Carnet de recherche: Nora Lafi

From July 25 to July 29 I’m in Aix-en-Provence, at the Archives nationales d’outre-mer (ANOM), looking for archival documents on the supervision and control of deliberations and elections in colonial Algeria.Nora Lafi ANOM July 2022Lafi ANOM 2022Nora Lafi ANOM 2022

On July 21 and 22, 2022, I was in Bremen for the “Uneasy Neighbours. Conflict and Control in the Colonial City” conference, organized by Norman Aselmeyer, Avner Ofrath and Cornelius Torp with a paper entitled “Traumatic Transitions and Forms of Popular Resilience in a Neighbourhood of Tunis from Colonisation to the Aftermaths of WWI”

On July 13-14, 2022, I was at the University of Konstanz for the conference “Rethinking Imperial Space: Trans-Mediterranean Perspectives” Organized by the Mediterranean Platform / Dr. K.H. Eberle Forschungszentrum/Zentrum für Kulturwissenschaftliche Forschung with a paper entitled “Rethinking Ottoman Imperiality: an Urban and Mediterranean Perspective”

On July 5, 2022, we visited, together with members of the HISDEMAB research team, following our workshop on Archives and in the framework of our scholarly discussions on archives, democracy and memory, the Stasi Records Archives in Berlin.

On June 22-23, 2022, following the Amman Hisdemab international workshop, I stayed in Jordan for my archival research both at the Municipality of Amman and at the National Library of Jordan.

On June 2-3, 2022, I was in Szczecin for a conference on Urban Authenticity, organized by Tabitha Redepenning of the Herder Institute, in cooperation with Leibniz-IRS. My paper was entitled: “The Complex and Contradictory Regimes of Historicity of Urban Authenticity: Reflections on the Case of Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Cities”

On May 23-24, 2022: I organized the international workshop The Historicity of Democracy in the Arab and Muslim worlds at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin, where I presented my draft-chapter on “Introduction: Deliberation, Representation, Elections: Questioning the Historicity of Democracy in the Arab and Muslim Worlds”.

On April, 25, 2022, I participated, (18h45-21h00, just after the HISDEMAB online seminar) in an online discussion around the Routledge Handbook of EU-Middle East Relations at the College of Europe in Warsaw. Dimitri Bouris organised. Prof. Tobias Schumacher, Dr Emile Badarin and Prof. Fakhoury, all of who have written chapters for the Handbook too, participated.

On April 11, 2022, we had an online working discussion with Nizar Dalhoumi in the framework of the activities of Heike Liebau’s research group at Leibniz-ZMO. Dr. Nizar Dalhoumi is from Tunisia (Institut Supérieur des Sciences Humaines, Tunis) and he is currently in Berlin working in the archive and at Stabi. The title of his talk was “Sheikh Saleh Al-Sharif Al-Tunisi and his two inedite ‘risala’ “.

On April 9, 2022, I presented my paper “Venezia e i
Veneziani visti da Tunisi. Esplorazioni archivistiche nelle Archives nationales de Tunis” in Venice in the framework of the 10th International Congress Venezia e il suo Stato da mar.

On April 8, 2022, I presented my paper “Daily Life Spatialities and Temporalities of Religiosity in Ottoman Tunis: Reflections on the Complexity of Urban Religious Landscapes” at the online seminar on Religion, Space and Temporality of the Erfurt based Urbrel research programme.

On March 11, 2022, 17h00 (Berlin time), I presented (together with Suaad Alghafal) a paper (in Arabic) on “Methodological Reflections on History Writing in and on Libya (Ottoman era – Present times)” in the framework of the international conference on Libyan History organized online by the University of Derna.

On March 3-5, 2022, I participated in the international conference “The Presence and Absence of the Past“, organized by Çiçek İlengiz, Annika Kirbis, Jelena Radovanović, Jeremy F. Walton in the framework of the activities of the Max Planck Research Group “Empires of Memory: The Cultural Politics of Historicity in Former Habsburg and Ottoman Cities. I am part, together with Karen Barkey, Chris Hann, David Henig and Steve Vertovec of a session entitled “Afterlives of difference”.

On March 2, 2022 at 16.00, I participated in the kick-off event of the Launch Series of the Routledge Handbook of EU-Middle East Relations. In this first section, the co-editors Dimitris BourisDaniela Huber and Michelle Pace discussed Entanglements in EU-Middle East Relations. After that, the different Authors tackled the historical context of these multi-faceted relations and its legacy. Senem Aydin Düzgit & Bahar Rumelili demonstrated how representations of the other and the self were linked to political events pertaining to Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Then, Roberto Mazza talked about the impact of French and British colonialism in the Middle East and North Africa. Finally, I focused on “Longue Durée” reflections on anti-colonial movemnets in the Middle East from 1798 until today. For more info, please visit here.

February 13-19, 2022: I’m in Marseille reading in the Archives municipales and bibliothèque de l’Alcazar documents on assemblies of foreign merchants in cities of the Mediterranean and on the relationship between foreign merchants and local deliberative bodies in medieval, Ottoman and colonial times.

Nora Lafi, Bibliothèque de l’Alcazar, 23.02.2022
Bibliothèque de l’Alcazar, Marseille
Bibliothèque de l’Alcazar

And during my breaks, I visited two superb exhibitions:

Marseille l’Italienne at the Archives municipales de Marseille

And Arts de l’Islam at Bibliothèque de l’Alcazar

February 5-13, 2022: I’m in Tunis, working at the Archives Nationales de Tunisie on documents on deliberation and voting in the Ottoman era

January 21, 2022: I am presenting my research in the framework of the seminar of the Working Group Thinkers and Theorizing from the South, organizef by my Leibniz-ZMO colleague Kai Kresse. The session is dedicated to ‘democracy’ in comparative and contextualized discussion. My paper is entitled: “Democracy from the South? Reflecting on the historicity of deliberative and elective systems in the Arab world”

January 15-16, 2022: I am participating in the International Conference on Abdelqader Al-Jazairi (Online), organized by

مكان الملتقى: المركز الدّولي للمؤتمرات عبد اللّطيف رحّال

الملتقى الدّولي حول الأمير عبد القادر  الجزائري

الحُضور المتعدد وقِيم الدّولة وأسُسها الإنسانيّة

My paper is entitled:

عبدالقادر الجزائري : مسار حياته بين المقاومة ضد الاستعمار تحت مظلة الدولة العثمانية والمفاوضات مع الإمبراطورية العثمانية

November 26, 2021: I am today in Marseille, at the Institut Méditerraneéen d’Etudes Avancées (Iméra) for the French-German Forum of the Mediterranean, dedicated this year to the theme of democracy in the region.

November 18, 2021: I presented today my research on “Abdel Kader Al-Jazairi in Ottoman Perspective: Networks and Trajectories between Local Resistance and Imperial Negotiations” in the framework of the Zurich international conference on Writing individual itineraries in the Mediterranean macro-region: methodological considerations about the relationship between biography and structure.

November 2, 2021: I participated today in an international conference on contemporary Libya, organized by IRMC Tunis. I was first part of a round-table on the methodology of research in/on Libya. Then I presented a paper on “Elections, Deliberation, Participation and Representation in Libya during the era of the Ottoman reforms”.

November 1, 2021: I worked today at the Archives Nationales de Tunisie, in Tunis, exploring archival ressources on forms of deliberation and representation in the Ottoman and Colonial periods.

October 30, 2021: Today I chaired a very interesting session of the international conference “Refugees and the (Global) Cold War, hosted by the Cluster of Excellence ‘Contestations of the Liberal Script’ (SCRIPTS), Freie Universität Berlin”.

October 21, 2021: I served tofday as a discussant in the “Book Launch & Conversation: The Muslims of Latin America and the Caribbean“.The moderator was Claudia Derichs (Humboldt Universität Berlin). We discussed Ken Chitwood ‘s (Freie Universität Berlin) book, together with Andrea Miranda (Freie Universität Berlin).

October 1, 2021: Still in Venice, for the Annual Stato da Mar Conference, with a paper on the historicity of the concept of republic between Venice and the Orient

September 29, 2021: I’m in Venice today for a conference of the DFG network “Modern Mediterranean: Dynamics
of a World Region 1800-2000″, chairing a session on Trans-Mediterranean Networks.

The full programme of the conference is here:

To attend in Venice: An Archipelago of Connectivity: Port-Cities, Hinterlands, and Islands in the Modern Mediterranean (27-29 September 2021) | H-Mediterranean | H-Net

July 21 and 22, 2021: Again at ANOM today, with highly interesting documents on the transformation of local deliberative practices under French colonial occupation in Algeria.

July 20, 2021: Today was a crucial day for my archival research on deliberative processes in the Arab world. At the Archives nationales d’Outre-Mer in Aix-en-Provence in found the documents I was looking for on deliberation in Algerian local Jama’a during the period of French colonial occupation (here in 1917). These documents will no doubt constitute one the of core elements of my future book on the subject.

July 15, 16 and 19, 2021: I explored the archival resources of the Archives Municipales de Marseille, mostly reading reports sent by local merchants about the way cities of North-Africa were governed in Ottoman times.

July 13, 2021: I was today at the Archives Départementales in Marseille, working on the question of Jewish communal representation and consultation in a French colonial context in North-Africa

July 2, 2021: A new day of research at the National Archives of Tunisia on the theme of the historicity of processes of election and deliberation, together with HISDEMAB fellow Ahlem Hajaji.

July 1, 2021: I presented today the HISDEMAB research programme at the Laboratoire du Patrimoine (Université de la Manouba) in Tunis. The event was half in real-life, half online.

الى أعضاء مخبر التراث 

نظر للوضعية الصحية الصعبة التي نعيشها  فاننا  نخير أعضاء المخبر من أساتذة باحثين وطلبة  بين الحضور الى الكلية للاجتماع  مباشرة مع الزميلية نورة اللافي التي ستتولى تقديم المشروع المشترك حول تاريخ الديمقراطية المحلية في العالم العربي كما نقترح على الذين يتعذر عليهم الحضور متابعة الاجتماع بواسطة رابط الزوم الموجود أسفله بدية من الساعة الثالثة بعد الزوال.
تحياتي للجميع مع التوصية بالحذر واحترام القةاعد الصحية.مدير مخبر التراث حبيب القزدغلي

June 30, 2021: I presented today my research on Libya (“De Tripoli à Tunis, d’Istanbul à l’EUR et de Vincennes à Kew Gardens: questions d’archives, de problématisation et de méthode pour la recherche historique sur la Libye” in Tunis (Archives Nationales) as part of a methodological seminar organized by Neila Saadi (IRMC)

IRMC posted the video of this lecture:

June 28-29, 2021: In Tunis, at the National Archives of Tunisia, for my research on elective processes during the Ottoman era

June 24, 2021: I participated today in the CBC radio-show Ideas. The show, hosted by Naheed Mustafa, was dedicated to Ibn Khaldun. The Podcast is available here

June 20, 2021: I participated today in a conference organized by the University of Tobruk (Research and Scientific Studies Center) (Libya), on the theme of “Parliamentary Elections in Libya: Historical Origins, Organisation and Difficulties (1921-1952)”. My paper was entitled: “Methodological Reflections on the Study of Democracy in the Arab and Islamic Worlds: Longue Durée Questionings on the Libyan Elections of 1921”.

June 18, 2021: I participated tonight in a Panel Discussion on “Das Erbe des arabischen Frühlings, Arabellinnen und cross- oder transregionale Dynamiken“, part of the series Wissenschaftsfestival Globe21 #Bordercrossingsolidarities, at Universität Leipzig.

June 18, 2021: I presented today a paper entitled “Whose Heritage? The Persisting Ambiguities of the Heritagization of Colonial Architecture in the Middle East and North Africa” in the international conference Architectures of Colonialism. Constructed Histories, Conflicting Memories organized by BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, DFG Research Training Group 1913 “Cultural and Technological Significance of Historic Buildings”.

April 7, 2021: I attended today a superb online seminar organized by Abdul-Hameed al-Kayyali (IFPO Amman) and Amer Al-Hafi (RIIFS). Muhamed Mufaku Al-Arnaut (ISO- Kosovo) (author in 1994 of a seminal article on Islam in Bosnia) presented his research on Şemseddin Sami Frashëri (1850-1904) around the question of secularism, religion and national pluralism in the Ottoman Empire.

January 22, 2021: I presented today a lecture on “Hisba Handbooks in Ottoman Tunis: Religious Guides to Urbanity?” in the framework of the international conference Religious Guides to Urbanity organized by Martin Christ & Emiliano Urciuoli at Universität Erfurt (Max Weber Kolleg).

January 5, 2021: I presented today a lecture on “Interpreting Hisba. An Intellectual History” in the framework of the seminar on Intellectual history organized by Benjamin Steiner at Universität Erfurt (Forschungszentrum Gotha)

December 22, 2020: Thanks to an invitation by Habib Kazdaghli, I participated today in a seminar on the theme «France – Algérie, les blessures de l’histoire» [France-Algeria, the wounds of history], organized by Vasily Kuznetsov, director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IAS RAS, Moscow) around Benjamin Stora on the occasion of the writing of his report on this theme for French President Macron. Benjamin Stora’s lecture and the following discussion are available online.

October 14, 2020: In this period of forced cancellation of all research trips abroad due to the pandemic, I took an early train today from Berlin to Gotha in order to work on some Arabic manuscripts at the Forschungsbibliothek. I discovered this marvellous place during my fellowship at Max Weber Kolleg Erfurt (Jan-Sept. 2020). Of course I can’t wait to travel again to cities like Tunis, Cairo and Istanbul, among others, and do there the archival research I planned for this programme, but being among manuscripts from the region in Gotha was already for me, after months of travel impossibility a source of great joy.

Due to important renovation works in the tower of the castle, some Arabic manuscripts are not available for the moment. For these specific documents, the library provides microfilms.

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