The Max Weber Foundation’s annual conference provides a forum for the foundation’s institutes and their research topics, as well as for other partner institutions. The event is organized and hosted by a different institute each year and provides the opportunity for an exchange of different international, comparative and transregional perspectives on current academic issues.

On this blog, you will find information on our program, event locations, panelists, and chairs. It will be updated during and after the conference, so be sure to come back for pictures and videos of our events.

Panel 3: Neighborliness across Borders

Christian Methfessel (Universität Erfurt): “Peaceful and neighbourly relations among States”: Concepts of Neighborliness, Territorial Conflicts, and the Global Cold War

Johann Nicolai (Universität Potsdam): A Stranger in the Neighborhood: Israeli Perceptions of Neighborliness

Zeba Khan (Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University): Imagined Encountering the Self: A Case Study of the Syrian Refugees Living in Eastern- Turkish Border Cities of Gazientep, Kilis, Sanliurfa and Osmaniye

Panel 5: Neighborly Relations on the Ground II

Yunus Ugur (Istanbul Sehir University): Ethno-Religious Differentiation, Residential Profiles and Spatial ReOrganization of Edirne in the late Seventeenth Century

Waqas Halim (Technology University Lahore), Asad Ahmad Khan (Universität Heidelberg): “Hijra Neighborhoods in Mohallas of Lahore: Paragons of safe spaces for vulnerable community”

Panel 1: Ontological Underpinnings of Neighborliness

Chair: Birgit Schäbler

“Love Your Neighbor” – “I am a Horror to My Neighbors”: Differing Concepts of Neighborliness in the Hebrew Bible – A Terminological and Theological Overview

Thomas Hieke:

The English term “neighbor” relates to at least two different concepts for which the Biblical Hebrew (and other languages like German and French) use different terms. This paper illustrates these concepts of “neighborliness” with two terms from the Hebrew Bible: rēaʿ (German: “Nächster, Freund”) and šākēn (German: “Nachbar, Bewohner”). Regarding the term rēaʿ, the paper focuses on the command to love one’s neighbor in Leviticus 19:17–18, since the synonyms in the immediate context contribute significantly to the semantic spectrum. There are also some brief remarks on the Greek term πλησίον in the Septuagint and the New Testament. The term šākēn offers important insights into the concept of neighborliness and the socio-historically relevant structure of society behind the biblical texts. The šākēn stands for a mere partnership of convenience, comments one’s fate in praise or, more often, reproach, and functions as metaphor or within merisms. Brief remarks on the Greek term γείτων in the Septuagint and the New Testament are included. Finally, the paper presents the Hebrew Bible’s proposal for neighborly cohabitation that successfully masters everyday life and ensures the cohesion of society: The šākēn must become a rēaʿ.

1             Introduction: Semantic Concepts

The English term “neighbor” covers a large semantic range, as the juxtaposition of two verses from the Bible shows: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (NRSV),  the famous commandment from Leviticus 19:18, on the one hand, and the individual lament in Psalm 31:12 (Eng. 11) on the other: “I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors”. The Biblical Hebrew (as the German, by the way) uses different terms for both neighbors. Thus, one can correlate the idea of “neighborliness” to two differing, however overlapping, semantic concepts in the Hebrew Bible. The overlapping aspect can be termed as “closeness” (to varying degrees): One notes a spatial nearness between the one party (e.g., the speaker, the subject) and the other (the neighbor as the object). This closeness, however, does not automatically generate a close relationship. Various circumstances trigger at least two divergent concepts: The neighbor can be an object in need that requires some kind of attention, help, or even love by the subject on the one hand – and on the other hand, “neighbor” can refer to one or several persons nearby who take friendly or hostile actions or even no actions at all towards the subject.

In this paper, I want to illustrate these different concepts of “neighborliness” with the help of two terms from the Hebrew Bible: rēaʿ (German: “Nächster, Freund”) and šākēn (German: “Nachbar, Bewohner”). Regarding the term rēaʿ, I focus on the command to love one’s neighbor in Leviticus 19:17–18, since the synonyms in the immediate context contribute significantly to the semantic spectrum. The term šākēn offers important insights into the concept of neighborliness and the socio-historically relevant structure of society behind the biblical texts. Why does that matter at all? In his 1980 dissertation, Ronald Lee Cook writes in the preface: “The quality of a person’s life receives its most thorough test in relationships with neighbors. In that interpersonal arena of life values and convictions are examined daily”.

World as the Limit of Globalization: Between Derrida and Nancy

William Melaney:

Jacques Derrida’s late book, Voyous (Rogues, 2005) provides a short discussion of the Algerian elections of 1992 that explores how democracy is intrinsically open to its own undoing. This somewhat shocking argument deploys the idea of “autoimmunity” to discuss how, in the attempt to inoculate itself against its enemies, democracy sometimes allows itself to be attacked in order to survive. At first glance, this argument may seem to be preposterous. However, my argument will begin with Derrida and then move on to Jean-Luc Nancy’s use of ‘world’ in his critique of globalization. In my conclusion, I will suggest how Derrida allows us to rethink the world concept in terms of intersubjectivity, indicating what needs to be put in place to prevent autoimmunity from becoming insidious.

The paper consists of four parts. First, my argument will explore Derrida’s deployment of autoimmunity in the political context and then briefly examine the hermeneutical implications of his interest in the meaning of neighbors and neighbourliness, particularly in his later work. Augustine’s treatment of Luke 10: 25-37 in his famous treatise on rhetoric will foreground my discussion of Derrida’s disagreement with Carl Schmitt’s reading of Matthew 5:43-44 in Donner la mort (The Gift of Death, 1995), which enables us to return to basic sources and read the word ‘neighbour’ in two different ways. Second, having broached the question of what is not communal in the proximal sense, I examine Nancy’s distinction between globalization, a contemporary and largely economic concept, and mondialisation, a philosophical term that refers to the process whereby the world becomes a world. This discussion focuses on two major works, Le sens du monde (The Sense of the World, 1993) and more recently in La création du monde (The Creation of the World, 2002), that use the world concept extensively. In the third part of the paper, I deal more specifically with the historical aspects of Nancy’s ontology, which argues implicitly that Western political life is constituted through a “weave” between subject and citizen whereby the neighbor is transcended and also preserved through the retention of quasi-communal bonds. Finally, in the fourth and concluding section, I return to Derrida’s reflections on autoimmunity, but this time the focus will be on how links between individuals are formed under the heading of spectrality, a technical term that helps us understand how worlds are both shaped and dissolve in human time. The conclusion of the paper argues that the threat of autoimmunity can be contained, if not eliminated, through a politics of world that recognizes the existence of neighbors but also permits a normative reading of this ancient word.                  

Panel 2: The Role of the Media – Neighborliness in the Media

Chair: Christiane Kuller

Neighborship as a Concept of Exclusion: Anti-Semitic Rhetoric in the Weimar Republic

Simon Unger Alvi:

This paper evaluates patterns of German anti-Semitism in the final phase of the Weimar Republic. In this context, it reflects on the concept of ‘neighborship’, a term lacking the moral dimension of solidarity that is entailed by ‘neighborliness’. The word ‘neighbor’ means something else than terms such as ‘friend’ or ‘brother’. Crucially, the neighbor is always just one step away from becoming a foreigner. And a foreigner can quickly become an ‘outsider’ or even an ‘enemy’. The article illustrates this conceptual argument by pointing to cases of Nazi authors who denounced German Jews as ‘neighbors’, ‘guests’, and eventually ‘foreigners’ in order to deny their belonging to the German nation.

The main source of this paper is a so-called ‘discussion book’ that was published by Hermann Bahr in 1932 and which featured contributions by both Jewish and anti-Semitic authors. By analyzing this unique and nearly forgotten volume, the paper reflects on the neighborship of anti-Semitic and Jewish intellectuals in German media. The direct confrontation of these authors, moreover, may tell historians something about the evolution of anti-Semitism in German society. Anti-Semitic definitions of neighborship corresponded to apologetic strategies by right-wing authors who could spread anti-Semitism in the political mainstream whilst actively denying their hostile intentions. Paradoxical as it may seem, therefore, the article shows that the term ‘neighborship’, in this context, was part of a structurally anti-Semitic vocabulary.

The role of social media in promoting neighborhood from a postmodern perspective: Comparative study between France and Algeria

Foued Djeddou:

The concept of neighborhood is now different from the previous one, especially with technological development and the spread of social media in the world, which promoted the dualism of promoting social separation within one community and also enhanced the rapprochement between different cultures and other peoples through the desire to get to know each other. During the impact of the individual through social media, especially between cultures that bring together two parties, one strong and the other weak

In this paper, we will try to study the impact of social media in the process of promoting civilizational rapprochement and at the same time societal separation within a single state. We will also try to study the impact of social media on increasing alienation among complex societies, especially the major countries such as France, which includes Muslim and Arab communities. .

This is why we will conduct a comparative study of the neighborhood in French and Algerian society through a field study.

We will try to answer the main problem is the extent of the impact of social media in the achievement of communication from my post-modern perspective?

We will study the following aims :

  • The role of social media in promoting the neighborhood
  • Addressing the most important theoretical approaches that dealt with the impact of social networking sites in activating the neighborhood within communities
  • Study the implications of social networking sites on neighborhoods in complex communities
  • A comparative study of the neighborhood between French and Algerian society

Social Media Interaction between Communities: A Content Analysis on Haj Event between Iranians and Saudis on Facebook

Maryam Vaziri:

Social media not only make the people of a community closer, but make the different communities and countries keep in touch together; This kind of new media helps people to get familiar with each other and have better understanding about other people as well as different events. Perhaps this is what McLuhan called the Global Village (1962) or maybe it can come to this idea which knows every medium as a message (1967). It seems a new form of cultural communication is happening, which internationally the events can be reviewed and public can participate in analysis or commenting. For example the event which occurred on the biggest Muslim gathering in Macca during Hajj, Sept. 2015 and huge amount of people died, made Saudi Arabia the spotlight as an official responsible. In between, as number of Iranians who killed was considerable in one hand, and this two countries are in competition in the region in both politic and sect issues in the other, the reactions of officials and political experts was notable from both side. In this study which is a qualitative method based on library and archives, the same experience will study intercultural and externally. It will also be a content analysis based on observing which will analyse the Hashtags in Facebook that passed between Iranian and Saudi users in Farsi, Arabic and English during this event. The main objective of this study is to find out if Facebook could help to better understanding of this event as a case study.

Panel 3: Neighborliness across Borders

Chair: Fatih Ermis

“Peaceful and neighbourly relations among States”: Concepts of Neighborliness, Territorial Conflicts, and the Global Cold War

Christian Methfessel:

At the Asian-African Conference held in Bandung in April 1955, the conference president, Indonesian Prime Minister Ali Sastroamidjojo, expressed his hope for a world free of “fear and suspicion.” He continued: “The prerequisite of this is the willingness and determination of living neighbourly together, irrespective of each other [sic] political, social or religious ideologies, on the principles of mutual respect for each other’s national sovereignty and each other’s territorial integrity; abhorrence of aggression; non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; equality and mutual benefit. In very recent times these principles have strongly been voiced and stressed by outstanding leaders and statemen [sic] of Asia and Africa as the ‘conditio sine qua non’ for achieving peace in the world.”

This quote reminds us that the Afro-Asian activities in international organizations like the United Nations and the Non-Alignment Movements not only served the goal of developing common positions vis-à-vis the rival Cold War camps, but also endeavored to establish rules governing diplomatic relations between the newly independent states of the “Third World” themselves. And concepts of neighborliness played a crucial role in negotiating which ideas should guide international politics in a world after empire. Building on recent contributions in the field of International History that stress the significance of the underlying cultural assumptions of foreign policy, this paper explores concepts of neighborliness promoted by Afro-Asian governments during selected moments in the history of decolonization.

The study begins with an exploration of the diplomatic relations between India and China from the period after the Chinese occupation of Tibet 1950/51 until the Panchsheel Treaty of 1954. Next, concepts of neighborliness advocated during the Conference of Bandung 1955 will be examined, followed by an analysis of the diplomatic exchanges between two countries represented at the conference, Ethiopia and India, regarding Ethiopia’s neighborhood troubles in North-East Africa in the second half of the 1950s. Having in this way built a bridge from Asia to Africa, I will explore the concepts of neighborliness discussed by African states in the early 1960s, especially during the Second Conference of Independent African States hosted by Ethiopia in June 1960, the speeches given by African representatives during the United Nations debates about the Congo Crisis in the autumn of 1960, and the controversies that took place at the founding conferences of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963.

Trough these case studies, I aim to show that ideas of Afro-Asian solidarity were not only promoted for the sake of taking a unified stand towards (former) colonial powers and the Cold War camps. They also served the purpose of establishing good “neighborly relations” between the newly decolonized states. To be more precise, to act as good neighbors was perceived as a precondition for warding off neo-colonial intervention and for taking an independent Afro-Asian stand during the Cold War. Furthermore, I argue that it is significant that the ideas and principles promoted in this context were not only framed by terms like “friends” and “brothers,” but also “neighborliness.” Unlike “friendship” and “brotherhood,” “good neighborly relations” were usually invoked when Afro-Asian states had to deal with issues such as border conflicts that resulted from spatial proximity. Thus, concepts of “neighborliness” played a crucial role in attempts to solve these problems and thereby create the unity generally associated with ideas of “friendship” and “brotherhood.”

While the paper outlines various ideas associated with neighborliness among states, its focus will be on the role the territorial integrity norm played in the establishment of neighborly relations between states. Furthermore, beyond considering to what extent concepts of neighborliness were prominent in international public declarations, I will also address how they impacted the course and outcome of territorial conflicts in the era of the global Cold War.

Christian Methfessel studied History, Political Science, and Sociology at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Essex. His PhD thesis dealt with the media coverage of the imperial expansion in England and Germany. He has been a research associate at the Chair of Global History at Erfurt University since 2013. With the support of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation he has been working on a research project on annexations and secessions during the Cold War since 2018.

A stranger in the neighborhood: Israel’s holocaust trauma, remembrance to the Eastern Europe past and Concepts of Integration into the Near East

Johann Nicolai:

Israel has been since its disputed creation in 1948 a problematic issue in the Near Eastern region: Already the creation of a Jewish state was decided by a rather close vote of the United Nations in November 27th, 1947. This plan however included also the creation of an Arab respectively Palestinian state in the former British Mandate of Palestine, an issue that remains unsolved until today. Immediately after the withdrawal of the British army in May 1948, David Ben-Gurion declared the independence of the Jewish state without clearly defining its borders. This lead to the Independence War with all Arab neighbors and a conflict that exists until this day. By returning the Sinai, occupied during the Six-Day-War in 1967 to Egypt in 1982 and a pease agreement with Jordan in 1994 at least a “cold peace“ could be created. Nevertheless, the relations with Syria due to the annexation of the Golan in 1981and with Lebanon due the high number of Palestinian refugees and the war of 2006 remains tense. Not to mention the unsolved question of whether or in what form a Palestinian state will be created. From an interior Israel perspective there were many ways to get along with this situation: A major factor in the self understanding of the State of Israel is the remembrance to the victims of the holocaust. This does not happen only in the Yad VaShem memorial in Jerusalem, but also very iconic on the Yom HaShoah that contains a two minute alarm pausing everyday life. Another aspect of Israeli identity is the dominance of Ashkenazy Jewry that for the most part felt a deep connection to Central European culture.  This continued for example in from of the “Mitteilungen der ehemaligen Breslauer in Israel“, an newsletter reprinting old Jewish newspapers from the time prior to the November Pogrome of 1938 as well as former Silesian Jews returning to the Polish city of Wroclaw. Their reports however clearly reveal, that this city can never be again their home, but only Israel. Nevertheless a longing for Central Europe remains. Finally I would like to discuss concepts in Israeli culture that connect better with their Near Eastern environment and the Arab world. One of these ideas is the concept of Pan-Semitism by Moshe ben Gavriel (formely Eugen Hoeflich from Vienna, 1891-1965). Ben Gavriel believed since his first visit in the British mandate of Palestine in 1927 the philosophy of a Jewish-Arab brotherhood as a first step of a Pan-Asianism that is clearly directed against European world dominance. Similar concepts also existed particularly in pre World War II Japan and in China. In light of a new Asian 21st century this possibly becomes important in our time.

Imagined Encountering the Self: A Case Study of the Syrians Refugees Living in Eastern- Turkish Border Cities of Gazientep, Hatay, Kilis, and Sanliurfa

Zeba Khan:

The fascination with the border is one with unique blend of imagined ‘other’, paradoxically a friend yet very much a stranger. The relationship between those living on two different sides only comes into reality in exceptional times. The 2010- 2011 events of the Syrian war historically forced this exceptional encounter on the neighbors of borderland Turkey and Syria. Statistically speaking, Gazientep alone in a matter of 24 hours was able to intake approx. 200,000 Syrians. 9 Years down the line, the relationship of temporary to permanent has made many uncomfortable, and many acquainted to the ‘imagined’ neighbors. This ethnographic research study aims to locate the problematique of these meetings of the neighbors in the hours of need. To explore the extent and importance of the concept of “Ikram” (Love for the neighbor and hospitality culture); Ikram is an important part of lingua franca of Turkish communities. In order to analyse, the cultural ontology of the ‘self’ and the ‘imagined’ through locating the various strategic vantage points of interactions.

The study wills a critical examination of four main border cities where the Syrian refuges took shelter namely; Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, and Sanliurfa. The paper intends to bring out the predicament of the imagination and the real self in a conceptual analysis of the neighbor along the lines of nostalgia of Ottoman Empire, the era of Arab nationalism and the current Trans- Arab public spheres in Middle East and North Africa (MENA). How the old memories are re-ignited, where lies the acceptance and where lies the uncompromised identity bargain. The challenges of living with the neighbor and emotional oral narratives of the border- neighbor transforming into next door neighbors. Lastly, the paper intends to display a pictorial presentation of the changing character and nature of public life, restaurants even street culture in these cities. The paper is a part of a larger epistemological and conceptual study of ‘lived history’ in Muslim communities.

Panel 4: Neighborly Relations on the Ground I

Chair: Katharina Waldner

„We are all one“. Unity and diversity within the moral framework of neighborly networking in old neighborhoods in Khartoum

Margret Otto: 

Khartoum is a fast extending city where many different types of neighborhood exist and new ones emerge. It is nowadays an urban agglomeration with more than four million inhabitants.

I have chosen for my research and this presentation neighborhoods that count among the oldest neighborhoods in Khartoum. This type of neighborhood is very closely linked to the formation of an urban environment for people coming from different regions to this place where not only two rivers flow together, the Blue Nile and the White Nile, but also commercial potentials and political power. The history of the city in the nineteenth century is closely connected to Egyptian and British colonialism at that time, but also to social traditions and local knowledge of the people who constructed the city. I concentrate in my representation on daily life structures by which an urban society came into existence and developed. From the very beginning it was a place where people with different ethnical and cultural backgrounds came together to share the same place.

The perception and the construction of closeness is among the most powerful characteristics of a Sudanese neighborhood. Within this setting neighborhood and family are perceived as being similar in their functioning in day-to-day activities. But beside this there is – or should be – also a deep emotional connectedness between people living closely together. This specific interdependency between the local, the place on the one hand and the social and moral ties between people on the other hand creates a strong neighborly network. Closeness implicates care and mutual trust. And with this it implicates reciprocity as an important tool to strengthen neighborhoods as socially active areas.

Closeness means unity. In this neighborly interrelation unity is not understood as a status, but as a process, that has to be stimulated and observed. The interplay between obligations and entitlements is mirrored in practices like the sandug, the common savings club, or the judijjah, mediation procedures between people on a local level. Both are informal institutions supervised and regulated among neighbors. Their principal aim is to foster the relationships and the cohesion among people. They facilitate economic support and activities (sandug) and they are supposed to intervene when conflict management is needed (judijjah).

(Re)exploring Neighbors and Neighborliness in the Post-Gezi Political Opposition of Turkey 

Derya Özkaya:

In the immediate aftermath of Turkey’s Gezi uprisings of 2013, the affective intensities collectively shared during the uprisings led to the formation of new local urban alliances. Local park forums followed by the neighborhood solidarities have appeared as new forms of political participation for Turkey’s opposition as well as spheres of solidarity, collective action, and political subjectivity through which common political concerns can be raised. People who came together for political action also (re)explored and (re)constituted the neighborly relations through various collective practices. Based on ethnographic research in a central Istanbul neighborhood, this article explores the ways in which the neighborly relations are politicized through these urban alliances and asks if they contribute to envisaging a new kind of urban opposition against the current authoritarian neoliberal governance. Uncovering the affective components of these local alliances which do not only generate unity, solidarity, compassion, but also anger, resentment, and antagonism, this article critically examines the opportunities and limitations of the politics of neighborliness in the face of competing political orientations. Combining the empirical data collected through in-depth interviews with the residents and political activists in the neighborhood in 2016 and 2017 and the content analysis of the meeting notes and visual materials shared through online sources, this article illustrates what kinds of affective attachments and/or detachments are at stake in the day-today encounters of the neighbors as local political actors. Looking into the practices and narratives of the neighborhood solidarities, it proposes that these alliances, which have been revitalizing the affective archive of the Gezi uprisings around a desire for togetherness, led to productive encounters among neighbors entailing a collective sense of belonging. At the same time, they continued to reinforce the existing sociopolitical cleavages along the lines of gender, class, ethnicity, etc. through suspending the contentious issues among the neighbors and reaffirmed the fragile neighborhood relations through conflictual claim-making mechanisms.

Neighborhood in the city of Beirut

Thom Sicking:

Beirut was a small town at the beginning of the 19th century, but growing fast. The different Lebanese communities settled themselves in these areas and became neighbors. It is well known that religious communities have a tendency to create homogeneous spaces, to reinforce their cultural patterns and religious beliefs. In times of peace this kind of defense structure accepts rather easily a kind of mixture, but in wartime boundaries become more rigid and they, who don’t belong to the majority, go away to other places. In our study we made a map of all the places of worship with the date of construction and the community they belong to. This shows clearly how every community made it progressively a space in Beirut, in the city and in its near suburbs. Mixing is normal in the mostly Christian sector: the different Christian communities did not create distinctive quarters. The Muslim communities did not mix between themselves until today. Several Christian places were well integrated in the western, Sunni-Muslim part of Beirut, but there are almost no mosques in the Christian part of the city, with the exception of the eastern suburb of Borj Hammoud. The war between 1975 and 1990 created clear, rather rigid borders. The communities were contingent, not mixed. The very recent upheaval of a big party of the Lebanese population tried to ignore these borders. People wanted to show themselves Lebanese before being member of a specific community. But this tendency met also with some strong opposition.

Before the war, downtown Beirut was a place of meeting between all the Lebanese communities. Afterwards most houses and markets have been destroyed. Only the churches and mosques and some monumental buildings, have been saved and well restored. The city center became a place of expansive hotels and shops. Every community kept his own important buildings, one or more, churches and mosques, to show their importance in the Lebanese nation. A mixture, but with almost no residents living there.  A symbol of the Lebanese communities, living side by side, knowing each other quite well, meeting at many occasions but not really living together.

Panel 5: Neighborly Relations on the Ground II

Chair: Sabine Schmolinsky

A Socio-Spatial Reading of Neighborhoods and Neighborliness in an Ottoman City: Production and Reproduction of the Mahalles and Making Up the City in the case of Edirne in the Late 17th Century

Yunus Ugur:

In the paper, I will discuss the debates surrounding the neighborhood or the mahalle in an early modern Ottoman city focusing on two questions with a socio-spatial approach: the physical vs. social composition of its space on the one hand and the isolated vs. relational character of its position within the city, on the other. In defining neighborhoods, spatial or topographical boundaries are important as one dominant factor but, beyond this, the question here is whether and how we can find other distinctive factors that may define or compose a neighborhood identity in demographic terms and socio-economic relationships among neighbors. And in addition to these definitions, can we redefine a neighborhood and neighborliness in a larger scale for instance according to its position among other neighborhoods to make up a city going beyond defining it as isolated/separated unit in the city.

The first part of the paper deals with the concepts and approaches about the neighborhoods and neighborliness turning around “natural areas” of the Chicago School, communities, social ties, solidarity, manifest or latent neighborliness, the Ottoman mahalles, and komşuluk (neighborship).

The second part will be about the Ottoman Edirne and its huge data as my case and its mahalles as my units of analysis. The Edirne data, which we have for the late 17th and the early 18th centuries, is surveys (kefâlet-surety and tax registers) and contain the information regarding thousands of people living in hundreds of mahalles. Depicting city dwellers’ ethnic, religious, and professional identities as well as their social and ownership statuses, all of which are connected to the city’s socio-spatial structures, the data here is defined, clustered and analyzed in relation to these socio-spatial structures with new methods of hierarchical clustering and correspondence analysis. The relational approach adopted here greatly helped explore, first, the distinctive concentrations of any attributes recorded with the people and, second, the mahalles’ specializations and the socio-spatial vicinities as opposed to their topographical neighbors in the city.

The last part of the paper will be about the outcomes. The first outcome is about description of the city and the people in motion. It seems both Muslim and non-Muslim populations moved geographically -among the neighborhoods- within the city. Another outcome is about the neighborhoods and neighbors’ identities in the city.  In terms of the mahalles’ internal structures and distinctive identities, the inhabitants of the Ottoman mahalle were diversified in our case through their religious affiliations, ethnic origins, gender status, property ownerships, and in terms of their social and economic statuses.

One aspect of the social and economic relationships within the mahalle is very significant here for the neighborliness. It involves the social responsibilities of a mahalle’s inhabitants. Many cases on the chain surety or kefâlet records are very illuminating in this respect. They indicate that every person living in the mahalles, regardless of whether they are property owners or renters, stands surety for another person. Moreover, the mahalle leaders e.g. imams for Muslims and cemaatbaşıs for Jews stand surety for all. Some who did not find surety for themselves from the neighbors either had to be removed from these mahalles or were imprisoned until they got surety for themselves. Therefore, every inhabitant of the mahalles had to have surety in order to survive in Edirne.

In conclusion, we will claim that each neighborhood in Edirne has an identity including similar features with others as well as distinctive characteristics. The socio-spatial instruments in them, like the ethno-religious and social status distinctiveness, occupational concentrations, surety system, the mahalle waqfs for the public places and the taxes, and even house owners and tenants living together in the same building can be thought of as the constituent elements of this neighborhood identity. Likewise, the inhabitants of a mahalle could develop an identity among themselves as neighbors whether “manifest” or “latent,” transcending even their religious and ethnic origins.

Our analyses show at the same time that there are neighborhood clusters in the larger scale who share the similar identities but in different parts of the city.  These mahalles and their inhabitants are socio-spatially neighbors with each other transcending the physical proximities.  Accordingly, people prefer to live in a neighborhood in the city accepting and sharing its rules, duties, and identity and then may decide to move to another one in time. This is very dynamic process both for the neighbors in the mahalles and for the mahalles in the city depending on the historical and socio-spatial contexts.

Hijra Neighborhoods in Mohallas of Lahore: Paragons of safe spaces for vulnerable communities

Waqas Halim and Asad Ahmad Khan:

South Asian region has been intolerant and less sympathetic towards sexual minorities. These factions have been stigmatized and face numerous challenges while exercising their basic human rights. Amongst them are gender non-conformist individuals known as Khawaja Siras/Hijras – that identify beyond the gender binary framework. This stigma and denunciation triggered by the “fluidity” of gender perpetuates through a set of controversial British colonial laws implemented in nineteenth century which systematically criminalized and marginalized the indigenous Khawaja Sira/Hijra community of the subcontinent since they did not identify within the two-gendered system, and strongly hindered their desire to self-express. On the contrary, there is overwhelming evidence in early chronicles that details the history of Muslim patronage enjoyed by this community across different empires, for example the Mamluk Sultanate, the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. While in the subcontinent, during Vedic and pre-colonial times, Khawaja Siras enjoyed ranks of prestige in the Islamic royal courts of the Delhi sultanate and were trustworthy enough to be appointed to sensitive positions such as guarding the royal harems. Unfortunately, the imposition of strict laws to regulate gender wreaked havoc on them and as a result the entire community was ostracized from the mainstream society. Subsequently, its ramifications continued in post-colonial societies and Hijras were subject to grotesque violence, discrimination and suppression because of their non-normative identities, sexual and romantic attitudes, and performance behaviors amongst other traits.

This constricting attempt to make gender norms adhere to a Eurocentric framework has put the entire Hijra community across South Asia at a high risk and increased their vulnerability. Consequently, this has led them to be restricted to enclaves for their survival and security, particularly in large metropolises. These enclaves have unique dynamics. Most of the community members within the Hijra mohallas and neighborhoods are not related by blood, yet they live in a state of tranquility and cohesiveness. They are adopted by a leader who serves as guardian and supervises the family. In the context of neighborhood, these enclaves serve as interesting case studies of a broader culture; that despite being ostracized from the society at large survives to protect many lives, and a subculture that exists within. 

The objective of this paper is to examine this under researched topic and investigate the nature of inter and intra relationships within these neighborhoods. It aims to do this through axis of identity, religion, class, kinship and other factors. Through the framework of spatiality of human experience, it elucidates the role of nostalgia, longing, and memory as most members living in the neighborhood flee their homes in pursuit of self-expression, emancipation and in most cases taking refuge after being abandoned by their kin.  Taking hijras of Lahore as the primary locus of fieldwork, this research aims to interrogate the extent of discrimination that the society renders to the neighborhoods and assess the dynamics and neighborly relations through an ethnographic study. Contrarily, there is a strong relationship of this community with the ‘Outside world’. The nature of dependency on the larger society for begging, prostitution and dancing on celebrations provides an interesting insight into how the neighborhoods allow the Hijras to have exclusive spaces yet live in the larger society as complete pariahs. Day-to-day aspects of life are also captivating. These communities have their own hierarchical social structures and set of rituals they practice. They maintain exclusive rules of living, rite of passage, so much so their funeral sacraments – which are otherwise socially outlawed – are carried out in an exclusive fashion. These districts also serve as Red-light areas and are highly despised by the larger patriarchal culture. The paper intends to shed light on this under-explored topic and merit existing scholarship on gender. 

Panel 6: Ancient Rome

Chair: Mara Albrecht

„Ties of Neighborhood” – The Importance of Vicinitas in Ancient Rome

Johanna Leithoff:

Neighbors and Neighborhood were without any doubt a basic and important part of ancient life as already the Latin terms indicate: Vicinus – a neighbor in the sense of someone who lives in the same vicus (the same village or quarter) – and vicinitas – neighborhood are frequently used; common is also the complementary finitimus – a neighbor in the sense of someone who lives at the other side of the boundary. All transport the meaning of living together closely, but they do not necessarily refer to neighborliness.

Given the interdisciplinary character of this workshop and since the transition from Roman Republic to Empire is a popular point of reference up to present days, this presentation concentrated on Rome in the 1st century BC in particular and investigated the idea of neighborliness with a special focus on its political implications. The analysis mainly rested upon the speeches of Marcus Tullius Cicero, one of the most famous politicians and authors of that time. On that basis, the idea of neighborliness can be described as follows: Firstly,  vicinitas clearly differs from concepts such as amicitia (friendship) or clientela (clientele). Vicinitas in terms of neighborliness exists on a local level between direct neighbors and inhabitants of the same village, but also on a regional level between entire towns. Secondly, neighborliness rests upon private relations, but as it is typical for the Roman society there is no distinction to the public sphere. Thirdly, Cicero’s speeches represent an unusual and interesting example of the possible impact of neighborliness on a socio-political scale.

Panel 7: Neighborly Relations in Film and Literature

Chair: Mara Albrecht

Bollywood and Pakistan’s Romantic Love affair

Kaveri Mishra:

Bollywood- the popular Hindi Cinema film industry based in Mumbai (previously known as Bombay) is an effective mass media in India and abroad. The industry has grown and developed over 10 decades producing films with themes of India’s history, politics, socio-economic conditions, culture, sensibilities, dreams, fantasies, hopes and expectations a multi-million dollar film industry which has a global entreaty and appreciation beyond its own geographic boundary.

British rulers divided the subcontinent into two nations in 1947 that led to the greatest mass migration of people in history of South Asia.  The partition resulted in a wave of violence that claimed more than million lives. From the elderly survivors who endured the violent aftermath of the partition to the military commanders and angry nationalists whose hostility is still prevalent even after 70 years the legacy of partition continues to reflect in the Indo- Pak social, political, economic and cultural sphere.

Even over consistent rivalry, as a neighboring country, Pakistan has a special place in the heart of Bollywood in the sense that it is immensely popular among the masses. Indians and Pakistan’s share a similar kind of cultural affinities and usage of everyday languages could be the binding force and regulatory practices for Bollywood movies as textured in Pakistan. The romantic storylines and appealing melodious music on the big screen show are triumphant among Pakistani’s and accounts for nearly 60% of theatrical revenues. This paper looks at the five popular Bollywood movies that highlight the Pakistan and India’s Relations and few love stories that unfold between the border conflict and tension. Over the years, Bollywood has had several movies based on love affairs that are light-hearted happy romantic human tales has been featured on big screen. There is lengthening list of movies that focuses on India-Pakistan relations in unconventional, non-military ways focusing love affairs on big screen.

This paper looks at 5 films that managed to portray India-Pakistan relationships based on Love affairs moving away from the jingoism that is often highlighted in Bollywood.

The Movie Heena (1991) The Director Kabir Khan went beyond the politics and depicted a sensitive humane story starring Pakistani actor Zeba Bakhtiyar along with popular Indian actor Rishi Kapoor in the lead. Shot in Kashmir, that touched the hearts of its viewers on both sides of the border. 

Pinjar (2003):  A period drama set during Partition (1947), based on Amrita Pritam’s Punjabi novel it a story of a young Hindu woman kidnapped by a Muslim man whom she eventually accepts her as his lover.

Veer-Zaara (2004):  Romantic drama is a story of two star-crossed lover’s emphasis on how similar relationships and emotions exist in both countries but with a moderately benign view on Pakistan and its people. The film starring popular actor Shah Rukh Khan was a box office hit winning most popular film award at the National Awards.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015):  The blockbuster drama featuring Salman Khan is the ultimate ode to India-Pakistan harmonic relations. Khan plays a golden-hearted devotee of the lord Hanuman (Monkey god) who takes a mute Pakistani child lost in India back home during his journey he faces challenges but it is a happy ending when the child reunites with her family back in Pakistan. PK (2014): A satirical comedy is a story that revolves around an alien (Aamir Khan) who questions religious practices and dogmas, but at its heart, it was also a story of enduring love of an Indian girl and a Pakistani boy.


Group picture at Palace Al Gezirah (Cairo Marriott Hotel)
Group picture at Palace Al Gezirah (Cairo Marriott Hotel)