The Muslim Memories of Europe: Circulation and Politics of Remembrance

David Do Paço's picture
March 27, 2020
Subject Fields: 
European History / Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Modern European History / Studies, Political History / Studies

The conference will be held on 27 March 2020 at the Centre d'Histoire de Sciences Po, 56 rue Jacob, Paris 75006, salle du Traité. It is a CHSP European history research seminar and Cost-Action (18140) PIMo joint-conference.

This conference co-organized by David Do Paço and Marc Lazar examines the mobilization of an increasingly insistent and intransigent memory that refers to the so-called 'Christian roots of Europe'; a memory mobilized by the various European populist parties and their supporters, a memory that is adapted according to the specific referential frameworks of social groups, parties or institutions. The conference also focuses on collective initiatives that discuss the plurality of national and European memories, and the different political strategies leading to their affirmation, their transformation or their temporary and definitive disappearance. It also echoes a deep renewal of the social history of European societies, which over a long period of time, and in an increasingly systematic way, analyses the place and role of Muslim individuals and communities in the construction of modern and contemporary societies. Finally, it responds to the social demand for a different history of Europe and of the democracies - more or less liberal - of which Europe is composed.


Starting from Jack Goody's assertion that Islam is consubstantial with the history of European societies - whether through its acceptance, a set of interactions or rejections - the aim of our conference is to propose a comparative approach to the mobilisation of Muslim pasts at the European, national and community levels. From Spain to Hungary, from the United Kingdom to Italy, from France to Germany, European societies have had different and diverse experiences with Islam - as a religion and as relational communities - that contrast with a relatively homogenous Judeo-Christian affirmation of identity. Trade and conquest, conversions, varying forms of cohabitation and syncretisms are all experiences that offer modern societies resources for constructing their narrative, asserting specificity or a broader sense of belonging. However, the mobilization of the Muslim memories of Europe to promote a regional area that would exclude Islam or, on the contrary, claim a common past is not new. It also has a history and makes it possible to question from an original angle the moments of crisis experienced by European societies. 



8:45     Coffee & Tea



9:00     Introduction


David Do Paço (Sciences Po, CHSP)

Silent and Invisible: Muslims in Early Modern and Modern European History


Marc Lazar (Sciences Po, CHSP)

The instrumentalization of Islam by European Populist Parties



9:45    Panel 1 | Remembering Europe


Chair: Nadia Marzouki (Sciences Po, CERI)


Nadia Al-Bagdadi (Central European University)

Temporality and self-fashioning – Arab biography, chronotypes, memory


Joanna Musiatewicz (Uniwersytet Warszawski)

Splendid and Irritating. The Image of Europe and the Europeans in the Works of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq 



11:15  Break



11:30  Panel 2 An intellectual legacy


Chair: Daniel Barbu (CNRS) 


Roberto Tottoli (Università di Napoli L’Orientale)

Struggling with Arabic: The Qur’an in the European Republic of Letters (16th-18th cen.)


Chiara Petrolini (Universität Wien)

An eloquent reticence: Vienna and the Islamic World in the papers of the imperial librarian Sebastian Tengnagel (1565-1636)



13:00  Lunch



14:30  Panel 3 Political Historiographies


Chair: Dónal Hassett (University College Cork)


Markus Koller (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

The memory of the Ottoman rule in Hungary - current trends in the Historiography.


M’hamed Oualdi (Sciences Po, CHSP)

Emphasizing the Christian captives' complaints in North Africa while forgetting North African slaves’ petitions in 18th century Europe: from a symmetric history to amnesia



16:00  Break



16:15  Panel 4 Entangled memories


Chair: Antoine Perrier (Université Paris-Sorbonne/Sciences Po)


Luc Chantre (Université Rennes 2)

Quand l’Europe séjournait à La Mecque : Peut-on parler d’une mémoire européenne du hajj ?


Dónal Hassett (University College Cork)

'I spilled my blood for France and hope now she will not let me die of hunger': Mobilizing the Memory of the Great War in Colonial Algeria


Jakob Vogel (Centre Marc Bloch/Sciences Po)

A chatoyant object: trying to make sense of Muslim memories in Europa - Notre histoire


18:30  Conclusion

Contact Info: 

David Do Paço, asst. Prof, Sciences Po, CHSP