Program: Fall 2009

Thursday, 24 September kl. 16.00 - 18.00 (Room U91)

Exploring Business and Human Rights in the Middle East : Asian Oil Interests and the Sudan Divestment Campaign

Luke Patey (PhD Fellow, Copenhagen Business School and DIIS)

In the summer of 2004 the Save Darfur movement brought a distant civil war to the headlines of American media and into the discourse of US foreign policy. The Sudan divestment campaign was a significant part of the wider activist movement. It sought to pressure Asian National Oil Companies active in Sudan’s oil sector to exit the country. The US government and Save Darfur, having declared that genocide had been committed by the Sudanese government during the Darfur civil war, were keen to cut off its most important economic lifeline in oil production. However, the efforts of American activism to pressure Asian corporations have to date resembled a struggle in finding the light switch in the dark. While the impact of the divestment campaign in the United States has been increasingly evident, its effectiveness in producing actual results in Sudan remains suspect. This seminar takes an indepth look at how western-led transnational activism is coping with the introduction of ‘new’ targets from China and Asia in the Greater Middle East.

Luke Patey is a PhD Fellow at the Copenhagen Business School and Danish Institute for International Studies. He is also the project manager of a multi-year initiative of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sudan, the Paths to Peace Research Network. His research examines the strategic behavior of international companies in conflict-affected countries of the developing world. He has written several articles on the oil sector in Sudan, including “State Rules: Oil Companies and Armed Conflict in Sudan,” Third World Quarterly, Vol. 28, No. 5, 2007.

Thursday, 29 October kl. 16.00 -18.00 (Room U91)

Arab Students in Interwar Europe: Out of Place or In-Between?

Götz Nordbruch (Assistant Professor, Center for Middle East Studies, SDU)

In the early 20th century, Arab students showed an increasing interest in studying abroad. Such interest in extended visits to Europe was not self-evident. The longing for an authentic national culture was central to the rising Arab nationalist currents of the 1920s and 1930s. Foreign education, from this perspective, appeared as the “stumbling stone of the nation”, as one contemporary Syrian educator put it. The experience of Arab students in interwar Europe, and in France in particular, was different; pursuing studies at French universities in law, medicine, literature or history, these students were placed in a peculiar position. Given the various political and intellectual activities in which these students were engaged, their contemporary accounts provide an insight into concepts of culture and national identity that aimed at balancing potentially contradictory claims.

Goetz Nordbruch is Assistant Professor at the Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark. He studied in Marburg, Amman, Berlin and Cairo and holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from Humboldt University in Berlin. His research interests include the history of Arab-European relations and Muslim youth culture in Europe. His most recent book is: Nazism in Syria and Lebanon. The Ambivalence of the German Option, 1933-1945, Routledge: London (2009).

Thursday, 26 November kl. 16.00 - 18.00 (Room U91)

What is Islamic Modernism? The Case of Muhamamd Abduh

Mark Sedgwick (Associate Prof., Aarhus University)

In Egypt, Muhammad Abduh is now generally remembered as a great scholar and a patriot, a great renewer of Islam, one of those who awakened the nation – though the details of this greatness have grown somewhat fuzzy with time. Among scholars, in the Muslim world and the West, he is known as Islam’s leading modernist. For some, his modernism consisted of creating a synthesis of Islam and modern thought; for others, it consisted of the bridge he built between the old world and the new. Some see him as having revived true Islam, and some see him as having proposed an alternative to true Islam. In his lecture, Mark Sedgwick will discuss quite what his modernism consisted of, where it came from, and what happened to it after his death.

Mark Sedgwick is a historian of Islam and an Associate Professor at Aarhus University, where he is coordinator of the Unit for Arab and Islamic Studies. He has recently completed a biography of Muhamamd Abduh, to be published later this year. He also works on Sufism, sects, and terrorism.

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