Cities and circulations: Challenging theorical frameworks in Gulf Studies and geographies

Le CERMOM a le plaisir de vous inviter au colloque international : "Cities and circulations: Challenging theorical frameworks in Gulf Studies and geographies" organisé par l'Inalco, Sciences Po et Kuwait University avec le soutien de l'Institut d’Étude de l'Islam et des Sociétés du Monde Musulman et du CEFREPA (Centre français de recherche de la Péninsule arabique) et de l’Ambassade de France au Koweït.
photo de rue au Golf
Cities and circulations © Photo courtesy @Yousef Abdulaal‎

Résumé de la manifestation scientifique

The conference revisits historical processes of knowledge production, immigration, andcultural exchange in colonial and post-colonial geographies of the Gulf. It also uncovershistories of community, migration, language/dialect, and hinterland denials in both themaking of Gulf cities and the production of their histories. The aim is to foster novelinvestigations that question the positionality of different actors, that humanise thelandscape, and that deconstruct persistent myths, material and immaterial structures,spaces and systems that limit a critical reading on the Gulf.


Mercredi 29 mai 2024 - Maison de la Recherche, 2 rue de Lille, 75007

8h30 : Registration - Welcome Coffee 

9h : Institutional welcome remarks. Inalco, KU, CEFREPA, Sciences Po

10h : Session 1: Moderated by Hélène Thiollet, Sciences Po-Ceri

Challenging persitent dichotomies in historical processes : resituating Gulf histories within complex phenomena of hybridisation through South-South circulations 

10h : Todd Reisz, Independant Scholar

  • Infinite Arrivals

10h30 : Mae Al-Ansari, Kuwait University (zoom)

  • Challenging dichotomies in Gulf histories: refraiming tradition, housing, and architectural flows as critical aspects of recentering

11h : Talal Al-Rashoud, Kuwait University, &Wafa Al-Sayed, University for Science and Technolohy (zoom)

  • Arabia's anti-colonial hub: Kuwait and the Bahraini nationalist movement (1956-1966)

11h30 : Q&A 

12h30 : lunch break

14h : Session 2: Moderated by Eric Verdeil

Recentring Gulf cities within colonial- and post-colonial histories and uncovering the webs of connections, transfers and conflicts within And Across empires 

14h : Philippe Pétriat, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University

  • The (first) Line: Tapline's cities and the historiography of oil urbanism in the Gulf

Abstract: "Between 1948 and 1950, the world's largest oil pipeline was built by Aramco's shareholding companies to connect the fields in eastern Saudi Arabia with an oil terminal at Sidon. This 1,200 km-long line across the desert was not only used to ship oil to the Mediterranean. It has been the axis of a new urbanization in the Saudi kingdom as well. The specific challenges of the regions crossed by the pipeline led the Tapline company to apply a policy that was both close to and distinct from oil urbanism followed in Ahsa, which a recent and quite critical historiography has highlighted. I propose to explain these cross-fertilizations between urban planning models and the traffic patterns for which the Tapline has become a structuring regional axis. »

14h30 : Lukasz Stanek, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

  • Mobilities of weak actors 

15h : Alix Philippon, Sciences Po, Aix-en-Provence

Redefining Baghdad trhough the shrines: translocal devotion, mobilities and urban politics in post-2003 Iraq

15h30 : Q&A

16h : keynote 

Mohammad Al Jassar, Secretary general for the National Council for Culture Arts and Literature, Kuwait

  • The past, present, and future of two marginalized towns in Kuwait 

18h30 : cocktail Inalco aux salon Borel et de Tassy (1er étage)


Jeudi 30 mai 2024 - Sciences Po - 1 place Saint Thomas, Bâtiment B

(Sur inscription)

9h : Welcome coffee

9h30 : Session 3: Moderated by Chantal Verdeil, Inalco-CERMOM

Representing cities, circulations and transformations through languages and literature

9h30 : Marcela Rubino, Inalco-CERMOM

  • The treatment of race in post-2000s Gulf novels 

10h : Elisabeth Vauthier, Université Jean Moulin-Lyon 3 IETT - CEFREPA

  • The City in Contemporary Novel : a Reading of the History of Kuwait

Abstract: The communication will address two contemporary novels:   فئران أمي حصة (Mice of Umm Hessa, 2016) by Saoud al-Sanoussi and لا تقصص رؤياك   (Don’t tell your nightmares, 2014) by Abd al-Wahhab al-Hammadi, that  look back on  the history of Kuwait and the violence it has experienced in recent years, to give a picture of the tensions in Kuwaiti political life. The analysis of these two works will show the way the novels represent urban space, in its material and symbolic dimensions, to draw the map of a country undermined by social tensions and political dissensions, foreshadowing – especially in Saoud al-San'oussi’s novel – a painful future.

Bio: Elisabeth VAUTHIER is a Professor of Arabic literature at the University Jean Moulin (Lyon 3). She is a member of the Institute of Transtextual and Transcultural Studies (IETT) and an associate member of the French Research Center of the Arabian Peninsula (CEFREPA). She conducts research on modern and contemporary Arabic literature, and in particular on the novel whose evolutions she studies. Researcher in delegation at CEFREPA in Abu Dhabi between 2021 and 2023, she led a project on “Tensions, dynamics and aesthetic configurations in the novel of the Arabian Peninsula” and has coordinated  “The poetics of the fictional place in the novel of the Arabian Peninsula”, LiCarC, n° 3, Paris, Garnier, 2023) and The Contemporary Novel in the Arabian Peninsula, (forthcoming).

10h30 : Laura Hindelang, University of Bern

  • Challenging cultural circulation: a media-historical approach to Gulf cities

11h : coffee break

11h30 : Q&A

12h15 : lunch break 

14h : Session 4: Moderated by Asseel Al Ragam, Kuwait University

Revisiting and relocating Gulf architecture and urban planning within global, regional, and local contexts to draw Out continuities and exceptions beyond oil development

14h : Laurent Bonnefoy, Sciences Po-Ceri

  • The Omani urban counter-model in the Gulf 

14h30 : Anahi Alviso, Sciences Po-CEFREPA

  • Un-Monuments across cities of the Arabian peninsula

15h : Jawaher Al Sudairy (zoom)

  • Tracing the endogenous forces animating Makkah's urban restructuring 

15h30 : Q&A

16h : Concluding remarks 

Roundtable discussion