Arab World in Transition

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Literature Languages & Culture

Abstract

The second phase of the Centre for Advanced Studies of the Arab World (CASAW) seeks to build and broaden capacity in Arabic language-based research and training by taking the training and research-network accomplishments of its first phase to new levels, expanding the scope and reach of each component judiciously through the expertise and experience of key CASAW academic staff and CASAW-trained students.
UK capacity in minority languages will be enhanced with the development of a new language training track and further research in Arabic teacher training and curriculum delivery which aim to enhance best practices in language training in educational organizations in the Arab world and the UK. Students, trainee teachers, and experienced teachers will all benefit from CASAW's development of an intensive advanced language training course and teacher training programmes.
Achievements and challenges of political change throughout the Arab world will be at the forefront of a focused yet wide-ranging multi-disciplinary research agenda, carried out through the activities of six research networks comprising academics in the UK and the Middle East. Disseminated research will demonstrate the necessity of language based area studies to public understanding of, and governmental and private sector interactions within a key strategic world area that is reshaping policy concerns everywhere. Research on Asianisation and the concept of the umma (the worldwide community of Muslims), as well as a planned conference on 1989 in Eastern Europe and 2011 in the Middle East will draw on and foster collaboration with other area studies regions and centres with whom we are already collaborating on advanced training provision. New research-based and training-oriented placements will build on existing contacts in the UK and the Middle East, networks and collaborative visions to enhance emerging researchers' skills while furthering research and highlighting cultural translation, knowledge exchange and vigorous productive synergies in humanities-focused commercial and governmental enterprise.

Planned Impact

CASAW Phase II comprises a comprehensive programme of research networks, internships and language training networks, all developed with non-academic users as core beneficiaries. For the language training programme, beneficiaries will include UK, EU and international students and their future employers who need graduates with advanced Arabic language skills and culture-sensitive presentational skills as well as in-depth knowledge of the Middle East/North Africa, its history, culture and present (and shifting) socio-political configurations. The training network's research focus on new methods of teaching Arabic, including teacher training and application of EIL methodologies tested through research to Arabic teaching, will benefit Arabic teachers and students world wide through the dissemination of text books and eLearning material as well as the annual Arabic teaching summer school in Edinburgh.
The internships will all be developed in close collaboration with the host organisations in the public or private sector in the UK and the Middle East and will feed directly into each organisation's business objectives and dissemination plans. For example, the internship with the Scottish Government is linked to their policy focus on Scotland's place in the World; it will benefit users in government, business and arts organizations seeking to expand their collaborations in the Middle East. Internships with Arabia Books/Swallow Editions and (potentially) Bloomsbury-Qatar will benefit the publishers' capacity for translation and dissemination of Arabic imaginative writing. Whilst benefiting the individual organisations and their stakeholders/audiences, the internships will also develop interns' experiences and skills, for their own benefit and that of future employers.
The research networks are all centred around topical and urgent themes which will engage policy makers, journalists and other professionals working in the region to improve understandings of the Arab region amongst key stakeholders as well as the wider public. Topics vary from analysing political situations (e.g., our planned conference reflecting on the transformational developments in the Arab world in 2010-11 and central and Eastern Europe in 1989); to the relationship between of knowledge production, policy-making and practice in understanding the political situation in the Arab world; to networks focusing on gaining a deeper understanding of social and cultural phenomena in the Arab world such as young people's expression through linguistic and literary forms including social media and other new artistic and literary formats, and the medieval but still highly alive tent making tradition in Cairo. Bringing the oral histories and craft to life will illuminate important aspects of social transformations in an Arab urban setting. Finally the network on understandings of the umma (worldwide community of Muslims) will improve understandings of how Arab intellectuals and social movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Hizbullah in Lebanon understand relations with other faiths and sectarian divisions within the Islamic community.
 
Description CASAW has seen multifaceted development and momentum in its 'Arab World in Transition' project, with events, internships, and academic and other stakeholder exchanges at or organised by all three institutions. Our knowledge exchange, research and specialist language training networks and activities are robust and on-going. Five internships have been successfully completed as independent projects, while the six research networks have benefited from the work of six interns and two research assistants. The research networks are creating international synergies and collaborative capacities, including in interaction with each other. Many network events have taken place and others are scheduled. One has generated fieldwork grants for PhD students generating co-published articles with their supervisors. Networks, internships and language-training initiatives are building and strengthening links between institutions, academics and non-academic stakeholder across the UK, and between the UK and the Arab world. CASAW's reputation as the national hub for Arab world research and Arabic language training is being further consolidated during this phase of AHRC support, which comes at a critical time for the region and for the UK's relations with the Middle East
Exploitation Route We have solidly established a world-class intensive Arabic training masters as well as an advanced Arabic degree. This is a model for proficiency based language training in complex linguistic situations of diglossia and 'difficulty'. Research networks have shown the importance of language-based Area Studies for many areas: from contemporary economics to literature and gender studies, to the study of earliest Islam, trade routes, and film.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy
 
Description CASAW Phase II comprises a comprehensive programme of research networks, internships and language training networks, all developed with non-academic users as core beneficiaries. CASAW's planned collaborative activities and ongoing relationship with other LBAS centres also generate impact through, among other things, the sharing of best practice and engagement with a broader range of stakeholders. For the language training programme, beneficiaries include UK, EU and international students and their future employers who need graduates with advanced Arabic, and now Persian, language skills and culture-sensitive presentational skills as well as in-depth knowledge of the Middle East/North Africa, its history, culture and present (and shifting) socio-political configurations. The training network's research focus on new methods of teaching Arabic, including teacher training and application of EIL methodologies tested through research to Arabic teaching, benefits Arabic teachers and students world wide through the dissemination of text books and eLearning material as well as the annual Arabic teaching summer school in Edinburgh. The internships are all developed in close collaboration with the host organisations in the public or private sector in the UK and the Middle East and feed directly into each organisation's business objectives and dissemination plans. Translation internships, for example benefit the publishers' capacity for translation and dissemination of Arabic imaginative writing. Whilst benefiting the individual organisations and their stakeholders/audiences, the internships also develop interns' experiences and skills, for their own benefit and that of future employers. Similarly, internships attached to research networks provide students with networking, organisational and research management skills that generate wide-ranging impact not only during their placements but throughout their future careers. All proposed research networks are centred around topical and urgent themes which engage policy makers, journalists and other professionals working in the region to improve understandings of the Arab region amongst key stakeholders as well as the wider public. Topics vary from analysing the contemporary Arab world, from cultural, religious and historical perspectives, to more historical concerns dealing with the 19th and 20th centuries, World War One, medieval Islam and early Islam. But in all cases their contemporary relevance is clear and the historical and contextual depth such projects bring will strengthen the relationship between knowledge production, policy-making and practice in understanding the political situation in the Arab world. A diverse range of research networks, further, will pursue creative and innovative strategies for dissemination. In addition to holding academic workshops, conferences and lecture series, networks hold seminars for policy makers (e.g. FCO), conduct networking events, and organise collaborative events with partners in and outside of academia, in the UK and abroad. Outputs range from scholarly articles, edited collections and monographs, to museum and online exhibitions and multi-media websites.
 
Description Art Dubai - Internship 
Organisation Art Dubai
Country United Arab Emirates 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution CASAW funded a 3-month internship at Art Dubai.
Collaborator Contribution Art Dubai hosted our intern.
Impact Non-applicable.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Banipal Magazine - Internship 
Organisation Banipal
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution CASAW funded a 3-month graduate internship at Banipal Magazine
Collaborator Contribution Banipal Magazine hosted our intern
Impact Non-applicable
Start Year 2015
 
Description British Council Morocco - Internship 
Organisation British Council
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution CASAW funded a 3-month graduate internship at British Council Morocco
Collaborator Contribution British Council Morocco hosted our intern.
Impact Non-applicable
Start Year 2015
 
Description Comma Press - Internship 
Organisation CommaPress
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution CASAW funded a 3-month graduate internship at Comma Press
Collaborator Contribution Comma Press hosted our intern
Impact Non-applicable
Start Year 2014
 
Description Translation internships 
Organisation CommaPress
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Through both tranches of the AHRC CASAW LBAS grant we have initiated and successfully run internships for translators hwo want to learn the publishing business which also benefits publishers trying to support Arabic literature in translation, an expensive and difficult endeavour. We have worked with Arabia Books, Banipal, and Comma Books as well as the British Centre for Literary Translation
Collaborator Contribution The major contribution is PI Booth's long experience as a prominent literary translator from Arabic and her contacts as well as her mentoring activities. This has made it possible to initiate and follow through on these partnerships which the grant has funded, and which has benefited students.
Impact published translations from Arabic but most are still in play
Start Year 2012
 
Description arabia books internship 
Organisation Arabia Books
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution please see entry from Comma Books
Collaborator Contribution please see entry for Comma Books
Impact Samar Yazbek, The Scent of Cinnamon. Please note this was also done with M Booth's (PI) active mentoring, without any time support from the grant; with monetary support but not from the grant, of the young translator.
Start Year 2011
 
Description EXHIBITON: 'Traces and Revelations' by Mohammed Joha and Hazem Hard (5 April - 5 October 2014) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 'Traces and Revelations' by Mohammed Joha and Hazem Hard. This exhibition aims to provoke debate as to the nature of the relationship between artists' work and their life-journey and experience through exploration of the work of these two exciting artists over the last 10 years. This exhibition is organized in association with the Arts Canteen. This London-based arts group aims to explore artistic relationships between the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.casaw.ac.uk/news-events/exhibiton-traces-and-revelations-by-mohammed-joha-and-hazem-hard-...
 
Description PHOTOGRAPH EXHIBITON: Tentmakers of Islamic Cairo 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Italian photographer, Massimiliano Fusari, noted for his work on Middle Eastern themes, spent several months in the Tentmakers Suq (bazaar) in Cairo. He has produced a vivid and sensitive photographic record of the daily work and physical environment of the tentmakers. There was a special show with a stitcher from Cairo and exhibited works from this craft on 28-30 March.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.casaw.ac.uk/news-events/photograph-exhibiton-tentmakers-of-islamic-cairo-2/
 
Description TEXTILE EXHIBITION: The Art of Egyptian Tentmakers 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Skilled craftsmen have for centuries created tent linings of remarkable charm. The tentmakers bazaar in a covered street of old Cairo has formed part of the popular culture as well as traditional economy of Egypt, and travellers from afar as well as Cairenes have long been drawn to it. Contemporary appliquéd pieces of extraordinary design, craftsmanship and colour have been commissioned for this exhibit in Durham. In a variety of sizes, the pieces serve as wall hangings, bedspreads, and pillow coverings. They are not woven, as are European tapestries, but stitched with amazing dexterity. Contemporary appliqued pieces of extraordinary design, craftsmanship and colour have been commissioned for this Durham Exhibit. Designs vary from the geometric, echoing patterns found on local doors and mosques, to the more fluid calligraphic, and even the folkloric. The exhibition is curated by Jenny Bowker, an Australian textile artist and distinguished quilter. She has earned international respect for her expertise on Egyptian applique and her own quilts evocative of modern Egyptian themes
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.casaw.ac.uk/news-events/the-art-of-egyptian-tentmakers/
 
Description With the Filmmakers Continuities and Discontinuities in Iranian Cinema 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A rare opportunity to hear Iranian filmmakers discuss their work This panel discussion examined the consistencies, breaks and gaps within Iranian cinema from pre-Revolutionary times to the present. Nacim Pak-Shiraz (University of Edinburgh) was joined by renowned scholar Hamid Naficy (Northwestern University) and EIFF Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara to lead discussions with Iranian filmmakers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.casaw.ac.uk/news-events/with-the-filmmakers-continuities-and-discontinuities-in-iranian-c...