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

  • 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 | 07/2023

    Quietist Salafism Between (Neo)liberal Apprehensions and Convergence

    There are some striking similarities between quietist Salafi thinking in Morocco and key political and societal dictates of liberal and neoliberal logics. These traditions all variously vilify the state as a means of effecting individual and, ultimately, societal transformation. They also variously locate matters of responsibility at the level of each individual, rather than at the level of society or the state.

    MECAM Papers English | 02/2023

    Hand / Camera / Phone: Mobile Cameras, Migration, and Knowledge Production in Our Hands

    Mobile phones have a close relation to the hand itself, when they are used as handheld cameras, or in the way a touchscreen is operated. When mobile phone cameras are used in documentary filmmaking to tell a migrant’s story on their own terms, they offer a “hands-on” approach to digital knowledge production that incorporates not only the reality of its production but also the potential for a change of perspective.

    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

    MECAM Travelling Academy "Solidarities in/between the Middle East & North Africa”


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