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This is the newsletter of the Orient-Institut Beirut. To find out more about what we do, visit our website at www.orient-institut.org.

IN THIS ISSUE

Frameworks of Transmission


Left-Wing Trends


THSS Cairo


Vacancies


Our Postdocs

Newsletter 11/2016
Events and News

Changing Frameworks of Transmission. The Circulation of Arabic Grammar Treatises Across the Western Indian Ocean Region, 1400-1700
Public research seminar
Thursday, 8 December 2016, 6.30-8pm, Orient-Institut Beirut

Recent scholarship on the early modern Indian Ocean (1400-1700) has demonstrated the potential to write social and cultural histories that go beyond commercial activities, trade and pilgrimage. The circulation of Arabic Islamicate manuscripts created a historically contingent cultural zone that connected regions of South Asia with the wider Western Indian Ocean world. Empirical evidence from a variety of sources suggests that one particularly prominent trajectory gained importance from the beginning of the 15th century. It is the route from Egypt across the Hijaz and Yemen to the Sea ports of Gujarat and further on into the Deccan. This connection became crucial for the circulation of Arabic Islamicate texts from the West to the East. In this seminar, the succession of nodal points from the Red Sea region to Western India will be analysed in order to trace different histories of circulation over the subsequent centuries from the field of philological disciplines, in particular Arabic grammar books. It will be argued that
 paratextual elements on these manuscripts can provide a microhistorical perspective to analyse changing frameworks of textual transmission, foreshadowing larger transformations in the fields of cultural exchange and learned encounters across the early modern Western Indian Ocean region.

Left-Wing Trends in the Arab World (1948-1979): Bringing the Transnational Back In
International Workshop
12-13 December, Orient-Institut Beirut

Why is it important to study the Arab left today? The left has been defeated. But at one time, not too long ago, radical left-wing trends were predominant in the Arab world - and throughout the world. The Arab defeat against Israel in 1967 had fostered the formation of a New Left, which drew on the revolutionary models of Chinese, Cuban, Algerian, and Vietnamese fighters, and mainly took a critical stance towards the USSR, the Arab communist parties and the Arab regimes. The national scale of analysis does not allow one to take into account the revolutionary dreams and passions involved, which had been shaped by a transnational interpretative framework inspired by Marxism and embedded within the wider context of the Cold War and emancipation struggles. This workshop aims at presenting and discussing recent trends in scholarship, which place the left in the broader dynamics of a transnational reference framework. Gathering an interdisciplinary and international team of scholars, it combines the history of power play, changing coalitions, and broken relationships with the study of the circulation and reframing of representations, passions, hopes, and know-how, in the shifting interplay of local, national, regional, and transnational frames of reference.

THSS Cairo: The Political Dimension of Religions

The third edition of our series of debates of contemporary theological issues - Theologies, Humanities and Social Sciences (THSS) - took place in Cairo on Sunday, 4 December 2016, under the title "The political dimension of religions". Dr Muhammad Abdel Fadel Abdel Rahem, Researcher in comparative religion at Al Azhar University, spoke about "Freedom - between religious recognition and authoritative application", while Professor Ansgar Kreutzner, Linz University/Austria, gave a presentation entitled "Social conflict and religion: Argument for a theology of recognition".


Vacancy: Verwaltungsleiterin/Verwaltungsleiter
Deadline: 15 December 2016
Das Orient-Institut Beirut sucht zum 1. September 2017 eine Verwaltungsleiterin/einen Verwaltungsleiter (Ausschreibung).


Vacancy: Cataloguing Librarian
Deadline: 31 December 2016
The Orient-Institut Beirut is currently seeking a part-time (30 hours/week) Cataloguing Librarian to work under the direction of the Head Librarian. The position is for local recruitment only, starting 1 February 2017 initially for one year. The contract is renewable. For further details and qualifications, see here.

 

People

Meet Our Postdocs
Several Postdoc Fellows are joining us for the academic year 2016-2017, three of whom have arrived this autumn.

Sarah Epstein (Fellow October 2016 - September 2017) joins the OIB after completing her PhD at SOAS, University of London. Her research is in what she has termed "Comparative Critical Thought", which she has developed through a series of trans-schematic, transformative engagements between European philosophy and Arabic critical thought (both classical and contemporary). Her doctoral thesis was entitled "From a 'Philosophy of the Limit' to a 'Poetics of the Horizon': A Comparative Critical Approach to Language, Subjectivity and Alterity in Poststructuralist Thought and Arabic Critical Discourse." Her current research at the OIB, which entails the transformation of her doctoral thesis into revised book form, is provisionally entitled "Voyage Toward an Impossible Exteriority: Crossings of European Philosophy and Arabic Poetic Theory." Engaging trends in continental philosophy and Arabic theory, as well as their intersections, this project considers the work of moving between "inside" and "outside" of "philosophy". (Read more)

Marieke Krijnen (Fellow November 2016 - October 2017) holds a PhD from Ghent University, Belgium, and an MA from the American University of Beirut. Her dissertation, entitled "The Urban Transformation of Beirut: An Investigation into the Movement of Capital", connected detailed studies of processes of urban change to Lebanon's political economy of public debt, the circulation of capital through the country's massive diaspora, and the 2008 financial crisis in Europe and the Gulf, linking gentrification theory to economic and financial geography. Her project at the OIB will focus on increasing connections between real estate and finance in Lebanon, and develop a research agenda on the financialisation of real estate in the Middle East more generally. (Read more)

Fouad Marei holds a PhD in International Relations from Durham University, UK. Based on fieldwork in Lebanon, Syria and Morocco, his broad research agenda focuses on state-society relations, governance and religious activism in contexts of neoliberal developmentalism and conflict and post-conflict situations. Currently, his research investigates hybrid and emerging forms of governance and urban revitalisation strategies in Beirut's southern suburbs as well as Shi'i Islamic activism in Lebanon and beyond. In 2015/2016, he undertook a pilot study of/in Syrian refugee settlements in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. The study assesses the situation of refugees and host communities, identifies priorities and vulnerabilities, and maps local, national and international actors involved in crisis response plans. (Read more)

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