2022.05.25 and 2022.12.05: International Workshops on Archives, Democracy and Civil Society

The Workshop takes place in Berlin, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient

The conservation of the archives of all decision-making processes is part of the core duties of the exercize of power. It’s function is both internal, as administrations always need to keep a trace of their own actions and external, as other eyes might wish to consult traces of decisions. This function also has various temporalities: immediate for the coordination of services and future under the form of archives for reference, documentation, contestation, recourse or historical research. The possibility for people to have access to such resources is one of the main pillars of democracy and is the object of strong debates as for its modalities, practicalities and legitimate limitations.

The object of this workhop is to reflect on such issues from the combined points of views of historical research, archives conservation and debates on the nature of democracy. Archives and the functioning of conservation apparatuses, from medieval Islam, the Ottoman Empire, colonial powers to independent States, but also various European contexts in a comparative perspective, are taken into consideration and interpreted according to questionings pertaining to accessibility, transparency, openess, or sometimes the organized lack thereof. The aim is to reflect on the link between archival conservation and civil society.

In order to reflect on the complex interaction between various temporalities, the concept of historicity is proposed as a tool for decyphering what was at stake around the archives, their degree of openess, their state of conservation and the conditions of their critical interpretation in each cultural and temporal configuration examined, as well as in present times. As for present times, the question of digitalisation, open-source and open-access will also be examined.


9h00: Welcoming Words by Prof. Ulrike Freitag, Director of the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient

9h15: Introduction by Nora Lafi (HISDEMAB project leader): “Archives and the Question of Democracy: Between Historical Research and Civil Society”

9h30-12h00, Session 2: Digital Heritage between Conservation and Democracy. Chair: Canay Șahin ( Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin )

Erol Ülker ( Işık University and Türkiye Sosyal Tarih Araştırma Vakfı, Istanbul)

Sibel Servet Sular (Kadın Eserleri Kütüphanesi ve Bilgi Merkezi Vakfı, Istanbul), translation by Elisabeth Kimmerle (Leibniz-IEG Potsdam, HISDEMAB)

Stefania Piersanti (Director of the Archivio di Stato di Venezia)

Alisher Karabaev (Librarian and Archivist at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin) and Thomas Ripper (Chief Librarian and Archivist, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin)

12h00-13h00 Lunch at ZMO

13h00-14h00, Session 1: European Archival Resources and the study of the Orient. Chair: Abdul Hameed Al-Kayyali (Institut français du Proche-Orient, Amman)

Feras Kremsti (Curator of the Oriental Manuscript Collection, Gotha Research Library, Gotha)

Dima Dayoub (Coordinator of the Syrian Heritage Archive Project; Documenting the built Heritage catalogue of Aleppo at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)

14h-15h00, Session 3: Archives and the Question of Democratic Transitions. Chair: Robin Schmahl (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, HISDEMAB)

Hedi Jallab (Director of the Archives nationales de Tunisie)

Sophia Hoffmann (Universität Erfurt and leader of the research programme Learning Intelligence: The Exchange of Secret Service Knowledge between Germany and the Arab Middle East 1960 – 2010 at Leibniz-ZMO)

15h00-15h30: Final Roundtable

16:30: visit of Stasi Archives in Berlin

2d Workshop: December 5, 2022

Heritage, archives, conservation, concepts and practices in the mirror of authenticity and the challenges of digitalisation : reflections on the cases of Ghadames, Nafta and Tozeur

December 5, 2022, Online

This workshop is conceived in the continuity of the research questions of the HISDEMAB programme and the discussions held during the international workshop in Berlin in May 2022 on archives, the role of civil society and the challenges of digitalisation. The participants are invited to reflect on the notion of heritage from the point of view of urban morphology and different architectural typologies, as well as from the point of view of the mobilisation of the notions of archive and conservation. It will also be a question of discussing, among other things, the research issues relating to the civic role of associations for the protection of heritage and archives.

How can the existence of local instutitions for the conservation of public and private archives, as well as tangible, architectural and intangible heritage, influence the identity of the city and its relationship with the notion of authenticity over time ? How does the consensus around the issue of protection develop, or conflicts persist, and how do collaborative discussions or decisions take place in the various communities within the city ? Are there local processes of institutionalisation of these archival practices and what are their possible limits? Questions relating to the construction of a possible concept for each era and the practice of archival conservation in the past as well as reflections on their future conservation will be examined with a focus on the cities of Ghadames, Tozeur and Nafta, which, while having extremely strong identities of their own, have in some respects comparable issues. The contributors will address the issue from the time of decolonization, while reflecting on the impact of previous historical strata, in order to understand the issues of definition and conservation of these complex heritages.

Following this workshop, an international digitalization and research project in cooperation with Libyan and Tunisian Partners, supervised by Nora Lafi and Suaad Al-Ghafal will be formalized.

 The HISDEMAB online workshop will take place on Monday (9:00-11:00 Berlin time) as a video conference

Organisers: Suaad Al-Ghafal (University of Tripoli – Leibniz-ZMO Berlin) and Nora Lafi (Leibniz-ZMO Berlin)

Participants :

Emna Bchir (EPAU Tunis)

Suaad AL-Ghafal (Tripoli University and member of the Ghadames association for the heritage protection- Leibniz-ZMO Berlin)

Nora Lafi (Leibniz-ZMO Berlin)

Nouraldine Althani (Ghadames Association for heritage protection)

Aboulquasim Basheer Qassim Youshaa  (Ghadames Association for heritage protection)

التراث والمحفوظات ومفاهيم الحفظ وممارساته في مرآة الأصالة وتحديات الرقمنة: تأملات في حالات غدامس ونفتا وتوزر

 تأتي ورشة العمل هذه في إطار استمرارية الأسئلة البحثية لبرنامج HISDEMAB والمناقشات التي أجريت خلال ورشة العمل الدولية في برلين حول المحفوظات ودور المجتمع المدني وتحديات الرقمنة. المشاركون مدعوون للتفكير في مفهوم التراث من وجهة نظر التشكل الحضري والأنماط المعمارية المختلفة، وكذلك من وجهة نظر تعبئة مفاهيم الأرشفة والحفظ. وستكون أيضا مناقشة مسألة  قضايا البحث المتعلقة بالدور المدني للجمعيات لحماية التراث والمحفوظات. المشاركون مدعوون للتفكير في فكرة التراث من وجهة نظر التشكل الحضري والأنماط المعمارية المختلفة ومن وجهة نظر تعبئة مفاهيم الأرشفة والحفظ، كما ستكون أيضا مناقشة مسألة مشاكل البحث المتعلقة بالدور المدني للجمعيات لحماية التراث والمحفوظات. كيف يمكن لوجود هيئات محلية للحفاظ على المحفوظات العامة والخاصة ، وكذلك التراث المادي والمعماري وغير المادي ، أن يؤثر على هوية المدينة وعلاقتها بمفهوم الأصالة مع مرور الوقت؟ كيف يتطور الإجماع حول مسألة الحماية ، أو تستمر النزاعات ، وكيف تتم المناقشات أو القرارات التعاونية في المجتمعات المختلفة داخل المدينة؟ هل هناك عمليات محلية لإضفاء الطابع المؤسسي على ممارسات الأرشفة هذه وما هي حدودها المحتملة؟ ستتم دراسة الأسئلة المتعلقة ببناء مفهوم محتمل لكل عصر وممارسة الحفظ الأرشيفي في الماضي بالإضافة إلى الانعكاسات المتعلقة بالحفاظ عليها في المستقبل مع التركيز على مدن غدامس وتوزر ونفطة، والتي في حين أنها تتمتع بقوة كبيرة في هوياتهم الخاصة، في بعض النواحي قضايا قابلة للمقارنة. سيتناول المساهمون هذه القضية منذ نهاية الاستعمار، مع التفكير في تأثير الطبقات التاريخية السابقة، من أجل فهم قضايا تعريف هذه التراثات المعقدة والحفاظ عليها.

 ستعقد ورشة العمل عبر الإنترنت HISDEMAB يوم الاثنين DATE (9: 00-11: 00 بتوقيت برلين) كمؤتمر فيديو


Organisers: Suaad Al-Ghafal (University of Tripoli – Leibniz-ZMO Berlin)

Nora Lafi (Leibniz-ZMO Berlin)


Emna Bchir (EPAU Tunis)

Suaad AL-Ghafal (Université de Tripoli- Leibniz-ZMO Berlin)

Nora Lafi (Leibniz-ZMO Berlin)

Nouraldine Althani (Association de sauvegarde de Ghadames)

Aboulquasim Basheer Qassim Youshaa (Association de sauvegarde de Ghadames)

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