Northwestern Events Calendar


Archives without Documents — A MENA Conversation

When: Monday, May 9, 2022
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Danny Postel  

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Co-Sponsor: Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

Category: Lectures & Meetings, Academic, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement


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This conversation will bring together scholars working on questions of archives and documents, or their absence,  in relation to histories of violence and the material world in the MENA region. Specifically, this event is designed to help us think critically about archival absences, losses, or restrictions, especially in cases of cataclysmic violence such as genocide and partition or in the context of authoritarian regimes. In contexts in which archives and documents have been destroyed, or perhaps fabricated, or in which access is restricted, what alternative methods might shed light on those lives, experiences, and voices that have been silenced or effaced? How might scholars and artists approach the material world, such as ruined buildings, or alternative documents, such as hand drawn maps or carpets, when official documents do not exist, are themselves falsified, or are beyond reach? How might we think beyond the limits of documents altogether in conceiving of sources, spaces, tools, and perspectives with which to untangle the legacies of the past in the present? In this roundtable, we bring together scholars and practitioners from several different disciplines to reflect on how to negotiate the limits of the archive and decipher the traces of the past beyond the archive.


Yael Navaro, Cambridge University

Gil Hochberg, Columbia University

Vartan Avakian, Arab Image Foundation

Moderated by Anoush Suni, Northwestern University 

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