Dr. Fouad Laroui
Ieme van der Poel, Patricia Pisters, Fouad Laroui, Karen Vintges, Marjan Nijborg, Yolande Jansen, Leila Cherribi, Cristian Cruzat, Pablo Valdivia, Abdelghani Elkhairat (UU), Nadia Bouras (UU). International partners: Khalid Zekri (Université de Meknès, Morocco) + others to be confirmed.
The overall aim of the research group is to provide a counterpoint to the old, well-worn metaphor of a culture ‘shock’ between North Africa and Europe. Instead, we will promote another metaphor: two shores (of the Mediterranean) washing over each other and in some sense reflecting each other, whether in historical terms or in terms of memory and imaginaries. This dialectical dynamic will allow us to think outside of the traditional categories of postcolonial theory, and to use concepts that have sometime been overlooked such as ‘interculturalism’, ‘multilingualism’, ‘migration / displacement / exile’, etc. A key aspect of our project is that it will be a veritable exchange between researchers working on both sides of the Mediterranean. This exchange will confirm our original idea that the Mediterranean has become a mobile frontier – maybe not a frontier at all. (This original way of looking at the Maghreb-Europe dynamic will allow, inevitably, for a ‘triangular’ understanding of Europe’s relationship with the ‘Machrek’ too.)
Conferences and workshops. Two big colloquia (2014 and 2018). Articles and books. Two dissertations by 2013, Two other dissertations by 2016. An international research network. An annual film festival (‘The new Moroccan Cinema: meet the Director’).
Time span: 2013-2018. We will start with a series of meetings (in 2013) in order to refine the starting points of the research. We will then define some research axes on which subgroups of researchers will cooperate and work. This will lead to papers and communications culminating in an international colloquium to be held at the end of 2014 or begin 2015, and another one in 2018. Concurrently, some researchers will work on their PhDs and will get regular feedback from the members of the group. We also intend to apply for external funding for parts of our program. (The film festival will start in February 2014).
The ‘old metaphor of a culture ‘shock’ between North Africa and Europe’ we have alluded to in the description of the research program is still informing many societal views. When it comes to immigration, multiculturalism, religion, the relationship between Europe and the Maghreb, etc., the ‘shock’ is still, regrettably, the figure that shapes the public debate. By introducing new metaphors of figures (e.g., the two shores washing into each other), by actualizing concepts such as ‘interculturalism’, our program will help displace the public discourse from ‘shock’ (confrontation, war…) to ‘cooperation’. This could have very positive societal effects.