The Levant in Transformation
The Syrian Crisis in a Regional Perspective
International Conference, University of Southern Denmark, 23rd-24th of May 2014
Venue: University of Southern Denmark, conference section: Auditorium O100
Organized by the Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark
The conference has received funding from the Danish Institute in Damascus
Martin Beck, Dietrich Jung and Peter Seeberg,
Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies,
University of Southern Denmark
At the end of the First World War, the international Great Powers together with regional clients established a new political order in the Levantine territories of the previous Ottoman Empire. Although heavily disputed and challenged by different actors, in the end this new political landscape of modern national states has largely remained unchanged until today. However, the contemporary Syrian civil war raises the question as to whether the events of the so-called Arab spring will not only lead to processes of regime change, but possibly also to the transformation of the state system in the Levant and its political, social and ethnic foundations. The continuing dismantlement of the Syrian state is knitted into regional conflicts such as the Kurdish question, the sectarian struggle in Iraq, the future of the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan and the Israel-Palestine conflict. In taking the war in Syria as its central point of reference, the conference will try to explore its potential for a more radical political transformation of the Levant.
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23 May 2014
8.45-9.15 Registration in the conference area, coffee and tea
Henrik Øregaard Dam, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southern Denmark.
Dietrich Jung, Professor, Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark.
9.45-12.00 Panel 1: Whither Syria: Consolidation or Fragmentation?
Chair: Dr. Jørgen Bæk Simonsen, Professor, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen.
Spillover from the Syrian civil war and the reconfiguration of regional politics
Dr. Fred Lawson, Professor at the Department of Government, Mills College, Oakland.
The tragedy of Syria – revisited
Dr. Morten Valbjørn, Associate Professor at Department of Political Science & Government, Aarhus University.
Conflict, governance and decentralized authority in Syria
Dr. Samer Abboud, Assistant Professor at Arcadia University, Glenside PA.
13.00-15.15 Panel 2: Sectarianism and the Future of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq
Chair: Dr. Martin Beck, Professor at the Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark.
Dr. Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, Professor at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies University of Copenhagen.
Deadly implications: the rise of sectarianism in Syria
Dr. Peter Sluglett, Director Designate of the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore.
Secular re-orientation? Sectarianism and ideology in revolutionary Syria
Thomas Vladimir Brønd, Ph.D-fellow, SIME – Secular Ideology in the Middle East, University of Roskilde.
A new Cold War in the Middle East and North Africa: the re-shaping of alliances and narratives
Dr. Ruth Hanau Santini, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Università L'Orientale, Napoli.
15.15-15.45 Coffee Break
15.45-18.00 Panel 3: Presentations and Discussion:
Chair: Dr. Kirstine Sinclair, Assistant Professor, Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark.
Why does chronology matter? Understanding Syrian configurations
Dr. Hamit Bozarslan, Director of Studies at the EHESS (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), Paris.
”The Syrian Civil War and Islamist, Militarist and Secularist Constructions of the Body Politic”
Dr. Mervat Hatem, Professor at Howard University, Washington DC and currently Visiting Professor at the Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark.
Post-conflict urban and architectural reconstruction process: Syrian style of 1910s-50s as an experimented historic case
Dr. Anas Soufan, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Department of History of the Art, Unidufour, Geneva University.
Between a rock and a hard place; popular uprise in Syria and its impact on Syrian communities living on the occupied Golan Heights
Dr. Joshka Wessels (CRIC, University of Copenhagen).
18.30-21.00 Conference Dinner (Panelists only)
24 May 2014
9.00-9.45 Registration in the conference area, coffee and tea
9.45-12.00 Panel 4: Reconfigurating a Region: The Levant in World Politics
Chair: Martin Ledstrup, PhD Researcher, Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark.
Dr. Katerina Dalacoura, Senior Lecturer, Department of International Relations, The London School of Economics and Political Science.
"The Syrian Refugee Crisis and its Impact on Jordan - Structural Difficulties or the Burden of the Refugees?"
Simone Hüser, Research Fellow and Project Coordinator at Konrad Adenauer Foundation - Jordan Office.
The crisis in Syria and the international sanctions
Dr. Peter Seeberg, Associate Professor and Director of Studies at the Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark.
The renaissance of parliament? Perspectives of increased legislative influence in tomorrow’s Syria
Dr. Jan Völkel, Visiting Professor and DAAD Long-Term Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Euro-Mediterranean Studies, Cairo University.
13.00-15.15 Panel 5: Israel and a Palestinian state: Redrawing Boundaries?
Chair: Dr. Dietrich Jung, Professor, Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies. University of Southern Denmark.
Failed attempts or failures to attempt? Western policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Dr. Martin Beck, Professor at the Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark.
Palestine, the quest for a nation-state in a post-nationalist Middle East?
Dr. Lorenzo Kamel, Visiting Fellow, Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Boston.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a new regional dynamic
Dr. Alla Zakharchenko, Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations, Odessa National University.
The Conference closes