Arabic Philologies between East and West
International Workshop March 12 to 17, 2014, at Freie Universität Berlin
№ 078/2014 from Mar 10, 2014
An international workshop to be held March 12 to 17, 2014, at Freie Universität Berlin will focus on Arabic philologies at the crossroads between the West and the Arab world. The 30 participants are a combination of highly regarded scholars as well as junior researchers from Europe, the Arabic world, and the United States. The workshop goal is to intensify the dialogue between Western and Arab academic cultures in teaching and research. Another objective is to promote the Arabic language as a language for scholarly work in Western Arabic studies. A further aim is to intensify cooperation between Freie Universität and its partner universities in the Arab world (Egypt, Lebanon, and Morocco).
The workshop "Arabische Philologien im Blickwechsel" is being organized by the Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies at Freie Universität. Cooperating partners are the Arabic Studies Department of the Faculty of Arts at Cairo University, the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages at the American University of Beirut, and the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster. The workshop is being sponsored by the VolkswagenStiftung. The workshop languages are English and Arabic. The first part of the meeting is public (March 12 to 14). For the second part (March 15 to 17), advance registration via email is requested: firstname.lastname@example.org. Admission is free.
Ever since Edward Said's criticism of the concept of Orientalism at the end of the 1970s, the field of Arabic studies has been dealing with processes of identity and alterity. However, in spite of numerous cooperation and exchange programs, there is still a wide gap in both teaching and research between scholars of Arabic studies in Arab countries versus those based in Western countries. To overcome this gap, systematic exchange over a longer period of time is required in both teaching and research. Instead of research about the "other," research with the "other" is needed. That is the first crucial step toward achieving a two-sided change in perspective: as a mutual stocktaking in conjunction with fundamental changes in perspective.
The workshop agenda is the first systemic attempt to consider Arab and Western research positions in Arabic philology as equally valid and to engage representatives of each position in dialogue. In discussions to be held in Arabic and English, young scholars as well as recognized experts in the field will exchange ideas and opinions about current research approaches that appear to be setting trends in Arabic studies from the perspective of Arab and/or Western scholars.