Traveling Academy Solidarities In/Between the Middle East and North Africa, Beirut/Lebanon

The Traveling Academy organised by MECAM in cooperation with the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) considers solidarity in comparative and historical perspective, tracking the dialectics of affinity and difference at the heart of political community. Solidarity is one of the oldest concerns in the social sciences, which sought to understand the waning of traditional bonds under capitalist modernity. The topic’s return to research agendas today is symptomatic of the multiple crises humanity faces on a planetary scale. Contemporary writing on solidarity captures utopian hopes for an “alter-politics” (Hage 2015) capable of radically breaking with a political present experienced as stultifying and self-destructive. It also documents messy attempts to translate such hopes into transformative action. Understood as “a way of sticking together while standing one’s own ground,” solidarity demands a reckoning with difference while building toward shared liberatory futures (Li 2021: 241).

  • Drawing inspiration from charismatic solidarity projects of the past (Bardawil 2020), our Traveling Academy asks what emancipatory futures drive political imaginaries in the MENA today?
  • How do contemporary projects relate to earlier visions and transmit values to rising generations?

The MECAM Traveling Academy takes place from February 19th to 25 th 2023.


Feb 19 - 25 2023



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