Congrès Mondial des Études sur le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique du Nord

Barcelone du 19 au 24 Juillet 2010



· NOT_DEFINED institution: Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin (Germany)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Dr. Sonja Hegazy

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description: The panel addresses issues of nation building, history writing and memorialisation in the Middle East. It starts from the assumption that the remembering and/or forgetting of specifically postcolonial histories in the region have been largely orchestrated by official discourses designed to unify national history and regulate other commemorative acts, as nation building involves a mixture of strategic forgetting and selective memory. The notion of amnesia in the panel’s title does not mean that history is forgotten or completely buried by the needs and exigencies of a mobile present. It means that history is streamlined into a simplifying narrative that renders alternative stories absent from national histories. Very often national amnesia is politically formalised through the granting of amnesties.

The panel explores state and popular claims on memory. With the end of the Cold War, the proliferation of new media and the pluralisation of printed media, state monopolies which intended to prescribe a unified reading of the past have broken up, with the consequence of a growing public interest in debating the variable significance of past events. By now, conflictual readings of the 20th century have forced their way into the public of a number of countries in the region.

The panel intends to bring together researchers who work on the flows between multiple personal and public memories. It aims more specifically at investigating the ways in which culture (fiction, (auto-) biographies, film, the arts as well as ritualised commemoration) collectively engages the ‘work of memory’ in the Middle East.

Chair: Dr. Sonja Hegazy, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin

Discussant: Ahmed Badawi, HU Berlin

Paper presenter: Prof. Bettina Dennerlein, University of Zurich, Memory and Identity. National Reconciliation and Gendered Subjectivities in Algeria and Morocco
The paper is devoted to the construction of gendered subjectivities in the framework of processes of national reconciliation in Algeria and Morocco. It analyses how political settings and legal regimes that govern processes of reconciliation and lead to the renegotiation of power and national identity reconfigure gender relations and gendered subject positions.

Paper presenter: Dr. Norman Nikro, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, I Confess. Memory, History, Trans-Subjectivity in Lebanese/Arab Cultural Production
Since the formal ending of the civil war in Lebanon in 1991, and during its uncertain and turbulent aftermath, Lebanese cultural production has been preoccupied with the war’s shattering impact. Part of this preoccupation is symptomatic, as the social and political disintegration brought about by the sixteen-year war informs a dis-integrating and fracturing style of narrative de-composition found in literature and an emergent, locally developing documentary film practice. This paper addresses a confessional mode of cultural production in the work of Elias Khoury, Rashid El-Daif, and the writer and documentary filmmaker Mohamed Soueid.

Paper presenter: Dr. Makram Rabah, UMAM, The War of the Mountains: an Oral History explanation
The following project will explore the reconciliation process between the Druze and the Maronites within the context of the events that transpired during the Mountain war. Moreover, this project will examine how decision makers and participants in these events have different perceptions of what went on at different stages of the conflict. These perceptions have not yet been adequately examined so as to jump-start the process of national reconciliation which remains somewhat pending.