CfP: Gendering the Arab Archive Workshop

Deadline for applications: January 15, 2022

Workshop Date: May 18-20, 2022

Since the archival turn in the social sciences and the humanities, archives have become sites of political and social contestation. In the work of cultural theorists, the archive is no longer just a place/an institution, virtual or physical, which curates documents, historical sources, people, and materials in diverse forms, but is a metaphor for the exercise of power in the production of knowledge. This confluence of knowledge and power in the Archive has meant that the feminist research agenda constitutes one of the most powerful political contestations of “The Archive”. In response to the challenging question “where are the women in history?” or “what are the reasons for the marginalization of women’s roles and contributions to societies?”, feminist scholars embarked on an excavation project in the archives searching for women’s stories and foregrounding their voices and contributions.

Feminist researchers/activists went further and challenged the epistemological assumptions and ideological biases that shaped mainstream national archives, established alternative archives that prioritized women’s narratives and perspectives, and are at the forefront of a process of gendering the Archive. These pioneering feminist interventions shook the authoritarian foundations of the Archive from a gender perspective and initiated a wealth of knowledge production and radical transformations in engaging with the authority of the Archive in the Arab world.

Workshop Overview

This workshop is part of a larger project conducted by the ACSS in collaboration with the AUB to establish a Gender Oral History Archive in the Arab World (GOHA). The workshop is multidisciplinary and will bring together researchers and activists engaged in rethinking reworking/ power dynamics in knowledge production in local and global contexts. The workshop also offers a space for all individuals and/or groups to collectively think about the pasts, futures, possibilities, and repercussions of gendering the archive in the Arab world.

The aim of the workshop is:

1. To spotlight research projects and activities that interrogate the Arab Archive from a gender-sensitive perspective.

2. To answer two basic questions:

a- What does gendering the Arab archive mean or entail?

b-What are the constituents/features of an Arab gender archive?

3. To promote a gender perspective in ongoing archival research and projects.

Proposed Topics

Participants are invited to address/engage with the following topics from a gender lens:

✦A critical engagement with the work of cultural and feminist theorists on archives and archival knowledges.

✦Critiques of national and institutional archives in the Arab world.

✦Identify and engage critically with post 2011 archives

✦The role/responsibility of archivists in naming the archivable.

✦Affect theory and the politics of emotion and embodiment in archival practices.

✦Issues and challenges to the establishment of an ethical oral history archive.

✦Challenges to the creation of archives during conflicts, disasters and political upheavals.

✦Archiving memories and counter-memories.

✦Intimate archives.

How To Participate

This call is open to all individual researchers, institutional representatives, visual artists, and research groups that critically engage with any of the above topics through a gender lens. The workshop design will include thematic panels encouraging critical and creative engagement with the topic of gendering the archive in the Arab World.

Participants are required to send:

1. Individual abstracts or group abstracts for a panel, no longer than 300 words each.

2. A short bio no longer than 150 words.

Applications to be sent to by January 15, 2022.

Logistical Notes

Place: The workshop will be held in either Beirut or Amman

Funding: The Arab Council for the Social Sciences will cover travel and accommodation costs for a limited number of participants, to be chosen by the workshop organizing committee.

Organizing Committee: The “Gendering the Arab Archive” working group at the Arab Council for the Social Sciences includes:

Hana Sleiman - Zahra Ali - Maissan Hassan – Leyla Dakhli - Lamia Moghnieh - Seteney Shami - Muneira Hoballah - Reem Joudi (research assistant) - Hoda Elsadda (coordinator).