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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;

International Workshop : Left-Wing Trends in the Arab World (1948-1979): Bringing the Transnational Back in

Date: 12 – 13 December 2016

Venue: Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB)

Orient Institut. Hussein Beyhum Street. Zoqaq al-Blat. Beirut

Gilbert Achcar, Abdulnabi Alekry, Haggag Ali, Abdulsalam Alrubaidi, Anne-Linda Amira Augustin, Orit Bashkin, Dalal al-Bizri, Michaelle Browers, Musa Budeiri, Jeffrey Byrne, Maher Charif, Elliott Colla, Yasmeen Daifallah, Nicolas Dot-Pouillard, Alexander Flores, Nate George, Gennaro Gervasio, Laure Guirguis, Dyala Hamzah, Jens Hanssen, Sune Haugbolle, Elizabeth Holt, Idriss Jebari, Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab, Kamel Mhanna, Marlene Nasr, Malika Rahal, Matthieu Rey, Giedre Sabaseviciute, Margaret Scarborough, Aline Schlaepfer, Abed Takriti, Fawwaz Traboulsi, Philipp Winkler

December 12 at the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB)

9.00- 7.15 : Panels and Roundtables

7.30 : A Hundred Faces for a Single Day, by Christian Ghazi (1972)
Screening and Dinner-Aperitif

December 13 at the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB)

10.00-05.45 : Panels

6.00 : Keynote Speech: Gilbert ACHCAR
اليسار العربي الجديد في الستينيات والسبعينيات: بماذا يشترك مع اليسار الجديد العالمي وبماذا يختلف عنه؟
The New Arab Left of the 1960-70s and the Global New Left:
Commonalities and Differences

Open to the public. No registration needed.

Organizer and Contact Person:
Venue: Orient Institut Beirut (OIB). Hussein Beyhum Street. Zokak el-Blat. Beirut
In collaboration with Mansion-Nadi Lekol Nas, Zokak El Blat. Beirut
With the support of the ERC-Programme WAFAW (When Authoritarianism Fails in the Arab World)

Full programme

Full programme with abstracts


Circulating Translations in the 19th century from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Arabian Sea: Texts in practice

 University of Oxford : 20-22 September 2017 (3 full days)

Deadlines: Potential pairs of participants submit abstract: 15 February 2017

Organisers notify participants: 1-15 March 2017

Participants commit to attendance: 30 March 2017

Venue: Radcliffe Humanities Building, Seminar Room, University of Oxford

Marilyn Booth, University of Oxford (

Claire Savina, University of Oxford (

Description and Call for Papers

Translation and adaptation were vital to the dynamic cultural life and intellectual ferment of the 19th-century from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Arabian Sea, contributing to key debates on the shape of indigenous modern societies. The region’s publishing hubs were the stage for translations and circulations of texts from western European languages into Middle Eastern languages and, within the Mediterranean /Middle Eastern region itself (and further to the east), works were translated from and amongst the region’s languages, notably Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Greek, Hebrew, Armenian, and Karamanlidike. Indeed, many texts published first in Arabic were quickly translated into Turkish and Persian, while works produced in Europe might be translated near simultaneously into Arabic, Turkish and Persian as well as Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, and other languages.

The abundance of textual transmission, or publications, translations and circulations of texts between Europe and the Middle East and within eastern Europe/western Asia have been the subject of increasing scholarly interest. Such work has made it possible to think beyond aggregate spatial-historical description of the field of translation and commonly accepted geographical and linguistic frameworks, and to elucidate practices of translation and adaptation by working microcosmically on specific texts. We invite pairs of participants to focus on texts in translation in order to interrogate translational processes in this flexibly defined period and region.

This workshop, organised under the auspices of the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, will bring together scholars of translation and intellectual history in the nahda period to work intensively on single texts or authors or translators, working between any relevant language pair (or trio, such as Arabic/Persian/French). This collaborative workshop follows a first workshop, held at the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World, University of Edinburgh, December 2015, funded by the AHRC Language-Based Area Studies programme. At that workshop, twelve scholars, working in a range of languages and genres, considered not just the what but also the how, for whom, and where of the translations and linguistic contexts they study. Building on our discussions then, we want to address what we consider a relative lacuna in translation research on the region (as on other regions), by attending closely to translations’ internal fabrics and the variety of possible translation-adaptation agendas that specific practices of translation expose. One insight of our first workshop was that in general in this period, ‘adaptation’ might be a more appropriate rubric than ‘translation’ to characterise the range of practices we were studying. But just what does ‘adaptation’ mean, and what are the consequences for the possible modes of reception of the text in its new linguistic and social space? In what specific ways does the text become something other than itself? And how, in addition, do new paratextual elements (such as a translator’s preface) reshape it in its new home? With this second workshop we take a further step by calling for pairs of scholars to engage in collaborative work to confront their selected text(s) mechanisms and strategies of translation, through a comparative and experimental practice, imagining themselves into the historically, contextually specific task of the translator. Our strategy in requesting collaborative work, in pairs of participants with different linguistic competencies is that this will make possible close reading between host and reception languages.

The first two workshop days will allow intensive collaborative work (with one discussion/plenary session each day; beginning on the afternoon of Day 2, each pair will give a half-hour presentation of their project followed by discussion. It is hoped that the workshop will yield a published volume or special issue of a scholarly journal. Submissions for this workshop should encompass but move beyond historical and geographical contexts of translational movement to address the fabric of translation itself, allowing the text to define the relevant issues and approach (for example, a focus on key words and lexicographical issues, semantic fields, practices of summary, deletion and expansion, paratexts, etc.). We are open to work on any genre and any pair or trio of languages within the broad linguistic-regional compass noted above. Ideally we hope to remain in the ‘long 19th century’. To give a few examples, pairs of participants might compare translations of works by Butrus al-Bustani, Qasim Amin, Shidyaq, etc., into Persian and Turkish, or works by Aisha Taymur in their Persian, Turkish and Arabic versions, or translations of Fénelon’s Les aventures de Télémaque into Arabic by Tahtawi, and into Turkish by Yusuf Kamil Pasha, and/or into Persian, Greek, Urdu or of European novels or plays into any of the pertinent languages.

Nota Bene: It would be expected that pairs will have already accomplished considerable work on the project before the workshop, to maximise the benefit of time allocated to working together during the workshop.

Submissions should include institutional information for both members of the research pair and a brief abstract (one half page) describing the project, including author(s), translator(s), text(s) and languages studied, and a rationale for the study, and must be received by 15 February 2017.

Please email your abstract to both organisers:

Marilyn Booth, Khalid bin Abdallah Al Saud Professor for the Study of the Contemporary Arab World, University of Oxford,

Claire Savina, Research Associate, University of Oxford, Université Paris-Sorbonne,

Dates: 20-22 September 2017 (3 full days)

Venue: Radcliffe Humanities Building, Seminar Room, University of Oxford

Deadlines: Potential pairs of participants submit abstract: 15 February 2017

Organisers notify participants: 1-15 March 2017

Participants commit to attendance: 30 March 2017

Pairs of participants send final title, final abstract and brief bios: 30 May 2017

Pairs of participants send 2 pages summary of work accomplished thus far: 15 August 2017

Travel and accommodation: Accommodation for four nights; three lunches and one dinner conference included. Travel expenses will be reimbursed as far as possible although we will ask accepted participants to apply if possible for reimbursement from their home institutions. Those participating will be informed of how much we can reimburse before they make a final commitment to attend.

International Conference : Oil Imperialism? Energy and Political Power from a Global perspective

 Affiche_Oil Imperialism 3An international conference organized by Prof. Eric Bussière (Sorbonne University), Prof. Alain Beltran (CNRS, UMR Sirice 8138), Dr. Guillemette Crouzet (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, University of Geneva), Dr. Victor McFarland (University of Missouri) and Marta Musso (European University Institute).
    This conference has been funded by the University Paris-Sorbonne, the Labex EHNE “Ecrire une histoire nouvelle de l’Europe”, the UMR CNRS 8138 CNRS Sirice and the University of Missouri.


Day One: Friday, 4th of November
Amphitheatre, Sorbonne University, Maison de la Recherche – Rue Serpente
Welcome, Prof. Barthélémy Jobert, President of the Sorbonne University
Opening, Prof. Eric Bussière (Sorbonne University, Director of the Labex EHNE)
Introduction to the Theme “Oil Imperialism”, Prof. Alain Beltran
(CNRS, UMR Sirice 8138)
Coffee/tea break
Panel 1: Oil, Empire, and International Relations
Chair: Prof. Youssef Cassis, European University Institute
Guillemette Crouzet, Graduate Institute, Geneva
British Oil Imperialism in Bakhtiaristan at the Beginning of the 20th Century
Benjamin Bengobeyi, University Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne
Le Pétrole une arme? L’Irak et la libération de la Nation arabe: l’exemple de la guerre du Kippour
Victor McFarland, University of Missouri
Oil, Empire, and the U.S. Role in the Gulf
Emily Meierding, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
Oil vs. Islands: Disentangling the Causes of Conflict in the East China Sea
Lunch, Club des Enseignants, Site: Sorbonne
Panel 2: State and Corporate Power: National and Multinational Oil Companies
Chair: Prof. Jean-Pierre Dormois, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Bordeaux
Marta Musso, European University Institute
Hunting grounds for their monopoly: France, Italy and the State oilmen
Touraj Atabaki, Leiden University
Labour and the Birth of Oil Capitalism : The Emergence of Oil Imperialism in the First World War
Kevin Wunsthorn, University Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne   
Entre rivalité et coopération : la Compagnie française des pétroles face à l’impérialisme pétrolier anglo-saxon dans le golfe Arabo-Persique
Coffee/tea break
Keynote Address: Prof. Myrna Santiago, Saint Mary’s College

Oil Imperialism and Its Discontents
Chair: Barbara Curli, University of Turin
Conference dinner for participants
Restaurant Gastro/Brasserie: La Ferrandaise­­­­
Day Two: Saturday, 5th of November
Amphitheatre, Sorbonne University, Maison de la Recherche – Rue Serpente
Panel 3: Oil, Anti-Imperialism, and Decolonization
Chair: Prof. Phillipe Chassaigne, University Bordeaux Montaigne
Giuliano Garavini, New York University Abu Dhabi           
OPEC: The Making of an Anti-Imperial Organisation
Elisabetta Bini, University of Trieste
Decolonizing Labor: American Politics and the Rise of Oil Nationalism in Libya, 1960s-1980s
Philippe Tristani, Agrégé d’histoire, Sorbonne University
L’Iraq National Oil Company contre l’Iraq Petroleum Company de  1961 à 1972. Le rôle de la compagnie nationale irakienne des pétroles dans la lutte contre l’impérialisme
Katayoun Shafie, UCL London, Centre for Advanced Studies
Long-Distance Machineries of Oil: Managing Nationalism, Combating Nationalization in Iran
Lunch, Club des Enseignants, Site: Sorbonne
Panel 4: Oil Companies, the State, and the Future of Oil Imperialism in a Postcolonial World
Chair: Prof. Alain Beltran (CNRS, UMR Sirice 8138)          
Duccio Basosi, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice
Oil, Dollars, and Power: Petrodollar Recycling Revisited
Francesco Petrini, University of Padua
Jumped on the Boat of a Territorialist Organization”: Oil Multinationals and State Power in the XXth Century
Simone Selva, University “L’Orientale”, Naples                              
Transnational Capital Markets and Development Policies in the 1970s: Oil Shocks, the Rise of Energy Finance, and the Reshaping of U.S. Foreign Economic Relations
Concluding Remarks: Victor McFarland, University of Missouri