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Weekly Lectures

The NVIC organises weekly Thursday lectures on a variety of subjects. The lectures start at 6 pm sharp. The doors open at 5.30 pm. Please note that seating is limited. The lectures start as scheduled and late admissions are not allowed. After the lecture refreshments will be served in the hall of the Institute.

Would you like to present your own academic research at NVIC? We are looking for professionals who would like to give a lecture about their research findings. Please email info@nvic.leidenuniv.nl for more information.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more information about our program. We will be back after summer!

Virág Pabeschitz - Guardians of Iraqi Culture

Lecture to be held on Sunday 2 September 18:00.

Full lecture title:
Guardians of the Iraqi Culture: Renewed Efforts to Restore Iraq's Cultural Heritage

The destruction of cultural heritage has always been part of wars but the scale of looting of Iraq's archaeological sites in the last 20 years has been unprecedented. Modern looters are as brazen as ever and the global trade of antiquities has became easier as the black market increasingly operates in the darker corners of the internet. Illegal trading of looted antiquities has became one of the most profitable businesses in the 21st century.

In this lecture, Virág Pabeschitz, who will be travelling to Iraq to work on an emergency cultural heritage program, will discuss ways that Iraqi and international teams of archaeologists and specialists have attempted to protect and restore the cultural heritage management system in Iraq.

Virág Pabeschitz is a Lecturer and PhD Researcher at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo, where she also teaches classes on Ethical Archaeology. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in Archaeology at the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest (ELTE - Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem). She has participated in different archaeological excavations in Egypt, Hungary, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan and in the UK. She is a field school instructor of the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme by the British Museum and the director of the Heliopolis field school in Egypt. Her research interests include ethical archaeology, public archaeology, and the history of Egyptology.

Permissible Documentaries: Ateyyat El Abnoudy’s Non-Fiction Poetics

Lecture to be held on Thursday 13 September 18:00.

Ateyyat El Abnoudy is popularly known as “the mother of Egyptian documentary”. As she started her filmmaking career in the early 1970s, she had to negotiate what she calls her subjects’ and her own “permissible dreams” in shaping her political views on screen. She dedicated her career to creating poetically and aesthetically challenging films that do not shy away from taking the contemporary ruling classes to task over institutionalised inequalities between the social strata of society and between genders. From her youth in Upper Egypt, to her education in Cairo, her first marriage to the poet Abdel Rahman El Abnoudy, and her role as the documentarist of the people, she has always considered had been ignored.and indeed foregrounded those Egyptians whose voices In this talk Stefanie Van de Peer will sketch in some detail El Abnoudy’s socialist poetics and political aesthetics, and discuss how she has given shape to Egypt’s documentary tradition.

Dr Stefanie Van De Peer is Research Fellow at the University of Exeter in the UK. Her research focuses on women in documentary and animation filmmaking in the Middle East and North Africa. Her publications include edited collections on Art and Trauma in Africa(2013); Film Festivals and the Middle East(2014); and Animation in the Middle East(2017). Her first monograph, entitled 'Negotiating Dissidence: The Pioneering Women of Arab Documentary', was published in 2017 by Edinburgh University Press. She is currently finalising a book on Women in African Cinema, for publication with Routledge in 2019.

The Iraq-Mediterranean Oil Pipelines

Lecture to be held on Thursday 20 September 18:00.

Full lecture title:
"Tracing Lines in the Sand: The Iraq-Mediterranean Oil Pipelines and the Making of the Modern Middle East"

The Iraq-Mediterranean oil pipelines were one of the most extensive and costly pipeline construction enterprises of its time. Built by an international oil consortium in 1935, the two pipelines ran from the oilfields of Kirkuk in northern Iraq to terminals on the Palestinian and Lebanese coasts. They crossed the borders of five states, all of which had been recently created and placed under European rule as Mandates of the League of Nations after the First World War. The pipelines were part of a network of communication infrastructures - roads, air bases, railways, and telegraph and power lines - that laid the material foundations of Middle East states. At the same time, they destabilized borders and integrated new nation-states into regional and global political, commercial, and imperial networks.

In this talk, Natasha Pesaran will sketch the history of the construction of the Iraq-Mediterranean pipelines in the 1930s and discuss how the study of an oil infrastructure buried beneath the sand can challenge our understandings of the interwar Middle East.

Natasha Pesaran is a Ph.D. candidate in History at Columbia University in the City of New York. She studies the establishment and development of the oil industry in Iraq and the Levant after the First World War. Her research focuses on the role of Western oil companies in the region, their changing relationships with governments and the socio-political and technical worlds created by oil infrastructure.

Cleveringa Conference

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability: The MENA Region in the Modern Period Cairo. International Conference to be held on 25-26 November 2018


  • Leiden University
  • ERC Rethinking Disability
  • Embassy of the Netherlands in Cairo
  • Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo

Languages: English and Arabic (Presentations should preferably be in English)

Keynote Speakers:

  • Dr Heba Hagrass (International disability consultant- Member of the Egyptian Parliament)
  • Dr Shaun Grech (The Critical Institute- Malta)
  • Prof Monika Baar (Leiden University- The Netherlands)

Call for papers:

The socio-cultural issues concerning the lives of the persons with disabilities (PWD), their families and their environment present considerable challenges even in well-resourced regions of the world; let alone in countries experiencing certain economic or societal hardships. In either context, the study of the emancipation of people with disabilities cannot be undertaken without a broader enquiry into the historical, cultural and social contexts of the disabled citizens living in different times and locations around the world.

In recent decades, representatives of the emerging fields of medical humanities and disability studies have been constantly facing intellectual challenges arising from accelerating scientific developments in medicine and the bio sciences. These developments intrigued sociologists, historians, anthropologists etc. to dedicate more attention than ever before to the social and cultural aspects of the human body and human health. For instance, the enormous differences in health care expenditures across the world present an angle from which to ask questions about social justice, discrimination, exclusion, integration and the responsibility of the state or civil society towards certain groups with vulnerabilities. Disability is a concept around which social scientists can construct or deconstruct relations and representations between health and society, while scholars working in cultural studies may interrogate the formation of a distinct identity and sub-culture of people with disabilities. The MENA region with its cultural and historical peculiarities, and the Global South in more general terms, promises to be a very important location for analyzing how issues of physical and mental health intersect with social and economic concerns.

With a focus on the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region and the Global South, themes and topics of this international academic conference can include but are not limited to:

  • Disability and its perception(s) and meanings through history:
  • Disability in relation to technology: good practices and ethical problems
  • Islam and disability (physical and mental)
  • Education for and about the persons with disability: specialized institutions versus independent living, community-based rehabilitation (CBR)
  • Rights, representation and equality of PWD: strive for equality or demand for special conditions? (work, housing, access, education)
  • UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006):  given the local peculiarities, what challenges may occur in the course of its implementation in the MENA region?
  • Disability and welfare: what responsibilities should be carried by the state, by individuals, philanthropic organizations and by society at large?
  • Children, gender, women and sexuality  in relation to historic and contemporary issues of disability
  • International and regional organizations of disability groups: the MENA region in a global context
  • Disability figuring and images in literature and cinema
  • Stigmatization of PWD and strategies of de-stigmatization
  • Disability culture: arts, activities and self expression
  • Accessibility, integration and inclusion: PWD and the actual/virtual  public space in MENA

The conference is open to participants from the academia as well as for social activists and governmental representatives. An edited volume to be published by an international publisher is planned for selected research papers presented during the conference.

Presentations are welcome in English and Arabic but are preferred in English for practical reasons. Each presentation would be 20 minutes followed by a 10minutes discussion in a themed panel.

Proposals for cultural and artistic activities, whether presented by or about persons with disabilities, are welcome. The venue is accessible to participants and guests with disability.

Deadline:  Please send a 300-500- word paper/activity proposal in English or Arabic before September 1st 2018 to (rethinking.disability.cairo@gmail.com)

For requests of participation, paper proposal or artistic contribution, kindly send your CV to the email address above.

For inquiries or questions kindly contact Dr Amany Soliman  a.soliman@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Limited budget for contributing to the travel and accommodation of international participants with outstanding proposals is available on a competitive basis. This is intended for those who are not eligible for funding from their home institutions and who are committed to contributing to the envisaged edited volume. Please indicate at the time of application if you would like to be considered for a subsidy.

Kindly find the Arabic description.

For more information, please visit Rethinking Disability website and follow the Twitter account.

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