From Neoliberal to Socially-Just Reconstruction – The role of civil society in shaping post-conflict reconstruction policies in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya

The Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, Office Beirut, is hosting a workshop on ‘From Neoliberal to Socially-Just Reconstruction – The role of civil society in shaping post-conflict reconstruction policies in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya‘ from 19-20 September 2017. The Call for Abstracts is open until 2 July 2017. Please find the full call here.

Communication and Conflict: Iraq and Syria

The SOAS is holding a one-day conference on 7 May 2016 on “Communication and Conflict: Iraq and Syria”.

Core Topics are:

  • Mediation of the Islamic State war
  • Propaganda and public diplomacy
  • Narrative, image, subjectivities
  • Visual conflicts
  • Mediated violence
  • Forced migration
  • Moral panics
  • Information warfare
  • Practises of production and consumption
  • Witnessing conflict; changing journalism of conflict
  • Changing journalism of conflict
  • Images and moral journalism


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Shia Minorities in the Contemporary World: Migration, Transnationalism and Multilocality

The University of Chester is holding a conference on “Shia Minorities in the Contemporary World: Migration, Transnationalism and Multilocality” from 20-21 May 2016. Registration is free and available until 1 May 2016.


Day 1: Friday 20 May

09:00 – 09:30: Registration and refreshments

  • Oliver Scharbrodt, Director Chester Centre for Islamic Studies

09:30 – 10:00: Welcome

10:00 – 11:00: Keynote Lecture 1:

  • Sabrina Mervin (EHESS/Centre Jacques Berque), Linking Shia Minorities to the Shii Core: History, Rituals and Religious Authority

11:00 – 11:15: Tea/Coffee break

11:15 – 12:45: Session 1

Performing Shiism: Rituals and Practices I

  • Yafa Shanneik (University of South Wales), “Husayn is our Homeland”: Shia Mourning Poetry in Women Rituals in London and Kuwait
  • Marios Chatziprokopiou (Aberystwyth University), Performing Muharram in Piraeus: the Lamentation for Imam Hussein in a Migratory Context
  • Noor Zaidi (University of Pennsylvania), “Still we long for Zaynab”: South Asian Shias and the Shia Shrines
  • Reni Susanti (Tilburg University), Taklif Ceremony: Women Ritual and the Creation of Future Shii Generation in Indonesia

12:45 – 14:00: Lunch

14:00 – 15:30: Session 2

Performing Shiism: Rituals and Practices II

  • Ekaterina Kapustina (European University at St. Petersburg), Moharramlik and the Modern Shia community of Derbent in Translocal Reality
  • Chiara Formichi (Cornell University), Performing Religion across the Indian Ocean: Ashura Commemorations in Indonesia
  • Kathryn Spellman Poots (Aga Khan University), The Arbaeen Pilgrimage: Movement and Mobility among Young Shias in UK and USA

15:30 – 15:45: Tea/Coffee break

15:45 – 17:15: Session 3

Diasporic Shia Minorities: Transnationalism and Multilocality

  • Zahra Ali (University of Chester), Being a Young Devout Shii in London: Religiosity and Multiple Senses of Belonging between the UK and Iraq
  • Elvire Corboz (University of Aarhus), Heritage Symbols Reformulated: The Legacy of the Ahl al-Bayt and the Shaping of Iran’s Activist Version of Shiism in Europe
  • Chris Heinhold (University of Chester), Who is Hussain: Contemporary Campaigning at the Glocal Level
  • Samra Nasser (Western New Mexico University), Transnational Impact of Events in the Middle East on Post-Migratory Shia Minorities: The Case of Shia Lebanese in Metropolitan Detroit

17:15 – 17:30: Tea/Coffee break

17:30 – 18:30: Book Launch

Mara A. Leichtman (Michigan State University), Shi’i Cosmopolitanisms in Africa: Lebanese Migration and Religious Conversion in Senegal (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015)

18:30: Dinner


Day 2: Saturday 21 May

9:00 – 10:00: Keynote Lecture 2

  • Liyakat Takim (McMaster University), Reformation or Transformation: Shii Law in the West

10:00 – 10:15: Tea/Coffee break

10:15 – 11:45: Session 4

Diasporic Shia Minorities: Identities in Transition

  • Reza Gholami (Keele University), Cultures of Integration: Pride, Shame and New Religious Identities among UK Iranians
  • Emanuelle Degli Esposti (SOAS), Living Najaf in London: Diaspora, Transnationalism, and the Sectarianisation of the Iraqi-Shia Subject
  • Mayra Soledad Valcarcel (University of Buenos Aires) and Mari-Sol García Somoza (CANTHEL-University Paris Descartes / University of Buenos Aires), Mi corazón late Husayn: Identity, Politics and Religion in a Shia Community in Buenos Aires
  • Roswitha Badry (University of Freiburg), From a Marginalized Religious Community in Iran to a Government-sanctioned Public Interest Foundation in Paris: Remarks on the Ostad Elahi Foundation

11:40 – 12:00 Tea/Coffee break

12:00 – 13:30: Session 5

Shia Communities in Formation

  • Piro Rexhepi (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity), The Bektashi Tariqa and the Postsocialist Politics of “European Islam” in Southeastern Europe
  • Arun Rasiah (University of Oakland), Ideas in Motion: The Politics of Knowledge and Patronage in Indian Ocean Islam
  • Emiko Stock (Cornell University), Lines back to Ali, Road forward Shiism: A Historical Anthropology of Cham Sayyids’ Trajectories from Cambodia to Iran
  • Anas P. A (Aligarh Muslim University), Cultural Representation of Shiism in Malabar Coast of Indian Ocean: A Case Study on The Social Life of the Kerala Muslims

13:30 – 14:45: Lunch

14:45 – 15:45: Keynote Lecture 3

  • Seyyed Fadhil Milani & Mohammad Mesbahi (Islamic College London), Muslim Migration to Europe, Challenging (European) Modernity and the Necessity of the ijtihadi Approach

15:45 – 16:00: Tea/Coffee break

16:00 – 17:30: Session 6

Shia Transnationalism between Global and Local Dynamics

  • Sufyan Abid (University of Chester), An Alternative umma: The Construction and Development of Shia Globalism among South Asian Shia Muslims in London
  • Iman Lechkar (University College Brussels), Interpreting Khamenei and Fadlallah in Brussels: the Religious and Social Impact of Middle Eastern Clerical Leaders in the Capital of Europe
  • Hafsa Oubou (Northwestern University), Transnational Conversion and Global Networks among Moroccan Shia Converts
  • Robert Riggs (University of Bridgeport), Global Networks, Local Concerns: Investigating the Impact of Emerging Technologies on Shii Religious Leaders and Constituencies

17:30 – 18:00: Concluding discussions

18:00: Dinner

Conflict and living heritage in the Middle East: Researching the Politics of Cultural Heritage and Identities in Times of War and Displacement

Organized by IfPO and the American University of Iraq there will be a conference on “Conflict and living heritage in the Middle East: Researching the Politics of Cultural Heritage and Identities in Times of War and Displacement” from 10-11 May 2016.

The following topics are of interest according to the Call for Papers:

Theme 1: Heritage and Conflict

In conflict situations, cultural heritage tends to become a contested area where relations of domination and violence are expressed, and where competing groups strive to assert legitimacy. This is manifested, inter alia, through unequal control over space (within urban areas, or on emblematic sites and monuments), and the often brutal removal of cultural attributes or markers attached to collective identities (regional, ethnic, religious, gendered, etc.). One central issue is how civilian populations, on the one hand, and political and military actors, on the other, engage with various forms of living heritage during and immediately after conflict. Discourses, representations, and practices have to be considered to understand the role of heritage as a vehicle for violence between groups, or conversely as a medium to de-escalate conflict and reach comprise.

Theme 2: Heritage and Displacement

More often than not, people displaced by conflict experience (usually in gendered ways) violence, a break up of social ties, and a radical separation from their places of origin. Such situations can also brutally severe people’s bonds with their tangible and intangible heritage, particularly when such heritage is targeted by warring parties. The interrelation between heritage and displacement opens up questions as regards the loss of identity reference points, the transformation and redefinition of heritage in exile, and the role heritage plays in the (re)construction of collective memory and cultural identity among refugees. Such issues have to be examined in different contexts and time-frames: in transient or liminal places (such as refugee camps, border or transit areas), or states (such as that of refugeeness), and when exile endures near or far from the homeland. An important question to be addressed is how experiences of exile become incorporated into new heritage discourses that serve as bases for collective memories and identities.