Symposia and Workshops

The internationally oriented symposia serve to discuss key questions and safeguard the results of the postdoctoral tandems sponsored by the Research Training Group for two years. For this purpose, international experts are invited to the interdisciplinary topics and thereby complement the topic area, which is being worked on by the postdoctoral researchers, with their own viewpoints and disciplinary perspectives. Above all, the symposia seek to intensify the discourse between the engineering and humanities on specific research topics, thereby contributing to their interdisciplinary positioning. The results of the symposia will be published in the publication series of the Research Training Group at Birkhäuser Verlag.

The workshops are launched on the initiative of the doctoral students of the DFG Research Training Group and serve to enrich the respective research projects by incorporating new research perspectives, comparatively analysing sources and materials and involving further partners in the work of the Research Training Group. The workshops, which are held as half-day or full-day events, are led by the doctoral students and focus on key questions that arise from the individual doctoral projects.

Symposium «Heritage and Conflict in the MENA Region. Cases from Aleppo, Beirut, Tunis, Hebron, and Acre» Mon, 28 October 2019

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), heritage and conflicts have been reshaping one another, and changing with them the urbanism of cities and lives of the populations of the region. This conference looks at five examples where the relationship between conflict and heritage has redefined the city and altered the lives of its dwellers.

In Syria, the division of Aleppo to east and west during the ongoing Syrian war was merely a manifestation of the long existing social and physical division of the city. In Lebanon, the postwar urban rebirth of the historic district of Beirut, managed and executed by Solidere, a joint-stock company founded in 1994, has proven unsustainable as the political and economic equilibria that generated it. In Tunis, Tunisia, from the bombings of 1942 to post-war reconstruction, from the colonial and early-Independence measures of heritage protection to the trauma of modernist planning, and from wakalization (the settlement in the old-city of populations of rural origins) to the inscription in 1979 into the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, the history of the medina will be read under the light of episodes of conflict. In Palestine/Israel, two cities are examined. The first is the old town of Hebron, where the fragmentation of the city has given rise to a Zionist ‘new Jew’ unfamiliar to the acclaimed Jewish experiences of struggle. This case clarifies how heritage has an emancipatory role to play but only when its colonial uses are exposed and challenged. The second is Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the city is examined through three analytical lenses: the physical structure, the social organization, and the behavioral shifts. This exploration unpacks the conflicts, challenges, and innovations that ensued from initiatives to preserve the old city of Acre as a living place.

By examining all these cases together, the conference explores and sheds light on the commonalities and differences caused by the intertwined history and unique position and experience of each city.


Organisers: Nura Ibold, Zeido Zeido.

For further information please contact zeidozeido(at) or check out our Facebook event page.

Reading Materials

  • Hammami, Feras. (2019). Heritage Necropolitics and the capture of Hebron: the logic of closure, fear, humiliation and elimination. In S. Frank, & M. Ristic (Eds.), Urban Heritage in Divided Cities. Routledge.
  • Rustom, Joseph. (2013). Multireligious Societies and the Right to the City: The Case of the Mosque of al-Khandaq al-Ghamiq in Beirut. In J. Becker, K. Klingan, S. Lanz, and K. Wildner (Eds), Global Prayers: Contemporary Manifestations of the Religious in the City. Zürich: Lars Müller Publishers.
  • Khirfan, Luna. (2014). World Heritage, Urban Design and Tourism: Three Cities in the Middle East. Routledge.
  • Lafi, Nora. (2016). Urban open spaces and the revolutionary events of 2010–2011 in Tunis:  a Tentative Typology. In C. Bernhardt (Ed.), Städtische öffentliche Räume / Urban public spaces, Stuttgart, Frantz Steiner Verlag, 279-291.
  • Zeido, Z., & Ibold, N. (2019). The Division of Aleppo City: Heritage and Urban Space. In S. Frank, & M. Ristic (Eds.), Urban Heritage in Divided Cities. Routledge.

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