Tandem Project

Bilingual AGYA Summer School ‘In Search of the Reader’

Fostering Arabic as Academic Language

The number of Western-Arab cooperation and exchange programs has increased over the last few years. However, in the humanities and especially in Arabic literary studies an ample divide still remains on how to teach and pursue research in these fields. Research published in Arabic is often neglected by Western colleagues while Arab scholars often neglect research published in German, English, and French. Facing this problematic situation, the international and bilingual AGYA summer school ‘In Search of the Reader: New Approaches to Practices, Functions, and Histories of Reading in Arabic Literature, Arts, and Culture’ has a twofold agenda: to facilitate the systematic exchange of perspectives and experiences between Arab and European scholars, and to foster the active use of Arabic as an academic language among German and European scholars and English among scholars at Arab universities.

Putting the Reader into the Center

Putting the reader in the center - this summer school brings together different methodological and theoretical approaches to the reader in Arabic literature, arts, media, and culture. It invites young scholars on PhD and postdoc levels from Germany, Europe, and the Arab countries to present their research in an international academic context and discuss interdisciplinary approaches to readership in Arabic philology, literature, and culture. It welcomes research projects on practices, functions, and histories of reading to various texts and media, including images, music, and film. 

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • authors, copyists, publishers, critics, scholars etc. as readers
  • historical and sociocultural practices and functions of reading (including listening and watching)
  • textual (or medial) conceptualizations of the reader, reading, and readerships
  • empirical approaches to readers, reading communities, and reading practices
  • reading practices according to different genres and media
  • textual (or medial) reader guidance and its aesthetic and epistemic functions
  • theories of the reader and reading in philosophy, literary and cultural studies, media and art studies  

Following a call for applications, selected scholars have the opportunity to present and discuss their research projects. In view of the digital format of the summer school, they are asked to prepare, in advance, a video presentation of their research project, which will be distributed to all the participants and discussed intensively in small working groups during the summer school. Professional academic language trainers will offer individual coaching sessions in order to enable the participants to improve their presentation skills. In addition, all participants will discuss in plenary sessions theoretical approaches based on selected Arabic and English texts that will be provided by the organizers beforehand.

The summer school is part of a series. Previous summer schools have been held in Beirut (Lebanon) on ‘Blickwechsel’: Entangled Perspectives on Theory, Arts and History in the Field of Arabic Literary Studies; in Rabat (Morocco) on ‘Emotions that Matter: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Feeling, Affect, and Body in Arabic Literature, Arts, and Culture’; and in Venice (Italy) on ‘Mapping the Urban: Cities in Arabic Literature, Culture, and Society’.