#MECAM SERIES VIDEO “Maghrebi Minds: Imagining Futures”

The short video series “*Maghrebi Minds: Imagining Futures*” provides a captivating glimpse into the diverse intellectual legacy of the Maghreb region by delving into the perspectives of prominent thinkers and their visions for the future. Each episode delves into the works and ideas of outstanding Maghrebi intellectuals, exploring their historical impact, contemporary relevance, and potential contributions to shaping future trajectories. This series is a component of the conceptual framework of the Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) – “Imagining Futures”.

The “Maghrebi Minds: Imagining Futures” short video series consists of episodes lasting a maximum of 8 minutes, featuring knowledgeable interviewers from the MECAM network who elicit concise responses to standardized questions. Responses may be provided in Arabic, English, or French.

From an academic standpoint, the series offers a condensed yet profound exploration into the intellectual landscapes of these exceptional individuals, whose ideas often transcend regional boundaries. It serves to popularize research content within the realms of social sciences and humanities, fostering deeper comprehension of themes such as identity, modernity, and societal transformation. Through insightful interviews, the series aims to illuminate both the intellectual contributions and the personalities behind them, striving to grasp the diverse future visions and societal models envisioned by Maghrebi intellectuals.

Furthermore, the series seeks to propagate and contextualize the theoretical contributions from the Maghreb region, juxtaposing them with perspectives from other regions for comparative analysis. It raises inquiries into the existence of a distinctive Maghrebi thought paradigm, the preferred models of societal organization among these intellectuals, and the critiques and forward-looking visions they offer for their own societies. By rendering complex ideas accessible to a broader audience, this series fosters the exchange of intellectual discourse.


MECAM inaugurates a new phase in its commitment to promoting social science research in the Maghreb, the Mashreq, and beyond. We actively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds who delve into a variety of subjects. One of our main goals is to enrich the ongoing debate on the Global South while highlighting the voices that have long been neglected in our region. This video, created with Professor Khaled Kchir, aims to unveil the significance of Ibn Khaldûn, whose influence, though profound, is often underestimated today.

As a Professor of Medieval History at the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences of the University of Tunis, and one of the two directors of MECAM, Professor Kchir focuses on the in-depth study of Ibn Khaldûn’s work. The latter is frequently hailed as the pioneer of modern sociology due to his pivotal role in the study of local societies and their evolution. In this interview, Professor Kchir sheds light on Ibn Khaldûn’s substantial impact in the past, his current importance, and his relevance as a model for the future.

We delve into Ibn Khaldûn’s major contributions to our understanding of human societies and urbanization. We discover how this 14th-century scholar continues to influence contemporary research and how his methodology can provide a fresh and dynamic perspective on our present and future. This video is an invitation to explore Ibn Khaldûn’s intellectual legacy, which continues to illuminate our reflections on human societies and their complex dynamics.

Khaled Kchir  (Prof. of Medieval History ; Faculty of Human and Social Sciences  University of Tunis / MECAM’s Director).

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

Imad Alsoos earned a bachelor degree in English language and literature and a master degree in international studies from Birzeit University/Palestine, as well as a master degree in public law and international relations from the University of the Basque Country. In 2017, he earned his PhD from the Free University of Berlin, focusing on Hamas’s political discourse and organisational mobilisation in Gaza. In 2018, he joined the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. His current research focuses on a comparative study of Hamas and al-Nahda’s forms of internal and external organised mobilisation. Alsoos’ work attempts to bring together MB groups and organisational and state theory to examine their dynamics while they were in opposition and in office.

Dr. Imad Alsoos (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology/ Germany)

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

Asma Helali is an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Lille, France. Dr Helali has worked in various research centers in the Arab world, U.S, Europe and the United Kingdom. Her main interest is the transmission of religious texts in early and mediaeval Islam. She is currently member of the Templeton Religion Trust project, Paratexts Seeking Understanding, University of Glasgow and she is director of The Kairouan Manuscript project (KMP), University of Hamburg, Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC)She is the author of The Sanaa Palimpsest: The Transmission of the Qur’an in the First Centuries AH (Oxford University Press, 2017), and The Making of Religious Texts in Islam: The Fragment and the Whole (Gerlach, 2019).

Dr. Asma Helali (University of Lille/ France)

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

Mourad OUCHICHI was born on 07/10/1975 in Ath Laaziz in the Wilaya of Bouira in Algeria. Doctor in political science, graduate of IEP Lyon II. Currently a teacher-researcher at the University of Bejaia. His research focuses on the issue of rent and the nature of institutions in relation to the development of extractive countries. His main focus is on comparative studies between Algeria and the extractive countries of Latin America.

Dr. Mourad Ouchichi (Abderrahmane Mira University of Bejaia / Algeria)

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

Alessia Carnevale holds a PhD in Civilizations of Asia and Africa from Sapienza University of Rome. Her doctoral thesis deals with Tunisian counter-culture and the ‘committed song’ of the 1970s-1980s. She previously graduated in Comparative Literatures and Cultures from the University of Naples l’Orientale. She is a lecturer in History and institutions of Islamic countries at the University of Macerata, and a member of SeSaMO (Italian Society for the Studies on the Middle East). She has published in venues such as the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and Studi Maġrebini. In 2022 she received the Best doctoral thesis award in African Studies from ASAI (Association for African Studies in Italy). Her research explores the relations between culture and politics, issues of collective memories and (counter)narratives, and grassroots/top-down interventions in the cultural field. Besides her academic career, she trained and worked in the third sector in Italy, Jordan, and Tunisia.

Dr. Alessia Carnevale (University of Macerata/ Italy)

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

Mohamed Amara received his master’s degree in economic modeling from the Higher Institute of Management of Tunis in 2004, before undertaking a PhD in Geography at the university of Paris I and a PhD in management (quantitative Methods) at the university of Tunis in 2010. In 2016 Dr. Amara joined the Department of Economics of Higher School of Economic and Commercial Sciences of Tunis as an associate professor of quantitative methods. From January to March 2019, he was a Research Follow in the department of Economics at the university of Oxford. Amara’s research focuses on development economics, regional sciences, labor market, youth and gender in MENA region, and applied micro-econometrics. He has published in a range of journals on a variety of topics such as the Annals of Regional Science, Social Indicators Research, Annals of Economic and Statistics, Papers in regional science, Middle East development Journal, and Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences.

Dr. Mohamed Amara (Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales de Tunis, Université de Tunis / Tunisia)

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

Nora Lafi  is a historian  (PhD, 1999; Habilitation, 2011), working as a Senior Research Fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. She specializes in the study of the Ottoman Empire and of the societies of the Middle East and North Africa. She has been chairing since 2020 the international research project HISDEMAB of the Leibniz-Association. She is also a Privat Dozentin at Freie Universität Berlin and was in 2020 a Senior Fellow of the Max Weber Kolleg at Erfurt University. She co-chairs the Cities Compared project EUME (Forum Transregionale Studien). She has published extensively on urban governance (Esprit civique et organisation citadine dans l’empire ottoman, Brill, 2019) as well as on the historical anthropology of violence (Urban Violence in the Middle East, co-ed., Berghahn, 2015), on gender studies (“Finding women and gender in the sources”, 2018) and on anti-colonial movements (“Longue-Durée Reflections on Anti-Colonial Movements”, 2022).

Dr. Nora Lafi (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin/ Germany)

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

Maitresse-assistante au département d’histoire de la Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Sociales de Tunis, elle a soutenu  en  2014 à l’EHESS (Paris), une thèse sur « La peine de mort en Tunisie sous le protectorat. Les condamnations prononcées par la justice pénale française (1883-1955) ». Ses travaux de recherche portent essentiellement sur l’histoire de la justice à l’époque coloniale et postcoloniale et sur les divers acteurs de la hiérarchie judiciaire (magistrats, interprètes et avocats). Elle s’intéresse également à la question du genre et de la justice. Elle est membre du Laboratoire Monde arabo-islamique médiéval (FSHST).

Dr. Hend Guirat( Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Sociales de Tunis, Université de Tunis/ Tunis)