The 2006 Humanities Conference will feature plenary session addresses by some of the world's leading thinkers in the humanities, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Garden Conversation Sessions

Main speakers will make formal 30 minute presentations in the plenary sessions. They will also participate in 60 minute Garden Conversation sessions at the same time as the parallel sessions. The setting is a circle of chairs outdoors. These sessions are entirely unstructured - a chance to meet the plenary speaker and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

  • Mohamed Daoud, Professor of Applied Liguistics, Institut Spérieur des Langues de Tunis (ISLT), Tunisia.

    Mohamed Daoud received his education in the Arabic/French state school system in Tunisia until he graduated in 1978, at the age of 24, with a maîtrise (B.A.) in English Language and Literature and then started teaching English in secondary school. In 1980-81, he completed a Fulbright-funded Master’s degree in Linguistics at San Diego State University (U.S.A.) and then resumed teaching English in Tunisia and served as Director of Studies and Deputy Director of the Pioneer School for Teaching the Sciences in English, in Tunis, a pilot project that attempted to switch from French to English as the language of instruction in the sciences. In 1987, he received a second Fulbright scholarship and, in 1991, completed his Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). At UCLA and Cal. State, Los Angeles, he taught Modern Standard Arabic, ESL, and Applied Linguistics. He joined the ISLT as Associate Professor in 1993, then Professor in 1995, as well as Director of the ESP Resource Center (1995-2002). He lectured in Saudi Arabia (2002-2004) and has developed extensive knowledge of the state of English language teaching in the Arab World.

    His research interests include reading problems of nonnative speakers of English in the academic disciplines, curriculum design and evaluation, and language policy and planning. He has led several English language syllabus design projects for the ministries of education and professional training and for several higher education institutions (engineering, business and economics, medicine) and continues to serve on national committees to implement educational reform. He was the lead author of two textbook series in EFL and ESP/EPP in Tunisia. He has presented frequently, at both local and international conferences, on issues related to ESP, teacher education and development, and language in education policy and planning. His most recent publications include an Arabic translation of a book about reading in the globalization era: The book: A world transformed, UNESCO Publications (translated for ALECSO, Tunis, 2002); a monograph on The language situation in Tunisia (2001, updated 2006); and another monograph on Education in Tunisia as part of a volume on Education in the Arab World (AMIDEAST, in press). He has been a member of the Advisory Board of ARAL (Annual Review of Applied Linguistics) since 1992 and served on the Editorial Board of English for Specific Purposes: An International Journal (1997-2003).

  • Khalifa Chater, Professor Emeritus of Contemporary History, Université de Tunis, Tunisia.

    Professor Khalifa Chater received his Ph.D. (Doctorat d'Etat es-Lettres) in 1981 from the French university of Paris-Sorbonne IV. He has been lecturing on contemporary history in general and the contemporary history of Tunisia in particular since October 1972 at the College of Human Sciences of the University of Tunis. In 1996, he was appointed Docteur Honoris causa at the “Université de Montpellier -Paul Valéry” (France), and in 1997 received the Tunisian National Prize in Arts and Humanities. Professor Chater is also co-founder and vice-president of the “Association des Etudes Internationales” (International Studies Association) and director of a research unit on the History of Tunisia.

    Khalifa Chater has researched and written extensively in French on contemporary history of Tunisia. He is the author of two books (1984 and 1987) in French on social and political unrest in 19th century Tunisia. He has recently directed a team of historians in the production of a textbook on the history of Tunisia (La Tunisie à travers son histoire, 2006). In addition to contemporary history, Professor Chater’s research and academic interests include international relations, the Arab world, and globalization. He has written and lectured extensively in local and international seminars about security and cooperation issues in the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East, and the Arab world. He contributed a chapter on security in the Mediterranean basin in Security Challenges in the Mediterranean Region. (Frank cass, London, 1996) and a chapter on social reforms in the Maghreb in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, published in Islamism and Secularization in North Africa, (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994), in association with the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University.

  • Tariq Ali, novelist, historian and political campaigner.

    Tariq Ali is a writer, and filmmaker, long time political activist and campaigner, very much in demand as a commentator on the current situation in the Middle East.

    He has written over a dozen books on world history and politics including the bestsellers, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and Bush in Babylon, five novels, and scripts for both stage and screen. The first novel of the Islam Quintet, Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree, was awarded the Archbishop San Clemente del Instituto Rosalia de Castro Prize for Best Foreign Language Fiction published in Spain in 1994 and, like the Book of Saladin, has been translated into several languages.

    His most recent books are Rough Music: Blair/Bombs/London/Baghdad/Terror, a reflection on the circumstances surrounding the 7 July 2005 London Bombings, and The Nehrus and the Gandhis: An Indian Dynasty.

  • Bassam Tibi, Professor of International Relations in Goettingen and also A.D. White Professor at Large in Cornell.

    Bassam Tibi was born in Damascus on 4 April 1944 and descends from the centuries old family Banu al-Tibi of Damascene notability (ashraf). Before moving to Germany in 1962, he received his school education in Damascus in Islamic and Western style schools and completed his high school education there with the French Baccalaureat. His academic training in Social Science, Philosophy and History was at the Goethe University of Frankfurt.a.m. where he received his first Ph.D. in 1971. Among his academic teachers (Frankfurt School) were Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Jürgen Habermas and Iring Fetscher. Tibi received his Dr. habil. (German Super PhD) from the University of Hamburg. After teaching in Frankfurt and Heidelberg universities. Dr. Tibi was appointed 1973 as Professor for International Relations at the University of Goettingen. In 1988 he was appointed Professor of Comparative Politics as successor of Stein Rokkan at the University of Bergen/Norway by a Royal resolution of King Olav IV. After the decision to accept the honor but to decline the offer by staying in Goettingen, funds were provided for establishing the Center of International Affairs of which Professor Tibi has been the Director ever since. Prof. Tibi has held various visiting professorships, inter alia, in the United States (Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley, Ann Arbor), Turkey, Sudan, Cameroun, and recently in Switzerland, Indonesia and Singapore. On leave from Goettingen and Cornell he spent the academic year 2004/05 first as a Visiting Scholar returning to Harvard University and then as a Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Center/National University of Singapore. Between 1982 and 2000 Prof. Tibi was affiliated to Harvard in a variety of capacities, the latest as The Harvard Bosch Fellow 1998-2000.

    Bassam Tibi has published six books in English and 26 books in German (translated into 16 languages). These books deal with Islamic civilization, the Middle East and the Mediterranian region. His most recent books in English are The Challenge of Fundamentalism (California University Press, updated edition 2002) and Islam Between Culture and Politics (Palgrave, expanded new edition 2005, with an added part dealing with the world political context of 9/11). Professor Tibi is board member of many significant institutions and the recipient of many prizes. The then President of Germany, Roman Herzog, awarded him in 1995 the highest Medal of the State/First Class for his accomplishments. In 2003 he received the annual prize of the Swiss Foundation for European Awareness.

  • Kate Soper, Professor of Philosophy, ISET (Institute for the Study of European Transformations), London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.

    Kate Soper is a social and cultural theorist, environmental philosopher. Her recent books include: What is Nature? Blackwell, 1995; and To Relish the Sublime? Culture and Self-Realisation in Postmodern Times , Verso 2002 (co-author) She is currently lead researcher on a theoretical project on 'Alternative Hedonism, the theory and politics of a new anti-consumerism' funded in the 'Cultures of Consumption' Programme of the ESRB/AHRB. This is concerned with the political and cultural implications of emerging forms of ambivalence towards the consumerist lifestyle on the part of affluent consumers themselves, and with the role of media and culture in shifting perceptions of the 'good life' towards a more sustainable consumption. (For details see: under 'Research').

    She has also written extensively on debates in Continental philosophy and social theory, and also on a variety of feminist issues (including most recently on feminism and Enlightenment thought, including a collection of essays Troubled Pleasures , Verso, 1990). Her most recent book, co-authored with Martin Ryle, To Relish the Sublime? , defends the idea of canonical literature as an important resource in self-realisation. I am a translator of, among others, Timpanaro, Castoriadis, Foucault, Noberto Bobbio and Carlo Ginsburg. I have had a long association with Radical Philosophy, and was on the editorial collective of New Left Review. In the eighties I was very active in the European peace initiative, and was Chair of UK European Nuclear Disarmament (END).

  • Tom Nairn, Professor of Nationalism and Cultural Diversity, Globalism Research Institute, RMIT University, Melbourne.

    Originally a philosopher from the post-war Logic & Metaphysics school at Edinburgh University, Prof. Nairn later studied in France and Italy, where he turned into a Social Scientist.

    The Break-up of Britain appeared in 1977 (new edition, Common Ground, Melbourne, and Big Thinking, Glasgow, 2003). His study of the British Monarchy, The Enchanted Glass was published in 1988, and he returned to teach the ‘Nationalism Studies’ course at Edinburgh University Graduate School from 1995 to 1999.

    After the publication of Faces of Nationalism (Verso, 1998), he went to Australia in 2001, first to Monash University, and then to RMIT, in 2002.

  • Joan Copjec, Professor, Departments of English and Comparative Literature, and Director, Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture, (The State University of New York) SUNY Buffalo.

  • Joan Copjec is a professor in the departments of English and Comparative Literature, and also director of the UB Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. The Center was developed in order "to bring together faculty and graduate students interested in investigating the clinical and nonclinical implications of Freudian theory.

    With research interests in feminism, psychoanalysis, art, architecture, film, and film theory, Copjec is often involved in a wide range of projects. For the 2004-2005 academic year, she is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, working on her project Kiarostami's Reserve: Shame, Cinema and the Social Bond.

    Copjec obtained her M.A. in Contemporary Literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a diploma in Film Studies from the Slade School of Fine Art at the University College in London, and her doctorate in Cinema Studies from New York University. Before coming to UB, she taught at Sci-Arc in Los Angeles and at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies and City College's School of Architecture, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture in New York City.

    Copjec is the author of Read My Desire: Lacan Against the Historicists (1994) and Imagine There's No Woman: Ethics and Sublimation (2002) and has edited six other book-length works. In addition, she has been a contributing editor and writer on several academic journals and texts including lacanian ink. She is also the former editor of the journal October.

  • Hassan Hanafi Hassanien, Ph.D. in philosophy, 1966 la Sorbonne, Paris, Professor of philosophy, Cairo university.

    Hassan Hanafi Hassanien, born February 13, 1935, Cairo, Ph.D. in philosophy, 1966 la Sorbonne, Paris, Professor of philosophy, Cairo university, Secretary General of the Egyptian Philosophical society since 1976, Vice-president of the Arab philosophical society since 1983. Author of 30 books in different languages: French, English, Arabic. The auther of huge project Tradition and Modernism based on three fronts: 1- The Reconstruction of Islamic classical sciences: Theology, philosophy, Jurisprudence, mysticism and scriptural sciences. II- The foundation of the Science of Occidentalism to study the West. III- Theory of Reality as Hermeneutics.


Images: The old port of Carthage.