Category Archives: Contributions

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.

TIP: Revolutionary Street Art: Complicating the Discourse

Cairo Photo: Georges Khalil under CC BY SA NC 4.0
Photo: Georges Khalil
under CC BY SA NC 4.0

Hannah Elansary, student in Georgetown University’s Arabic and Islamic Studies program, analyzed on Jadaliyya the role graffiti and street art  played in the Egyptian uprisings and revolutions since 2011.
Read the complete text here: Revolutionary Street Art: Complicating the Discourse

An interesting topic, finds Jimena Ponce de Leon, participant of the Summer Academy as well. Her research is entitled “Youth and Street Art: Strategies Developed in a Changing City”.




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

Reimagining a War

by Georges Khalil

Amir Moosavi is presenting his current work on “Reimagining a War: Negotiating Ideology and Disenchantment in Literary Narratives of the Iran-Iraq War” that looks at the  literature produced by the Iran-Iraq War in Arabic and Persian prose-fiction. Moosavi compares war time literature and cultural policies of the Iraqi Ba’thist regime and the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 1980s and the ways that official government-sponsored narratives of the war used by both regimes affected cultural production at that time and in the postwar era.

Amir Moosavi at the Summer Academy in Rabat Both Photos: Georges Khalil under under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Amir Moosavi at the Summer Academy in Rabat
Both Photos: Georges Khalil under

Moosavi shows through close readings of literary texts also how writers in Iran and Iraq have attempted to subvert, through literature, authoritarian discourses that exploit religion and nationalism in both countries. The city and memory of the war have been and become the sites to challenge the ideologies of official literature and propaganda, turning war literature in the urban setting into a literature of mourning and trauma.




Amir Moosavi is currently completing his PhD in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. He holds an MA in Near Eastern Studies from NYU and a BA in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  During the 2013-14 academic year he was visiting instructor of Arabic language and literature at Bard College and during the 2014-15 academic year he will be a fellow at the NYU Humanities Initiative.

Georges Khalil is the Academic Coordinator of the Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin and Scientific Coordinator of the research program Europe in the Middle East – the Middle East in Europe (EUME).




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

Report: Panel discussion on Arts of Resistance

by Felix Lang

The Summer School’s first panel discussion (Friday, August 29) was dedicated to the relations between arts and society. Six members of the research network “Figures of Thought | Turning Points. Cultural Practices and Social Change in the Arab World“, funded by the DFG and headed by Prof. Friederike Pannewick from the Centre for Near and Middle East Studies in Marburg commented on Charles Tripp’s article “The Art of Resistance in the Middle East”  as a starting point for the panel discussion and a way of presenting the work of the research group.

Panel Discussion "Art and Resistance"; Jamal Bahmad, Felix Lang, Ines Braune, Rachid Ouaissa, Christoph Schwarz, Friederike Pannewick
Panel Discussion “Arts of Resistance”; Jamal Bahmad, Felix Lang, Ines Braune, Rachid Ouaissa, Christoph Schwarz, Friederike Pannewick (all Philipps University of Marburg)
Photo: Georges Khalil
under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

With their background in different disciplines – political science, Arabic Literature Studies, Anthropology, Sociology and Cultural Studies – the speakers offered a variety of perspectives on the questions raised by Tripp’s article. While Ines Braune and Felix Lang stressed the idea of power relations as inherent to processes of cultural production, Rachid Ouaissa asked how artistic products could be used in political analysis. Christoph Schwarz sketched an approach foregrounding the interactional  aspects of the relation between artwork, art and audience while Jamal Bahmad showed how the Moroccan Kings’ portraits have been used subversively in Moroccan cinema. The ensuing discussion centred around problem of definitions of ‘art’, the ways artistic production could be delimited from activism and the autonomy of the artist and artistic discourse.

Felix Lang Studied Arabic and Social Anthropology at the University of St. Andrews from 2005 to 2009, before writing his M.A. dissertation on the impact the commodification of the music of the Sufi Gnaoua brotherhood has had on the soundscape of the Moroccan town of Essaouira. In 2014 he completed a PhD in Arabic Literature and Culture at the University of Marburg with a thesis entitled “Imperative to Remember? The Lebanese Literary Field and the Post-Civil War Novel”. He is now a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of Arabic Literature and Culture at the University of Marburg and coordinator of the “Figures of Thought | Turning Points” research group (DFG-Leibniz).


Islamist Feminism in Morocco

by Meriem El Haitami

Meriem El Haitami has presented yesterday her research project entiteled “Islamist Feminism in Morocco: (Re)defining the Political Public Space” during the Summer Academy “Conflict and Mobility in the City” in Rabat.

Meriem El Haitami presenting her research project in Rabat.  Photo: Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Meriem El Haitami presenting her research project in Rabat.
Photo: Georges Khalil
under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Project description: The gradual but marked Islamization of the public sphere in Morocco since the 1980s has redefined the spatial dynamics of public activism. Women have played an important role in this process ; their activism was conducted in ways that are spatially private but significantly public in effect. Their success in shaping a public discourse on women’s political participation has expanded the range of opportunities for women’s activism.

In 2011, female Islamist activists have particularly gained legitimacy in the context of the Arab spring which has brought the conservative Justice and Development party into power. This has contributed to a shift from liberal elite state feminism to a more legitimate religious activism and has introduced new spaces for contention, such as the emerging nuanced female political and civic expression(s), as well as the prospects for Islamist and secular women’s movements to co-operate, negotiate and strategize, in order to ensure a democratic approach to gender issues. Therefore, this project explores how female Islamist activists are positioning themselves vis-à-vis discourses of liberal democracy and universal debates of gender justice.

This project positions itself in relation for recent scholarship that suggests, that Islamist or more accurately ‘post-Islamist’ movements (Asef Bayat, 2013) are not necessarily anti-democratic. Rather, such movements may figure as important forces toward a more democratic transition. This paper also addresses the redefinition of liberal feminism and Islamist feminism in the light of the transformations that political Islam is undergoing in Morocco and how this figures as an essential part of the contentious relationship between religion and the state and the regulation of the religious public space.

Meriem El Haitami is a doctoral student at the University of Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah in Fez, Morocco. She has been a Fulbright Scholar for the year 2012-2013 at SUNY Binghamton. Her PhD research addresses the dynamics of female religious authority and activism in contemporary Morocco. She has published articles on the role of the state-sponsored women religious guides (murshidat) and scholars (‘alimat) in shaping new forms of religious leadership and activism.

The Mnemonic Battles of the Arab Uprisings: The Case of the War over Flags in Syria

by Omar Al-Ghazzi

Omar Al-Ghazzig presenting his project. Photo Photo: Georges Khalil under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Omar Al-Ghazzi presenting his project.
Photo: Georges Khalil
under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Omar Al-Ghazzi is presenting currently at the EUME Summer Academy his project  about the communicative practices and tactics in Arab discourses during the uprisings which use the trope of ‘the historic’ for political positioning and mobilization.

Project Description: Through the methods of discourse analysis of Arab media and textual analysis of literature on collective memory, modernity, postcolonialism, and contentious politics, my dissertation explores the political significance of conceiving and contesting different meanings of history in Arab discourses. Against the backdrop of the uprisings, I interrogate episodes of contention about history among individual and collective political actors. I examine struggles over the meanings projected on symbols of past events, which are construed as originary moments for the temporal progression of imagined collectivities, and used discursively to influence political events, mobilize collective action, and express new collective identity projects. For the Summer Academy, I would like to focus on the case-study of Syria, particularly the use of flags, as temporal and spatial markers, in the Syrian uprising and the ongoing civil war in the country.

Omar Al-Ghazzi is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. His research interests include global communication, Arab journalism, and the intersection of politics and popular culture.

Omar holds a Master’s degree in International Communication from the American University in Washington DC and a BA in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Omar comes from a journalism and media analysis professional background and has previously worked for the BBC and Al-Hayat Arabic daily.