Lebanon’s contemporary borders/boundaries

Workshop Program 18-­19th May 2012
Centre for Lebanese Studies – MEC/ St Antony’s College – Oxford University

This workshop focused on Lebanon’s contemporary borders/boundaries and their relationship with identity building. It aimed at studying three dimensions that ‘border studies’ used to separate for research purposes. First, the physical aspects of territorial delimitations and their implications in terms of security and perception. Second, the socio-economic aspects of the circulation of actors, be they refugees or tribes, as they reveal how a groups perform their own definition in bridging, crossing, overcoming check-points, thresolds or categories. Third, the building of groups and the fluctuations of their contours as a mean to understand their historical trajectories and systems of representations. These intertwined approaches can produce theoretical inputs, highlighting mecanism that trigger bordering processes among groups, through acts, language, defined norms or border delineation process. They also provide with a larger interdisciplinary understanding of borders and boundaries as they seem to be intrinsecally related to group identities, the latter being defined by the first ones and in the mean time exercing an influence on the perception of borders/boundaries as closed limits or as transition spaces.

18th May 2012 – Middle East Centre Library

5:00 – 5:30 pm  –  Welcome speech:

P George Asseily (Chairman of CLS Board) and
Michael Willis (Director of MEC).

5:30 – 7:00 pm  –  Plenary Conference:

Keynote speaker, Lord Michael Williams, former UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (2008-­‐2011).

Dinner for participants: High Table at St Antony’s College

19th May – Dahrendorf Room (9:30 am – 4:30 pm)

9:30 – 9:45 am  –   Introduction & organisation of the day

George Asseily (Chairman of CLS Board)

Session 1: People at the margins (9:45 – 11:15)
Chair: Daniel Meier (CLS-­‐MEC) -­‐ Discussant: Eugene Rogan (MEC)

9:45 – 10:10  –   Saoud al-­‐Mawla (Lebanese University)

« The Shia in South Lebanon: portraying suffering and group identity building »

10:10 – 10:30  –   Nicolas Puig (IRD – Paris/Beirut)

« Crossing the borders: an ethnography of “transactions”. The Case of Palestinian Refugees in the North of Lebanon »

10:30 – 10:50  –   Dawn Chatty, Nisrine Mansour & Nasser Yassin (Oxford University)

« Statelessness and tribal identity on Lebanon’s eastern borders »

11:15 – 11:45  –   Coffee Break

Session 2: Wars and frontiers: from limits to delineation (11:45 am – 1:00 pm)
Chair: Ahmed al-­‐Shahi (MEC) -­‐ Discussant: Michael Kerr (King’s College)

11:45 – 12:10  –   Daniel Meier (CLS -­‐ MEC)

« The southern border: drawing the line in shifting (political) sands »

12:10 – 12:30  –  Franck Mermier (CNRS – Paris)

« Beirut: Fear, violence and frontiers »

1:00 – 2:30  –   Lunch at College

Session 3: Boundaries at stake: spaces of meaning (2:45 – 4:00)
Chair: Ahmed al-­‐Shahi (MEC) -­‐ Discussant:  Daniel Meier (MEC – CLS)

2:45 – 3:10  –  Fida Bizri (INALCO – Paris)

« Language Practice in Lebanon: An Invisible Boundary Marker »

3:10 – 3:30  –   Sune Haugbolle (Copenhagen University – Denmark)

« ‘Ala al-­hudud: Liminality, space and borders in the ideology of the Lebanese Left »

4:00 – 4:30  –   Concluding remarks and Perspectives    

George Asseily (Chairman of CLS Board) & Daniel Meier (CLS – MEC)


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