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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies URPP Asia and Europe (2006–2017)

Revolution in the Arabian World?

Monday, 28. Mrch 2011, 18:30–20:00, KOL F-101, Rämistrasse 71, 8006 Zurich

When talking about the actual developments in northern Africa and the Middle East, many references are made to the French Revolution, the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the collaps of the Sowjet Union in 1989. These events are used as analogies to describe and explain the consequences and the meaning of the recent events in the countries from Tunisia to Egypt. For the first time in the past decades, it is the common people who topple over the regimes in the Arabian world and in doing so gain and create new possibilities for political and social change. Four scientists, who focus on the political, social and judicial changes in this region, debate the cause and preconditions as well as possible risks and chances of the actual developments in northern Africa and the Middle East.

About the participants:

Prof. Dr. Bettina Dennerlein, 28. March 2011

Bettina Dennerlein holds a chair for Islamic Studies/Gender Studies at the University of Zurich. She conducts research on reformatory movements and islamic family law in Morocco and Algeria.

lic. phil. Sarah Farag, 28. March 2011

Sarah Farag works as scientific assistant and PhD-student at the Department of Oriental Studies, University of Zurich. Her PhD-project deals with women's rights in Egypt and she also participated in the demonstration on the Tahrir-square in Cairo.

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schulze, 28. March 2011

Reinhard Schulze , professor at the University of Bern, holds a chair for Islamic Studies. He is specialised on contemporary political cltures in the islamic world.

Prof. Dr. Isabelle Werenfels, 28. March 2011

Isabelle Werenfels is a political scientist, working at the Foundation for Science and Politics, Berlin. Her work is centered around political, social and economical change and subjects concerning democracy in Tunisia, Libya and Algeria.


Beat Stauffer works as freelancing journalist and contributed to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung as well as Swiss radio stations. He is especially interested in the Maghreb, subjects concerning islamistic moevements and integration.


Dr. Inge Ammering , URPP Asia and Europe

Concentrated debate among the panel

The expert on the Middle East itensely debate about the similarities and differences between countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. In doing so, a differentiated perspective on the social, cultural and political framework in these countries is outlined to the interested audience. Additionally, many a critical aspect on the traditional perception of the Arabian world in Western media, but also Western sciences, was openly discussed. In most of the essential subjects, like the importance of digital social networks like Facebook or Twitter or the influence of islamistic forces on the arising new societies, the participants took a similar stance. Northern Africa, maybe the whole Arabian world, has significantly changed, which also challenges the West to overcome the hitherto applied perspective on this region and its societies.

The subject drew the attention of many people

There were so many guests, that the lecture room could not hold all the people. Therefore, the event was made available as video transmission in a second lecture room in order to accomodate everyone.

Weiterführende Informationen

Article in the UZH News

Theo von Däniken on the paneld discussion, organised by the URPP Asia and Europe (in German)

Article in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Report on the panel discussion, organised by the URPP Asia and Europe (in German)