EUME Workshop
Do 11 Nov 2021 – Sa 13 Nov 2021

The Journal as Form: Re-Thinking Approaches to the Study of Arabic Periodicals

Convened by Barbara Winckler (University of Münster), Anne-Marie McManus (Forum Transregionale Studien / EUME), and Yvonne Albers (EUME Fellow 2021/22 / University of Marburg)

Online event via ZOOM


To request the Zoom link, please contact: journal(at)

Many of the intellectual and cultural debates in the Middle East and North Africa of the 19th and 20th centuries were shaped by journals, from the convoluted generalist magazines of the Nahḍa to the little magazines of cultural avant-gardes. Even as today’s print culture practices are under pressure from digital methods of publishing, the journal has proven both resilient and flexible, adapting to online formats in new coexistences with contemporary social media. Yet despite this complex formal and transhistorical life, the journal as a form tends to drop into the background of analysis. On one hand, scholars committed to close textual reading can remove poems, short stories, and essays from their original publishing homes, treating them as autonomous works. On the other hand, scholars committed to reading journals in their role as sociocultural and political institutions, notably in the twentieth century, turn to the archive, sociological and circulational networks, and the formations and biographies of intellectual generations. Most of these scholarly enterprises that rely extensively on the periodical as sources only rarely engage with its distinctive form. Journals are treated either as incidental holders for literary works, or as mere vessels for, or mirrors of, the political, social, and cultural debates of their times.

An investigation of the journal — in its varied historical and contemporary forms —, in contrast, promises to map new methodological pathways that draw on these approaches while also cutting across their apparent boundaries. The workshop, “The Journal as Form: Re-Thinking Approaches to the Study of Arabic Periodicals”, will track the periodical over time as a form with distinctive rules and conventions. Its focus draws inspiration from recent trends in cultural and periodical studies that look at the journal as an “autonomous object of study” (Latham/Scholes) and a specific medium “with its own distinctive dynamics, its own function and agency” (Philpotts). Closed, thematic sessions will invite participants to explore reading journals across their textual (and other) contents, wider contexts, and sociopolitical agency (whether historical, produced/performed, or both). Questions of history, politics, and material culture can thereby be studied and understood from within the journal as form, critically transforming our modes of close reading as well as the understood corpus of the journal. As Eric Bulson’s work on the global little magazine has shown, this form includes not only familiar genres like poetry, short stories, and essays, but images, maps, subscription information, advertisements, readers’ letters, and more. The analysis of these elements, a variety typical of the periodical, as well as the interplay between them facilitates insights into the journal as a specific cultural form.

The workshop is convened by Barbara Winckler (University of Münster), Anne-Marie McManus (Forum Transregionale Studien / EUME), and Yvonne Albers (EUME Fellow 2021/22 / University of Marburg), in cooperation with EUME at the Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin. It is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, through a Dilthey Fellowship based at the University of Münster.



THURSDAY, 11 November

16:00-16:30   Welcome & Introduction

16:30-17:45   Panel 1: Composition
Hala Auji (EUME Fellow 2021/22 / American University of Beirut): Visuality and Visual Literacy in Early Arabic Periodicals
Arturo Monaco (University of Catania / EUME Fellow 2018): The Form of the Arabic Surrealist Magazine: The Case of al-Ġurfah al-suryāliyyah (2020)
Barbara Winckler (University of Münster): Paratexts/Peritexts, Interplay, and (A)Hierarchical Relations between Sections, Texts, and Images: Reflections on the Potential of Concepts to Grasp the Journal’s Heterogenous Form
Moderated by: Dounia Badini (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris)

17:45-18:00   Break

18:00-19:15   Panel 2: Seriality
Michael Allan (University of Oregon / EUME Fellow 2011/12 & 2017-18): Seriality and Media: Impressions of Global Cinema in al-Muqtataf
Teresa Pepe (University of Oslo): The Autofictional Blog as a Form in Arabic Literature
Walter Armbrust (University of Oxford): The Illustrated Magazine in Egypt as a New Medium
Anne-Marie McManus (Forum Transregional Studien / EUME / PI of SYRASP): Cigarette Packs and Blanket Threads: The Case for Making a Journal in Prison
Moderated by: Barbara Winckler (University of Münster)

FRIDAY, 12 November

16:00-17:15   Panel 3: Temporality
Robyn Creswell (Yale University): Magazines and the Poetics of Occasion
Elizabeth M. Holt (Bard College / EUME Fellow 2015/16): Mercantilism as Form: When Sindbad Met Robinson
Yvonne Albers (EUME Fellow 2021/22 / University of Marburg): In Sync / Out of Time: Temporalities of an Arab Journal in the Late 20th Century
Moderated by: Hoda El Shakry (University of Chicago)

17:15-17:30   Break

17:30-18:45   Panel 4: Worldliness
Zeina Maasri (University of Brighton): Exorcising Imperialist Ghosts, Wrestling with Hiwar’s Visual Form
Hoda El Shakry (University of Chicago): Literary Worlds and World Literature: Al-ʿAlam al-Adabī (1930-1936)
Itzea Goikolea-Amiano (University of London): Form in the Moroccan Colonial Journals Al-Motamid (1947-56) and Al-Ketama (1953-59): Literary Knowledge and the Paraliterary Space
Moderated by: Michael Allan (University of Oregon / EUME Fellow 2011/12 & 2017-18)

SATURDAY, 13 November

16:00-17:15   Panel 5: Doing Journals
Amir Moosavi (Rutgers University / EUME Fellow 2016/17 & 2020/21): Even Now, Another World is Possible: Aesthetics and Politics in Al-Badil’s Fight for Liberation in Iraq and Beyond
Otared Haidar (University of Oxford): Arabic Cultural Journalism: New Writing for New Reality
Adélie Chevée (European University Institute): The Politics of Materiality in Syrian Revolutionary Newspapers
Moderated by: Yvonne Albers (EUME Fellow 2021/22 / University of Marburg)

17:15-17:30   Break

17:30-18:45   Panel 6: Archives, Methods
Refqa Abu-Remaileh (Freie Universität Berlin / EUME Fellow): Periodicals in the PalREAD Database
Nevine Fayek (University of Münster): Overlooked Egyptian Avant-garde Journals of the 1930s: Reframing a Canonized Historical Narrative of al-shi’r al-manthur
Till Grallert (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): How Did They Do It? First Attempts at Tackling the Question of Authorship with Computational Methods
Hala Halim (New York University): Lotus journal, the Cairo Years: Overview and Methodological Questions
Moderated by: Refqa Abu-Remaileh (Freie Universität Berlin / EUME Fellow)

18:45-19:30   Final Discussion




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