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Books in Motion

Film: Heedless Wars

Culinary Encounters

CfP Arab Lefts


Annual Report

Newsletter 4/2016
Events and News

Stellenausschreibung: Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin/Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
zur Vertretung während Elternzeit, zunächst auf ein Jahr befristet.
Read full call here.
Deadline for applications: 15 May 2016

Books in Motion
International conference
5 - 7 May 2016, American University of Beirut and Orient-Institut Beirut
What are the ways in which we can understand the forms, uses and functions of books as objects that move across time and space? What can the material - textual, physical and visual - dimensions of books reveal about how books circulate in societies? How has the notion of the book, what it looks like and how it is produced and read, varied across space and time? How do books build on, break away from, or refer back to past traditions? What are some recent globally comparative approaches to such studies and how are they applied to cultural productions across different periods? In considering varied interdisciplinary approaches to studies of mobility in relation to books, specifically the ways in which these objects traverse spatial, temporal, cultural, and material boundaries, Books in Motion explores new perspectives in the study of the book. This conference is organised by the American University of Beirut in collaboration with the OIB. More information here.

Our Heedless Wars, a film by Randa Chahal
Film Screening
Followed by a discussion with Nahla Chahal (researcher), Nicolas Dot-Pouillard (Ifpo) and Laure Guirguis (OIB)

11 May 2016, 8pm, Orient-Institut Beirut
Beirut, September 1994: the "reconstruction" of the city has begun. The war has been over for two years. Drawing on the 16mm movies she made between 1975 and 1994, Randa Chahal explores the various paths of political commitment to civil war through discussions with her brother, her Iraqi-born mother and her father, both long-time members of the Communist Party, and her sister, Nahla Chahal, who became a militant at the age of 14 and engaged in the Organisation for Communist Action in Lebanon (OACL). Our Heedless Wars is also a thought-provoking journey of rediscovery, documenting the filmmaker's return home from Paris, where she lived in self-imposed political exile, to the ruins of a city whose reconstruction marks the passing of a part of her life. Join us for this film screening followed by a discussion.

The "Abominable Pig" and the "Mother of All Vices": Pork, Wine and Culinary Encounters in the Early Modern Mediterranean
Keynote lecture by Eric R. Dursteler (Brigham Young University)
Thursday, 12 May 2016, 6-8pm, Orient-Institut Beirut
One of the central credos of food studies is Anthelme Brillat-Savarin's famous aphorism, "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are". What Brillat-Savarin intuited, modern scholars have substantiated: Because of the biological imperative of daily consumption, food inheres in a uniquely intimate way in collective and individual identities, and functions as a potent social, gender, political, and cultural marker. It also serves as a "sacred cement" that defines and differentiates communities of faith through rules on what to eat and how to eat it, and through rituals of sacrifice, feasting and fasting. This presentation will examine the multifarious ways in which food informed religious and communal identity in the early modern Mediterranean. In particular, the focus will be on wine and pork, which have occupied a privileged position in articulating regional cultural and religious boundaries. An examination of patterns of consumption of these commodities challenges the prevailing notion of a culinary "clash of civilizations" at the Mediterranean table, and suggests the need for caution in drawing overly stark culinary boundaries between religious communities in a connected Mediterranean that was characterised by a richly dynamic and nuanced food culture. This lecture is part of the conference Insatiable Appetite: Food as Cultural Signifier (12-14 May, American University Beirut/OIB) organised by the AGYA working group "Common Heritage and Common Challenges".

Call for Papers: Left-Wing Trends in the Arab World (1948-1979): Bringing Transnational Back in
International workshop, 12-13 December 2016, Orient-Institut Beirut
Deadline for submission of abstracts: 26 June 2016
This workshop aims at shedding light on the transnational dynamics in which Arab left-wing trends have been embedded, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, the glorious period of left-wing revolutionary movements throughout the world: the Tricontinental moment. The sparse scholarship devoted to the Arab left in the period under study has long remained restricted within a national framework. However, the national scale of analysis does not allow one to take into account the revolutionary passions involved, which were shaped by a transnational interpretative framework inspired by Marxism and embedded within the wider context of the struggles for decolonization and the Cold War. This workshop therefore welcomes papers that shed light on the circulations and transnational networks at the regional and global scales, as well as on ideas, emotions, practices, and models of diffusion and transformation. For further details, read here.


BTS Board and Retro-digitization
Our book series Beiruter Texte und Studien has seen some exciting developments in recent months. In December, an editorial board was formed, including Lale Behzadi (University of Bamberg), Konrad Hirschler (SOAS, University of London), Birgit Krawietz (Free University Berlin), and Sonja Mejcher-Atassi (American University of Beirut), in addition to Stefan Leder as director of the OIB. The board will decide about any future publications and the external review process. In other good news, an agreement between the OIB and the University and State Library of Sachsen-Anhalt in Halle ensures the production of digital texts and making the whole Beiruter Texte und Studien series available online. This process of retro-digitization is ongoing; to date, ten early volumes are already available for download on Watch this space. 

OIB Annual Report Online

Our annual report for 2015 is now online, and can be found on our website (in German).

If you have missed previous editions of our newsletter, you can find them here.
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