Report and Photos


The Oxford Nahda Workshop 2015 was held on 22 and 23 April, and brought together scholars from around the world for two days of intensive and fascinating discussions around the Arab Nahda of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The workshop engaged a wide range of issues and topics, from global liberalism to word and book histories; from notions of time in Nahda literature to cartoons and ideas of musical taste; from student strikes in Egypt to the Alawi reform movement in Syria. We hope that it will provide a starting-point for future projects and networks in the field.

Many thanks to our sponsors, TORCH, Ertegun House and the Oriental Institute; to Kelly Dixon and Bryan Ward-Perkins of Ertegun House; and most of all to the workshop participants, for making this event such a success.

As previously announced, we hope to make a large part of the two days’ proceedings available in the form of podcasts. In the meantime, here are some photos from the workshop.

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Opening round-table: ‘The Arab Nahda beyond Identity Politics?’ Nadia Bou Ali (left) reads aloud the contribution of Stephen Sheehi, who sadly could not be with us. Other panel members (left to right): Jens Hanssen, Munir Fakher-Eldin, Faisal Devji. The projected image is of the Nahda litterateur Luwis Sabunji.

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‘Formations of the Political’ panel. Left to right: Nadia Bou Ali, Jens Hanssen, Hannah-Louise Clark.

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Alex Seggerman presents ‘Visualizing the Nahda: Satirical Cartoons and Portrait Photography in Late Nineteenth-Century Cairo’.

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From Alex Seggerman’s presentation: masthead of Ya‘qub Sannu‘’s Abou Naddara.

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Coffee break in the sun!

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‘At the Limits of Liberalism’ panel. Hussein Omar presents ‘Arabic Thought in the Liberal Cage’. Other panellists, left to right: Wael Abu-‘Uksa, Munir Fakher-Eldin.

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Language and Literature round-table. Left to right: Ezgi Ulusoy Aranyosi, Marilyn Booth, Raphael Cormack, Mohamed-Salah Omri, Robin Ostle.

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Alp Eren Topal presents ‘Gökalp Reconsidered: Revivalism and Political Thought in Late Ottoman Context’. Other panel members, left to right: Dženita Karić, Esmat Elhalaby, Faisal Devji.


Programme released and registration now open!


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The programme for the workshop ‘The Arab Nahda in its Regional and Global Contexts’ has now been released, and is available here. (A few speakers still to be confirmed.)

Participants who are not giving a paper at the workshop: please register here if you intend to participate. Registration is free but numbers are limited, so please sign up before 12 April.

Registration is not necessary for participants who are giving a presentation at the workshop.

Abstract deadline 21 February!


Just a reminder that the deadline for abstracts for our workshop, ‘The Arab Nahda in its Regional and Global Contexts’, is this Saturday, 21 February. But if you’re planning on submitting a proposal and might not quite make the deadline, do email us and we should be able to arrange an extension. Otherwise please send 200-word abstracts, in English, along with your institutional affiliation, to by 21 February. As previously announced, we can offer only limited reimbursement of travel and accommodation expenses to participants. We aim to inform applicants of the results of our selection panel early in March.