Prolog, Keynote, Visual Lecture, Staged Reading


with Mohammad al Attar, Akeel Bilgrami, Abdelfattah Kilito, Samia Mehrez, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Feridun Zaimoğlu

Thu, Oct 31, 2013
6 pm
Free admission

18h Opening Remarks

Bernd M. Scherer (Director Haus der Kulturen der Welt)

18.30h Prolog

Akeel Bilgrami, Samia Mehrez, Feridun Zaimoğlu

Personal Readings

Three readers select different passages from Said’s writings as a basis for their own reflection: his foundational discussion of “Orientalism,” his critique of the theory of “The Clash of Civilizations,” and his contemplations “On the University.” An intimate entrance through which the symposium seeks to approach Said’s work and thought.

19.30h Keynote

Abdelfattah Kilito

A Portrait of the Intellectual as a Porter

This keynote reflects on the “Out of Place” of Arabic discourse. It does so while raising literary questions in connection to “al muthanna,” an Arabic term which refers to a relationship between two entities that constitute neither a couple nor a duality.

21h Visual Lecture

Trinh T. Minh-ha

The World, with Each Step

This contribution will reflect on the praxis of travel in scholarly and creative research, as related to a cluster of questions around time, strangeness, mobility, and stillness.

22h Staged Reading

Mohammad al Attar

Youssef Passed Here

Directed by Omar Abusaada, performed by Hala Omran, Mohamad al Rashi & Rami Khalaf, Arabic with English supertitles

Drawing on the concept of “al muthanna,” this staged reading will contemplate a journey back to a Syrian “homeland” that has changed and no longer resembles what it used to be.


Mohammad al Attar is a Syrian playwright and dramaturge. His works, amongst other "Intimacy", "Could you Please Look into the Camera?", "Look at the street…this is what hope looks like", and "Withdrawal" were adapted for performances on international stages. He is a practitioner of Theatre of the Oppressed and regularly publishes articles in international magazines and newspapers.

Omar Abusaada is a Syrian theatre director based in Damascus. His directorial works include: "Intimacy" (2013), "Could you please look into camera?" (2012), "Look at the street…this is what hope looks like" (2011), "Al Merwad wa Al-Mekhala" (2009), "Samah" ( 2008), "The Poster" (2006), and "Insomnia" (2004). He is currently teaching dramatic writing at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus.

Mohamad al Rashi, Syrian actor.

Akeel Bilgrami is the Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and a founding member of its Committee on Global Thought. He is the author of several books, amongst them "Secularism, Enchantment, and Identity" (2013), "Self-Knowledge and Resentment" (2006), and "Belief and Meaning" (1992).

Rami Khalaf graduated from the Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts in Damascus in 2007 and has sionce acted in many theater plays and TV productions.

Abdelfattah Kilito is a Moroccan literary theorist. He has taught at the Faculté des Lettres, the Université Mohammed V in Rabat. Among his most notable works are "Je parle toutes les langues, mais en arabe" (2013) and "The Clash of Images" (2010).

Samia Mehrez is a professor of Arabic Literature and director of the Center for Translation Studies at the American University in Cairo. She is the editor of "Translating Egypt’s Revolution: the Language of Tahrir" (2012).

Hala Omran, is an actress from Syria living in Paris. She began her career in 1990 and has acted in films an plays in Syria and Europe, playing classical and contemporary texts..

Trinh T. Minh-ha, a filmmaker, writer, and composer, is Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. A feminist and post - colonial theorist, she is the author of "Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event" (2010), amongst other.

Feridun Zaimoğlu is a German author and visual artist of Turkish origin. He is considered as one of most the important poets of contemporary German language. Among his central themes are the problems of the second and third generation of Turkish immigrants to Germany.