Workshop "A Walter Benjamin Moment in Arab Thought?"

01.12.2017 - 02.12.2017

In diesem Workshop geht es um die Rezeption des Werkes Walter Benjamins (1892-1940) in arabischem Gedankengut. Zeit: Freitag, 1. Dezember 10:00-18:30 Uhr, Samstag, 2. Dezember 9:30-19:00 Uhr. Ort: Forum Transregionale Studien. Anmeldung unter

Workshop: »'On the Ruins of History' - A Walter Benjamin Moment in Arab Thought?«

The workshop is organized by the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in cooperation with Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe (EUME).

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This workshop explores the increasing attention to the work of German philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) in Arab thought. Interest in Benjamin’s thought and work has been steadily on the rise among scholars, philosophers, and culture theorists and practitioners, but particularly intriguing synchronicities of intellectual and creative work began to take shape in the wake of the Arab uprisings of 2011. Dedicated workshops (notably between Ramallah, Cairo and Alexandria), and new translations directly from the German original work into Arabic, performances and creative adaptations among collectives and activists, narrative and poetic adaptations, etc. are among the activities that significantly expanded and transformed the interest in the Arab academy and among Arab intellectuals. This rise of interest in engaging with Benjamin’s thought on multiple sites and in different circles has gained such a momentum that it now warrants a reflective pause and a deeper look on the current conditions of the Arab world that draws our critical attention to a seminal thinker who died as refugee in exile.

Conceived as a reflective pause, the workshop will explore the contexts of the Arab cultural concern about Benjamin’s notions of ‘history’, ‘violence’, ‘law’, ‘language’, ‘time’, and ‘revolution’ among others. These meditations on life, history, and death in the “here-and-now” (“Jetztzeit”) of the post-revolutionary moment in the Middle East and North Africa and its diasporas disclose the ambivalent futures of memory, the reverberations of the disintegration of entire states and cultures, and the possibilities of critical thought and practice. Concerned with the translatability of conceptual language and thought, the workshop also approaches the memories of the future in contemporary Arab thought, art, and history through close readings of Benjamin’s writings.

Sinan Antoon (New York University), Atef Botros Al-Attar (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies), Hamid Dabashi (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies / Columbia University), Islam Dayeh (FU Berlin), Walid El Khachab (York University), Ayman El-Desouky (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies), Asmaa Essakouti (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies), Mohammed Ezzeldin (City University of New York / Cairo), Ahmed Farouk (Berlin), Ismail Fayed (Cairo), Fouad Halbouni (John Hopkins University), Ahmad Hamam (Georgetown U / Cairo), Jens Hanssen (University of Toronto / Universität Göttingen / EUME Fellow 2017/18), Suzanne Kassab (Doha Institute), Georges Khalil (EUME / Forum Transregionale Studien), Sami Khatib (Leuphana Universität Lüneburg), Hala Makhlouf (Cairo/ London), Sonja Mejcher-Atassi (American University of Beirut / Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin 2017/18), Ismail Nashef (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies), Issam Nassar (Illinois State University) and Kholoud Said Amer (Alexandria)

Zeit & Ort

01.12.2017 - 02.12.2017

Forum Transregionale Studien