All posts by Barbara Bishay

Paradigms Lost in Morocco

Summer Academy participant Koenraad Bogeart has published an article titled “Paradigms Lost inMorocco: How Urban-Mega Projects Should Disturb our Understanding of Arab Politics” at  Bogeart describes in his article urban mega projects, such as Casablanca’s Marina.

He says: “Urban mega-projects such as Casablanca Marina are all about the promise of a better world. If the project manages to ‘bring in’ globalization then it will stimulate growth, generate employment, and bring about development. Of course, the urban developer’s story is not neutral or apolitical. It represents a particular kind of development, a particular kind of urbanism. The regeneration of Casablanca reflects a hegemonic project, one that very much resembles other urban projects around the globe and fits perfectly within neoliberal strategies of development.”

 Please find the whole article here.

Forat de la Vergonya: A Community’s Struggle for the City

The article “Forat de la Vergonya” (Catalan for “The hole of Shame”) by Summer Academy participant Stefano Portelli at the blog The Cairo Observer describes the peaceful struggle of a neighbourhood in Barcelona between the Community and the City Council against gentrification. In the words of Portelli: “The ‘hole’ became an arena for urban struggle: the City Council wanted to turn it into a four-story subterranean parking lot, but the residents wanted to keep it public. The residents didn’t only ask for it, but actually built a public space, planted trees, sat around, organized parties and concerts in it. The square became alive.”

Goodbye Rabat

el-shernouby elshahed dermerdash
Dina El-Shernouby, Nancy Demerdash, Mohamed Elshahed
Photo by Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

The EUME Summer Academy 2014 has ended on Friday, September 5 and everyone has left Rabat, hopefully taking feedback on their research, interesting suggestions, new ideas and fond memories of the time in Rabat with them. However, posts will keep coming in various forms (movies, articles etc.) from participants to share their impressions and their resumees of our Summer Academy.




Discussion on a research project
Photo by Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


As the participants are now part of the EUME community, we would love to hear from them about the Summer Academy and of course stay connected with them in the future.





Walking the last metres to the EGE
Photo by Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

We would like to thank the EGE, the Max Weber Stiftung, the Centre Jacques Berque, the  Universite Mohammed VI Polytechnique, the CNMS of the Philipps University of Marburg as well as its research networks “Re-Configurations. History, Remembrance and Transformation Processes in the Middle East and North Africa” and “Figures of Thought | Turning Points. Cultural Practice and Social Change in the Arab World” and of course all the participants who shared their research and their ideas so openly with everyone else.

Impressions from the EUME Summer Academy in Rabat

Koenraad Boegart, Amir Moosavi, Gretchen Head in a discussion
Photo by Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

While researching a topic, it is always helpful to get input from other scholars who will share their experiences, or view the research from a different angle because they come from a different field.






Nancy Demerdash, Emily Drumsta, Hatim El Hibri, Amir Moosavi
Photo by Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

During the Summer Academy, intensive learning communities develop in which the participants mutually advance their respective research agendas through small groups conceived as “peer-coachings”. The EUME Summer Academy offers a platfrom to share one’s own research so it can expand in  directions, one might not have anticipated. Discussions may have been lively but always friendly, interesting and inspiring as participants have described them.

Summer Academy’s Discussions

Final Discussion of one of the Working Groups
Photo by Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

During the EUME Summer Academy participants from several countries, studying and reasearching in different fields come together to discuss their current research projects.

It is already in the planning phase of the Summer Academy that the concrete research interests of the participants are integrated into the program by the Steering Group, for instance by using certain themes and texts proposed by them or in having them head individual sessions. Before the Summer Academy started in Rabat a reader with introductory texts was distributed to give everyone a basis for thematic discussions.




Continue reading Summer Academy’s Discussions

Najib Bounahaj – Performance, Politics, Space in Youth Subcultures

Najib Bounahaj, professor at the EGE Rabat, talked about performance and politics when he introduced the Panel Discussion on “Performance, Politics, Space in Youth Subcultures“, which took place on Wednesday September 3, 2014 at the EGE Rabat.

Photo by Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Performance is no longer an accessoiry of power in Morocco and the Arab world. Bounahaj relates that one cannot understand the history of the contemporary Arab World without considering the development of cinema, music and the arts that produce new politics. The revolution in Tunisia (and consequently in the whole Arab World) for example was started by an act of political performativity, the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2010.

Photo by Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

It seemed the Arab World was headed towards a greek tragedy, a performance with a quick end, however it is stuck in 1001 nights and currently in a liminal space.

Lecture: “Casablanca: Une Metropole au Defi du Referentiel Ethnique”

Photo: inkomega, Casablanca under CC BY 2.0
Photo: inkomega, Casablanca
under CC BY 2.0

As part of the public program of the EUME Summer Academy in Rabat, Mohammed Tozy (EGE) will deliver his lecture on “Casablanca: Une Métropole au Défi du Référentiel Ethnique” as the last public event of the Academy. It will take place today on

Wednesday September 3, 4:00pm-5:30pm at the L’Amphithéâtre at the EGE Rabat

Panel Discussion: “Performance, Politics, Space in Youth Subcultures”

Moroccan Youth on a demonstration,
Photo by Georges Khalil under

An introduction will be given by Najib Bounahai (EGE Rabat) and the discussion will be chaired by Friederike Pannewick (Philipps University Marburg).

This panel discussion is part of the public program of the EUME Summer Academy in Rabat and will take place today on

Wednesday September 3, at 2:00pm-3:30pm in the Library on the 1st floor at the EGE



Blocked Middle Classes as an Engine of Change in the Arab World?

As a reading suggestion, we would like to pull your attention to Summer Academy participant Rachid Ouaissa‘s essay “Blocked Middle Classes as an Engine of Change in the Arab World?”, published in the book “Euro-Mediterranean Relations after the Arab Spring. Persistence in Times of Change” by editors Jakob Horst, Annette Jünemann and Delf Rothe (published by Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2013).

Rachid Ouaissa
Photo by Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Ouaissa examines the uprisings of 2011 in the Middle East and North Africa and their reasons, paying special attention to a rising middle class. He comes to the conclusion that there have been episodes of riots and protests in the past, thus the riots of 2011 are not unique but happen through intervals of time and the incongruety of the Middle East’s economies with the global economy.

Panel Discussion: “Re-Configurations: History, Memory and Transformation Processes: Middle East Area Studies in Marburg”


© Re-Configurations
© Re-Configurations

As part of the Public Program of the EUME Summer Academy at the EGE in Rabat, Panelists Rachid Ouissa, Achim Rohde, Amira Augustin and Christoph Schwarz (all Philipps University of Marburg) introduce and discuss the Re-Configurations network at the Philipps University of Marburg. The discussion will take place today on

Tuesday September 2 at 4:00pm-5:30pm in the library on the 1st floor of the EGE

Oraib Toukan: “We, the Intellectuals – Re-routing Institutional Critique”

Toukan raises questions of intellectualism and the role of the arts and media in his essay: “how does it (intellectualism) get performed and embodied by the institution of art, and what visual traces does it leave behind through images that get institutionalized as signatures of protest? And when hegemonic structures and the intellectual opposition become part of the same camp in anti-colonial movements, what implications does the critique of institutions then take?”

“Re-framing Orientalism: The Afterlife of Cinema in Colonial Algeria” by Michael Allen (University of Oregon)

Today, as a part of the Public Program  of the EUME Summer Academy “Conflict and Mobility in the City” in Rabat, Michael Allen (University of Oregon) is giving a lecture on “Re-Framing Orientalism: The Afterlife of Cinema in Colonial Algeria”, drawing together “reflections on Orientalism, frames, space and the North African history of early cinema”, as Allen himself has put it.

The lecture takes place at:
4:00-5:30 pm in the L’Amphithéâtre at the Ecole de Gouvernance et d’Economie, Rabat

Allen is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. He was EUME Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien from 2011-2012.