Summer Academy “Conflict and Mobility in the City : Urban Space, Youth & Social Transformations”, Rabat (Maroc), 25/08-05/09/2014 — LIMITE : 31/03/2014

Call for Applications
Dear colleague,We are pleased to invite scholars from the fields of Comparative Literature, Cultural Anthropology, Middle East Studies, Political Science, History, Geography, Urban Studies and Sociology to apply for an international Summer Academy that will be convened from 25th August – 5th September 2014  at the École de Gouvernance et d’Économie (EGE) in Rabat on the theme
Participants will receive grants that cover the costs of travel and accommodation. Please find the announcement below as well as in a PDF format via the following link: would be grateful if you could post the announcement at your institution and circulate it, also per email, among colleagues and scholars who you think would be qualified and interested in applying.With my best regards
Georges Khalil
P.S. My apologies for double postings.


In the framework of the research program “Europe in the Middle East – the Middle East in Europe” (EUME) the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien, the Max Weber Stiftung – German Humanities Institutes Abroad, and the  École de Gouvernance et d’Économie in Rabat invite scholars from the fields of Comparative Literature, Cultural Anthropology, Middle East Studies, Political Science, History, Geography, Urban Studies and Sociology to apply for an international Summer Academy that will be convened from 25th August – 5th September 2014 at the École de Gouvernance et d’Économie (EGE) in Rabat on the theme


The Summer Academy is chaired by a group of scholars that includes Fadma Ait Mous (EGE, Rabat), Michael Allan (University of Oregon), Baudoin Dupret and Zakaria Rhani (both Centre Jacques Berque, Rabat), Hakan Ergul (Hacettepe Universitesi, Ankara), Ulrike Freitag and Nora Lafi (both Zentrum Moderner Orient/ZMO, Berlin), Rachid Ouaissa and Friederike Pannewick (both from the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies/CNMS, Philipps-University Marburg). It is held in cooperation with the Centre Jacques Berque in Rabat, the Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique in Benguerir, the CNMS, the research network “Re-Configurations: History, Memory and Transformation Processes” of Philipps University Marburg.

24 doctoral and postdoctoral scholars from different countries and academic backgrounds will be given the opportunity to present and discuss their current research in an international and multi-disciplinary context. Intellectuals, writers and scholars from Morocco will also participate in the discussions and events of the Summer Academy. The Summer Academy is designed to support scholarly networks and contribute to closer ties among research activities in and outside Europe and the Middle East. In order to promote intensive debate and encourage new perspectives, the Summer Academy is structured around four main elements: presentations of individual research projects in small groups, working group sessions for the participants, general lectures, and panel discussions open to a wider public.

The uprisings in the Arab world both challenge traditional paradigms for understanding culture and politics and raise new sets of questions. While some urban spaces such as Tahrir Square, Taksim Gezi Park, and Pearl Roundabout have acquired almost global iconic status, how might we understand that it was self-immolation in a public space and graffiti on walls in provincial towns that marked the beginnings of the Tunisian and Syrian uprisings respectively? In what ways do cultural forms inflect the political imaginary in these contested urban spaces? Is it possible to trace echoes of this political vocabulary in novels, art, poetry, songs and films of the last decades? How might we understand public space not solely as stages of protest and politics, but also of everyday life? The city serves as a site of negotiation between cosmopolitan consumerism and local traditions, but what is its role as a site for experimental living and utopias? The city is an urban and social structure that facilitates the imagination and proliferation of citizenship and social mobility. Its gated communities, stalled avenues of mobility, the dreams and nightmares of migration are just as prevalent as alternative forms of solidarity and mechanisms of control and survival.

Our Summer Academy aims to explore these questions across time and place with attention to the differing contours and uses of urban space. We hope to draw together scholars who consider cities in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in neighbouring regions or countries (such as Spain, Greece, Turkey and Iran). We also hope to benefit from a multitude of disciplinary perspectives that shed light on the different dynamics of urbanism and protest:

• Specialists in Architecture, Urban Planning and Human Geography may contribute to a clearer view of how the different forms of cities, questions of access and physical mobility impact forms of protest in these sites. How have developments in urban design impacted or facilitated forms of protest in the 21st century?

• Historians might consider historical contestations over public spaces (including aspects of their control) and the current trend of gated or walled communities. What historical precedent exists for the types of mass mobilization seen in the last few years, and what challenge does the uprisings pose to national historical narratives? How do cities relate to or complicate national historiography?

• Social scientists understand the political economy of urban development, the legal anthropology of urban tenure, as much as the urban governance or economy itself and the social profiles of people laying claim to public space. We might want to ask about the roles of changing demographics, of gender, of the youth, or of migrants, both groups who might conceive of the city as offering spaces of advancement, development, entertainment, and social change, as well as a space of frustration. 

• Scholars from the humanities and the social sciences might explore daily and ordinary usages related to urban spaces, times, activities, professions, mobility, housing, business, etc. How do people not only conceive of the city but also inhabit it, develop specific types of dealing with it, coordinate with one another, produce and play with local norms, contribute to a sense of belonging or exclusion, develop specific competences, and participate in the production of local orders.

• Scholars in literature and the arts might explore aesthetic forms reflecting urban space and mobility in the broadest sense – not only in literature, but also new media, music, film, performance, fashion and street art. How have these aesthetic forms facilitated the imagining of forms of political practice and an urban public sphere? And how should we conceive the place of literature and the arts in urban space and processes of social and political transformations from the early 20th until the early 21st century?

The Summer Academy aims to bring these very different approaches together through the focus on urban spaces and the different actors involved with these spaces. Comparisons from a historical perspective are most welcome.


Participants receive a stipend covering travel and accommodation. The program targets doctoral and postdoctoral researchers of Comparative Literature, Cultural Anthropology, Middle East Studies, Political Science, History, Geography, Urban Studies and Sociology, who wish to present their ongoing projects in a comparative perspective in relation to the questions raised above. The researchers’ work should be clearly relevant to the themes of the Summer Academy. While the focus of the Summer Academy will be the Arab world, comparative perspectives on the relation of aesthetics and politics from other regions are welcome, transregional comparative approaches being especially encouraged. The working language is English. The application should likewise be in English and consist of

– a curriculum vitae
– a three- to five-page outline of the project the applicant is currently working on, with a brief summary thereof,
– the names of two university faculty members who can serve as referees (no letters of recommendation required)


The application should be submitted in English and should be received by March 31, addressed to:

attn: Georges Khalil
Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe
c/o Forum Transregionale Studien
Wallotstrasse 14, D-14193 Berlin

The Summer Academy is conducted within the framework of “Europe in the Middle East – the Middle East in Europe” (EUME), a research program at the Forum Transregionale Studien. EUME seeks to rethink key concepts and premises that link and divide Europe and the Middle East. EUME conducts this Summer Academy in cooperation with the Marburg initiative that, within the research network “Re-Configurations. History, Remembrance and Transformation Processes in the Middle East and North Africa”, analyses the current transformations in the region through the combined perspectives of the humanities, cultural studies and social sciences.

The Summer Academy is part of the strategic cooperation between the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad. It is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien is a research organization that promotes the internationalization of research in the humanities and social sciences.  It is dedicated to a research agenda that systematically links disciplinary approaches and the expertise of area studies, by focusing on entanglements and interactions across national, cultural or regional borders.

For more information please see:

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