World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010

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European States Looking towards the South (477) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel
 

· NOT_DEFINED date: FRI 23, 2.30-4.30 pm

· NOT_DEFINED language: English / Français

· NOT_DEFINED description:

Chair: Alain Messaoudi (Professeur agrégé, Centre d'Histoire Sociale de l'Islam Méditerranéen - EHESS)

Paper presenter: Mathieu Bouchard (Doctorant-Université Paris I), “L'idéal méditerranéen en France (1900-1960)”
Les représentations, en France, de la Méditerranée ont une histoire qu’il est possible de faire débuter au XVIIIe siècle, quand, d’adjectif, le mot « Méditerranée » devient un substantif. En raison de l’expansion coloniale en Afrique du Nord, les Français se passionnent de plus en plus pour la Méditerranée, qui, au cours du XIXe siècle, devient bien plus qu’une mer, une notion qui englobe à la fois l’étendue marine et les terres qui la bordent. Ils l’étudient, la traversent, la chantent, la peignent, la définissent et se l’approprient, comme quand, autour de 1900, Louis Bertrand, homme de lettres et futur académicien, développe la thèse ad hoc d’une Méditerranée latine qui fait de la France, en Afrique, l’héritière de Rome, transformant les Arabes en usurpateurs. Cette définition restrictive de ce qu’est la Méditerranée ouvre la voie, par antithèse, à une définition plus large, qui fait sienne la thèse d’un humanisme proprement méditerranéen qui réunirait l’ensemble des populations de ses rives. Si cet idéal apparaît en France au cours des années 1920 avec le lancement de la revue marseillaise des Cahiers du Sud, il devient un thème porteur dans la décennie suivante, en particulier au sein de la jeunesse littéraire algéroise, grâce à la publication de deux ouvrages de Gabriel Audisio, Jeunesse de la Méditerranée et Sel de la mer. De jeunes écrivains, dont Albert Camus, se mettent à célébrer la Méditerranée, ses héros, ses mythes, ses gens et ses couleurs, ce qui leur permet, à la fois, de s’opposer à l’étroitesse de la société coloniale dans laquelle ils vivent et de se différencier du milieu littéraire parisien ou métropolitain. La parenthèse de la guerre refermée, ces jeunes auteurs et leurs premiers héritiers tentent de promouvoir l’idéal méditerranéen, tel qu’il a commencé à être défini dans les années 1930. Ils publient des revues (Terrasses, Thalassa, Études méditerranéennes, etc.) et éditent des collections (la collection « Méditerranée », dirigée au Seuil par Emmanuel Roblès et les collections « Méditerranée vivante » et « Rivages » de l’éditeur Edmond Charlot) dans ce sens. La guerre froide, la question palestinienne, les crises de la décolonisation et le début de la construction européenne vont cependant avoir raison de leurs efforts et mettre un voile sur leurs espérances. On le devine, l’histoire des représentations de la Méditerranée n’est pas qu’une histoire des idées, elle est aussi et surtout une histoire intellectuelle, sociale et politique. A fortiori à l’heure du lancement de l’Union pour la Méditerranée, il semble donc intéressant de se demander comment, entre 1900 et 1960, l’idéal méditerranéen s’est plusieurs fois redéfini et restructuré.

Paper presenter: Saskia van Genugten (PhD Candidate-SAIS Johns Hopkins University), “Italy's evolving eye to the South”
This paper examines the dynamics between a former colonizer-state (Italy) and its colonized territory (Libya). The formal delegation of authority from one to the other upon 'independence' was marked by a complex, protracted transformation of both actors. Next to a new episode in ownership relations, the end of colonialism initiated a painful processing of the often humiliating shared past. Respective digestion took place in two opposite ways. The elites of the former colonizer, Italy - eager to forget about that past - set the eye to the south apart as an anomaly in its history linked to fascism and from then onwards, stressed its European evocation, which facilitated Italy's rehabilitation. In contrast, the elites of the former colony stressed the damage done by the colonial power and preserved the memories of colonialism rather well. A strong anti-Italianism proved an important element in post-colonial legitimacy to power. Next to simple power politics, the diverging views on the shared history have proven a huge burden on the pursuit of bilateral politics. This paper addresses this problem. The main idea expressed is twofold. The first regards theory, in that it shows that historical narratives are quite often used as a source of power in international affairs, but that the ways power is extracted from past memories and used as an instrument of leverage is often overlooked in conventional foreign policy literature. A more particular thesis regards Italy's foreign policy orientation. While traditionally this orientation is described as balancing European, Atlantic and Mediterranean interests, the stance taken up here is that the Atlantic and European orientation - though still hugely important - are reconsidered now that the European project lost some of its appeal for Mediterranean states because of a more eastward orientation of the bloc, while the US is losing some of its credibility as lone superpower. As such, Italy is slowly opening its third eye again, the one turned toward the south. There it finds important solutions to problems of energy security, industrial output and border security without having to abide all too much by the normative rules associated with the European Union. Thus, despite the antagonisms, the reality that the two shores of the Mediterranean basin will have to come to terms with each - among other things due to an ongoing economic interdependence and a geographical proximity fuelling migration flows. With these two broad theses in mind, this paper explores the evolution of bilateral ties between Italy and Libya from the moment of independence to the signing of the Pact of Friendship that was ratified in 2009 - thereby supposedly sealing off the hostilities displayed in previous decades.

Paper presenter: Maj Joanna (PhD Candidate-Department of History Institute, University of Lodz), “Two Centuries of Oriental Studies in Poland”
The history of oriental (covering also Middle Eastern) studies in Poland could be traced back to early 19th century, when a centre for oriental studies was initiated at the Vilnius University. Also, Arab and Islamic studies were established at the Lvov University. With the revival of the Polish state after World War I, we note the consolidation of these studies at three academic centres: Warsaw, Cracow and Lvov. The first department in this field was the Department of History and Literature of the Muslim East of Jan Kazimierz University at Lvov, headed by Professor Zygmunt Smogorzewski (1884-1931). The Jagiellonian University, as another outstanding centre of oriental studies, was established in 1919 by Professor Tadeusz Kowalski (1889-1948), in addition to his major field of interest focussed upon Arabic sources to Salvic history, made great efforts to develop Arabic and Iranian studies, as well as turcology. His efforts were furthered by his high position at the Polish Academy of Sciences. The post-World War II development of the investigated studies was also connected with the name of Tadeusz Kowalski and his school, including such names as: Tadeusz Lewicki, Ananiasz Zaj’czkowski and Józef Bielawski. T. Lewicki continued the work of T. Kowalski at Cracow, heading the Department of Oriental Philology and leading to the foundation of the Institute of Oriental Philology. In turn, A. Zaj’czkowski was interested in the first place in turkology, Ottoman history and Polish realtions with the Orient. Finally, Professor J. Bielawski’s contribution to Arab-Islamic studies in Poland after World War II is of high significance, being for decades the head of the Waasaw University centre and author of tens of books and many more articles and contributions on Arab culture, literature, philosophy. Besides, he translated into Polish language works of, to mention some ‘Ibn Tufail, Al-Farabi, Taha Husayn, and above all The Koran. During the last two decades, we note an expansion of Middle Eastern studies in a number of Polish universities (Warsaw, Cracow, Lodz, Poznan, Gdansk). The paper investigates in detail the past and present attainments of Polish centres and scholars of Middle Eastern (and generally oriental) studies. The paper is based upon ample sources collected personally by the author as an academic research worker in the field of oriental studies at the Lodz University chair of Middle Eastern Studies dealing with history, politics and political thought of the area.