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Re-reading Azhari Reform

Occult Sciences


German Science Day Cairo

Book Award Srage

Sarah Wessel

Newsletter 5, November/December 2013
Events and News

Disciplines of Knowledge, Disciplines of the Self: Re-reading Azhari Reform
Public research seminar by Dahlia Gubara
Tuesday, 3 December 2013, 6-8pm, Orient-Institut Beirut
This seminar explores how al-Azhar became an "Islamic university", how it came to be seen as such, and the spatio-temporal logics such a perspective assumes and promotes. Unpacking the concepts inherent in the expression, it argues that the very idea of "Islamic education" is inevitably intertwined with "the modern world" in ways that involved multiple legal and narrative maneuvers, necessitating a rupture with what came before.
Dahlia Gubara is post-doctoral research fellow at the OIB.

Occult Sciences in Pre-modern Islamic Culture
International Conference jointly organised with the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) at the American University of Beirut (AUB)
Beirut, 5-6 December 2013 at the AUB, College Hall, Auditorium B1
In any culture, the location of the so-called "occult" sciences in an area between natural sciences and metaphysics is one that can enrich modern scholarship with regards to notions of science and knowledge. To investigate these and similar sciences and to place them in the context of other sciences in Islam and of Islamic culture in general, this conference presents contributions under two main themes: the first will examine particular "occult" sciences and their context within the body of sciences. The second explores how the relationship between the natural and the supernatural was perceived in Islamic culture and how the "occult" in these sciences was defined.

divercities: contested space and urban identities in beirut, cairo and tehran
International Conference jointly organised with the Goethe-Institut Lebanon
Beirut, 12-14 December 2013, different locations across Beirut (Warehouse, OIB, Zico House, Mansion)
This conference aims to look at urban governance, its agents, agendas and options, through contested space and conflicting urban concepts, identity claims and social environments. The focus will be on the three cities of Beirut, Cairo and Tehran, each highlighting different types of fragmentations, political, cultural and social. The aim of the conference is to gain insights into experiences of urban governance as it is perceived and practiced by different lobby groups and social agents in view of the ambivalence of public space in diverse societies. For further information and the conference programme, check out our new divercities blog!

German Science Day 2013
© DWZ / Nour El Refai
The OIB participated at the second German Science Day held at the German Science Centre (DWZ) in Cairo on 16 November 2013 with two presentations: Thomas Scheffler spoke about political religion in late nineteenth century Germany and Kaiser Wilhelm II's 1898 visit to the Middle East, and Nadia von Maltzahn about cultural diplomacy and regional relations in the contemporary Middle East. Over 1,500 visitors attended the German Science Day throughout the day, which was concluded by an award ceremony honouring three researchers for their efforts in promoting Egyptian-German Research: Professor Dr Abdel Meguid Kassem, Professor Dr Heba Raouf, and Dr Ralph Bodenstein. The latter was doctoral research fellow at the OIB between 2004 and 2005, and co-authored BTS 97 (2005) about History, Space and Social Conflict in Beirut

Nader Srage Receives Book Award
Lebanese socio-linguist Professor Nader Srage was awarded a prize for the most important Arab book 2013 by the Arab Thought Foundation for his socio-linguistic study on youth and the language of today. The book was described as a pioneering work in the field. Nader Srage led the OIB-based project Political Slogans in a Changing Arab Region from 2012 until 2013.


Sarah Wessel
Sarah Wessel has joined us in October 2013. Based at our Cairo office, she is a PhD candidate in politics and cultural anthropology at the University of Hamburg. Sarah has been conducting fieldwork in Egypt since December 2010 for her research on "The Making of Political Representation in Post-Revolutionary Egypt". Her research interests include cultural and political transformations in the Middle East, political representation, democratization, relations between Europe and the Middle East, Intercultural communication, and political and economic anthropology. She graduated from the University of Münster in 2009 with a Master thesis on "The Representation of the Egyptian Economy in the German Press". From 2011 until 2013 she worked as project coordinator for the "German-Arab Transformation Partnership" in the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Cairo, supporting bilateral scientific projects from Germany and Egypt. 
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