Published on 2/18/2018

As scholars in the humanities and social sciences today we are faced by global realities that present veritable and immediate challenges to the foundations of our work and our sense of emplacement. We work in disciplinary frames that were shaped in particular cultural, political and colonial moments and whose claim to universality has long since been contested. Since early in the 20th century most of our disciplines have had to go through a series of radical turns, occasionally leading to the emergence of new multidisciplinary modes of inquiry, such as cultural studies, postcolonial studies and global history, which have not only questioned disciplinary formations but also the concepts that determine the reach and legitimacy of our work. As Mieke Bal has argued already back in the 1990s, “interdisciplinarity in the humanities, necessary, exciting, serious, must seek its heuristic and methodological basis in concepts rather than methods” (Travelling Concepts in the Humanities, p. 5). However, we might do well to remember that the circulation of critical and theoretical concepts comes with power differentials that have to do with what constitutes knowledge in disciplinary practices, and not just with the institution and projections of geopolitics in travelling theories.


The aim of this interdisciplinary workshop is twofold: first, we propose to explore concepts, to discuss their significance in multidisciplinary frames and how they operate in our work. Each participant will present a concept of their own choice, discuss its significance and development within a disciplinary and interdisciplinary frame of inquiry, and then reflect on the use of this concept in their own research. How do we move from concept to method? How are concepts translated across disciplinary, linguistic and cultural forms? What semantic and syntactic changes occur in order to produce the grammar of meaning that constitute our critical positionalities? The workshop is therefore a critical reflection on the conceptual and ethical dimensions of our scholarly pursuits.


The second aim of the workshop is community building. The workshop brings together scholars from both institutions to learn about each other’s research projects and to facilitate further collaboration. Scholars from a broad range of disciplines, including literary and cultural studies, history, philosophy, anthropology and political science.



Islam Dayeh (Freie Universität)                                                              

Ayman El-Desouky (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies)





Workshop Program

Doha, 18-20 February 2018



Sunday, 18 February 2018



13:30-14:00                 Reception


14:00-15:00                 Welcome Address:

                                    The Doha Institute: A Vision for the Humanities and Social Sciences


Yasir Suleiman Malley,

Acting President and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Doha Institute for Graduate Studies



15:00-16:00                 Opening Session: Concepts in the Humanities & Social Sciences


Chair: Abdelwahab El-Affendi,

Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities

Doha Institute for Graduate Studies


Travelling Concepts: The Ethical Dimensions of Scholarly Pursuits

Islam Dayeh (Freie Universität Berlin)


                                    The Afterlife of Concepts: Untranslatables or Philosophemes?

Ayman El-Desouky (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies)


Monday, 19 February 2018


Welcome Note

Abdelwahab El-Affendi, Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities

Doha Institute for Graduate Studies


9:00-11:00                   Roundtable One


Gunther Gebauer                    Fairness

Ahmed Badawi                        Democracy


Chair and Discussant: Abdelwahab El-Affendi



11:00-11:30                 Coffee Break



11:30-13:30                 Roundtable Two


Sophie Richter-Devroe                      Gesture in the Field

Shourideh Molavi                 Forensic Architecture


Chair and Discussant: Sebastian Conrad



13:30-15:00                 Lunch Break



15:00-17:00                 Roundtable Three       


Konrad Hirschler                    Archive

Christoph Wulf                      Anthropology


Chair and Discussant: Esmail Nashif



17:00-17:30                 Roundtable & Concluding Remarks


Ayman El-Desouky & Islam Dayeh



19:00                                       Dinner




Tuesday, 20 February 2018


9:00-11:00                   Roundtable Four


Atef Botros                             State of Exception

Abdelwahab El-Affendi           Terrorism vs. Democracy


Chair and Discussant: Susanne Klengel


11:00-11:30                 Coffee Break


11:30-13:30                 Roundtable Five


Susanne Klengel                     Sur/South

Sebastian Conrad                   Asia


Chair and Discussant: Ayman El-Desouky


13:30-15:00                 Lunch Break


15:00-17:00                 Roundtable Six            


Dana Olwan                            Migrating Genders

Esmail Nashif                          The Tragic


Chair and Discussant: Konrad Hirschler



17:00-17:30                 Roundtable & Concluding Remarks


Ayman El-Desouky & Islam Dayeh               



19:00                           Dinner