EUME Berliner Seminar
Mi 15 Nov 2023 | 17:00–18:30

On Endings: Temporalities of Exiled Arab Magazines in the 1980s/90s

Yvonne Albers (Freie Universität Berlin/ EUME Fellow 2021-24), Chair: Hanan Toukan (Bard College Berlin / EUME Fellow 2019-23)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

As much as beginnings have been a popular topic in modern intellectual and art history, so little have we theorized how things end and what an ending actually is when it comes to intellectual projects and practices of print. In response to this neglect, this talk is about ‘how things end’ in periodical culture. The historical focus is on the 1980/90s in the Arab Middle East, a period characterized by socio-political change and unrest triggering new and unprecedented waves of exile, but also a moment in which the first signs of a profound media change become apparent. The talk addresses contemporary debates on the role of the Arab periodical at the assumed end of its own era, paying particular attention to exile magazines, which were largely rejected as insignificant by editors in the Arab homeland. Building on Edward Said’s notion of lateness as a form of exile, it will then take an exemplary look at the late phase of one of the leading cultural magazines in the post-1967 period, the Beirut- and later Paris-based cultural magazine Mawaqif (1968-1994). The talk will conclude with a look into the last issue of another once-exiled literary Lebanese magazine, Al-Naqid (1988-1995), to discuss the politics of ending as an integral part of the modern intellectual’s most important practice, namely: doing magazines.

Yvonne Albers is a postdoctoral researcher and academic coordinator at the Cluster of Excellence Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective at Freie Universität Berlin and is an affiliated EUME fellow (2021-24). Her current research focuses on time and temporality in/of Arab periodicals since the 1960s. Her second monograph, an intellectual biography of the Beirut-based cultural magazine Mawaqif (1968-1994), has just been published (Brill 2023). Besides several essays, she has also authored a book on the question of spectatorship in contemporary Lebanese performance art (Reichert 2011), co-edited a volume on literary engagement since the 1950s (Reichert 2015) and co-authored a textbook on modern Arabic literature and culture (Metzler 2021).

Hanan Toukan is Professor of Middle East Studies in the Politics and Ethics Program at Bard College Berlin. She is author of "The Politics of Art: Dissent and Cultural Diplomacy in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan" published with Stanford University Press in 2021. She is also a contributing editor at Jerusalem Quarterly and a. member of the editorial Collective of Journal for Visual Culture. Toukan is also currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Palestinian Museum in Ramallah. 

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