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69489-01 - Seminar: The Interrupted Futures of the Arab World: Exploring Past Social and Political Possibilities 3 KP

Semester Herbstsemester 2023
Angebotsmuster einmalig
Dozierende Falestin Naïli (falestin.naili@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Manfred Sing (manfred.sing@unibas.ch)
Inhalt In this class, we propose to concentrate on paths not taken and on unimplemented plans that had been devised by local actors in the 20th century Arab world. The plans to be analyzed may include the programs of political parties and revolutionary formations that were repressed, urban planification schemes that were never implemented, but also patterns and discursive practices of daily coexistence which held the promise of a different society.
This focus will entail the application of a type of historical analysis and historiographical method which has thus far not been largely employed for the region: the exploration of past futures in the sense in which Reinhart Koselleck proposed it and the writing of a history of possibilities which “restitutes the dignity to each time-space position” and emphasizes what Hans Blumenberg calls the radical potentialities of humankind.
Lernziele Upon completion of this course, you will
• have gained knowledge about some of the most important thinkers about past futures and the history of possibilities;
• develop a capacity to analyse the history of the Arab World from the perspective of interrupted futures;
• be able to identify advantages and drawbacks of this approach;
• be able to apply this approach to your own research and pedagogical work.
Literatur Provisional bibliography (to be updated):

Benjamin, Walter, “On the Concept of History,” Gesammelte Schriften [Collected writings] vol. 1, (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1974 [1940]), 2, VIII, trans. Dennis Redmond, online at www.marxists.org/reference/archive/benjamin/1940/history.htm

Campos, Michelle, Ottoman Brothers: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Early Twentieth-Century Palestine, Stanford University Press, 2011.

Campos, Michelle, “The Jerusalem Light Rail in Historical Perspective: Urban Transportation and Urban Citizenship between Ottomanism and Apartheid”, Jerusalem Quarterly 92, 2022, pp. 52-68.

Dawisha, Adeed, “The Apex of Arab Nationalism: The United Arab Republic and the Iraqi Revolution, January-September 1958”, in A. Dawisha, Arab Nationalism in the Twentieth Century: From Triumph to Despair, Princeton University Press, 2003, pp. 186-213.

Der Matossian, Bedross, Shattered Dreams of Revolution, From Liberty to Violence in the Late Ottoman Empire, Stanford University Press, 2014.

Dukhgan, Jawad & Naïli, Falestin, “The 1963 General Plan for Jerusalem: The Unrealized Vision for the Eastern Part of the City”, Jerusalem Quarterly 92, 2022, pp. 124-142.

Fiedler, Lutz, “Der letzte Winter des Internationalismus, Vergangene Utopien einer jüdisch-arabischen Gegenwart im Nahen Osten”, in: Nicolas Berg et al. (eds.), Konstellationen. Über Geschichte, Erfahrung und Erkenntnis. Festschrift für Dan Diner zum 65. Geburtstag, Göttingen/Oakville, Conn.: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011, pp. 403–426.

Klein, Menachem, Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron, translated by Haim Watzman, London, Hurst, 2014.

Koselleck, Reinhart, Vergangene Zukunft, Zur Semantik historischer Zeit, Suhrkamp, 2015.

Sing, Manfred, “The communist movement and citizenship in Arab countries”, Routledge Handbook of Citizenship in the Middle East and North Africa, ed. Roel Meijer, James N. Sater, Zahra R. Babar, 2020, pp.

Sing, Manfred, “Brothers in Arms: How Palestinian Maoist turned Jihadists”, Die Welt des Islam 51, Brill, 2011, pp. 1-44.

Sing, Manfred, “Arabische Sozialismen: Von antikolonialem Widerstand zu autoritärer Politik, von islamischer Selbstvergewisserung zu postkolonialem Protest”, Vierteljahrshefte zur Zeitgeschichte 70 (4), 2022, pp. 779-792.

Thompson, Elizabeth F., How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs, The Syrian Congress of 1920 and the Destruction of its Historic Liberal-Islamic Alliance, Grove Press, 2020.

Bemerkungen Compulsory reading for the 1st class (18 Sept.):
Reinhart Koselleck, pp. 349-375
Additional reading:
Walter Benjamin (see full references in bibliography)


Teilnahmebedingungen Seminar open to students from 2nd year of BA
Anmeldung zur Lehrveranstaltung Register: Inscription; Withdrawal: required
Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz
HörerInnen willkommen


Intervall Wochentag Zeit Raum
14-täglich Montag 14.15-17.30 Maiengasse, Seminarraum U113


Datum Zeit Raum
Montag 18.09.2023 14.15-17.30 Uhr Maiengasse, Seminarraum U113
Montag 02.10.2023 14.15-17.30 Uhr Maiengasse, Seminarraum U113
Montag 16.10.2023 14.15-17.30 Uhr Maiengasse, Seminarraum U113
Montag 30.10.2023 14.15-17.30 Uhr Maiengasse, Seminarraum U113
Montag 20.11.2023 14.15-17.30 Uhr Maiengasse, Seminarraum U113
Montag 04.12.2023 14.15-17.30 Uhr Maiengasse, Seminarraum U113
Montag 18.12.2023 14.15-17.30 Uhr Maiengasse, Seminarraum U113
Module Modul: Europäisierung und Globalisierung (Masterstudium: European Global Studies)
Modul: Fortgeschrittene Nahoststudien (Bachelor Studienfach: Nahoststudien)
Modul: The Urban across Disciplines (Master Studiengang: Critical Urbanisms)
Modul: Themen der Near & Middle Eastern Studies (Master Studienfach: Near & Middle Eastern Studies)
Leistungsüberprüfung Lehrveranst.-begleitend
Hinweise zur Leistungsüberprüfung This class is based on interactive learning methods. Students are expected to attend classes regularly, have done the weekly readings provided in the syllabus, be prepared to actively participate in seminar discussions and prepare a portfolio. Assignments are detailed below. You may not miss more than one session (2 classes).
In this course, as BA students you will choose two and as MA students three tasks (of a total of four proposed tasks) which will help you achieve the learning objectives. In addition, you have a list of compulsory readings to do before each class meeting, and a list of proposed additional readings that are not compulsory but recommended for your learning and for completing your tasks.

Content of the portfolio
You will find more concrete instructions in ADAM.

• Task 1: Create a critical bibliography on Interrupted Futures. This critical bibliography can be either theoretical or be limited to one region or country. It should contain at least one book and four articles or chapters that are not currently part of the course bibliography. Each text should be read and summarized, pointing out strengths and weaknesses. The book summary should contain between 600 to 1000 words; the other texts should be summarized in 250 to 400 words.
• Task 2: Prepare a summary of one additional reading (drawn from the course bibliography) for the class, in one of the following formats: either as a 600 to 1000-word text document to be handed out to your colleagues, or as a 10-minute oral presentation with a minimum of three slides.
• Task 3: Prepare the outline of an exhibition project concerning one of the case studies, including a one-page concept note, a Powerpoint of 10 objects (photographs, books, films etc.) to be shown with complete source information and a short text about their relevance (50 words for each object).
• Task 4: Group work (2 students) - Stage a debate between two scholars, one in favour of the past futures’ approach and another against it (10-minute class presentation).
Formal portfolio requirements
• You can express yourself in English or German language.
• If you would like to submit your work in a different format, please discuss this with us before the 4th class meeting.
• Submission dates are detailed in the course schedule.
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung Anmelden: Belegen; Abmelden: nicht erforderlich
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala Pass / Fail
Wiederholtes Belegen nicht wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät, studadmin-philhist@unibas.ch
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Fachbereich Nahost-Studien