REPORT: Language, Science and Aesthetics

Articulations of Subjectivity and Objectivity in the Modern Middle East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia

Report of the Summer Academy in Beirut, 11-19 September 2014

Organizers: Orient-Institut Beirut/Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin

Between 11-19 September 2014, the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) and the Berlin-based research program Forum Transregionale Studien organized an international Summer Academy in Beirut entitled “Language, Science and Aesthetics – Articulations of Subjectivity and Objectivity in the Modern Middle East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia”. Continue reading

Lecture: Khayri Hammad and Hannah Arendt in Cairo: Translating Liberal Thought in Revolutionary Times – by Professor Jens Hanssen

Studies on Egypt and the Middle East in Germany

Jens Hanssen on Khayri Hammad and Hannah Arendt

Jens Hanssen on Khayri Hammad and Hannah Arendt

How do ideas travel through space and history? Which thoughts and concepts have been exchanged and transferred between Europe and Arab countries? Are these concepts received in different ways regarding the cultural and political context? Which role does translation and the translator play in transferring ideas? Professor Jens Hanssen from the University of Toronto discussed these questions in his lecture on “Khayri Hammad and Hannah Arendt in Cairo: Translating Liberal Thought in Revolutionary Times”, which took place on the 17th February 2015 at the Goethe Institut Cairo. The event was jointly organized by the Cairo Office of Freie Universität Berlin, Goethe Institut Cairo, Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) and the German Science Center (DWZ). Continue reading

CfP BRISMES Panel: “Pushing the Status Quo: Liberation in art and cultural practices in the modern Middle East”

We invite paper proposals for participation in a panel on “Pushing the Status Quo: Liberation in art and cultural practices in the modern Middle East” that we are submitting to BRISMES for its forthcoming conference in London, 24-26 June 2015 (www.brismes2015.org).

Cultural production often challenges existing norms and practices, pushing the boundaries of the status quo. This panel explores the relationship of artists and cultural players to authority in the Middle East in the 20th and 21st centuries. It deals with processes of transformation of existing aesthetic, political and social orders, as well as with the dissolution of linear modes of perception, such as for instance in the historical avant-garde. The self-liberation of art and the artist from a rigid academism, clinging to out-of-date aesthetic ideals, is the result of a complex reflexive and emancipatory process: the dissociation of the artist from aesthetic and moral norms leads to an emancipation from and rebellion against the status quo. This rebellion does not always go in one direction, that is the liberation from institutional structures and policies. Rather, when the status quo provides little institutional support to artists, they seek these structures and policies. What makes artists move away from authority and institutional settings? And what makes them look for these? How do the latter impact on the artist’s autonomy? How do we define liberation and emancipation in relation to artists as actors in specific national or transnational contexts? This panel will examine these multi-layered processes. The agency of the artist or cultural player is here in the foreground, positioning him within his time and space.

Abstracts of 250 words and a short bio should be sent by 15 February to Dr Monique Bellan (bellan@orient-institut.org) and Dr Nadia von Maltzahn (maltzahn@orient-institut.org).