Working Groups


Popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have had a deep impact, not only on the societies in the respective countries, but also on academic disciplines and scientific relations between Europe and Arab countries. Many of the developments that have taken place in the region are not exceptional but reflect and accelerate global trends. The importance of new media, new forms of social mobilization and new instruments of governance are not limited to the MENA. Through a transcultural perspective the working group aims to better understand these trends. We debate how ideas, norms and concepts are diffused in a context of mutual exchange and how scientific relations between Europe and the MENA can be improved.

Members in Charge

Mohammad Alwahaib

Department of Philosophy, College of Arts, Kuwait University

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Lena-Maria Möller

Law, Middle East Studies
University of Leipzig Institute of Oriental Studies

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All Working Group Members

Nadine Abdalla

Political Sociology
American University in Cairo, Sociology Unit, Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Egyptology

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Amro Ali

Philosophy, Sociology
American University in Cairo

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Jan Busse

Political Science, Middle East Studies
Universität der Bundeswehr München, Institute of Political Science

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Luise Fischer

International Economics, Human & Historical Geography
Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy

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Ikram Hili

University of Sfax Laboratory on Approaches to Discourse Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences of Sfax, Tunisia

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Lilia Makhloufi

Architecture and Urbanism
Ecole Polytechnique d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme (EPAU)

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Stefan Maneval

Arabic & Islamic Studies
Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Seminar für Arabistik und Islamwissenschaft

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Matthias Pasdzierny

Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Bernd Alois Zimmermann-Gesamtausgabe; Universität der Künste

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Nahed Samour

Law, Islamic Studies
Humboldt University, Faculty of Law

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Jan Völkel

Political Science
University of Freiburg Arnold Bergstraesser Institute

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Irene Weipert-Fenner

Political Science
Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), Leibniz-Institut Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (HSFK)

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Working Group Projects

Working Group Project

Destruction/(Re-) Construction: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Cultural Heritage in Conflict

Ruins have often captured human imagination and, in one way or another, they have been inscribed in a community’s history, cultural memory, or local lore. But where does this captivating quality of destroyed or decayed buildings come from? Members of the AGYA Working Group Transformation invited international experts to discuss the cycle of the creation and decay of architectural heritage from a transcultural and diachronic perspective.

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Interdisciplinary International Workshop: ‘The Area Studies Controversy Revisited’

The persistent need to revisit the so-called Area Studies Controversy (ASC) from multiple disciplinary angles guided a workshop titled “The Area Studies Controversy Revisited”. By taking the Middle East as its example, the workshop attempted to revisit the ASC, take stock of the debate and exchange innovative ideas in order to yield new perspectives.

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Learning Lessons on Reconciliation from Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Working Group Transformation explored opportunities and pitfalls of reconciliation politics in post-conflict countries in Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 2018 together with guests from the Arab world and Europe.

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AGYA Transformation Group visits EU and NATO in Brussels

In December 2017 AGYA members visited Brussels to discuss current challenges for EU-Arab Cooperation with high-level representatives of the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament and NATO.

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Refugee Transfers in the Euro-Arab Mediterranean Zone: Tying the Past with the Present

AGYA members Tamirace Fakhoury and Jenny Oesterle organized the international AGYA workshop on ‘Refugee Transfers in the Euro-Arab Mediterranean Zone: Tying the Past with the Present’. The workshop took place from 10 to 12 April 2017 at the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Byblos.

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A New Wave of Populism in Europe and the Arab World

The current success of populist movements and politics is not limited to Germany and Europe. It is rather the symptom of times of crises on both sides of the Mediterranean. The conference aims to understand and compare different forms and concepts of populist politics. The Working Group seeks to explore the current situation of civic institutions facing politics labeled as populist.

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Dynamics of Change: Media and the Public Sphere in Egypt

Although the Arab region has been marked as stagnating, the regional dynamics evolving since 2011 have launched processes that are reshaping the political, social and cultural landscapes. Media is influenced by and affects this process. The conference offered the opportunity to discuss relevant issues to the media in times of transformation and conflict.

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Working Paper Series: "Academia in Transformation"

The working paper series “Academia in Transformation” aims to provide an insightful and illuminating view of the transformation of the academic landscape in the aftermaths of the uprisings in the MENA region.

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