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30 jul. 2018

CFP: Al-Andalus in Motion: Travelling Concepts and Cross-Cultural Contexts

Scientific Studies Association (ILEM) as a partner of Language Acts and Worldmaking project calls for papers for the conference al-Andalus in Motion: Travelling Concepts and Cross-Cultural Contexts to be held on November 15-16, 2018, hosted by Istanbul Medeniyet University.
The history of Iberia, as both an originator and a product of global colonization, constitutes a field of study for interrogating fundamental concepts of contemporary liberal-democratic societies. The ‘Iberianate venture’ embraces the ‘Al-Andalus’ syndrome (Islamic Andalusia as a model of tolerant co-existence between Christians, Muslims and Jews), the Iberian ‘Black legend’ (repressive Inquisitorial Catholicism, imperial brutality, economic backwardness), and Sefarad (an ambiguous place of home and exile for Iberian Jews). Within the framework of the ‘Traveling Concepts’ strand of Language Acts & Worldmaking, this conference will focus on the many ways in which Al Andalus becomes a figure of thought, a means by which societies, minority groups, and individuals past and present represent and critically engage with questions of religious pluralism, intercultural contact and national identity.
Proposals for papers are invited from across the disciplines with a focus on the cross-cultural circulation of Andalusian and Sephardic ideas and concepts across geographies and histories. Submissions are welcome on any topic related to Al-Andalus and its afterlives including, but not limited to:
• The Languages, cultures, literatures and musics of al-Andalus and its diasporas
• Memory and Identity in the Andalusi and Sephardic diasporas and its diverse contexts of settlement;
• The trajectory of an ideological fascination with Muslim Spain/Al Andalus as a hybrid space, a porous frontier between East and West, Islam and Christendom
• Sephardic and Andalusi heritage industry and cultural tourism;
• Alhambrismo & the Moorish style in Architecture and the decorative arts; material culture, Orientalism and Neo-Orientalism;
• Language encounters between Al-Andalus, Iberia and Sefarad: oralities, scripts, texts, translations;
• The circulation of ideas and representations of Al Andalus from early modern days to the present, in Europe, Latin America, Turkey, and the broader Islamicate world, and their cultural, ideological and political uses;
• Al-Andalus in fantasy and worldbuilding games and virtual reality;
• The cultural and political traction of the chronotopes of al-Andalus in the Christian, Muslim and Sephardic worlds;
• Travel and travellers in al-Andalus/Sefarad/Iberia across time and space;
• Moros y Cristianos festivals, al-Andalus fairs, public history and historical re-enactment;
• Al-Andalus as a combat concept in War on Terror times;

Abstracts (250-400 words) on these or similar topics should be submitted using the online application form at ilem.org.tr/lawm-alandalus. All submissions will be blind reviewed by the Conference Committee. Accommodation expenses of selected participants will be covered by the organization. Unfortunately, there are no travel grants available. Book publication of selected conference proceedings is envisaged following editorial selection by the organising committee.
Important Dates
Abstract Submission August 31, 2018
Confirmation of acceptance September 10, 2018
Final program September 30, 2018
Conference Dates November 15-16, 2018

İlmi Etudler Derneği
Aziz Mahmut Hüdayi Mh. Türbe Kapısı Sk. No: 13
Üsküdar İstanbul Turkey

Language Acts and Worldmaking (https://www.languageacts.org/) is a flagship project funded by the AHRC Open World Research Initiative, which aims to regenerate and transform modern language learning by foregrounding language's power to shape how we live and make our worlds. Travelling Concepts takes the Iberian Peninsula as both the originator and product of a polycentric process of global colonization, and its history as a workshop for questioning how language constructs the world. In a journey that takes us from Brazil to China, and through multiple languages, we investigate the ideological work performed by the vocabularies that historically cluster around Iberia, whether embedded in individual words, phrases or extended literary forms (narrative, lyric, history). Concepts such as ‘global’, ‘culture’, ‘civilisation’, ‘tolerance’, ‘Europe’ and the binary East/West are central to the way Iberian history has been imagined both inside and outside the Peninsula, from the Middle Ages to the present day
ILEM-Scientific Studies Association (ilem.org.tr) was founded in 2002 with a view to training and supporting scientists and intellectuals engaging with the challenges of the contemporary world. Through the organisation of academic, cultural, and public engagement events and publications, ILEM aims to contribute to the generation and dissemination of knowledge across the social sciences, arts, literature and theology in dialogue and critical engagement with the wealth of ideas and scholarship of the Islamicate traditions.
Source: http://lawmalandalus.org/call-for-papers

Interview: Houssem Eddine Chachia

In 2017-18, Houssem Eddine Chachia was the inaugural recipient of the CMES Tunisia Postdoctoral Fellowship, part of the CMES Tunisia Office and related programming made possible by the support of Harvard College alumnus Hazem Ben-Gacem '92. The fellowship brings Tunisian scholars, especially those whose research includes Tunisia and North Africa, to Harvard for an academic year, to pursue their research and teach a course in their area of specialization.
Houssem ChachiaWhat was your doctoral dissertation about?
My research spans work on identity, cultural, historical, and minority studies. Chronologically, I focus on the sixteenth to eighteenth century. The title of my dissertation was "Sephardim and Moriscos: The Journey of the Expulsion and Installation in the Maghreb (1492-1756): Different Stories and Itineraries." In 2015, it was named by the Arab Center for Travel Literature: London-Abu Dhabi as the best research in the field of historical geography and travel narrative. The dissertation is in two parts: First, it examines the politics of expulsion and settlement in the Maghrib of displaced Moriscos and Sephardim from 1492 from 1756. Second, it attempts to understand the dynamics of expulsion and the settlement to problematize the situation of the two groups. I do so by analyzing the dynamics of expulsion, or how the thought of exclusion in the Iberian Peninsula in general, and in Spain in particular, evolved between the second half of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century. Moreover, to understand the process of resettlement and the reintegration of the two minorities in Maghreb societies during this same period, I consider the religious conversion of coming and going members of the two minorities between the three religions of the Mediterranean: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In my research, I problematize the limitations of this settlement and the possibility of talking about a solidarity between the Sephardic and Moriscos minorities during the period of expulsion and resettlement on the basis that they have the same Iberian origin, and on expulsion as a milestone in their journey.
What are your current research interests? What project have you been working on this year?
My research interests have recently evolved a little to include the East-West encounter. Lately, I have become interested in understanding the relationship between the West and the Arabo-Muslim world (especially the Maghreb) in the modern era. Currently, I am working on a monograph entitled "The 'Images' of the West through Tunisian Eyes from the 17th to Early 20th Century." This project was inspired by the resurrection of the Tunisian identity that became prominent after the Tunisian revolution (2011), both within the Tunisian elites and in the social media. To be more specific, I investigate the politics and the religious, linguistic, geographical, and cultural discourse of redefining Tunisia after Bin Ali. In understanding today's tense relationship between the Islamic and Western worlds, one must revisit the East-West encounter discourse and the historical roots of such discourse to answer a fundamental question: Is the Tunisian image of the West negative or is it a combination of both hostility and admiration?
What course are you teaching this term? What does it cover?
This semester, I am teaching a class called "The West in Tunisian Eyes: Through the Travel Literature." This course is for students at an advanced level of Arabic and it is conducted entirely in Arabic. The goal of the course is to examine the evolution of Tunisian travel literature and the relationship between Tunisia and the West. Thus, we are focusing on the image of the West in Tunisian eyes and the extent to which Tunisian reformers were influenced by the image of the West. We are reading a selected texts of Tunisian travel writers such as Ibn Abi Diyaf, Ithāf ʼahl az-zamān [The History of the Rulers of Tunis and the Fundamental Pact], Ali Ben Salem Al-Wardeni, al-Riḥlah al-Andalūsīyah [The Andalusian Journey], Muḥammad al-Miqdād Wartānī, al-Burnus fī Bārīs: riḥlaẗ ilá Faransā wa-Suwīsrā [The Journey to France and Switzerland], Ali Douagi, Jawlah bayna ḥānāt al-Baḥr al-Mutawassiṭ [A Tour through the Mediterranean Taverns], and Abdelwahed Braham, Isbāniyā ḥāḍinat al-Andalus. In discussing these points and reading the texts, students examine different vocabularies, in various historical, geographical, cultural, political, and sociological events from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century.
How do you like working with Harvard students?
In general, I really enjoy teaching and students to me are the fruits of academia. Harvard students, however, are special in their curiosity and inquisitiveness. Although we are studying a topic that is relatively new for most of them, I feel that they go out of their way to understand everything. I am very intrigued by the ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural, and academic backgrounds of students and how enriching they are for the class discussion.
What do you like best about being at Harvard?
As a research-oriented person by nature, from my first week at Harvard I fell in love with Widener Library. It is my favorite place at Harvard. And not only for me but for many researchers, it is paradise. I can always find all the books and articles I need. The system to request books is simple and fast, and you have access to many online resources. I also appreciate the wide range of lectures, conferences, symposiums, and workshops that the Harvard campus offers. I like the open educational atmosphere, and the discussions between researchers from all over the world, who form a very rich community. One, of course, cannot forget the faculty, administration, and staff members at CMES, who are always very friendly, ready to help, and willing to accommodate. I want to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to them all. Thank you for making this cold city a very warm place and less overwhelming.
How have you enjoyed living in Cambridge?
I am from a small city in Tunisia called Beni Khalled, which is famous for its orange orchards. I grew up in my family’s orange orchard, so you can imagine how much I like nature. Due to this, I found Cambridge a very beautiful place. I like how quiet and green the city is. I like its public parks. I also like how organized the public transportation is. One thing that stands out about Cambridge, the city, is how it lends itself to a multicultural diversity. This diversity is reflected in its food, music, cultures, and events. As such, the city offers a home not only for its residents but also for those passing through. And, of course, one cannot skip the various types of American hamburgers served in Cambridge.
Had you visited the United States before, and would you like to visit again in the future?
This is my first visit to the United States. And I hope it will not be the last. The United States is not just a country; it spans a continent, and one needs many visits to say that he/she has visited the United States.
What do you miss most about Tunisia?
I miss my wife, my daughter, and my friends. And I also miss the sun, the blue sky, and the Tunisian food and air.
What advice would you offer future CMES Tunisia Postdoctoral Fellows?
I recommend that they organize their time at Harvard very well, because I can assure them that the 10 months will pass by very fast. Therefore, they should take advantage of the library’s resources and the rich scholarly environment that Harvard offers them. Above all, I would like to say, be ready for the weather, and stay warm.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
In the past, the United States and Harvard were very far off places and equally impossible dreams for someone like me. I never thought that it would be possible to even visit Harvard as a tourist, let alone work at Harvard, so I feel very lucky to be here. I am grateful for this opportunity, which gave me a chance to discover how a University ranked so highly in the world works. Again, I would like to thank my friends and colleagues at CMES, especially Professor William Granara, the Director of CMES, and offer my sincere gratitude to Mr. Hazem Ben-Gacem, whose generous gift made it possible for me to be here. Also, I would like to express my eternal gratitude to my university, University of Sfax, for being accommodating and for allowing me to take leave this year.

30 abr. 2018

Book: The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain

This book explores the Spanish elite's fixation on social and racial 'passing' and 'passers', as represented in a wide range of texts. It examines literary and non-literary works produced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that express the dominant Spaniards' anxiety that socially mobile lowborns, Conversos (converted Jews), and Moriscos (converted Muslims) could impersonate and pass for 'pure' Christians like themselves. Ultimately, this book argues that while conspicuous sociocultural and ethnic difference was certainly perturbing and unsettling, in some ways it was not as threatening to the dominant Spanish identity as the potential discovery of the arbitrariness that separated them from the undesirables of society - and therefore the recognition of fundamental sameness.

Series: Studies in Early Modern European History
Copyright Date: 2016
Published by: Manchester University Press
Pages: 288

25 abr. 2018

New book: The Religious Polemics of the Muslims of Late Medieval Christian Iberia: Identity and Religious Authority in Mudejar Islam

Author: Mònica Colominas Aparicio
The Religious Polemics of the Muslims of Late Medieval Christian Iberia examines the corpus of polemical literature against the Christians and the Jews of the protected Muslims (Mudejars). Commonly portrayed as communities in cultural and religious decay, Mònica Colominas convincingly proves that the discourses against the Christians and the Jews in Mudejar treatises provided authoritative frameworks of Islamic normativity which helped to legitimize the residence of their communities in the Christian territories. Colominas argues that, while the primary aim of the polemics was to refute the views of their religious opponents, Mudejar treatises were also a tool used to advance Islamic knowledge and to strengthen the government and social cohesion of their communities.

Source: brill.com

23 abr. 2018

20 abr. 2018

La huella morisca en Túnez en National Geographic

La edición española de National Geographic, en su número del pasado mes de octubre [especial 20 aniversario], ha incluido mi reportaje La huella morisca en Túnez. A principios del siglo XVII más de 300.000 moriscos españoles fueron obligados por la fuerza a abandonar su patria; unos 75.000 recalaron en Túnez...

Fuente: jmnavia.blogspot.com




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