The International Summer Academy was held 25 August – 05 September 2014 in Rabat.
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.
The summer academy was chaired by a group of scholars that includes Michael Allan (University of Oregon), Baudoin Dupret and Zakaria Rhani (both Centre Jacques Berque, Rabat), Nora Lafi (Zentrum Moderner Orient/ZMO, Berlin; member of EUME), Rachid Ouaissa and Friederike Pannewick (both from the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies/CNMS, Philipps-Universität Marburg, and members of EUME), Martin Baumeister (Deutsches Historisches Institut Rom). It was held in cooperation with the Centre Jacques Berque in Rabat, the Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique in Benguerir, the CNMS, and the research network “Re-Configurations: History, Memory and Transformation Processes” of Philipps University Marburg.
The summer academy was part of the strategic cooperation between the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad. They are supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF).