Merian Center for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM): Imagining Futures - Dealing with Disparity

  • The "Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb" (MECAM), founded in 2020, is a platform for regional and international scientific exchange in Tunisia based on the central theme "Imagining Futures - Dealing with Disparity". The centre is located at the renowned Université de Tunis in the Tunisian capital. Its research work focuses on the effects of multidimensional disparity on models, visions and ideas about political, social, economic, and cultural futures.
    BMBF, 2020-2023


    Dr. Alyssa Miller

    Research Fellow


    Dr. André Bank

    Senior Research Fellow

    Dr. Thomas Richter

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation"

    Research Questions

    The research programme of the Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb encompasses the five thematic clusters "Inequality & Mobility", "Memory & Justice", "Aesthetics & Cultural Practice", "Resources & Sustainability", "Identities & Beliefs" (the latter one under GIGA's coordination) as well as two transversal axes "Comparative Historical and Regional Perspectives" and "Digital Methods".

    Contribution to International Research

    MECAM's contributes to international research excellence in a number of ways: First, it strengthens the perception of the Maghreb as a geopolitical interface of different world regions, among them Africa, Europe, and the Middle East (Mashriq). Second and related, it thereby aims to overcome the often-held, limited perspective of the Maghreb as a "triple periphery". This is done, third, by connecting with a long tradition of Maghrebi theorizing in different fields. Fourth, MECAM substantially enhances German scholarly engagement with the Maghreb. Fifth and more generally, it contributes to tackling persisting asymmetries in knowledge production.

    Research Design and Methods

    The Merian Center for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) considers itself an interdisciplinary, interregional and intergenerational research platform on the Maghreb, the Middle East and beyond. Under the guiding theme "Imagining Futures - Dealing with Disparity", MECAM examines the complex processes of (re-)negotiating future models of society ('imagining futures’) in the region about a decade after the beginning of the "Arab Spring", all within the context of unequal starting conditions ('disparity').

    The German Institute for Global and Area Studies is a partner within the MECAM consortium, along with the University of Marburg, the University of Leipzig and the Forum Transregional Studies in Berlin. In addition to the Université de Tunis, the regional partners are the University of Sfax and the Institut Tunisien des Études Stratégiques (ITES) in Tunisia, as well as other partners from Morocco and Lebanon.

    MECAM Papers English | 11/2022

    Environment and Climate Change in Contemporary Arabic Dystopian Fiction

    Contemporary (predominantly post-2011) Arabic fiction exhibits a dystopian strand that projects a pessimistic view of the future. This literature has become particularly prominent not least because environmental degradation is a major problem in the Arab region.

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Teresa Pepe

    Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oslo

    MECAM Papers English | 07/2022

    Street Art, Festivity, and the Politics of Possession in the Moroccan Urban Space

    Recently, festivals have come to acquire unprecedented importance in Morocco. Looking at contemporary festivals in Morocco points to the lurking hierarchies, hegemonies, and modes of suppression which can help to unravel the urban conflicts and resulting resistance. An analysis.

    Farouk El Maarouf

    Justus Liebig University

    Cooperation | 20/04/2020

    New Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in Tunis

    The GIGA is taking part in the establishment of a Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) in the capital of Tunisia. This research centre will be dedicated to the study of processes of social change that have come about as a result of the Arab protest movements of 2011.

    Press Release | 30/03/2020

    Imagining Futures – Dealing with Disparity

    Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) to be established at the Université de Tunis


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