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27.06.2022 - 29.06.2022

International Conference »International Organizations and Body Politics in MENA History«
Veranstaltungsort: Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte (IEG) Mainz, Alte Universitätsstr. 19, 55116 Mainz. Eine Kooperation der Fritz Thyssen Stiftung mit dem IEG Mainz, gesponsert von der Fritz Thyssen Stiftung. During the 20th century, international organizations often took on responsibilities regarding the bodies of populations across the globe. Defending bodies from sickness, substance abuse, hunger, trafficking, and harmful labor was an official goal of organizations such as the League of Nations, the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization etc. International sport organizations, Christian missions, humanitarian and medical organizations also sought to improve and strengthen bodies and minds both in their countries of origin and overseas. However, these agendas were accompanied by racial and gendered biases towards non-European societies. While these aspects have already been touched on for different world regions, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have only received very limited attention. This is even more striking given the central role of the MENA societies as an arena, but also as interlocutors for international organizations. Although current studies emphasize the crucial role of international organizations in the history of the construction and reconstruction of communities and states in the MENA, the impact of their understanding of the bodies of the people they encountered is not yet sufficiently explored. The focus on bodies and body politics is usually considered in gender studies on the MENA and less so in studies of international organizations. Such studies usually focus on the political, social, and national implications of international organizations’ activities in the MENA, and less on politics of the body. Therefore, through combining these two vectors of inquiry, our workshop is at the cutting edge of historical enquiries on the modern Middle East and North Africa. Examining the actions of international institutions in the Middle Eastern context offers new insights on how colonial bodies were constructed by such organizations, how local actors reacted to such interferences, and what purposes this construction could have served. Focusing on this region enables us to see both parallels and differences in the international organizations’ approaches to countries and societies in other parts of the world. Organization: Prof. Dr. Esther Möller, Chair for the Modern Cultural History of North Africa, Universität der Bundeswehr München and associate Researcher at Leibniz-Institute of European History (IEG) Mainz Dr. Sivan Balslev, Lecturer in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Hebrew University Jerusalem Dr. Elife Biçer-Deveci, Researcher in Modern History, ETH Zürich Cooperation of the Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung with the Leibniz-Institute of European History (IEG) Mainz Contact: info@ieg-mainz.de Venue: Leibniz-Institute of European History (IEG) Mainz, Alte Universitätsstr. 19, 55116 Mainz. Picture credits: Countries of the MENA region according to the definition of the World Bank. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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