EUME Berliner Seminar
Mi 25 Mai 2022 | 17:00–18:30

The Auto/Biographical Subject

A Conversation with EUME Fellows Diana Abbani, Fouad Halbouni, Sara Mourad, Ezgi Saritaş, and Sana Tannoury-Karam

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

This seminar is a conversation between EUME Fellows who are engaged in the reading and writing of auto/biographies. The conversation revolves around issues related to these genres, asking why we write auto/biographies and what do we actually write about when we engage in auto/biographical exercises? By focusing on the auto/biographical subject, the seminar questions the positionality and centering of the self, its gendered dimensions, and its ethical considerations. The conversation also tackles the issue of audience, authority, and ways of reading these types of texts.

Diana Abbani received her doctorate in Arabic Studies from Sorbonne University with a thesis entitled “Music and Society in Beirut at the Time of the Nahda”. She holds double masters in History and Political Science from Sorbonne University and the University of Saint Denis in Paris. She is currently preparing a book that focuses on the Levant’s social history in the first half of the 20th century. In her research, she examines the implications of social, political and technological changes, as well as the emergence of the music industry and the entertainment world, on music and Levantine society. In her study, she focuses on alternative narratives, uncovering the forgotten stories of people who were affected by the sound transition and revisiting the experiences of those marginalized by official narratives. Diana was a EUME Fellow during the academic years 2018/19 and 2019/20. In the academic years 2020-22, Diana is a EUME Fellow of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. 

Fouad Halbouni is presently a EUME fellow for the academic year 2021/2022. He received his PhD in cultural anthropology from Johns Hopkins University (2019). His current research titled “Exercises in Survival” examines everyday forms of moral practices among Coptic activists which are involved in reclaiming their disrupted and damaged lives in the face of political repression following the January revolution in Egypt. Fouad has taught several courses at Johns Hopkins University and the Cairo Institute for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CILAS) that reflect his current research interests in diverse sub-disciplines such as the Anthropology of Orthodox Christianity, Memory Studies, Anthropology of Youth Movements, and lastly, the Anthropology of Revolution.

Sara Mourad is a writer interested in the relationship between desire, deviance, and dissidence and the fictions/frictions of private and public life. She has published on these subjects in English and Arabic and her writings have appeared in the International Journal of Communication, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Jadaliyya, Al Jumhuriya, Rusted Radishes, and Megaphone among others. Sara Mourad received her PhD in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Since 2016, she is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the American University of Beirut, where she founded and co-directs the Women & Gender Studies Initiative. She is currently working on a monograph on women’s auto/biographical practices and the making of female subjectivity in contemporary Lebanon. In 2018, she was a Global Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. In 2021-2022, she is a EUME fellow at the Forum for Transregional Studies in Berlin.

Ezgi Sarıtaş received her PhD from Ankara University, Department of Gender Studies. Her dissertation was published as a book in Turkish in 2020 under the title Cinsel Normalliğin Kuruluşu (Construction of Sexual Normality). Since 2012, she has worked as a research assistant at Ankara University where she teaches courses on feminist and queer theories, history of gender and sexuality. Her current research interests focus on two distinct but related topics: sexual modernity in the Ottoman Empire and the early Turkish Republic, and the feminist and women’s rights movements in modern Turkey. She works with various civil society organizations, groups, and journals in Turkey engaged in feminist and queer activism and research. In the academic year 2021/2022 she receives a stipend from the Gerda Henkel Foundation and is a postdoctoral Fellow of “Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe” (EUME) at the Forum Transregionale Studien as well as a visiting scholar at the Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin from January to September 2022.

Sana Tannoury-Karam is a historian of the modern Middle East, writing on the intellectual history of the Left in the Levant. She received her PhD in History from Northeastern University and holds an MA in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut. In 2019/2020, Tannoury-Karam was an Early Career Fellow at the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) affiliated with the Center of Arab and Middle East Studies at the American University of Beirut, 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. She has various publications, 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). In the academic year 2020/21, Sana Tannoury-Karam is a EUME Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien, affiliated with the Center for Global History at Freie Universität Berlin. In 2021/22, she remains affiliated with EUME.

The Berliner Seminar will take place on-site at the Forum Transregionale Studien. Please register in advance via eume(at) Depending on approval by the speakers, the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available via Soundcloud.

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