Category Archives: Calls for papers

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.).



The fourth Perso-Indica Conference:
Translation and the languages of Islam:
Indo-Persian tarjuma in a comparative perspective
Paris, 8th-9th December 2016

On the occasion of the 4th international conference of the Perso-Indica project (, we would like to consider our main object of research—the Persian translations and original works bearing on Indic cultures—in a wider perspective than has generally been the case. We aim to do so by comparing the Indo-Persian movement of translation that took place in the subcontinent from the 13th century onwards with other processes of translations operating primarily from and to non-Muslim languages (e.g. Greek, Syriac, Pehlevi, Sanskrit into Arabic, etc.; Arabic into Latin; Greek into Ottoman Turkish, etc.) and, secondarily, between different languages of Muslim societies (e. g. Arabic into Persian, Turkish, Malay, Sub-Saharan languages, etc.; Persian into Urdu, Turkish, Malay etc.). We therefore invite contributions bearing on such movements of translation in different regions of the Muslim world between the 7th and 19th centuries, and highlighting the ways in which each specific translation process articulated the relation between source, “bridge” and target languages.

Within this broad frame of comparison, we more specifically invite each contributor to provide elements of reflection on at least one of the following questions:

Translated: what was the literary form (prose, poetry) of the original text and to what literary genre or tradition did it (or was it considered to) belong? Which field(s) of knowledge did it cover? How popular was it in the society and time in which it was written?

Translator(s): who is translating? An individual: if so, is translation part of his everyday job, is he a professional cultural broker such as the well-known Ottoman dragomans? Is, on the contrary, translation an accident in his professional trajectory geared towards other activities, be they intellectual or not? Is the translator part of a group specialized in translation: does he, for instance, belong to a “bureau” of translation or to a family/lineage renowned for its multilingualism and its abilities as cultural go-between? Is the translator a collective and, if so, what do we know of the dynamics and tensions at work in the process of translation? More generally, what are the networks (social, intellectual, economic, religious, political) in which the translator participates? In paying particular attention to the identity (both individual and collective) of the agents of translation, the idea is here to sketch a contrasted socio-intellectual history of the translators active in the pre-colonial Muslim world.

Patron(s) of translation: is the translation a personal initiative undertaken for personal reasons? Is the translation the result of a commission by an individual or an institution? If so, what do we know of the relation between the translator and his patron prior and after the translation? How was the translator selected and on what criteria? What, if any, were the material conditions (salary, linguistic training, library, etc.) provided by the patron for the realization of the translation? How much involved was the patron in the composition of the translation (e.g. checking its progress, editing passages, etc.) and on which aspects (if any) of the process did he intervene?

Purpose(s) of translation: if every translation is as such a scholarly effort and may be said to partake in the long run in a general epistemic endeavor, the projects and processes of knowledge building in which many of them were framed need careful examination in order to uncover the function(s) assigned to the texts once they were translated and, by the same token, to understand the idiosyncrasies of each translation. In other words: why was a particular text selected for translation in a particular time and place and what was/were the (political, religious, social, scientific) role(s) assigned to the translated text by the translator and/or his patron? While the purposes of translations in the Muslim world were of course multiple, particular attention will be paid here to the ones that were commissioned as part of state- or empire-building and to those that were conceived in a missionary perspective of conversion/in a spirit of proselytism and even of conversion.

Process and tool(s) of translation: unveiling the purpose(s) of translation is crucial in order to understand its process and the multiple transformations it entailed at the levels of literary form and genre, language and signification. Bringing the why into light will certainly help us better explain and circumscribe the how and ultimately allow us to lay out a number of correspondences between the purpose assigned to a translation and the methods used for its realization or the type of translation produced as a result. Closely connected to the question of process is the issue of the linguistic and philological instruments and resources available in the society in which the translator was active: what were the dictionaries, glossaries, grammars, etc. at hand when the translator started his work? Did he know of their existence? If so, did he use some of them and how?

Audience, reception and circulation of translation: how was the translation received by its targeted audience, especially by its patron in the case of commissioned works? How widely did it circulate in contemporary Muslim societies and beyond, and through which specific networks? Did it become a “source” for later translations in other languages, especially in other languages of Islam and in European languages? Studying the afterlife of such translations in both the Muslim world and Europe is crucial to put in perspective and in dialogue the Orientalist traditions they respectively built. In this respect, a particular important question is the appropriation by Western scholarship of translations composed in an Islamicate context: how were these translations understood by European intellectuals and colonial administrators and what was the role (and visibility) of such translations in the latter’s knowledge-building on the society to which the “Ur-text” belonged or on the language in which it was originally written?

The deadline for submissions (title + brief abstract of the paper) is April 1, 2016.

Proposals will be evaluated and accepted according to quality, but also spread and variety.

Venue: CEIAS (Centre for South Asian Studies, EHESS-CNRS), 190 avenue de France, 75013 Paris.

Scientific coordination: Corinne Lefèvre (CNRS, & Fabrizio Speziale (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3,

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTION – The Sudan, five years after the independence of South Sudan: which reconfigurations, transformations, and evolutions in the “North”?

South Sudan officially gained independence on the 9th July 2011. This was the outcome of the peace agreement signed in January 2005 and in accordance with the national referendum of January 2011. This historic event, which should have put an end on the historical conflict between the Northern and Southern regions and communities, constituted a real challenge in term of adaptation, resilience and innovation for the whole of the society.
In this unprecedented context of the birth of a new national territory, and the remodelling of existing spatial and political configurations, South Sudan has logically been at the centre of attention – whether this be from political actors, researchers or humanitarian donors. However, the North has been profoundly affected by this rupture as well.
The intention of this issue is to shed light on some of these transformations: the revision of past bureaucratic structures and the creation of new ones, the drastic decrease of oil income in the states revenues and their strategies to replace it, the repositioning of the country at a regional and international scale, the departure of millions of South-Sudanese and their “reappearance” as a new category of stateless refugees (South-Sudanese) in the territory, the changes to nationality laws… It is about fundamental repercussions on the political, religious, social, administrative or economical level, that in turn effect the social and identity relations as much as spatial organisation or even memory.
This call for papers proposes to catch up on these evolutions, more or less brutal or linear, five years after the independence of South Sudan, which strongly calls for further research in social sciences and humanities. Finally, we want to also open a reflection on the consequences that the separation has concretely had on the feasibility of research, as for example the increasing difficulty in carrying on archival research, or the obstacles to the access to certain regions and/or informants.
The ambition of this issue of EMA on Sudan is not to be exhaustive, but to offer a space of reflexion for the empirical research that has been carried out during the last five years. These fieldworks all share the common factor of questioning the consequences of South Sudan’s independence. The aim of this issue is to collect articles of different types (short or long, research notes, notes on current affairs), based on a variety of sources (press, photos, social media, ethnographic material), on different topics and perspectives in order to decrypt the complexity of socio-economic, spatial, political, and identity reconfigurations. A particular attention will be given to works showing the tensions and conflicts that this separation has caused or reinforced in the multiple spheres of Sudanese society. While some Sudanese politicians are stressing the supposed homogeneity of the Sudanese society since the separation of South Sudan, we intend, in contrast, to highlight the processes of differentiation and the on-going reconfiguration of categories.
The last two issues of the EMA specifically about Sudan date from the 1990’s (n°16-17) and reflected on the different aspects of the 1980’s crisis. For this reason, it is high time to renew this fruitful experience.
Abstracts (1 page max) can be sent before the 31th of December 2015.
The complete articles in French, or English (40 000 characters maximum) are to be sent before the 21th of March 2016 to Elena Vezzadnini ( and Alice Franck ( as well as on the email address of the CEDEJ Khartoum (