“We all wanna change the world” The Revolutionary Sixties in the Mediterranean and the Middle East

Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191 10117 Berlin, 7th floor
Leyla Dakhli / Nazan Maksudyan, CMB; Jakob Krais, FU Berlin
11.10.2018 - 12.10.2018
Laura Roos

On the fiftieth anniversary of the iconic date of 1968, the legacy and memory of the global sixties is acknowledged largely with reference to developments in a few places in Europe and the United States. Dozens of important movements of contestation, revolutionary organizations, student activism in a number of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries are excluded from this Eurocentric narrative. However, the 1960s was a revolutionary decade in the region as well. From Greece to Turkey, from Morocco to Tunisia and Oman, the Mediterranean and the Middle East was a stage for numerous important movements of contestation around 1968. It started with the Algerian war of independence (1954-62) and the republican uprising in Yemen (1962-70) and ended with Mu’ammar al-Qaddafi’s coup (1969) that toppled the monarchy in Libya. Apart from that, the shock waves of Israel’s brutal military victory in 1967 fueled radical movements throughout the region.

Connections between intellectuals and militants spanned several continents: Palestinian, but also various African anti-imperial activists were trained in different Arab countries; Algerians visited China or Vietnam. It was not only leftist ideologies like Maoism that proved globally attractive over the 1960s, but also revolutionary Islamism, which figures such as Malek Bennabi or Ali Shari’ati had developed in Jean-Paul Sartre’s Paris. Michel Foucault was personally involved with the Tunis student movement, while Berlin’s 1968 began with protests against the shah of Iran.

The workshop is interested in concrete transnational contacts and mobilities between the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and other parts of the world during the revolutionary global sixties. It further asks how different strands within the broader movements of anti-imperialist contestation – third-worldist, nationalist, Islamic, feminist – interacted with each other. The workshop also intends to focus on the appropriation of and paradigmatic inspiration from other resistance movements, specifically Algeria, Palestine, Yemen, and Vietnam, through solidarity activities. We aspire to consider the 1960s not just from the perspective of transnational political and intellectual history, but also from a social history approach as the lived experience of the actors involved. Therefore, we also take into consideration the role of gender, youth, bodily performances that shaped the movements over the revolutionary decade. We intend to move beyond biographical sources and overemphasis on “the witnesses” in treating the period and bring together recent historiographical approaches in the study of the revolutionary sixties.


Day 1 (11 October 2018)

Welcome and Lunch (13:00 - 14:30)

Panel 1 (14:30 - 16:00): New Internationalism and Solidarity Networks

Andrea Brazzoduro (St. Antony’s College, Oxford): Algeria, Anti-fascism, and Third Worldism. An Anti-colonial Genealogy of the Western European New Left (1957-1975)
Mark Levine (University of California, Irvine): Foucault in Tunisia, a long lasting impact?
Afshin Matin-Asgari (California State University, Los Angeles): The 1960s Tri-continental Iranian Student Opposition: Results and Prospects
Demet Lüküslü (Yeditepe University, Istanbul): Turkey’s 1968 Student Movement, Dominant Discourses and Solidarity Networks

Panel 2 (16:30 - 18:00): From Algeria to Dhofar and Beyond: Iconic Struggles

Abdel Razzaq Takriti (University of Houston): Algeria and Palestine: Revolutionary Fraternity in the World of Liberation Movements
Toby Matthiesen (St. Antony’s College, Oxford): The Gulf States and the Arabian Peninsula in the Global 1960s
Kyle Haddad-Fonda (Nicholas Sparks Foundation, New Bern, NC): Eclectic Revolutionaries: Representations of Third World Leftist Movements in Algerian Revolutionary Ideology

Day 2 (12 October 2018)

Panel 3 (9:30 - 11:00): 1968: A Challenge to Third-Worldism?

Jeffrey James Byrne (University of British Columbia, Vancouver): Revolution and Retrenchment by the Third World’s New Establishment in the Late 1960s
Gennaro Gervasio (Università Roma Tre): An Egyptian 1968. The Student Movement and the (Re)Birth of a Radical Left in Egypt
Leyla Dakhli (Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin): The Tunisian 1960s. Coming-of-Age in a New-Born Country?
Bahru Zewde (Re:work, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): Ethiopia and the Global 1960s

Panel 4 (11:30 - 13:00) The Age of the Left? Islamists and Nationalists of the 1960s

Jakob Krais (Freie Universität Berlin): Revolution beyond Marxism: The Long 1960s from Algeria to Iran
Fatima Tofighi (University of Religions, Qom): Practices of the Body as Revolutionary Instruments: Iran in the 1960s
Erol Ülker (Altınbaş Üniversitesi, Istanbul): Anti-Imperialism, Third Worldism and Youth Movements in Turkey's 1968

Panel 5 (14:30 - 16:00) Literature, Sound, Image: Performing the Global 1960s

Nazan Maksudyan (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin): Revolting Bodies, Revolting Minds: Sevgi Soysal and Performances of Gender and Sexuality in the 1960s
Hilmi Tezgör (Universität Duisburg-Essen): The Sounds of the Revolution in Greece and Turkey
Eman Morsi (Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH): Arab Socialism in Cuba: Between Solidarity and Stereotypes
Fadi Bardawil (University of North Carolina, Chapell Hill): New Left Internationalism and Its Becomings: Solidarity, Engagement, Disenchantment

coffee break (16:00-16:30)

closing panel (16:30-18:00)
chairs: Leyla Dakhli, Nazan Maksudyan, Jakob Krais


Leyla Dakhli


“We all wanna change the world” The Revolutionary Sixties in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, 11.10.2018 – 12.10.2018 Berlin, in: H-Soz-Kult, 08.10.2018, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/termine-38386>.