Category Archives: Calls for papers

Innovative Training Network : MIDA “Mediating Islam in the Digital Age” 15 Early Stage Researcher (ESR) positions in the Marie Skłodowska Curie Action // Deadline 1st of June 2019


The Innovative Training Network programs (ITN) are designed to combine scientific research with an intensive training trajectory for young scholars in order to equip them with the necessary comprehensive knowledge and skills. These researchers work in an inter-sectoral, interdisciplinary and international environment to deepen their knowledge and to find answers to pressing contemporary societal issues. An international consortium of research institutes, universities and non-academic partners has been awarded with a research grant from the Department for Research and Innovation of the European Commission in June 2018. MIDA is coordinated by the ‘Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique’ (CNRS) in Paris.

The MIDA project rests on the premise that digitisation and technological innovations have a tremendous impact on Islam, the effects of which are diverse and ubiquitous. They include first and foremost modes of expression and communication of religious messages and traditions and modes of engagement with society. Digitisation and concurrent innovations as they emerged in the past decades belong to the list of comparable fundamental technological transformations in human history such as the invention of paper, printing technology, steam power, electricity and telecommunication, which constituted major upheavals, even if these were not experienced in all societies and by everyone at the same time, in the same way.

It is commonly recognised that the digital revolution will indeed deeply transform human societies, much as the industrial revolution did in the nineteenth century. However, the rapid changes that are currently taking place generate a sense of loss of control and instability among the general public, politicians, journalists, academics, and, not least, among Muslims themselves. The spread of modern digital media and new technologies of communication, production and dissemination, prompts researchers and social actors, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to make sense of, and understand these developments. Consequently, they have shaken up Islam as a field of academic study and have impacted on the ways Islam is to be studied in the future. The specificity of the current digital revolution calls for a re-evaluation of past situations and reflection on future prospects.

MIDA assesses these developments in all their dimensions by formulating three major questions: How does digitisation (1) shape Islam (i.e. beliefs, practices, societies, activism, political organisations, social institutions, and outlooks); (2) modify the relation Muslims have with their past; (3) modify and reorganise scholarship and research on Islam.

The MIDA project is to train 15 creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative researchers in social and human sciences through an interdisciplinary research programme, whose main objectives are to understand the tremendous influence that digitisation and technological innovations have on Islam.

The location is depending on which project the candidate applies for.

A summary of the available positions includes :

  • ESR 1 – From oral command to written memories. A case-study: the first Arab Muslim autobiography, ‘Abd Allâh b. Buluggîn’s Memoirs, 11th century.
  • ESR 2 – ‘In/out of the closet’ testimonials: online performance of secret lives in the Middle East and among Muslims in the West.
  • ESR 3 – Art activist (artivist) and non-celebrity clips as expressions of self in North Africa and the Middle East.
  • ESR 4 – Islamist movements in Morocco in their ‘other languages’: uses of the Arabic and Berber vernacular varieties in the digital spheres.
  • ESR 5 – Arab-Muslim encounters with Orientalism in the colonial age.
  • ESR 6 – Dubbing or subtitling? The socio-cultural context of exported Turkish television series.
  • ESR 7 – Mosque architecture and scripture in the contemporary Muslim world.
  • ESR 8 – The commodification and displacement of waqf portable assets from the 18th c. onwards.
  • ESR 9 – Wartime photography and portraiture in Khomeini’s and post-Khomeini Iran.
  • ESR 10 – Constructing and deconstructing Islamic authority and knowledge online and offline: competing Muslim discourses in the Moroccan diaspora in Europe, in particular the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
  • ESR 11 – From pulpit to Facebook: the digitisation of religious communication, authority and knowledge production.
  • ESR 12 – Networks of transmission of Islamic knowledge and mobility patterns of scholars in the pre-modern world.
  • ESR 13 – Mecca between photography, phonography and motion picture in the colonial period.
  • ESR 14 – Reactions of the European public after the rise of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Islamists since 2015: assessing the role of the digital media.
  • ESR 15 – Loss, memory and mobilisation: al-Andalus on the Internet.

Successful applicants cannot have resided in the country of PhD matriculation or of recruitment institution for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately preceding the engagement date.

The positions may be equivalent to a PhD position and are not restricted to EU citizens. Refugee status under the Geneva Convention are NOT counted ‘as period of residence / activity in the country of the enrolment University or Employer.

The gross monthly salary will be more than € 2,000 gross per month (depending on the University or Employer and on local tax regulation).

For any information, please contact

Each applicant may apply for up to 3 individual projects.

Download the file of the position(s) you are interested in :

Application forms are available on:

The successful PhD candidates will participate in the network’s advanced training activities and work in academic and non-academic partner organisations’ premises. Regular meetings and workshops within the EU-funded MIDA Innovative Training Network will supplement the training and support provided at the host organizations.

Practical training (secondments) will be complemented by a personal career development programme that will prepare the ESRs for their future careers.

The closing date for this position will be 1st of June 2019.

Interviews will take place in the University of enrolment or at employer premises (or via Skype/Zoom) in June 2019. The final decision for each project will be made by the MIDA consortium and communicated to the remaining candidates on 8th July 2019.

The starting date of the ESR will be 1st September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Call for application Summer School Beirut August 2017

Summer School

Reading and analysing Ottoman manuscript sources

27th to 30th of August 2017

Beirut, Lebanon

The French Institute of the Near East (Ifpo), the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB), the University of Balamand, the Lebanese University (Doctoral School of Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences), the Center for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan and Centralasian Studies (CETOBaC), the Ankara Sosyal Bilimler Üniversitesi, the İbn Haldun Üniversitesi, and the Japan Center for Middle Eastern Studies (JaCMES) with the support of the Open Jerusalem project are organising a summer school devoted to reading and analysing Ottoman manuscript sources. This is the second edition, following the summer school of 2016 in Amman, Jordan.

During the four-day programme we will introduce young researchers (mostly MA and PhD candidates, but postdocs may also apply) to reading, combining and analysing manuscript sources from various archives of the Ottoman era, produced at local, provincial and imperial levels. We concentrate mainly on materials from the 16th and 20th centuries, but welcome also explorations into earlier archives. Our summer school offers future researchers introductory presentations of the archival situation, various types of sources and basic research tools and workshops with a focus on the actual work with texts. The aim is to overcome the initial difficulties researchers often face when working with archival material from the Ottoman period, one of which is an administrative terminology no longer in use today.

Our programme emerged from several observations. First, young historians often feel helpless when faced with difficult Ottoman archival material in Ottoman Turkish or other languages used in the Empire if they have not had proper training in palaeography and philology. Moreover, there is not enough dialogue and exchange between the different schools of Ottoman history, particularly between those focusing on the analysis of imperial dynamics (who are generally specialists in the Ottoman language) and those who concentrate on the provinces of the Empire and who therefore work on sources produced in local languages. Our summer school will focus on the study of archives in Ottoman Turkish and Arabic, in case also in Armenian and other languages, so as to provide future historians with the skills necessary to use such sources within the framework of their research projects.

The objective of including these three languages of the empire in one summer school is two-fold: firstly, to foster an exchange around theory and methodology among specialists of different regions of the empire. Secondly, the three languages are important for a comprehensive analysis of local dynamics in various provinces, either for administrative, economic and social dynamics or more specifically in religious studies and belles-lettres. An additional aim is to encourage the use of source materials in different languages by facilitating the identification and understanding of diverse archival holdings. Bringing together specialists of different regions and subjects will encourage the exchange of information on archival holdings, their history, catalogues and finding aids.


This summer school is an initiative of the Ifpo, the OIB, the University of Balamand, the Lebanese University (Doctoral School of Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences), Ankara Sosyal Bilimler Üniversitesi, İbn Haldun Üniversitesi, the CETOBaC, the JaCMES and other Lebanese partners to be defined.

The focus of the summer school are practical workshops in small groups allowing trainees to read and discuss archival documents with specialists familiar with different types of documents. These workshops will make up more than half of the training, the other part including visits of archives in and around Beirut, presentations of Ottoman archives and research aids in palaeography, and discussions about methodology.

In a workshop, the students will be asked to read and analyse a document of their choice.

The summer school will accept up to 20 students. About ten researchers and professors from Arab, Turkish, German and French universities will attend the summer school as instructors.

The main working language of the summer school is English.


Students enrolled in a Master or Ph.D. programme as well as researchers in an early post-doctoral stage, regardless of nationality, can apply for this summer school, provided that his or her research project necessitates the use of Ottoman source materials in Ottoman Turkish, Arabic or Armenian (or other relevant languages).

The students selected for the summer school will be offered the following free of charge:

  • summer school fees
  • lunch and dormitory accommodation during the summer school
  • round-trip air transportation from their country of residence
  • excursions and visits.

In order to be considered, the applications must include:

  • a proposal outlining the candidate’s research project and archival sources (two pages maximum)
  • a curriculum vitae, mentioning language skills (two pages maximum)
  • name and contact of 2 referees that may be contacted for a recommendation

Around fifteen students will be selected for participation in this summer school. The applications must be submitted in English and sent to this address:


The applications must be submitted before 15 June 2017 (midnight Beirut time).

You will receive a reply by 25 June 2017.

The summer school will take place from 27 to 30 August 2017. Arrival day in Beirut is 26 August, departure is foreseen for 31 August at the earliest.


The summer school will take place in Beirut and Balamand, Lebanon.

List of potential instructors:

Simon Abdel Massih (Lebanese University), Metin Atmaca (Ankara Sosyal Bilimler Üniversitesi), Marc Aymes (CETOBaC), Fatih Çalısır (Ibn Haldun University), Antranig Dakessian (Haigazian University Beirut), Aylin De Tapia (IFEA), Vanessa Guéno (Ifpo), Mahmoud Haddad (University Balamand), Astrid Meier (OIB), Serife Memis Eroglu (Hacettepe University), Falestin Naili (Ifpo), Norig Neveu (Ifpo), Abdallah Said (Lebanese University), Souad Slim (University of Balamand), Faruk Yaslıçimen (Ibn Haldun University) and others.

Call for application

Call for paper : “In partibus fidelium. Missions in the Levant and understanding the Christian East (XIX-XXIth centuries)”

International Conference, École française de Rome
27-29 november 2017

This international conference will look at the assimilation in Europe of knowledge concerning Eastern Christian cultures, especially from the last third of the XIXth century, and the role the missions played in this process. This new understanding is largely founded on research conducted in the field in the Middle East, particularly on manuscripts kept in the monasteries and patriarchates, and more generally on the literary, linguistic, archaeological, cartographic and musicological heritage of the Christian communities in place there. Knowledge circulates and is transformed on both sides of the Mediterranean: collected and developed in the great libraries and universities of Europe, it is also absorbed by the governing structures of the Churches, notably in Rome, but it also often returns to its place of origin, where it is re-appropriated and nourishes a new awareness of heritage. The Christian missions, naturally situated between the Eastern and Western worlds, are at the heart of this dynamic. In the context of a second part of the XXth century marked in the Middle East by decolonisation and by wars, as well as by Arab nationalism and political Islam, different processes – identity affirmation by the Christian communities, increased local recruitment by the missions, a revision of denominational barriers – renew the challenges and mechanisms of this circulation of knowledge of Oriental Christians.

1 : The Christian missions in the Levant as places where knowledge of the East is generated

We will look at the principal missionary centres and their practice of teaching through texts and the transmission of knowledge. For example: the Jesuits of the Saint-Joseph University, the Dominicans of Mosul, of Cairo and Jerusalem; the Maronites of Aleppo, or even the many establishments of the Church Missionary Society in Jerusalem and in Palestine (not forgetting the particular case of the Armenian monastery in Venice).

The conference is focussed on cultural and religious knowledge: biblical and liturgical texts, musical productions, archaeological discoveries, ethnographic literature, photography, cartography etc. A study of the printing houses will be a point of entry. Indeed, they enable a broad circulation of learned texts; they considerably help the spread of the Press in the Middle East, and they favour a whole philological and scientific study of the ancient manuscripts, that are transcribed, translated and recopied, with a considerable apparatus of notes and commentaries. The Christian missions also played a specific role in the preservation and spread of local languages (Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, for example) as in the development and transmission of Arabic. We will also examine the way the missionaries gave information concerning the situation of local communities (moving, persecutions, social practices, etc.

Finally, we shall look into the role of local agents. Who are they, and which geographical, scientific and religious fields do they occupy? What was their influence? We shall study the career and writings of local scholars, who, around the first part of the XXth century, played a fundamental role in shedding light on, and spreading new knowledge about, oriental Christianity; people such as Addai Scher, Louis Cheikho, Ephrem Rahmani or Alphonse Mingana for example, who have remained famous for their libraries, their voluminous works, the reviews and sometimes the study centres that they helped to found. We shall include the question of their involvement in the learned and the religious communities, and their relations with the local political and ecclesiastical authorities.

2 : Transitions, receptions and reformulation

We need to understand how this new knowledge of oriental Christian culture spreads. Without ignoring the role and motivations of the State, we shall interest ourselves first and foremost in the religious and cultural channels : learned oriental reviews founded on either side of the Mediterranean (al-Machriq, Patrologia Syriaca, Patrologia Orientalis, Oriens Christianus), and specific areas in international conferences, in universities or in the great university libraries of Europe and North America, not forgetting the research and training organizations within the Churches, one of which is the Pontifical Oriental Institute. Thus, in Europe, as in Russia and the United States, scholars, scientists, academics, influenced by the prevailing orientalism, acquire and appropriate these new works, and study them in their turn; people such as the Assyrian specialist from Louvain, Chabot, the Germans Sachau and Baumstark, the Church historian, Duchesne and his Byzantinist colleague, Janin, as well as the future Cardinal Tisserant, whose careers we will examine. We shall look carefully at the interactions with academic circles but also with the schools of thought that have left their mark on them.

How exactly is this knowledge received, reinterpreted, reformulated? We shall examine a certain number of interactions, both strategic and politico-cultural. For example, the Western Christian vision was, even among the missionaries, permeated for a long time with suspicion and contempt when confronted with an oriental Christianity considered as decadent and which the missions felt they had a vocation to strengthen. But how does this perception assimilate racial and Darwinist theories when faced with a Christianity which language and culture were Semitic, especially between the two wars, a time of fast-growing oriental scholarship? Conversely, we shall consider how the development of this new knowledge modified the sense of otherness within the Christian world, going as far sometimes as to recognise the oriental Christians as a force for change at the time of Vatican II. In the analysis of the reception and institutional use of this knowledge, the Roman case stands out by the nearness of the sources, whether it is with regard to the constitution of specific organizations or the development of expertise within the congregations and the religious orders.

3 : Local re-appropriations and transformations

Among the processes of assimilation of knowledge in the Middle East, we shall tackle the question of the development of cultural and religious traditions, in relation to the process of identity affirmation within the local Christian communities. Liturgical music, for example, was maybe a favoured field for the heritage-making of a local culture in the Coptic Church. On the other hand, how did this knowledge interfere with the perception of a progressive sanctfying of the Middle Eastern territories? We shall consider the phenomena of omission, or reinvention and also of heritage creation, which lead to the development of sacred localities. From this point of view, the case of the Holy Land is particularly revealing.

And finally, what changes over the course of time? We shall look especially at the evolution caused by the increase in local vocations within the missions and by the renewal of inter-denominational relations. We shall examine the changes that concern the very definition of Near and Middle East, of Holy Land, of Churches and of the Christian East. In the context of the second part of the twentieth century, it is the Christian mission in the world of Islam that is itself rethought.

Practical information

Submission of proposals

Proposals (500 words max.) are to be sent before 11 March 2017, in French, Italian or English, to the following address:

Please include a brief bio-bibliographical presentation, mentioning your title and institutional affiliation.


11 March 2017: deadline for proposals

End of March: notification of the results

30 October: conference paper submission deadline (they will be given to participants to facilitate discussion and prepare the final publication)

27-29 November 2017: conference

Financial contribution: transport and accommodation will be provided

Languages: French, Italian, English

Publication: the acts of the conference will be published following a peer-reviewed process.


This international conference is the first of a series of scientific events in the framework of the five-year research programme Missions chrétiennes et sociétés du Moyen-Orient: organisations, identités, patrimonialisation [MisSMO, 2017-2021]. Its aim is to study the role and place of missionaries in the cultural and social evolution of the contemporary Middle-East, from the XIXth century to today. It includes the École française de Rome (EfR), the Fondazione per le scienze religiose Giovanni XXIII (Fscire), the Institut français d’archéologie orientale (Ifao), the Institut français d’études anatoliennes (Iféa), th Institut français du Proche-Orient (Ifpo), and Leiden University.

Conference coordinated by: Vittorio Berti ( Marie Levant (

Organizing Commitee: Vittorio Berti (Università di Padova), Philippe Bourmaud (Iféa, Université Lyon 3), Séverine Gabry-Thienpont (Ifao), Fabrice Jesné (EfR), Marie Levant (Fscire), Norig Neveu (Ifpo), Karène Sanchez (Leiden University).

Scientific Board : Dominique Avon (Université du Maine), Adam Becker (New York University), Vittorio Berti (Università di Padova), Philippe Bourmaud (Iféa, Université Lyon 3), Séverine Gabry-Thienpont (Ifao), Aurélien Girard (Université de Reims), Bernard Heyberger (EHESS/EPHE), Marie Levant (Fscire), Alberto Melloni (Fscire), Alessandro Mengozzi (Università di Torino), Heleen Murre-Van der Berg (Radboud University), Norig Neveu (Ifpo), Inger Marie Okkenhaug (Volda University College), Anthony O’Mahony (Heytrop College), Heather Sharkey (University of Pennslyvania), Karène Sanchez (Leiden University), Chantal Verdeil (Inalco).

Call for Papers : Conference for early career researchers: “Evolutions or revolutions? Contemporary Middle Eastern and North African Music – traditions and new tendencies”

June 13-14, 2017, National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations, INALCO, Paris

There is both an interest and a need to bring together musicologists, ethnomusicologists, historians and sociologists to the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations which focuses mainly on research on languages, literatures, civilisations and cultures. We propose an international gathering of PhD candidates and early-career researchers from multi-disciplinary backgrounds who are researching Middle Eastern and Southern Mediterranean music. INALCO and more specifically, the Research Centre for the Middle East and the Mediterranean (CERMOM), are interested in the organisation of this conference which completes its research fields.
The Middle East and the Mediterranean region, as the cradle of ancient civilisations and of the three major monotheistic religions, is a rich field for the study of music. The conglomeration of ethnicities from African and Asian cultures combined with European and American influences extends from the Mashreq to the Maghreb.
The continuous contacts with Europe facilitated the development of cultural spaces such as operas and musical theatre, both a direct legacy of western colonialism during the last two centuries. The largest cultural and academic centres of North Africa and the Levant, such as Beirut, Cairo, Casablanca, Jerusalem, Tunis or Dubai, among others boast modern conservatories, operas and symphony orchestras. Recording studios, used also for radio, television and the film industry developed in Cairo and in most of the large metropolises of the Maghreb and the Mashreq. Middle Eastern and North African diversity includes elements from their indigenous folklore, with various external influences coming from: Europe, Turkey, South America and more. Borrowing from these traditions, musicians create contemporary music.
Arabic music covering the whole region from North Africa to the Levant and the Arabic Peninsula can be treated on several levels, despite its apparent unification due to the domination of the Arabic language and the Islam, and common historical, political or cultural aspects to variety of communities comprising Arabic and non-Arabic speakers, Muslims, Christians and Jews.
Traditional music is cultivated in cultural centres by professionals that continue to study it in order to preserve it roots. Historic centres of music, like Aleppo, Baghdad or Fez continue to attract musicologists that want to save disappearing musical heritages.
It is obvious that the changes occurring in these various countries are accelerating and inevitable. Digital media’s permanent presence brings with it a constant contact with other cultures creating a permanent assimilation of diverse musical influences and a weakening of the knowledge of traditional and classical music. Artistic performances are no longer the space of the connection between performers and their audience, in neither singing, recitation nor dance. Now with CDs and digital media production the audience is reduced further and further to a simple customer, who consumes a product. At the same time, global cultural integration has brought musical styles that fuse with rock, rap, jazz etc.
Israel is a particular case because of the immensity of musical styles that exist, revealing the complexity of its own culture. This country benefitted from the arrival of musicians from all over the world coming from extremely different musical cultures and bringing musical instruments, ideas and varied heritage. They contributed to the formation of a particular Israeli musical culture which combines many different Jewish music traditions, while keeping the musical specificity from their origins (Arabic, Maghrebi, Europe, North and South America) and inscribing them into a multi-cultural world model.
Finally, it is important to stress that all countries in this region have a very strong tradition of sacred and spiritual music. Either in the chanting of religious texts, liturgical songs, ritual music or spiritual dances, this music form an integral part of the general musical context of their cultures.
We invite researchers specialising in music of the Middle Eastern and Southern Mediterranean region (musicologists, ethnomusicologists, sociologists, anthropologists, historians and political scientists) to present their work around the following topics:
– vocal, instrumental or mixed music
– musical theory and practice
– art music
– traditional and popular music
– religious, sacred and spiritual music
– entertainment, variety and media music
– occasional music
– sung poetry
– organology
– modes of production and consumption of music
– music of religious and ethnic minorities
– diasporic music
– music and society
– dance
– sound archives.

We welcome proposals of presentations (not longer than 20 minutes) in French or in English as a Word attachment to the email addresses of both organisers. They must not exceed 300 words, including bibliography and must, in addition, have a short biographic note about the author. The final date for submission is February 20, 2017 at midnight. The scientific committee will send the notification of acceptance by the beginning of March 2017.

Hosting research institution: CERMOM/INALCO
Scientific and Organising Committee:
Dominika Czerska-Saumande – CERMOM / INALCO;
Vanessa Paloma Elbaz – CERMOM / INALCO;

Call for proposals for a special issue of Arabian Humanities

Bringing the nation back in. Plural national identifications in the contemporary Arabian Peninsula
Guest Editors: Anahi Alviso-Marino (CESSP/CRAPUL) and Marine Poirier (IREMAM/Sciences Po Aix)

Article proposals, in English or French, should be sent before September 15, 2016 to the guest editors of this issue Anahi Alviso-Marino ( and Marine Poirier ( as well as to Sylvaine Giraud (
Proposals should be one to two pages in length and should include:
– the title of the article,
– a short presentation of the empirical material and the methods used,
– all the necessary information identifying the author: name, institutional affiliation, institutional address, telephone and e-mail.
Following the acceptance of the proposal, authors will be notified during the month of September, the deadline for submission of papers (max 9,000 words) is January 15, 2017.
Authors are kindly asked to conform to the official guidelines of Arabian Humanities, available here or from the Editorial Secretary, Sylvaine Giraud (

This thematic issue deals with the transformation of national identifications in a region characterized by many transnational mobilities and circulations, and at a time -from the Gulf
war till today- when these dynamics have intensified and are now blurring or exacerbating feelings of belonging.
Rather than question the notion of identity, this issue aims to problematize and conceptualize the “elusive” notion of identification (Martin, 1994). In line with the work of Rogers Brubaker and Frederick Cooper, our purpose is to consider the cultural artifact that is nationalism (Anderson, 1983) by examining the social ties, affinities and senses of belonging that underlie inclusion in a group or a community (Brubaker, Cooper, 2000: 19-21). As such, particular attention will be paid to intersections between categorical commonality (shared attributes) and relational connectedness (ties to other people) by observing how social ties affect what it means and how one identifies with a group (Tilly, 1978).
Through a close observation of how official and non-official nationalisms are constructed, social actors will also be examined, namely those who find themselves between developing –
more or less consciously- the “cultural products of nationalism” inspired by patriotic ideas, and those who participate in the production of “official artifacts” or official nationalist products directly commissioned by the state (Anderson, 1983). As these forms of politicization are not always voluntary or conscious, proposals will strive, drawing from Lisa Wedeen’s work, to question the dynamics at play in the production of “national subjects”. To
what extent do these nationalistic discourses contribute to shaping individuals who “enact (self-consciously or unconsciously, fervently or mildly) their roles as citizens, patriots, or simply members of a nation-state” (Wedeen, 2008: 64)? Such discourses, together with the social agents who produce them and the different media through which they are communicated and shared, are especially relevant as they express “idioms of national, affective connection” (Wedeen, 2008: 23). To this end, selected proposals should address the issue of nationalism through the study of objects, actors, practices and discourses that produce a diversity of means of identifying with the nation (either orthodox or heterodox,
mainstream or marginal).
Although nationalism was not the principal object of study, a number of works dealing with the Arabian Peninsula have already touched on these questions while studying politics “elsewhere” or “otherwise”. Such works deal with theatre actors (Hennessey, 2014),
musicians (Sebiane, 2007), visual artists (Alviso-Marino, 2015), joyriders (Menoret, 2014) or “everyday” citizens (Wedeen, 2008), and question -more or less consciously- the ambivalence of their relation to politics. This perspective provides an opportunity to explore for example the variety of senses of belonging to a group or to a national imaginary by focusing on the process of state building (Valéri, 2013) or, more largely, on the formation of political communities (Beaugrand, 2007; Louer, 2014) and how they manifest in the urban space (Beaugrand, Le Renard, Stadnicki, 2013; Al-Nakib, 2016; Fuccaro, 2009; Kanna, 2011), in sociabilities and in modes of consumption (Assaf, 2013; Le Renard, 2014), even in
labor relations (Planel, 2008). Thus, a particular emphasis will also be placed on questioning transnational circulations and hybrid identities as well as the constraints and borders that
restrict human, economic and social mobilities in the Arabian Peninsula (Bonnefoy, 2011; Gruntz, 2012; Moghadam, 2013). Articles in this issue could also address the stakes linked to
the production of identities and historical narratives (Mermier, 1999; Lambert, 2008; Honvault, 2008), or competing interpretations of the nation in times of political crises,
conflicts or wars (Grabundzija, 2015; Shehabi, Jones, 2015). While these examples and approaches are not exhaustive, authors are encouraged in general to explore the conditions that influence the formation of distinct and changing national subjectivities (Vitalis, 2006; Chevalier, Martignon, Schiettecatte, 2008).
We favor an approach based on the “bottom up” observation (Bayart, Mbembe, Toulabor, 2008) of “micro events” (Ginzburg, 1980) and of “unidentified political objects” (Martin, 2002). This means rethinking nationalism through research objects and subjects that are novel in the way they allow an understanding of the relations individual subjects maintain with the nation as an “imagined” and materialized institution. By proposing new narratives or even counter-narratives (al-Rasheed, Vitalis, 2004), the papers gathered in this issue will thus contribute to uncovering “the illusion of cultural identity” (Bayart, 1996) and questioning the
“invention of tradition” (Hobsbawm, Ranger, 1963).
This special issue is addressed to historians, anthropologists, sociologists, linguists, economists, geographers and political scientists, and is particularly open to approaches that focus on unexplored subjects within these disciplines. Contributions based on compelling empirical material would be greatly appreciated (iconography, archives, ethnography, etc.).