MECAM Fellows contribute to MECAM’s research agenda by working independently on their own research projects and by their active engagement in academic activities at MECAM (on site), during and beyond their stay. The concept of the fellowship program requires a good balance of freedom and time for the individual scholar to concentrate on a self-chosen research project, access to adequate research facilities, opportunities for free exchange of ideas, questions, and results with colleagues, and contributions to the MECAM Program, its activities and academic outputs. The fellowship program led by MECAM’s directors has been tested and implemented successfully during MECAM’s initial funding phase within the Interdisciplinary Fellowgroups (IFGs), even though the on-site component in Tunis has been substituted partially by remote fellowships due to pandemicrelated restrictions. During the initial funding phase, MECAM has been successful with invitations of excellent scholars working on intriguing individual research projects and the formation of groups of fellows covering a broad range of research questions relating to MECAM’s research agenda and a variety of disciplinary approaches. The individual fellowships offered during MECAM’s main phase are primarily targeted to promising postdoctoral researchers (junior fellows), as well as more experienced senior scholars (senior fellows). MECAM invites nine fellows per year for a period of eight months In addition, MECAM will invite up to six promising postdoc fellows for up to three years. A maximum of three of these three-year postdoc fellowships may run concurrently

Interdisciplinary Research Field I “Aesthetics & Cultural Practices”, the IRF questions of how aesthetic forms and cultural practices influence the process by which models and imaginations of the future are expressed and (re-)negotiated. It also investigates the ways in which disparities, political and societal transformations influence aesthetic and cultural practices.

Interdisciplinary Research Field II “Inequality & Mobility”, The IRF addresses social and economic inequalities, the resulting sense of insecurity, and their role in the (re-)negotiation of visions and models of the future. The IRF specifically explores how distinct forms of disparity (incl. concrete policy decisions) drive or restrain mobility and how in turn, mobility can exacerbate or mitigate inequality.

Interdisciplinary Research Field III “Memory & Justice”, the IRF discuss legacies of the past, including their legal, political and cultural perceptions and frames in relation to different assessments of the present and to models and (re- )negotiations of the future. Research will shed light on the ways in which differential access to political power shapes questions of accountability, fact-finding, amnesty, judicial reforms, human rights claims and the legitimate sources of law in post-conflict societies and beyond.

Interdisciplinary Research Field IV “Resources & Sustainability”, the IRF investigates how societies in general and political decision-makers in particular deal with burgeoning socio-economic disparities and growing environmental problems. This IRF studies which economic models might ensure a politically, socially and ecologically sustainable future. Especially rentier and extractivist economic models in the Maghreb/Middle East are explicitly addressed here as these models generate particular forms of disparities and thus also interesting visions of the future.

The IRF examines co-existing, sometimes competing identities and belief systems which are partly impacted by political power dynamics. Disparities are felt, perceived and articulated very differently from the vantage point of diverse identities and beliefs, resulting in pluralistic ways of (re-) negotiating imaginations and models of the future. Possible research foci are therefore on topics such as reformational Arab-Muslim thought, the future manifestation of political Islam in the Maghreb, and the entanglements of Islamic history and its interaction with modernity.

MECAM’s five IRFs are complemented by three areas of methodological exploration that cut across the research areas. Although the choice of each specific theme and its research methods is made by the fellows individually, the areas of methodological exploration address questions that may arise from the center’s specific position, and its place in the system of academic knowledge production at the intersection of Tunis and the Maghreb, Germany and Europe, as well as Area Studies and humanities and social science disciplines. They also address the central concerns and commitments of MECAM’s work.

The five topics Interdisciplinary Research Fields (IRF), a process that will be accompanied by the academic expertise of Principal Investigators (PI) from Germany and Tunisia. This will enable broader interdisciplinary and comparative exchange between fellows conducting research on the five key areas.

Prof. Olaf Müller

Prof. Olaf Müller (Professor, French and Italian Literature and Culture, Marburg/Germany)

Prof. Fiederike Pannewick

Prof. Fiederike Pannewick (Professor, Arabic Literature and Culture, Marburg/Germany)

Prof. Malte Hagener

Prof. Malte Hagener (Professor, Media and Film Studies, Marburg/Germany)

Prof. Samia Kassab-Charfi

Prof. Samia Kassab-Charfi (Professor, French and Francophone Literatures, Tunis/Germany)

Prof. Mohamed Ben Hamouda

Prof. Mohamed Ben Hamouda (Department of Music and Department of Arts and Crafts, Université de Sfax/Tunisia)

Prof. Emna Beltaief

Prof. Emna Beltaief (Professor of French language and literature, University of Tunis/ Tunisia)

Prof. Sonja Ganseforth

Prof. Sonja Ganseforth (Research Associate, Economic Geography and Labour Market Research, University of Leipzig/ Germany)

Prof. Ali Bennasr

Prof. Ali Bennasr (Professor, Geography, Université de Sfax/ Tunisia)

Prof. Mourad Ben Jelloul

Prof. Mourad Ben Jelloul (Professor, Geography, Université de Tunis/ Tunisia)

Prof. Ahmed Khouaja

Prof. Ahmed Khouaja (Professor, Historical and cultural sociology, Université de Tunis/ Tunisia)

Prof. Mohamed Ali Benzina

Prof. Mohamed Ali Benzina (Professor, Demography, Université de Tunis/ Tunisia)

Prof. Susanne Buckley-Zistel

Prof. Susanne Buckley-Zistel (Professor, Peace and Conflict Studies, Philipps-Universität Marburg/Germany)

Prof. Anika Oettler

Prof. Anika Oettler (Professor, Sociology, Philipps-Universität Marburg/Germany)

Prof. Thorsten Bonacker

Prof. Thorsten Bonacker (Professor, Peace and Conflict Studies, Philipps-Universität Marburg/Germany)

Prof. Khaled Kchir

Prof. Khaled Kchir (Professor, History, Université de Tunis /Tunisia)

Prof. Yasmina Ghodbane

Prof. Yasmina Ghodbane (Professor, Philosophy, Université de Tunis /Tunisia)

Prof. Nessim Zenaien

Prof. Nessim Zenaien (Professor, Postcolonial/Colonial Studies of the Maghreb, Philipps- Universität Marburg/ Germany)

Prof. Rachid Ouaissa

Prof. Rachid Ouaissa (Professor, Middle East Politics, Center for Near and Middle East Studies (CNMS) and Director of MECAM, Philipps-Universität Marburg / Germany)

Prof. Benedikt Stcuhtey

Prof. Benedikt Stcuhtey (Professor, Modern History, History and Cultural Studies, Philipps- Universität Marburg / Germany)

Prof. Eckart Conze

Prof. Eckart Conze (Professor, Modern and Contemporary History, History and Cultural Studies, Philipps-Universität Marburg / Germany)

Prof. Nejiba Chkir Ben Jemaa

Prof. Nejiba Chkir Ben Jemaa (Geography and Environment / Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Sfax, Université de Sfax/Tunisia)

Prof. Anissa Ben Hassine

Prof. Anissa Ben Hassine (Professor of Management, ESSECT – Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales, University of Tunis / Tunisia)

Prof. Héla Belkhiria

Prof. Héla Belkhiria (Lecturer, Electrical Engineering, National Engineering School of Tunis (ENSIT), University of Tunis / Tunisia)

Prof. Lamia Rouached

Prof. Lamia Rouached (Associate Professor, Quantitative Methods and Economics, Institut supérieur de gestion de Tunis, University of Tunis / Tunisia)

Prof. Adel Karaa

Prof. Adel Karaa (Professor in the Department of Quantitative Methods and Economics and Director of the Doctoral School at the University of Tunis – ISG Tunis / Tunisia)

Dr Katharina Nicolai

Dr Katharina Nicolai  (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg/Institut für Politische Wissenschaft / Allemagne )

Dr. André Bank

Dr. André Bank (Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Middle East Studies, German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) / Germany)

Prof. Fadma Aït Mous

Prof. Fadma Aït Mous (Professor, Sociology, Aïn Chock Faculty of Letters and the Humanities, Hassan II University of Casablanca / Morocco)

Prof. Zoubir Arous

Prof. Zoubir Arous (Professor, Sociology, University d’Alger II / Algeria)

Prof. Sihem Chérif

Prof. Sihem Chérif (Professor, Sociology, University d’Alger II / Algeria)

IndividualFellowships (up to 8 months) :

The Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) announces nine fellowships for postdoctoral and advanced researchers in the humanities and social sciences humanities and social sciences for the period September 2023 to April 2024. Under the guiding theme “Imagining the Future: Dealing with Disparity”, MECAM is focusing on a research program comprising five “interdisciplinary Interdisciplinary Research Fields” (IRFs): Aesthetics and Cultural Practices, Inequalities and Mobility, Memory and Justice, Resources and Sustainability, and Identities and Beliefs. Applications must relate to at least one of the interdisciplinary research fields.


Dr. Alessia Carnevale

( University of Macerata, Italy)

Reconfiguration of cultural spaces in Tunisia: public and private intervention, international funds, grassroots practices


Dr. Mohamed Amara

(Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales de Tunis, Université de Tunis / Tunisia)

Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in Tunisia: a storm in a teacup ?


Dr. Hend Guirat

( Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Sociales de Tunis, Université de Tunis, Tunis)

Les oubliés du prétoire : les interprètes judiciaires en Tunisie à l’époque coloniale (1883-1955)


Dr. Joshua Rigg

( Georgetown University in Qatar)

The End Zones of the Circular Economy: Capitalism and Waste in North Africa


Dr. Mourad Ouchichi

(Abderrahmane Mira University of Bejaia / Algeria)

Analyse des caractéristiques du régime d’accumulation rentier et les voies de son dépassement


Dr. Imad Alsoos

(Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany)

Mobilising Strategies while in Office: A Comparative Analysis of Hamas and al-Nahda


Dr. Nora Lafi

( Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (Berlin, Germany))

Women Resisting Colonization: Female Rebels in Late-19th and Early 20th c. Tunisia


Dr. Tommaso Virgili

(WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Berlin, Germany)

Freedom of Conscience and LGBT Rights in Tunisia and Morocco: The Spring is Yet to Come


Dr. Asma Helali

(University of Lille, France) 

Unveiling religious identities and beliefs: Shīʿī teaching in the scholarly milieu in Kairouan during the Fatimid period

Please find all fellows of one academic year in our brochure « Program and All Fellows » that you can download here.

Long-Term Fellowships (3 years) :

During the main funding phase, the Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM)  will invite up to six promising postdoc fellows for up to three years of which a maximum of three will be present at MECAM at the same time. MECAM intends to preferentially appoint scholars from the Maghreb for these postdoc fellow positions to build up potential members of MECAM’s future academic leadership.


Dr. Massensen Cherbi

(Université Le Havre, France)

Penser l’avenir du Hirak. Entre transition démocratique et justice transitionnelle : imaginer une Algérie plurielle et respectueuse du rule of law


Dr. Max Ajl

(Department of Conflict and Development Studies, Ghent University, Belgium; Observatory for Food Sovereignty and the Environment, Tunis, Tunisia)

Development Alternatives from North Africa: Big Plans and Small Farms in the Search for Sustainability


Dr. Cyrine Kortas

(The University of Gabes, Tunisia)

The Politics and Poetics of the New Man’s Body Image in the Modernist Novel: A Sufi Comparative Study of D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love,  Mohamed Khaldi’s Awted, and Abdallah Laroui’s Awaraq

Please find all fellows of one academic year in our brochure « Program and All Fellows » that you can download here.