|The 2nd International Congress of the I.A.I.S.:
WORLD CULTURE FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF MARGINALISED CULTURES
The Contemporary Arab Islamic
Venue: Università La Sapienza, Roma, July 1-4, 2003
Call for papers
|It is to be noted from the very outset that the concept
of marginalised cultures, as focused on by this congress, refers to issues
of both an immaterial and a material nature. Therefore a host of disciplines,
ranging from the natural and social sciences to fine arts and 'belles lettres'
have to be drawn upon in the process of researching cultural marginalization
both in the Arab Islamic Middle East and in a European context to-date.
Hence, the phenomenon of marginalisation is going to be tackled either directly or indirectly, by delivering the results of research in the natural sciences, e.g. genetics or pharmacology, as well as the social, literary, and artistic fields. To give an example: the renowned Arab Egyptian professor of genetics at Cairo University, Ahmad Mustagir (he was awarded the highest state prize for scientific research in Egypt in 2002) will talk at the congress about his genetic research which has lead to the discovery of a way of making use of sea water in irrigating vital crops like wheat. Without uttering one word about marginalisation, coming himself from a so-called developing country, he delivers the proof to the dominating cultures worldwide that the marginalised are nevertheless positively contributing to world cultures (in this case: agriculture) in the widest and most concrete sense, while those who consider themselves 'developed', especially in North America, are violating our nature and contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer of the earth's atmosphere and therefore, to a trend towards endangered and possibly diminished agricultural provisions on a worldwide scale.
Another example will come from the field of pharmacological research; this talk will be delivered at the congress by the renowned pharmacologist, professor M. Raouf Hamid. He will demonstrate the positive contribution that can be delivered by even the most marginalised cultures, in this case the Libyan culture, towards a critical reassessment of the globalised norms of the American Food and Drugs Administration. Professor Hamid's research, jointly carried out together with Libyan undergraduate students during the early 1980s, lead to the discovery that the culinary custom of Libyans to add hot pepper to each meal alters the absorption of medicine, and that the regular consumption of hot pepper with each meal (in contrast to what the FAD norms imply) leads to a reduced risk of developing peptic ulcers.
These examples demonstrate the reality of substantial contributions to our world culture by the most marginalised in our present world.
In this context, professor Hamed El-Mousily, of the
Faculty of Engineering of Ein Shams University in Cairo, will present another
example of self-reliant productivity, in this case based on the recycling
of local Egyptian agricultural materials, such as palm tree branches, which
resulted in the creation of small home industries in the countryside, in
that zone which used to be marginalised in its own (marginalised) country.
If financial support from the European Union can be obtained, we shall invite professor Abdalla Al-Gamal, of Helwan University in Cairo, in order to present his discovery of a means of 'translating' Arab musical notes into the process of weaving textile fabrics with Arab designs, and vice versa. He would also apply his approach to European music that would be 'translated' into Arab-Egyptian textile designs (combined with a live presentation at the congress).
In case of adequate financial support for the congress by the EU, we would equally like to extend an invitation to the founder of the Aoud Musical Centre at the Cairo Opera House, Nasseer Shamma, who has contributed to a development of the possibilities of the aoud (or lute), the Arab musical instrument which played a major role in Euro-Arab cultural relations several centuries ago. Shamma, who is of Iraqi descent but living in Egypt, would present at the congress an aoud recital, apart from delivering an introductory paper about the development of this instrument.
This exemplary selection of concrete contributions
of marginalised cultures does not mean that the conference would leap into
the 'concrete' without any basic reflections on the phenomenon of marginalisation.
As to the Humanities, a critique of the cultural dependency
apparent in the Arab media, which shall focus on the main factors of marginalisation
in this vital area, will be presented by Awatif Abdel-Rahman, professor
of Journalism at the Faculty of Mass Communications at Cairo University.
The Arab viewpoint with regard to established studies,
especially at Western universities, will be addressed as well.
In addition to asking for further contributions on
the marginalised cultures of the Middle East and Northern Africa,
this call for papers addresses marginalised cultures and literatures
in Europe, hoping to focus, for instance, on creative writing in the Irish
If we single out literature in the Irish language as an example of marginalisation, we know full well that there are other, equally marginalised cultures in Europe today, a fact that is apparent not only with regard to 'small' European countries like Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, or Finland, but also concerns several other European countries - if we think, for instance, of Occitany and Britanny in France, and Flanders / Wallonia in Belgium.
The aim of this exercise is not only to draw attention
to the valid contribution of such marginalised cultures to world culture,
but also to draw precise comparisons between them, thus to clarify what
marginalised cultures may have in common and what is specific about them.
Proposals for papers, along with
a 15-20 lines abstract (in English), are to be submitted
no later than 15 November 2002, to:
In addition to the Arab / Islamic contributions already agreed upon or still expected, European and other contributions on the congress theme will be outlined in the programme of this congress, to be published early next year.
The official languages of the