International Workshop

Media Transitions in the Arab World: Actual and Historical Perspectives on Literature and Culture

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, October 30-31, 2015
Vwst Rgb 100
Funded by the VolkswagenStiftung

In the last decades, the Arab world has witnessed the emergence and broad diffusion of ʻnewʼ media, most prominently the Internet. Apart from socio-political effects, the opportunities provided by these media have also fostered the emergence of new modes of cultural expression, literary styles and genres as well as new layers of readers and writers. ʻNewʼ media, however, is by no means a recent phenomenon.
This workshop aims at exploring the relation between media and cultural production in the Arab world from a historical perspective. The papers presented will investigate topics related to the transition from oral to script culture, the spread of print technologies after several centuries of a flourishing manuscript culture and the adoption of digital technologies in recent times. In addition, round table discussions will explore selected key questions across the centuries. By looking at how media have impacted Arabic culture, we aim to identify not only transitions and ruptures but also continuities and complementarity of newly emerged and already existing media.

The workshop flyer is now available here.


Friday, October 30

09:30-10:00 Reception and Welcome/Introduction (Teresa Pepe, Barbara Winckler)

Panel I: Arabic Literature between Oral and Written Transmission

Beatrice Gruendler (Berlin): Challenges and Changes in the Arabic Book Revolution (9th century CE)
Bilal Orfali (Beirut): “He Told Me, Wrote to Me, and Sent Me His Book”: Abū Manṣūr al-Thaʿālibī (d. 429/1039) and the Making of adab Anthologies in Khurāsān
Dwight Reynolds (Santa Barbara): Multiple Media Transitions: Sīrat Banī Hilāl from Oral, to Written, to Print, to Radio, to Cassette, to Stage, and out into the Online World
12:00-12:20 Coffee Break
12:20-13:40 Panel II: The Advent of Printing in the 19th Century
Boris Liebrenz (Leipzig): Manuscripts after the Advent of the Printed Book: Continuity and Change
Hala Auji (Beirut): Transient Forms & Persistent Motifs: Exploring Themes of Continuity and Innovation in the Materiality of Arabic Ephemera from 19th-Century Beirut
13:40-15:10 Lunch Break
15:10-16:30 Panel III: Negotiating Arab Modernity: Texts and Images
Nadia Al-Bagdadi (Budapest): Body-Languages and Habitus: New Visual Media and Textual Representation in the Arab 19th Century
Barbara Winckler (Münster): ʻHow to Write, How to Read and How to Critique Books?ʼ Literature and Literary Debates in the Periodical Press of the nahḍa Period
Elizabeth Holt (New York): “This Hellish Trap”: On the Early Serialized Arabic Novel and Its Discontents (additional paper)
16:30-16:50 Coffee Break
16:50-18:00 Round Table Discussion I: The Effect of ‘New Media’ on Form and Content
Chair: Bilal Orfali (Beirut)
Abdo Abboud (Damascus/Münster)
Nadia Al-Bagdadi (Budapest)
Alfred El-Khoury (Beirut; via Skype)
Dwight Reynolds (Santa Barbara)
Changed Programme, Saturday, October 31
09:00-10:10 Round Table Discussion II: Media in Transition: New Actors and New Audiences?
Chair: Barbara Winckler (Münster)
Hala Auji (Beirut)
Teresa Pepe (Oslo)
Beatrice Gruendler (Berlin)
10:10-10:25 Coffee Break
10:30-11:30 Guided tour through Münster historic city centre (for invited speakers)
11:30-11:45 Coffee Break
11:45-12:10 Panel IV: Arabic Literature Goes Online
Saïd Yaktine (Rabat): Arabic Text from Orality to Digitization: Achievements and Constraints (Cancelled)
Alfred El-Khoury (Beirut): Unsī al-Ḥājj’s “Khawātim III”: A Modern Poet in the Maze of New Medias (The paper will be read due to the author`s absence.)
12:10-13:30 Panel V: Body and Identity in the Age of the Internet
Teresa Pepe (Oslo): Writing the Self in Arabic Literature: From Print to Digital
Kerstin Wilhelms (Münster): Networked Identities. Autobiographical Self-Positioning in Theodor Fontane’s Autobiographies and on Facebook (additional paper)
Ines Braune (Marburg): Online and Offline Circulation of Body Performances: Parkour in the Arab World (Cancelled)
13:30-15:00 Lunch Break
15:00-16:10 Round Table Discussion III: Competition, Coexistence and Complementarity of Media
Chair: Teresa Pepe (Oslo)
Boris Liebrenz (Leipzig)
Bilal Orfali (Beirut)
Kerstin Wilhelms (Münster)
16:10-16:30 Coffee Break
16:30-17:30 Final Discussion

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Room RS 2 (Hofgebäude)
Rosenstr. 9
48143 Münster

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Institut für Arabistik und Islamwissenschaft
Schlaunstr. 2
48143 Münster
Tel: +49 (0)251 83-24571
Fax: +49 (0)251 83-29932