CFP / Open Panels
for the 26th International Congress of the German Middle East Studies Association (DAVO)
combined with the Conference of the Section for Islam Studies of the
Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft (DMG)
Hamburg, 3 − 5 October 2019
Submission of papers are invited for the following open panels. Please send your abstracts (ca. 300 words) until 31 May 2019 to the respective organizer of the panel and to the Secretary General of the Congress, email@example.com.
The deadline for the proposal of open panels has been extended until 30 April 2019 and further open panels will be added to the list.
To avoid misunderstandings: If you want to present a paper at the congress you are not restricted to the proposed panels but can submit individual papers on any issue within the scope of the congress.
List of open panels:
1. Rethinking the Process of “Normalization” of Islamist Parties in Light of the Models of "Civil State" and “Islamic Securalism”
Organizer: Alia Gana, CNRS, University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne, firstname.lastname@example.org; Anca Munteanu, CNRS, email@example.com; Ester Sigillo, University of Florence, firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the major transformations of the political landscape in Arab countries affected by the 2011 popular uprisings is the coming to power of Islamist parties, previously excluded from the institutional political game.
For the proponents of the "moderation" theory (Schwedler, 2007, 2011, 2013; Wegner et Pellicer 2009), one of the main analytical grids of the dynamics of political Islam, the political integration of Islamist parties, would lead them to carry out profound ideological transformations, to reduce the religious dimensions of their political project and therefore would inscribe them in a process of "normalisation" (Roy, 2004) on the same way as other party organizations.
Thus, for example, the Islamist parties in power in Tunisia (Ennahdha) and Morocco (PJD) now advocate the need to distinguish between politics and religion, asserting the "civil” character of their parties and claiming their adherence to the “civil State” model. As proof of these transformations, they highlight the actions undertaken to separate political activities, affirmed as the exclusive domain of the party, from religious preaching activities, a mission assigned to associations specialized in this field.
On the other hand, with the rise of the concept of the civil State ("Dawla madanyia"), developed by Islamist thinkers (Raouf Ezzat, 2002), but also taken up by secular political currents, we are also witnessing the emergence of the notion of “Islamic secularism”, the development of which also owes to the "feminist" currents within political Islam. The interest of the notion of Islamist secularism is that it would make it possible to integrate individual rights and women's rights and thus to distinguish the political project of Islamist parties from that of theocratic regimes, but without renouncing religious reference (Dayan-Hezbrun, 2015).
Closely related to the works of the ERC-funded project TARICA, this panel aims at bringing together papers that critically explore the process of “normalization” of Islamist parties. Drawing on a critical perspective of “moderation” (Schwedler 2007) and post-Islamism theories (Bayat 1996, 2012; Roy 1999), the purpose is to interrogate the notions of “civil State” and “Secular Islamism” and their role in the strategies of Islamist parties’ political integration.
The problematics that guide the reflection proposed in this panel revolves around the following questions:
- How does the mobilization of the model of the civil State and the notion of Islamist secularism (and the way they are framed) best serve the political integration project of Islamist parties?
- How are the models of the civil State and Islamic secularism operationalized and concretely manifest in the forms of action and organization of Islamist parties?
- What effects do the mobilization of these models have on the processes of differentiation/separation between partisan action and religious preaching activities?
- What effects does the mobilization of the civil State and Islamist secularism models have on the redefinition of the relationship between the political and the religious spheres?
We invite proposals that explore these questions both theoretically and by mobilizing empirical research on Islamist parties in North Africa and the Middle East, including Turkey. Comparative approaches between one or more countries are encouraged.
2. Beyond Shariʿa and Fiqh: on the Diversity of Islamic Normative Cultures
Organizer: Heydar Shadi, Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology, Frankfurt, email@example.com
Contemporary debates on Islamic normative topics focus almost exclusively on shariʿa (Islamic law) and fiqh (the discipline that studies shariʿa). This approach can be witnessed in different fields such as bioethics, sexual ethics, business ethics, and peace ethics.
However, there are other normative fields in the Islamic tradition. Philosophical ethics (al-akhlaq al-falsafi), sufi ethics, as well as ʿadab literature (social moralities and mirrors of princes) are among these non-fiqhi normative disciplines in the Islamic culture.
Based on this critical remark, the panel aims to explore this diversity in both classical and contemporary eras. Papers on the methodological and theoretical aspects of the diversity and the relationship among different normative disciplines as well as papers about a topic in one non-fiqhi normative culture (for example, sexual ethics in sufism or war ethics in Farabi's thought or ʿadab literature) are welcome.
3. Rethinking Islamic Origins: Towards a New Understanding of the Beginnings of Arabic Written Tradition
Organizers: Giuliano Lancioni, Roma Tre University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Raoul Villano, Roma Tre University, email@example.com
Western scholarship on Islamic origins followed, since its very beginnings, two main strands based on two radically opposed approaches: the ‘sanguine’ approach (e.g. Sezgin and Abbott), which differs only marginally from traditional Muslim approach, and the ‘sceptical’ approach (e.g. Goldziher and Schacht), which basically pretends not to recognize any historical reliability to traditional Muslim account (cf. Berg, 2000).
Both sanguine and sceptical approaches fail in that they cannot provide a consistently historical view of the beginnings and early development of Arabic and Islamic scholarship in virtually every field: both approaches, indeed, perceive and represent the formation of any single written tradition in a top-down fashion, outside of any reasonable historical development, either because viewed as given and complete from the very mythical beginnings of the discipline (sanguine approach) or because perceived and recognized only as (and if) clearly imitating earlier, external, conceptualizations (sceptical approach).
The emergence and rapid development of Digital Humanities (DH) techniques applied to Arabic and Islamic studies in the last few decades have offered, at least potentially, alternative means to research and assess the dynamics of formation and evolution of written traditions in the Islamicate world. These potentialities have been admittedly underused, yet several academic and general-purpose databases have been developed in the last years.
Our aim is to focus ways to query those new DH resources in fields where they have not yet been systematically explored: ironically enough, those very fields would benefit more than other research domains from such an approach, since benefits of large-scale analysis of transmission processes have long been shown by handcrafted explorations of classical materials (since Wensinck’s ḥadīṯs Concordances through Juynboll’s perusal of isnāds).
Papers are welcomed from scholars working on any field related to the beginnings of Arabic written tradition, possibly, but not necessarily, in the framework of DH. We expect perspective papers to combine scholarly insights with the systematic formalization and analysis of texts and to address meaningful issues in the emergence, development and canonization of written traditions from a specific, DH-oriented and/or conceptually innovative, point of view.
4. South Yemen: Past, Present, and Future
Organizers: Abdulsalam al-Rubaidi, firstname.lastname@example.org; Amira Augustin, Academic Forum Muhammad Ali Luqman, Berlin, email@example.com
Over the past decades, South Yemen has witnessed huge political transformations. In the 1950s, the harbor city of Aden was the second most frequented port in the world after New York. It had been used for almost 130 years as a British colonial bridgehead at the Gulf of Aden and at the strait of the Bab al-Mandab, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from East Africa.
In the 1960s, the population of South Arabia fought against British colonial rule, which ended in 1967. The only Marxist-oriented state in the Arab World emerged, i.e. the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), which aimed at left-wing progressivity. However, this time was also marked by political instability emanating from the ruling unity party, the Yemeni Socialist Party. Yemeni unification in 1990 raised hopes for a prosperous future. Power in the state was equally shared between southern and northern politicians and bureaucrats in ministries.
However, the results of the 1993 elections shattered the power-sharing agreement, marginalized the Yemeni Socialist Party of the PDRY, and strengthened the General People’s Congress and the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (Iṣlāḥ) and, with them, tribal and Islamist elites of the north. As tensions soared, civil war broke out on 27 April 1994. The southern faction lost this war on 7 July 1994. The hopes for a prosperous future were dashed with this war that largely marginalized South Yemen and its population politically, economically, and socially.
The political instability in the Republic of Yemen in recent years gave rise to different identity groups and protest movements, such as the Southern Movement since 2007, i.e. an independence movement in the region of the former PDRY seeking the reestablishment of the state in its borders pre-1990.
Since 2014, the current war in Yemen has fragmented the country and deteriorated the living conditions for the population. Instability and an uncertain future overshadow the region. However, new forms of local governance and ruling, as well as new civil society activism have emerged to fight the eclipse of the state. When South Yemen was liberated from Houthi and Salih forces in mid-2015, films, literary publications and cultural clubs emerged in South Yemen. But since the UN-led peace process in 2015, South Yemeni stakeholders have been marginalized from the process and were not granted a seat at the negotiation table next to the Houthis and the Hadi government.
South Yemen is an area about which relatively little research has been undertaken. However, due to the current war in Yemen and its strategically important position at the Bab al-Mandab and the Gulf of Aden, its role is growing steadily. The panel will highlight this growing role and invites papers which offer insight into historical, political, economic, cultural, literary, and religious topics related to South Yemen.
5. Towards New Social Contracts in MENA Countries? Prospects for Economic and Social Policy Reform, better Governance and National Dialogues
Organizer: Markus Loewe, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Markus.Loewe@die-gdi.de
Many scholars interpret the 2011 upheavals in the MENA as a sign of failure of the social contracts that MENA countries had developed after independence. All of these are based on the provision of generous social benefits by governments to citizens as compensation for the lack of political participation. However, with growing populations and declining state revenues, governments became less able to fulfil their contractual obligations and had to focus spending increasingly on strategically important social groups. The Arab uprisings in 2011 were thus an expression of discontent of citizens with a situation where governments provided neither political participation nor social benefits.
The question is what types of social contracts have emerged after the uprisings and what do these imply for the coming years.
The first part of the panel will deal with MENA countries that sustained their statehood (Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia). It discusses, if governments of these countries have been able to refurbish the old social contracts or establish new ones. What is the content of the new social contracts? What are the deliverables of governments and citizens? Are the new contracts acceptable for citizens or are citizens likely to revolt again? Can we think of reforms that establish ‘better’ social contracts that is better for citizens yet acceptable for governments?
The second part of the panel will deal with MENA countries that have descended into civil wars (Yemen, Libya, Syria). It discusses the prospects of these countries establishing new social contracts that are acceptable for all major conflicting parties, at least for the short term. Is the formation of social covenants between the conflicting parties conceivable? Can a new social contract be set up building on these social covenants? Which internal and external actors have to be on board in such a process?
6. Stigmatised Tasks / Stigmatised Origins: Islam, Low-status Professional Groups and Descent in the Middle East and Sahel.
Organizer: Marta Scaglioni, Univerità degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, firstname.lastname@example.org
Islamic discourse is imbued with egalitarian ideas concerning the status of all believers before God. On the social level, this principle should translate into rankless societies. Nonetheless, starting from the classical period, hierarchical impulses have been incorporated into the Islamic tradition, while the social organization of historical Islamic societies has been inspired by local pre-Islamic cosmologies and social structures.
Ranging from the West African coast to the Indian Ocean, a wide belt of the Islamic world has experienced the marginalisation of endogamous low-status groups associated with stigmatised crafts and services. Tukolor blacksmiths of Senegal and Haddad of Chad, Ghbonton slave descendants of Tunisia, Sab servants of Somalia and Bani al-Khumus of Yemen – these are just a few examples of professional groups that share a mutual co-construction of inherited profession, genealogical origin, status and market situation. Individuals belonging to these groups are often represented as ‘immoral selves’ due to a deficiency in genealogical origin and the stigma attached to their professions emerges from a rhizome of local discourses on ritual purity, pollution, religion, honour and shame, and other systems of meanings.
Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in different countries of MENA region and the Sahel, contributors of this panel are requested to unravel forms of overlapping between stigmatised crafts and genealogical origins, highlighting historical continuities and discontinuities against the backdrop of changing configurations of religious, political and economic discourses and practices. In a world characterized by increasing social mobility, is stigma still attached to traditional professions? How is the configuration of work and origin evolving? How is it related to kinship and endogamous practices?
Moving from B. L. Wright definition of “caste systems” as culturally defined and interrelated realms of power “differentiated by innate capacity or power sources,” we promote an agenda of comparison speaking to the current debate concerning so-called “professional castes” outside the Indian sub-continent.
The panel includes the four following papers and is open for further contributions.Discussant: Luca Ciabarri, Università Statale di Milano
- Valerio Colosio, University of Sussex: People of the mountains, sons of the people and cursed blacksmith. Origin, labour and belonging in Central Chad
- Luca Nevola, University of Sussex: The Sons of the Fifth: beyond purity/impurity, castes as regimes of value in contemporary highland Yemen
- Marta Scaglioni, Univerità degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca: “We are not original by name”: racial, professional, and genealogical stigmatization of the shwashin in south-eastern Tunisia.
- Elia Vitturini, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca: Hierarchy and social change: hereditary groups of occupational specialists in the Somali territories.
7. Digital authoritarianism: Tools and Types of Authoritarian Rule in the Digital Age
Panel Organizers: Mirjam Edel, Ahmed Maati, Oliver Schlumberger (all University of Tuebingen), email@example.com
Advances in the digital realm provide governments and state agents with new tools to control and gather information, to surveil citizens and their interactions, and to influence public discourse. This has made digital technologies particularly interesting for authoritarian regimes. Despite some emerging research on how digital technologies are used in the political sphere, political science still needs to answer many fundamental questions about this emerging “digital authoritarianism”:
First of all, do the new technologies of surveillance and control mark a shift in the tools available for authoritarian regimes, or do they also lead to paradigmatic changes in the type of rule? That is, do these technologies merely enable autocrats to pursue their old strategies using new methods, or do they also mark a fundamental change in the structure of political power and of the goals and strategies of political regimes? Second, the extent and the modes to/in which authoritarian regimes utilize this technology need more exploration and theorizing (in the MENA region and beyond). Does affinity to and usage of these technologies differ across regimes? And if so, why? Third, do digital technologies alter the costs and benefits of certain ruling strategies? For example, do they decrease the costs of repression and surveillance, or are superficial regime advantages outbalanced by new costs?
This panel invites both theoretical and empirical contributions that tackle these questions. We want to develop analytical tool-boxes to study the altered political arena without disregarding our already existing insights about political regimes. Our aim is to gather innovative contributions that further our understanding of Digital Authoritarianism.
8. Neoliberal Urbanization in the Arab World and Beyond
Organizer: Ala Al-Hamarneh, Max-Weber-Stiftung/Orient Institut Beirut, al-hamarneh @orient-institut.org.
Arab cities are expanding at an extraordinary pace, both demographically and spatially, and they are in crises: infrastructures don’t match the growth, and urban economics and planning are increasingly shifting towards detaching the urban social development from the urban spatial and economic developments. Urban planning has always been a reflection and an instrument of social engineering. Taking into account the domination of neoliberal economic and planning policies in the region (privatization, deregulation and liberalization) on the one hand and the dramatic increase of various kinds of migration towards the urban areas (domestic rural-urban and urban-metropolitan area migrations, international regular and irregular migration towards metropolitan areas) and demographic growth, on the other hand, the urban social-spatial fragmentations seem to be “logical.”
Within the profit-first logic of neoliberalism, metropolitan areas are becoming “marketing brands,” “centers of economic growth and profit concentration” and “frontiers of sociopolitical struggles.” The incapacity of the neoliberal logic to include urban residents in planning processes and to plan for the people but instead the deliberate empowerment of prodigious and globalized businesses with the aim of increased “prestige” and political leverage is discussed in the newly published bilingual English-German edited volume “Neoliberale Urbanisierung – Stadtentwicklungsprozesse in der arabischen Welt” (Al-Hamarneh, Margraff, Scharfenort (2019).
The panel aims to continue and to deepen the theoretical and methodological discussion and to present case studies of the neoliberal urbanizations in the Arab World and other countries in West and Central Asia and North Africa. By focusing on particular issues in the edited volume by some the authors themselves and by providing a space for colleagues and other researchers to discuss various social, political, economic, spatial and gender aspects of neoliberal urban developments, the panel aims to contribute to the ongoing discussions. Presentations and papers in English and German are welcomed.
9. Forced Migration in the MENA Region: Transformation, Politics and Social Change in Immigration Societies
Organizer: Eva Fuchs, Hamburg, firstname.lastname@example.org
The current conflicts in the Middle East caused forced migration flows and millions of refugees. Depending on this social, cultural and political transformations in societies take place. These forced migration flows built an economic factor, are politically discussed and determined and have also an impact on the social order of the immigration societies. Forced migration causes global and local transformation.
The main question in this panel asks therefore about the consequences of forced migration from the MENA region on political and social transformations. Today’s migration flows have impacts on politics and social orders, being linked to transnationalism. Forced migration and transnationalism are global phenomena, which have impacts on and transform different spaces in societies or which create these special areas and spaces in-between. To examine these phenomena it has to be paid attention on the societies of origin from where people flee and also on the host societies where the immigration creates new transnational spaces, politics and identities and where also cultural phenomena are created by assimilation or delimitation.
These transformations can be recognized in societies by analyzing power, politics, networks, gender, cultural transformations, discourses or economic strategies.
Papers are welcome, which analyze the social, cultural or political transformations of the immigration societies caused by forced migration in or from the MENA region.