3 Oct 2019 - 4 Oct 2019 All day Room S1, Alison Richard Building, Cambridge, CB3 9DT


A workshop organised by the Andrew W Mellon funded project Religious Diversity and the Secular University.

One of the more notable literary phenomena of the last thirty years has been the literature of loss – by which we mean the novels, poetry and popular histories that attempt to describe and inevitably to idealise, fantasise, and/or denigrate Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities which have disappeared or been fundamentally altered by modern political upheaval and conflict. Among the most obvious examples are the multiple projections of Palestinian writers of a pre-Israel land as well as the memoirs, novels and poetry about former Jewish communities of the Arab world, from Essaouira to Baghdad.

Our central question for this workshop is: how is the long history of writing the past — in imaginative literature and non-fiction as in history — designed to motivate the present, re-appropriated in this literature and what are the effects on political and social interaction of such idealised images of an ur-community? To help us focus on these questions in this international workshop we concentrate on writings and films from around the Mediterranean.

This international workshop will be framed around six pre-circulated papers, each of which will be discussed for 1.5 hours, each discussion beginning with a prepared response.

Attendance is free, but space is limited and registration is required, and participants are asked to commit to attending both days.

To register, please write to Samantha Peel.
For further questions, please write to Theodor Dunkelgrün.

Following on from the workshop there will be a free film screening of Ana Min al Yahud – I’m From The Jews at 4pm in Room S1. The short film will be followed by a Q&A session with Almog Behar, author of the short story and film ‘Ana min al Yahud‘.

andrew w mellon foundation logo


‘Religious Diversity and the Secular University’ is funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation to support a multi-disciplinary examination of the interplay between religion, secularism, and the role of the university, reference #41600622.


Day One, Thursday 3 October 2019

10:30 – 11:00

Registration and Coffee

11:00 – 12:30

Yvonne Zivkovic (University of Cambridge)

‘Dark Heritage and the Intangible in German Migrant Writing’

Respondent: Sura Qadiri (University of Cambridge)

12:30 – 14:00


14:00 – 15:30

Khalid Lyamlahy (University of Chicago)

‘Longing for a Lost Morocco: Nostalgic Recollections and Speculations’

Respondent: Joe Moshenska (University of Oxford)

15:30 –16:00

Tea and Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:30

Film Screening: ‘Ana min al-yahud’,
with Almog Behar (Van Leer Institute)

Day Two, Friday 4 October 2019

09:30 – 11:00

Valérie Zenatti/Sami Everett (University of Cambridge)


Respondent: Mezna Qato (University of Cambridge)

11:00 – 11:30

Tea and Coffee Break

11:30 – 13:00

Zahiye Kundos (Tel Aviv University)

‘The loss of the Muftī: Muḥammad ‘Abduh in Taha Hussein’s Life’

Respondent: Aaron Kachuck (University of Cambridge)

13:00 – 14:00


14:00 – 15:30

Sari Nusseibeh (Al-Quds University)

‘My Times’

Respondent: Rebekah Vince (Durham University)

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Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk