Summer School : Understanding the Middle East “De-constructing Narratives, Imaginaries and Representations”

Summer School

Understanding the Middle East

“De-constructing Narratives, Imaginaries and Representations”

3rd – 7th July 2017

Within the context of the TOMidEast initiatives, the Department of Cultures, Politics and Society of the University of Turin, is pleased to announce the fourth edition of the Summer School “Understanding the Middle East” dedicated this year to the issue of De-constructing narratives, imaginaries and representations.

Narratives, imaginaries and mythical representations affect the study and the comprehension of the Middle East. Those narratives are, nowadays as in the past, at the heart of a stereotyped and often racialised, essentialist and culturalist reading of such a crucial area of the world.

This fourth edition of the summer school “Understanding the Middle East” critically reflects on those narratives that, over the years, have fuelled a simplistic and inaccurate reading of the Middle East in academia, policy circles and media. Starting with the most difficult narrative to challenge – Orientalism – the summer school deconstructs some of the representations that have shaped the Middle East, contributing to foster its presumed exceptionalism: democratization, sectarianism, political Islam, clash of civilizations, and permanent conflict. To do this, alternative stories, processes, and debates are employed to interpret the transformations of the region. In particular the focus will be, among others, on the role of social classes, the discourse of Arab intellectuals, trade unionism, and contentious politics.

A specific focus will be on the role of old and new media with the participation of communication’s experts coming from the MENA region.

The final objective is to offer useful theoretical tools and empirical evidence to understand the complexity of the current transformations and, at the same time, to re-open a discussion free from constraints and simplifications.

Scientific Committee

Rosita Di Peri, University of Turin (Summer School coordinator); Gilbert Achcar, SOAS, London; Francesco Cavatorta, Laval University, Quebec City; Raymond Hinnebusch, St. Andrews University, St. Andrews; Fadia Kiwan, St. Joseph University, Beirut; Ilter Turan, Bilgi University, Istanbul.

TOMidEast project manager, Mrs Violetta Ubertalli, can be reached via email at, or by writing at the following address:

c/o Department of Cultures, Politics and Societies
Lungo Dora Siena 100
10153 Torino – ITALY