This roundtable brings together activists, scholars, and artists to reflect on the personal and political praxes of producing conventional and digital knowledge on, in, and from West Asia and North Africa (WANA). The panelists will explore the associated challenges with ‘researching’, ‘writing,’ and ‘reflecting’ on different WANA states within a broader global structure of economic inequalities, social disparities, and lived experiences during times of transformation. Among other issues, the participants will discuss the different praxes of knowledge production within the confines of everyday practices that blur the lines between the personal and the political, and offer novel insights on new data sources and alternative methodologies.
This roundtable is organized jointly with the International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies at Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and AL.Berlin. It is part of the AL.Festival.2021.
Nader Talebi is a Berlin-based scholar/activist working on mobility and mobilization in the Middle East. Born and raised in Iran, he was a volunteer and activist with Afghan refugees and laboring children in Tehran and consequently became interested in the question of inequality and social movements. In 2018 he finished his thesis on state power and revolution: toward a strategic-relational analysis of the 1979 Revolution in Iran and received his Ph.D. in sociology from Lancaster University in the UK. Since 2015 he moved to Berlin and is teaching at Humboldt University while working as a researcher for several projects at the Berlin Institute of Migration and Integration Research (BIM). He is interested in state theory, migration, revolution, nationalism, and racism in the Middle East as well as politics of knowledge production on the region. He is a co-founder/coordinator of MERGE, a research network at BIM bringing together scholars working on the Middle East.
Nafiseh Fathollahzadeh is a visual artist. She received her MA in photography studies and practice from Folkwang University of the Arts. She works at the intersection of urban research and collaborative artistic research. Her recent project Momentography of a failure draws up a multidisciplinary artistic and urban research platform that calls for practicing forms of participatory citizenship through collaborative thinking, digital mapping, and artistic reflections. She is the editor of the art book series Momentography of a failure. Nafiseh Fathollahzadeh is currently a Research Fellow with the Global Scholarly Dialogue Programme of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, affiliated with the research program Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe.
Oula Ramadan is a human rights advocate, and the founder and Director of Badael, an independent civil society organization dedicated to supporting grassroots activism, rights-based campaigning, and active citizenship within the Syrian context through civil society support, oral history, advocacy and research. She has co-authored a number of research reports, which explore civil society activism in Syria and women’s involvement in peacebuilding and feminist movement post-2011 Syria. Prior to this, she worked for UNHCR on sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response interventions in refugee communities of the MEAN region. She holds an MSc in Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice from SOAS University of London.
Sana Tannoury-Karam is a historian of the modern Middle East, writing on the intellectual history of the left in Lebanon and the eastern Mediterranean. She is currently a EUME Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin and a Research Affiliate at the Center for Global History, Freie Universität Berlin. She received her Ph.D. in History from Northeastern University in 2017 and holds an MA in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut. In 2019/2020, Sana Tannoury-Karam was an Early Career Fellow at the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) and a lecturer in the Humanities Department at the Lebanese American University. She had also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Rice University in 2018/2019. Sana Tannoury-Karam has various publications on the Arab left and communism, including her latest article “This War is Our War: Anti-Fascism Among Lebanese Leftist Intellectuals during World War Two” in Journal of World History 30, no. 3 (September 2019). She is also co-editor of and contributor to the volume The League Against Imperialism: Lives and Afterlives with Leiden University Press (2020).
Walid El Houri is a researcher and journalist based in Berlin. He is Partnerships Editor at openDemocracy and Lead Editor of its North Africa, West Asia section (NAWA). He holds a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam and is a former postdoctoral EUME Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Institute for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin. His work and publications deal with protest movements, the politics of failure, and geographies of war and violence.
Yasmeen Daher is a Palestinian activist and writer. She holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Montreal, Canada. Her research deals with the relationship between morality and emancipatory political actions especially in the context of the Arab world. She works as the director of Febrayer – A Network of Independent Arab Media Organizations.
Jeffrey G. Karam is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Lebanese American University. He is a non-resident Research Associate at Harvard University’s Middle East Initiative. Karam is currently a Research Fellow with the Global Scholarly Dialogue Programme of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, affiliated with EUME and the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics at Freie Universität Berlin. He received his MA in Politics from the American University of Beirut and his PhD in Politics from Brandeis University. He is the recipient of the Christopher Andrew-Michael Handel Prize (2017) and the Hussein Oueini Memorial Award. He has held postdoctoral fellowships and visiting professorships at Harvard University and Boston University. His research focuses on the Politics of Intelligence and Foreign Policy and Revolutions and Counter-Revolutions in the Middle East. Jeffrey G. Karam is the editor of The Middle East in 1958: Reimagining A Revolutionary Year (London: I.B. Tauris and Bloomsbury, 2020). He is currently finishing his first book on American intelligence and foreign policy in the Middle East during revolutionary times and political change. Karam is also co-editing a book entitled, The Lebanon Uprising of 2019: Voices from the Revolution (forthcoming with I.B. Tauris). His research has been published in academic and public outlets, including Intelligence and National Security, the Arab Studies Journal, The Washington Post, H-Diplo/ISSF, the Daily Star Lebanon, Megaphone, Jadaliyya.
This event will take place at AL.Berlin in a hybrid format. A limited number of on-site spots can be provided for pre-registered participants. In addition, a virtual attendance will be enabled. Please register in advance via eume(at)trafo-berlin.de to receive the login details.
Depending on approval by the speakers, the roundtable discussion will be recorded. The audio recording will be available via Soundcloud.