more.
As universities themselves have a share in the definition and proclamation of social
problems and goals, they can easily turn into contested terrain in the claim for the right
interpretation of social phenomena and the right ways to address them. Unrest on university campuses, dense security regimes and long closures in the aftermath of political change in several Arab countries testify to that, as well as the continued control over teaching and research activities. Continue reading

Cluster: Culture, Art and the Public Sphere

Monique Bellan (right) and Nadia von Maltzahn (left) in the “Salon Room” of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, November 2016

Projects in this cluster share an interest in the political character of innovation in cultural
production, of forms of articulation and of publicness. In particular, this cluster deals
with processes of transformation of existing aesthetic, political and social orders, as
well as with the reflection, and possibly the theorisation, of artistic practices. The role
of institutions in shaping identities – and be it by rejecting the institution – is central to
the analysis. Continue reading

Research at the OIB

Researchers at the OIB, 2016

How is research at the OIB organised?

The OIB conducts and supports research on (and in) the Arab region and the wider Middle East. Research addresses historical and contemporary matters, and shares the commitment to a systematic study of primary sources, regional agents, local conditions, discursive contexts and methodology. This provides a common conceptual framework for the work in and between the academic disciplines represented at the OIB, such as the history of the Middle East, Islamic studies, Arabic studies, social sciences, anthropology and cultural studies. Continue reading

Relaunch of the OIBlog

After the OIBlog Mish ma32ool (“unbelievable”) was first launched in late 2012, we are now relaunching it with a number of changes in structure, focus and content, which will be introduced in this and the following post. This serves two connected aims: to highlight current research at the OIB and to improve the accessibility of different types of information on the blog. This post will concentrate on introducing the structure, while the next post will give an overview over research activities at the OIB and how we are planning to introduce them on this blog. Continue reading

CfP: Contextualising the Art Salon in the Arab Region

Cover image of the Sursock Museum’s 8th Salon d’Automne Catalogue

Symposium in Beirut, 27-28 October 2017

Call for Papers: Abstracts due by 5 June 2017

The Orient-Institut Beirut and the Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum are organizing a symposium on 27-28 October 2017 that aims to contextualize the art salon in the Arab region. The symposium, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, brings together researchers and curators, artists and critics to discuss the emergence of the art salon in the region in the colonial and post-colonial context, reflect on knowledge circulations between Europe and the Middle East, and analyse the function of the art salon in relation to collecting practices and the public. To disseminate the research findings, a publication will be prepared to be published in time for the Sursock Museum’s next Salon d’Automne in November 2018. Continue reading

CfP: The Avant-garde and its Networks: Surrealism in Paris, North Africa and the Middle East from the 1930s

Date: 14-15 November 2016
Venue: Orient-Institut Beirut
Organizers: Orient-Institut Beirut/Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte Paris

Group exhibition Cairo

Invitation card for the third exhibit of “Free Art”, Cairo 1943 (repro. in Samir Gharib, 1986)

Continue reading

CfP: Rethinking Social Movements in the Digital Age: Activism, Dissent and Rebellion in the Post-Arab Spring

International Workshop

Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB)

July 29, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Laila Shereen Sakr
Assistant Professor of Film & Media Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

The pivotal and unprecedented role that digital technology has played in instigating, as well as documenting the Arab Spring has without a doubt renewed the interest in social movements beyond the traditional realm of the “physical”. As the revolution in digital technology is slowly revolutionizing the way people communicate, debate existing norms and are exposed to other social and cultural practices and forms of governance worldwide, it is also providing new means for coordination and mobilization. In the advent of the Arab ‘Spring’ revolts throughout the region, digital technology has successfully pushed its way into politics: allowing people across borders, class, and formal venues of associations to debate, coordinate, and transform the ‘digital’ into the ‘physical’. Continue reading

Video: Wohin treibt der Nahe Osten?/Where is the Middle East Heading? (5)

Panel IV: Bedrohte Kulturen und die Herausforderung der Vergangenheit/Endangered cultures and the challenges of the past

Chair: Dr. Olaf Glöckner, Potsdam

Die folgenden Vorträge waren Teil der Konferenz “Wohin treibt der Nahe Osten? Ethno-religiöse Minderheiten im Nahen Osten zwischen Verfolgung und Selbstbehauptung”, die vom 30. November bis zum 2. Dezember 2014 in Berlin stattfand und vom Orient-Institut Beirut ausgerichtet wurde. Continue reading

Video: Wohin treibt der Nahe Osten?/Where is the Middle East Heading? (4)

Panel III: Minderheiten, Konflikte und neue Einflüsse/Minorities, conflicts and new impacts

Chair: Dr. Thomas Scheffler, Beirut

Die folgenden Vorträge waren Teil der Konferenz “Wohin treibt der Nahe Osten? Ethno-religiöse Minderheiten im Nahen Osten zwischen Verfolgung und Selbstbehauptung”, die vom 30. November bis zum 2. Dezember 2014 in Berlin stattfand und vom Orient-Institut Beirut ausgerichtet wurde. Continue reading

Video: Wohin treibt der Nahe Osten?/Where is the Middle East Heading? (3)

Panel II: Minderheiten, Verfolgung und politische Interaktion/Minorities, persecution and political interaction

Chair: Dr. Rolf Hosfeld, Potsdam/Dr. Thomas Scheffler, Beirut

 

Die folgenden Vorträge waren Teil der Konferenz “Wohin treibt der Nahe Osten? Ethno-religiöse Minderheiten im Nahen Osten zwischen Verfolgung und Selbstbehauptung”, die vom 30. November bis zum 2. Dezember 2014 in Berlin stattfand und vom Orient-Institut Beirut ausgerichtet wurde.

 

Dr. Scheffler: “Christliche Minderheiten im Nahen Osten: Ein Störfaktor in der westlichen Geopolitik” from Max Weber Stiftung on Vimeo.

 

Dr. Sleiman: “Living Together, but Separately? Federalization Projects in Lebanon since 1975” from Max Weber Stiftung on Vimeo.

 

Dr. Nadafi: “Religious Minorities in the Middle East” from Max Weber Stiftung on Vimeo.

 

Dr. Seufert: “Die Situation der Kurden im Nahen Osten” from Max Weber Stiftung on Vimeo.

 

Prof. Dr. Abu Jaber: “Interreligious Dialogue in the Middle East: A Failed Experiment?” from Max Weber Stiftung on Vimeo.

Video: Wohin treibt der Nahe Osten?/Where is the Middle East Heading? (2)

Panel I: Frühes 20. Jahrhundert, Erster Weltkrieg und Neugliederung des Nahen Ostens/Early 20th century, World War 1 and new order in the Middle East

Chair: Dr. Rolf Hosfeld, Potsdam

Die folgenden Vorträge waren Teil der Konferenz “Wohin treibt der Nahe Osten? Ethno-religiöse Minderheiten im Nahen Osten zwischen Verfolgung und Selbstbehauptung”, die vom 30. November bis zum 2. Dezember 2014 in Berlin stattfand und vom Orient-Institut Beirut ausgerichtet wurde. Continue reading