To attend in Beirut: The Religious in Transition in the Mediterranean and the Middle East

Nora Lafi's picture


Organized by AUB, Ifpo, IDEMEC, CéSor, Cambridge University

Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th April 2019


Religion in the Mediterranean and the Middle East is regularly and commonly perceived as a source of radicalization, conflict and violence. This perception, which is often conveyed by the media, tends to aggregate, through time and space, phenomena that are however complex and often diverse and different. The ambition of this workshop is to question the way in which the forms, the practices and the models of the religious vary locally while being part of a more expansive and globalized context. It aims particularly to show how the religious, in its practices, circulations and mobilities, as well as its modes of socialization and forms of social and political organization, undergoes protean transformations, on scales and within temporalities and spaces - Mediterranean, Arab, Turkish and Iranian - that are differentiated and connected at once. 

MONDAY, 15 APRIL Building 37 
1.00-1.30 PM: Introduction (Sylvain Perdigon, Thierry Boissière, Yoann Morvan) 
1.30 – 2.30 PM: Alexandre TOUMARKINE, historian (INALCO Paris / CERMOM). KEYNOTE: “Bosphorus encounters : the Dervish and the Yogi Islam as a tool for religious circulation”. This lecture sheds light on the many ways Islam in Turkey, through its various forms and actors, faced the recent emergence and spread of alternative spiritualities and therapies. It investigates how, despite an initially suspicious if not negative reception, it internalized, recycled and sometimes transformed them. Besides, it questions both the extent of these dynamics and their impact on the very definition of religion.  
2.30 – 3.00 PM: Dilek YANKAYA, political scientist (IEP Aix-en-Provence / CHERPA). “Between da’wa and neoliberalism: contemporary renewals of Ottoman financial assistance practices as solution to economic crisis” 
3.00 – 3.30 PM: Olivier GIVRE, anthropologist (Université Lumière Lyon 2 / EVS). “Displaying Ritual Emotions, Circulating moral economics. Images of and Discourses on the Muslim Sacrifice”.  
3.30-4.00 PM: BREAK 
4.00 – 4.30 PM: Rayane AL RAMMAL, anthropologist (American University of Beirut). “The social Experience of Grief for Women Related to Hezbollah’s Martyrs in the Southern Suburb of Beirut Al-Dahiyeh”.  
4.30 – 5.00 PM: Noor DAHER, anthropologist (American University of Beirut). “The Hawza as Institutionalized Religion: Islam Performed by Women”.  
5.00 – 5.30 PM: Sylvain PERDIGON, anthropologist (AUB). “A commentary: on piety and the quest for "the world" (al-dunya) in contemporary Beirut”. 
5.30 – 6.00 PM: discussion  
TUESDAY 16 APRIL West Hall Auditorium A 
9.00 – 10.00 AM: Dionigi ALBERA, anthropologist (CNRS / IDEMEC Aix-Marseille). KEYNOTE: “Multi-faith Pilgrimages in a Comparative Perspective”. In this presentation I will address the issue of multi-faith attendance at places of pilgrimage. If this phenomenon has been often underestimated by theoretical developments in the study of pilgrimage, in the last few years there has been a renewed academic interest in the joint attendance at the same shrines by believers of different religions. The permeability of the frontiers between religious communities that one observes at shared shrines raises a number of issues concerning practices and sociability across religious divides, and their interactions with pervasive religious polarizations. 
10.00 – 10.30 AM: Sabrina MERVIN, historian (CNRS / CéSor-EHESS Paris). “The Arbâ’în Pilgrimage : on the Path of Karbala” 
10.00 – 11.00 AM: Sepideh PARSAPAJOUH, anthropologist, (CNRS / CéSor-EHESS Paris). “Pious Visits and Votive Messages to the Imam in Shiism: the Case of the ‘Ship of Delivrance’ from Qom to Karbala”. 
11.00 – 11.30 AM: BREAK 
11.30 – 12.00 AM: Manoël PENICAUD, anthropologist (CNRS / IDEMEC Aix-Marseille). “Pilgrimage Circulations and Innovations in a Shared Holy Place: the St. George Monastery in Istanbul”.  
12.00 – 12.30 PM: Nour FARRA HADDAD, anthropologist (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth). “Religious Tourism Development in Lebanon: Supporting Sustainable development and promoting a culture of peace and interfaith dialogue” 
12.30 – 13.00 PM: discussion 
13.00 – 14.00 PM: LUNCH 
14.00 – 15.00 PM: Fariba ADELKHAH, anthropologist (CNRS / CERI Paris).  KEYNOTE: “A few remarks on religious flows in the Middle East and Central Asia and their consequences on believers’ practices”. Religious flows in Middle East and Central Asia have a long or even very long history that gives a sense of continuity to the current dynamics in this region. However, they have been drastically affected by capitalist transformations for the last half century due to the development of an oil economy, massive urbanisation and neoliberalism. Meanwhile, these flows also are part and parcel of the formation and reproduction of the nation-state, since they are deeply rooted in the wars that are challenging it in the region.  
15.00 – 15.30 PM: Nora LAFI, historian (Liebnitz-ZMO Berlin). “Pilgrimage, trade and municipal institutions: local networks and global connections in the Ottoman Empire”. 
15.30 – 16.00 PM : BREAK 
16.00 – 16.30 PM: Paul ANDERSON, anthropologist (Cambridge University). “Beyond Islam and Beyond Syria: The Role of ‘Aleppine Emotion’ and ‘Eastern Spirit’, in Fashioning Transnational Merchant Geographies in the 2000s”.  
16.30 – 17.00 PM: Armand AUPIAIS L’HOMME, anthropologist (IFEA Istanbul). “Westerners and Southerners on the Istanbul Evangelical Circuit”. 
17.00 – 18.00 PM: discussion