Kategorie: #MECAM

The #MECAM series features contributions to the overarching theme of the Merian Centre for Advanced Study in the Maghreb (MECAM), “Imagining Futures: Dealing with Disparity”. The overarching theme is addressed in the framework of five Interdisciplinary Research Fields: “Inequality & Mobility”, “Memory & Justice”, “Aesthetics & Cultural Practice”, “Resources & Sustainability”, and “Identities & Beliefs”. These themes are the threads of the #MECAM series and have been developed/tested during the first two years of MECAM’s work by five interdisciplinary research groups.

MECAM is a joint endeavor of six German and Tunisian Universities and research institutions: The University of Marburg, the University of Tunis, Leipzig University, the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg, the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien, and the University of Sfax. MECAM is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), supported and hosted by the University of Tunis. It is directed by Rachid Ouaissa (University of Marburg) and Khaled Kchir (Université de Tunis).

Series editors: Diana Abbani (Forum Transregionale Studien), Julius Dihstelhoff (MECAM).

#MECAM #Aesthetics&CulturalPractice
This thread is addressing and redressing questions such as how aesthetic representations of disparity and entanglement are narrated, visualized, and performed in order to present the futures on offer to their respective societies. It considers the profound influence that societal changes have exerted on aesthetics and cultural practices (and vice-versa). The thread emerged from the collaborative work of the Interdisciplinary Fellow Group “Aesthetics & Cultural Practice” at MECAM, and has been established by MECAM fellows Rasha Chatta (Freie Universität Berlin), Sahar El Echi (École Superieure de l’Audiovisuel et du Cinema, Tunis), Farouk El Maarouf (Universität Gießen), Katarzyna Falęcka (Newcastle University), Teresa Pepe (Universitetet Oslo), Angela Rabing (Universität Bremen), and Felix Lang (coordination, Universität Marburg).

#MECAM #Inequality&Mobility
#Inequality&Mobility examines the complex relationships between rising inequalities and diverse types of mobility in present-day Tunisia and the Maghreb. It emerged from the collaborative work of the Interdisciplinary Fellow Group “#Inequality & Mobility” at MECAM that consisted of MECAM Fellows Myriam Amri (Harvard University), André Weißenfels (Freie Universität Berlin), Moslem Nasser (Université de Tunis), Souhir Bouzid (ISTEUB Tunis), Wael Garnaoui (Université de Sousse/Université de Paris), Johannes Frische (Universität Leipzig), Ann-Christin Zuntz (University of Edinburgh), and Katharina Grüneisl (coordination, Universität Leipzig).

#MECAM #Identities&Beliefs
The contributions to the #Identities&Beliefs thread reflects the ways in which identity-based and belief-related disparities shape the (re-)negotiation of imaginaries, visions, and models of the future. Which identity-based disparities and diverse beliefs are available and dominant in specific contexts? What are their similarities and differences across different social and political settings? How have the disparities around identities and beliefs evolved in recent history and up until the present, and which visions for the future emanate from them? In addressing these guiding questions, an open understanding of the concept of ‘identities’, encompassing aspects of ideology, ethnicity, and religion is applied.
This thread emerged from the collaborative work of the Interdisciplinary Fellow Group “Identities & Beliefs” that was constituted by MECAM Fellows André Bank (German Institute for Global and Area Studies), Elizabeth Bishop (Texas State University), Guy Eyre (King’s College London), Shreya Parikh (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Sciences Po), Arbia Selmi (Centre Marc Bloch), and Alyssa Miller (Coordination, German Institute for Global and Area Studies).

#MECAM #Memory&Justice
This thread is addressing questions such as what is the relation between memory and justice? How is the history and memory, law and justice narrated and performed, disparate or shared? How do the legacies of the past, and its legal, political and cultural treatment, relate to the (re)negotiation of future models, imaginaries and expectations? How is memory narrated and presented from the perspective of disparate horizons? These are questions the IRF Memory and Justice address in this thread.

#MECAM #Resources&Sustainability
This thread is addressing questions such as how do societies deal with emerging socio-economic disparities and growing environmental problems? What economic models could ensure a socially and environmentally sustainable future? This thread draws upon the work of the IRF on Resources and Sustainability and aims to explore these questions and examine the origins and potential effects of a range of economic and social strategies that are currently being experimented with to create an alternative model of sustainable economic development in the region.

#MECAM is conceived as an open and modular form of contributions from fellows, members, partner-institutions of MECAM, and their networks. Suggestions for contributions to the existing threads by scholars, artists and practitioners of any discipline on archival, aesthetical, environmental, historical, and other matters or issues of law, society, migration and others are welcome. Contributions are around 1.000-1.500 words. Suggestions should include a brief abstract with the guiding questions. Furthermore, we invite you to include up to 3 images (royalty-free or public domain) that relate to the thread topic. Please consult “how to contribute” section on this blog, and send your proposals to mecam@trafo-berlin.de.

Hysteria: Unveiling Tunisian Women’s Journey in Writing Chick-Lit

In this article, Cyrine Kortas reviews the Tunisian writer Faten Fazaa’s book “Hysteria”. Written in Tunisian dialect and focusing on the everyday struggles of an ordinary woman from the old Medina, the book is labeled as Tunisian chick lit, a new literary genre that has flourished. Offering a glimpse into the lives of Tunisian young women, she addresses social and political issues while questioning cultural norms. By means of this novel Cyrine Kortas examines the topic of female gender identity negotiation in a Muslim society on the eve of the Arab Spring era.

Moving Through Space, Sheltering Across Time: Alternate Realities in Contemporary Arabic Fiction of (Forced) Displacement

Annamaria Bianco’s contribution aims to show how Arab migration writings and future writings have increasingly ended up overlapping, in the wake of the “speculative turn” taken by contemporary fiction. Through a review of a few novels published after the so-called “refugee crisis” in 2015 and drawing on different studies as well as on the notion of “refugeedom”, the author will show how this literary genre juxtaposes the documentary function of prose with narrative strategies of estrangement and defamiliarization that aim to generate in the reader a desire to act on the present, to redeem the past and change the future of hospitality worldwide.

Reclaiming Spaces from the Streets to the Gutter: Sketching Feminisms in Contemporary Arab Graphic Narratives

By Rasha Chatta. In a region where authoritarian and patriarchal regimes have held the monopoly on what circulates publicly and where spaces of contestation are under scrutiny, graphic narratives or qisas musawwara as they are referred to in the Arabic language—alongside other popular arts such as graffiti or street art—have carved out a new arena of dissent that was made possible by the hopes for social and political changes instigated in the wave of the so-called Arab Spring.

La comédie pour la mémorisation des atrocités : Les comédiens maghrébins sur les scènes européennes

Par Yousra Sbaihi. Peu de Maghrébins ont la chance de se produire dans les spectacles d’humour les plus prestigieux d’Europe. Cependant, les rares qui ont réussi à se frayer un chemin jusqu’à la scène, à mon avis, viennent bousculer la théâtralité des spectacles de stand-up francophones blancs.

Women Forgotten in the History of the Trade Union Movement: The Figure of Chérifa Messaadi

By Arbia Selmi. Despite its important role in the history of Tunisia, the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) is one of the most telling examples of the perpetuation of gender inequalities in Tunisia. The trade union environment is considered a male universe and is dominated by a patriarchal culture where women, until today, do not really find their place.

Commemorating International Struggles at UGTT Sfax: Palestinians and Saddam Hussein

By André Bank. Internationally, the standing and profile of Tunisia’s General Labor Union (French: ‘Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail’, UGTT) has been shaped by three broad images: The first image emanated from the UGTT’s active participation in the so-called Jasmine Revolution in 2011, when its leadership and members protested the ‘ancien régime’ of President Zine Abidin Ben Ali.

Seven Men and One Table: The 20th Century through a Photograph

By Elizabeth Bishop. A photograph near the bottom of the wall caught my attention at the Habib Achour exhibit in the Kerkennah branch of the Union Générale des Travailleurs Tunisiens (UGTT, General Union of Tunisian Workers). A caption provides the information that the black-and-white photograph was taken on 26 January 1978.

The UGTT: A “Counter-Power” in Contentious Times – Notes from the Field

By Alyssa Miller and Arbia Selmi. Since the time of its foundation in 1946, the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) has shifted its focus from trade union activism to political action. Due to its participation in the independence struggle, alongside the national liberation movement led by the Neo-Destour party, the UGTT has enjoyed unparalleled historical legitimacy on the Tunisian political scene.

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