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Lebanese searchers:
an active role
for a better understanding of middle-east societies
Semaine internationale sur le Moyen Orient arabe:
from Independence until the Present "

Aix-en-Provence, from 14 to 18th June 2005
Collège de France

Paris depuis 1530

Iremam - MMSH

Gremmo - MOM

Université de Lyon 2

University of Utah

Salt Lake City

The "Mémoires Méditerranéennes
Association" is organizing this international week of studies with the participation of IREMAM from Aix-en-Provence University, of the prestigious Collège de France from Paris, of GREMMO research center of the Lyon University and the University of Utah.
Following the "semaine internationale des études mandataires " which took place in Aix en Provence in June 2001 and the seminar of June 2003 about "Sélim Takla, 1895-1945, une contribution à l'indépendance du Liban",
this international event will gather professors, searchers et personnalities coming from Europe, United states and Middle East countries.



5, rue du Château de l'Horloge - BP 647 - 13094 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 1
Tél (accueil) : + 33 (0)4 42 52 41 61

des indépendances à aujourd'hui

from Independence until the Present "

Organised by
Gérard D. Khoury
(IREMAM/ Mémoires méditerranéennes)
Henry Laurens
(Collège de France) Nadine Méouchy (GREMMO)
Peter Sluglett (University of Utah)

Organising institutions :

Collège de France, Paris,
CNRS-Université Lumière Lyon 2 / Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée,
IREMAM / Mémoires méditerranéennes,
CNRS-Université d'Aix-Marseille I, II et III / MMSH,
University of Utah,
Salt Lake City
, USA.

Countries : Liban, Syrie, Irak, Palestine, Jordanie, Egypte
Périod : from independence to the present.
Languages of the week: Arabic, English, French.

The day by day previsional program
(updated end of January, rtf format download)

Schedules of workshops of the international studies week:

from Independence until the Present "

In the opening session there will be a number of special presentations:
1) a) archival sources :
- Pierre Fournié, Conservateur en chef du Patrimoine in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will discuss the source materials recently made available for general consultation in Paris and Nantes, which go as far as the 1960s.
- Wm Roger Louis, Kerr Professor of English History and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin, past president of the American Historical Association and editor of the Oxford History of the British Empire, will discuss the British archives pertaining to the history of the Middle East in the second part of the twentieth century.
- Basma Kodmani-Darwich will discuss her project of instituting an archive of private papers for the Arab world .

2) b) contributions relating to the juridical status of the new Arab states and to the tensions existing between their societies and political and social modernity:
- Me Youssef Takla, an international lawyer at the barreaux of Paris and Beyrouth, will present a comparative study of the various Arab constitutions.
- Abdel Hafez Saleh Magdi, Professor of Philosophy at Cairo University, will discuss some of the problems relating to the emergence of the individual and of a spirit of critical thinking in the Arab world.

Atelier I: The historiography of the Arab Middle East
Session 1 and 2): Critical assessment of recent Arab and Western historiographies of the Arab world
This atelier will consist of critical discussions of the seminal works of Arab and Western historiography of the Middle East in the twentieth century. We consider it particularly important that the analysis of Arab historiography should be undertaken by Arab historians working in the Arab world. The principal chronological focus of both parts of the atelier (Arab and Western) should be on historical writing since the 1970s, although participants are welcome to site more recent writing in the context of earlier work.

Coordination : Henry Laurens (Collège de France) and Rashid Khalidi
(Edward Said Chair, Columbia University)

Atelier II: From European colonialism to the 'new Empires': imperatives and deadlock
(international, regional, economic and political) (Sessions 3 and 4)

This atelier situates the history of the Arab Middle East within the process of formal decolonisation. The period begins with the war of 1948 and the creation of Israel, the explosive event which has so profoundly affected Arab regimes throughout the second half of the twentieth century. While Israel was coming into being, the Arab states and their 'liberal' societies were gravely weakened, yielding their place to military governments which were autocratic and dirigiste. After the rivalries of the Cold War and the emergence of the unipolar world which has emerged since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States appears to favour, or to wish to impose, a new form of liberalism in the Arab world. This workshop will concentrate less upon the history of the international relations of the region than on the relations which exist between external actors and the internal political configurations within states or groups of states in the region. Particular, but not exclusive, attention will be given to studies of Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq.

Coordination : Gérard D. Khoury (IREMAM/Mémoires méditerranéennes) and
Peter Sluglett (University of Utah)

Atelier III:
Cultural heritage (patrimoine) and nation-building (Session 5)

The notion of 'heritage' does not exist as a monolithic entity. It is a metaphysical construction arising from the encounter between material (or immaterial) elements and the human beings who attempt to make sense of it. Situating the development of the notion of heritage in its historical context will help us to understand its contemporary evolution, and the different ways in which a few ideas have been elevated to the status of dogma, and even acquired something of the aura of the sacred, in order to promote the construction of national identity. This atelier will discuss the elaboration, first by the colonial authorities and subsequently by the various national states after independence, of policies towards national heritage based generally on the political utilisation of archaeological research and colonial ethnography (le savoir colonial). While the various nationalist elites were initially concerned to construct a viable national past as an integral part of the process of nation-building, their successors after independence tended to make use of particular images of national heritage, also as part of the process of nation-building but more specifically to legitimate their own regimes.
It is interesting to reflect on the intentions of policies which have tried to instrumentalise notions of national heritage, and to show how these manipulations have been received and perceived in each of the countries concerned. How should the changing content of notions of 'heritage' be interpreted for different historical periods - reminder of origins, the principle of historical continuity, memorandum, commemoration - and the particular elements of the past, both real and immaterial, that are evoked at different times. Are all these referents of Western origin, or is consciousness of cultural heritage already part of collective memory (originating, for instance, in the general biases of urban chroniclers), linking together the material and the immaterial and constituting an element of local identity stemming from a profound sense of historical continuity?

Coordination : Jean-Claude David (GREMMO)

Atelier IV:
Economic models and strategies (Session 6)

In the 1950s and 1960s, the state economic sectors of Egypt, Iraq and Syria were turned into command economies on the Eastern European model. This was an objective which had been pursued by most of the actors in the national movement, but its actual implementation, generally accompanied by the creation of huge and largely parasitic bureaucracies, produced widespread disillusionment. It also produced serious structural inefficiencies which have served to hinder subsequent economic, political and social development. At the same time, the political elites of the 'post-revolutionary' states took advantage of the situation both to enrich themselves and to create a powerful support base for themselves and the regimes to which they belonged. Contrary to what some observers expected, the need to liberalise these economies, beginning with the infitahs of the 1970s and continuing with 'structural adjustment' in the 1980s and 1990s, actually strengthened the power of these same elites, by further diversifying their economic networks and their clientele. Although the economies of Jordan and Lebanon did not follow quite the same trajectory, they were characterised by a similar concentration of resources, a progressive weakening of the middle classes, and the same glaring social inequalities as those found in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.
The atelier will examine the effects of these various economic policy changes, adopted for a combination of internal and external motives, on the political structures of the various states of the region.
Coordination : Eberhard Kienle (IREMAM)

Atelier V:
Islam, nationalisms and jurisdictions; mobilisation and mediation (Sessions 7 and 8)

Popular mobilisation, which has been mostly an urban phenomenon since the 1950s, is at the heart of the relationship between social culture, ethos, Islam, territorial stakes and nationalisms. It involves traditional networks of identity and solidarity, as well as the new civil, political and military entities created during the late Ottoman and colonial periods. It raises questions about the role of the secular and religious leaderships and more generally of the identification of mediators between society and the state. Here it is useful to consider the role of various institutions of civil society (charitable, religious, medical, and so on). This form of mobilisation has set the stage for collective representations, cultural, social, and political, whose expression it would be interesting to follow over the century. An investigation of the phenomenon would surely reveal the durability and permanence of a number of themes, symbols and images, which have been an integral part of the collective memory and consciousness of the peoples of the region, at least since the First World War. Hence this atelier will question the linkages between society - as an ensemble of anonymous actors - local centres of power, and the central authority. It will question the content and the future of national identities, national reconstruction and/or construction, and the regimes associated with them.

Coordination : Nadine Méouchy (GREMMO), Nadine Picaudou (INALCO) and
Agnès Favier (Collège de France)

The closing session will give the floor to the invited "witnesses" of the period under consideration, to enable them to express their thoughts about the proceedings of the previous five days on the basis of their personal experience.

The final list of participating contributors for each workshop will be published later
The expected list of invited contributors
(updated end of January, rtf format download)

Expected contributors coming from Lebanon

Ahmad Beydoun, Professeur de Sociologie, Faculté des Sciences sociales, Université Libanaise, Beyrouth.
Karam Karam, Docteur en Sciences politiques, chercheur associé à l’IREMAM, Aix-en-Provence, et à l’IFPO-Beyrouth.
Samir Kassir, Historien, enseignant à l’Institut d’études politiques de l’Université Saint-Joseph et journaliste à Al-Nahar, Beyrouth.
Farid el-Khazen, Chair and Professor of Political Studies, Department of Political Studies and Public Administration, American University of Beirut.
Jihane Sfeir-Khayat, Doctorante en Histoire à l’INALCO, Boursière d’aide à la recherche, IFPO-Beyrouth.
Souad Slim, Historienne, Directrice du Département d’études antiochènes, Université de Balamand, Liban.
Youssef Takla (Me), Avocat international aux barreaux de Paris et
de Beyrouth.

Ghassan Tueni, Ecrivain, Directeur du Journal Al-Nahar, Beyrouth.
Stefan Weber, Urban Social Historian, OIB, Beirut.

from Independence until the Present "
(updated : January 20th, 2005)
France : Collège de France (Paris), CNRS (GREMMO-Lyon, IREMAM/MMSH-Aix-en-Provence, GRSLR-Paris, EHESS/IISMM-Paris), INALCO, Université d'Aix-Marseille, Université de Lille, Université de Nice-Sophia-Antipolis, Direction des Archives du Ministère des Affaires étrangères.
Overseas french research centers:
IFPO (Beyrouth, Damas), CEDEJ (Le Caire)
Italy : Institut Universitaire européen (Florence)
Germany : Free University of Berlin, Centre de recherches de Bonn
England :
Birbeck College (Londres), Institute of Peace (Londres)
Switzerland : Université de Lausanne
United States: University of Utah (Salt Lake City), University of Texas (Austin), Columbia University (New-York), Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT - Cambrige), Harvard University (Boston), University of Princeton, University of Chicago
Lebanon : Université libanaise, Université de Balamand,
American University of Beirut (AUB)
Syria : Université de Damas, Centre des archives historiques de Damas
Jordan : Al-Hashemy University (Zarka)
Egypt : Université du Caire, American University of Cairo (AUC)
UAE Emirates: Al-Bayan University (Abou Dhabi)
Yémen : Fondation Agha Khan (Sanaa)

Formation du Grand Liban

Cliquez sur la carte pour la démo
Repères Historiques du Liban
Historical marks of Lebanon

Cartes animées et commentées

Soucieux de préserver une autonomie acquise sous les Ottomans, les nationalistes libanais font admettre à Versailles la création d’un Etat étendu autour du noyau chrétien du Mont Liban.

Webpage still under construction

Sponsors / Contributors of the event

GREMMO - Collège de France - University of Utah, - MMSH - IREMAM
- Services culturels de l’Ambassade de France en Syrie
- IFPO, Beyrouth
- Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Service EGIDE

- Serge Boidevaix (Chambre de Commerce Franco-Arabe)

- Mairie d’Aix-en-Provence
(prêt du Pavillon de Vendôme et cocktail de clôture pour 150 personnes)

- Mécénat privé libanais:
(J.S. Takla, M. Zaccour, Makram Zaccour ( Merril Lynch Beyrouth)
- Tufts University, Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies (USA)
- Banque Audi, Genève