Doha Institute Launches Conference On Mediterranean Social, Cultural History


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: The conference of“The Social and Cultural History of the Mediterranean World: Literature, Folklore, and Photography“ kicked off today, Wednesday, February 28, 2024.

This conference is organized by the History Program at the Doha Institute, in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, the University of Cambridge, and the Arabic Poetry in the Cairo Genizah Project, and will last for two days 28 and 29 of February at the Doha Institute premises with an approximate participation of 15 researchers, presenting important interventions and research papers on the historical and cultural aspects of the Mediterranean world, focusing on literature, folklore, and photography.

The conference started with opening remarks welcoming the participants and emphasizing the conference's significance and its topics.

These remarks were delivered by Dr. Amal Ghazal, Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the DI, Dr. Issam Nassar, Professor and Head of the History Program at the Institute, and Dr. Ahmed Sheir, Research Associate in social and cultural history of the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages, in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Trinity College Dublin.

The first day of the conference featured four diverse sessions. The first session, titled "Arabic Literature and Cultural Legacy Across the Mediterranean," included a paper by Dr. Mohammed Ahmed, Associate Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Trinity College Dublin, discussing " The Cairo Genizah Literature and the Preservation of Egyptian Cultural Heritage," addressing the Cairo Genizah as a repository of documents, housing thousands of important manuscripts in various languages. Additionally, Dr. Farah Aridi, Assistant Professor in the Comparative Literature Program at the DI, and researcher Mwaffaq Al-Hajjar presented“A Conceptual Reading in the Multiplicity of the Mediterranean Experience conceptual readings on Mediterranean Experiential Plurality” where they highlighted the problematic concept of the Mediterranean as a monolithic concept encompassing people, literature, and knowledge.

The second session was titled ": Jews and the Other Across the Mediterranean Through the Poetry of the Cairo Geniza and Jewish Journeys," and began with a paper presented by Mohammad Imran Khan, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Arab Jewish poetry in the Cairo Genizah, exploring the role of Jewish Sufism as an important aspect of (advice and reproach) in Jewish literature. The session concluded with a discussion on“Jewish Self-Perception and of the Other through Genizah Poetry and their Travels across the Medieval Mediterranean” presented by Ahmed Sheir.

The third session highlighted the topic "The Private Letter in the Colonial Era and Narrative of the Refugees,” with Naser Ahmed Ibrahim, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the College of Arts and Sciences at Qatar University, presenting a paper titled "The Private Response as a Historical Document: An examination of Zubeida – Menou's Responses," emphasizing on private responses as a literary product influenced by the context in which it was produced. The session also included a presentation by researcher and academic Salim Abu Zaher, presenting an approach to the reality of Ramallah and the cultural representations between it and other regions.

The discussions of the first day of the conference concluded with the fourth session, which addressed the topic "Palestine and Mecca in the European Imagination through Photography, Audio Recordings, and Films." The session included a presentation by Dr. Issam Nassar on“Palestine, Photography, and European Imagination," in which he noted that "the Mediterranean Sea, which served as a crossroads for ideas, cultures, and peoples throughout the ages, was also a passage for invading armies and migrants since ancient times."

The conference will continue its proceedings on Thursday, where researchers will discuss "Social Perceptions Through the Literature of Geniza and the Journey Across the Mediterranean World." in its fifth session. Additionally, there will be a training and discussion session dedicated for researchers and students, as well as a session for final remarks.

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