Call for Contributions: Aesthetic Practices and Mediated Temporalities of the Maghreb and the Mashriq

From the collage series ‘Damascus Under Siege’ by Ayham Jabr. Image courtesy of artist.

The Maghreb and the Mashriq have always been sites of multilingualism and multiculturalism, of artistic production and innovation, of struggle and contestation. This blog series explores the aesthetic and cultural practices of these regions in motion, with a particular interest in how they mediate different temporalities. Constructions of time and temporal sequences are closely related to how we write history, make sense of the present, and speculate about the future. Postcolonial studies have critiqued temporalities inculcated under European colonial rule as dependent on notions of progress and acquisition of ‘civilisation’ (see Young 1990; Du Gay and Hall 1996). This critique manifests itself in artworks, films, and literary works from the region, which mediate time differently, often expressing feelings of nostalgia, hope, distress, or precariousness. This blog series also looks beyond a chronological understanding of time as past, present, and future (West-Pavlov 2013: 166) and tests assumed boundaries between historical periods (e.g., pre-modern/modern or colonial/postcolonial). It aims to move past established periodisations that centre around fixed dates (e.g., 1967, 2011) in the history of the regions to explore how artworks present continuities, ruptures, and reverberations across these times.

From the collage series ‘Retrospective Nostalgia’ by Ayham Jabr. Image courtesy of artist.

We invite contributions that address but are not limited to the following questions: How are these approaches to temporalities mediated and reimagined in text, sound, and/or image? What visions of the future do these artworks offer? How are these visions shaped by knowledge of the past and present, and how do they shape the past and present in turn? How are public or private memories formed, challenged, or reimagined? How are they related to each other? And how do these practices articulate a present reality that draws from pasts as much as it evokes a multiplicity of futures – a reality that functions here (in the Maghreb and the Mashriq) and now, while seeking to peek over the borders at there and then? Looking at different forms of art, documentary and fiction films, literature, popular culture, visual narratives, and music, the series also considers, among others, questions of utopia/dystopia, precarity, migration, memory, and gender.

If you are interested in contributing to the series, please send a short abstract that approaches one or more of these questions to by 22 February 2022. Blog essays should not exceed 2.000 words. Each paper will be independently reviewed by two of the editors.

The blog series is jointly edited by Rasha Chatta, Sahar El Echi, Farouk El Maarouf, Katarzyna Falęcka, Teresa Pepe, Angela Rabing and Felix Lang (coordinator). It stems from the editors’ work as fellows of MECAM’s Interdisciplinary Fellow Group 1, “Aesthetics and Cultural Practice” (May–August 2021).


Du Gay, Paul and Stuart Hall (1996). Questions of cultural identity. London: Sage Publications.

West-Pavlov, Russell (2013). Temporalities. London/New York: Routledge.

Young, Robert (1990). White Mythologies: Writing History and the West. London/New York: Routledge.

Citation: Call for Contributions: Aesthetic Practices and Mediated Temporalities of the Maghreb and the Mashriq. Blog series edited by Rasha Chatta, Sahar El Echi, Farouk El Maarouf, Katarzyna Falęcka, Teresa Pepe, and Angela Rabing, in: TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research,, 20.01.2022

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