Silence and Radical Rethinking in Syrian Theatre of the Long 1980s

By Friederike Pannewick. This essay focuses on a Syrian author who spent most of the 1980s in self-imposed silence: the dramatist Saadallah Wannous (1941-1997). This internationally acclaimed author belonged to a generation of Arab intellectuals and artists whose artistic self-understanding was strongly molded by the Palestine conflict. Deeply concerned about the political consequences of the Israel-Egypt unilateral peace treaty on Palestinians, Wannous stopped writing literature for a whole decade after Egyptian president Sadat’s visit to Israel in fall 1977.

Everyone has a Stake in Morocco’s Football Team

By Brahim El Guabli and Aomar Boum. For the millions watching the semi-final World Cup match between France and Morocco, it felt like the ultimate showdown, yet players on both teams fought valiantly and treated each other to hugs and moral support, suggesting a sea change in international relationships between former colonies and their European nemeses (ED).

Messy Surroundings: Calligrapher at Work

by Nancy Micklewright. In 1967 a Los Angeles photographer, Harold Van Pelt, took a series of photographs of Mohamed Zakariya in his garage workshop. Today, Zakariya is the foremost calligrapher of the Arabic language in the US and is renowned worldwide, but when these photographs were taken, he had just begun his journey in Islam and had been learning calligraphy for a short time.

Envisioning Domestic Labor on Instagram: Changing Parameters of Visibility under Neoliberal Digital Capitalism

by Nazlı Özkan. #invisiblehousework (#görünmeyenevişleri) first started as an Instagram hashtag and continued with an account of its own under the same name. The hashtag was created by Elif Doğan, or blogcuanne (mom blogger) with her Instagram and blogger handle. She has currently has around 111K followers and lives in Bodrum, a famous touristic town in Southwest Turkey.

“Endliness Is an Irritating, but Genuinely Modern and Ubiquitous Time Regime” – 5in10 with Erik Martin

Erik Martin is a scholar of Slavic studies and works on conflicting time regimes in Russian literature, ecocriticism, and Eastern European Realisms. He is currently working as a postdoc researcher in the project “Europäische Zeiten / European Times – A Transregional Approach to the Societies of Central and Eastern Europe” (EUTIM) at the European University Viadrina.

Memory and the Repressed: The Possibility of Therapeutic Histories of the 1980s

By Idriss Jebari. In their hearts, historians are first storytellers who seek to offer intelligible narratives of the past. Ever since Hayden White’s Metahistory, the border between history and literature has become less meaningful. Yet, valid questions remain: can a passage from a novel be used with the same factual authority as, say, a newspaper clipping, a police report, or a population register? What about a personal diary or a set of exchanged letters?

Against Remembering: The Fictional Truth of a Massacre

By Samad Alavi. Carolyn Forché’s Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness anthologizes poems that testify to some of the last century’s darkest political tragedies. In her introduction, Forché establishes her basic criteria for selection. First, she includes only poems, as she wishes to demonstrate that the old “arguments about poetry and politics ha[ve] been too narrowly defined” and that it is possible to understand poems as residing between the personal and the political.

Rethinking East European Studies in Times of Upheaval: Some Reflections on Ukrainian Studies in Germany (and Not Only)

By Andrii Portnov. Ukrainian history and literature in the German higher education system are the disciplines whose institutional weakness is more than obvious. Ukraine itself, in the eyes of a large part of German (including academic) society, still does not have enough cultural and historical agency and remains ‘in the shadow of Russia’.

A New Iran Has Been Born — A Global Iran

Interview with Asef Bayat. This interview was published in Persian on Oct. 10 by the Tehran daily Etemaad. Shortly after its publication, the Iranian authorities ordered the newspaper to take the interview down from its website. The interview had already gone viral in Iran and abroad, and several other outlets that had reposted it were likewise forced to unpublish it.

Picturing the Labor Landscape: The Silahtarağa Power Plant and Istanbul’s Electrical Infrastructure

By Nurçin İleri. This essay centres on a series of photographs, which I first came across at an auction in November 2020. These black and white images depict Istanbul’s first urban scale power plant, the Silahtarağa campus and extension of the grid to the city in the early 1910s.

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