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To Attend: The East & Europe (24-25 June: Amsterdam)

The University of Amsterdam will host the conference, “The East & Europe” to he held at the Allard Pierson Museum (Oude Turfmarkt 127 | 1012 GC Amsterdam).

This conference offers a stage for researchers from various disciplines within the humanities to share their scholarly interest in the cultural interaction and exchange that has taken place since antiquity between ‘the East’ and ’Europe’, and in the processes of societal transformation and identity construction hereby involved. Through critical, multidisciplinary, diachronic and comparative approaches this conference intends to explore the dynamics between the two geographical and conceptual constructs: ‘the East’, whether identified with Byzantium, Islam, Eastern Christianity, Asia, or other characteristics, and ‘Europe’, as the perceived counterpart of the variously defined ‘easts’ or as in itself the embodiment of western cultures’ self-ideal?

More information and registration via

In this conference we aim to grasp the evolution of meta-geographical concepts on the Eurasian continent and in North Africa. To thoroughly understand the cultural heritage present in these areas today, we need to trace the long-term dynamics of the dichotomies through which it has been shaped and interpreted in the past. Comparing ancient, medieval, renaissance, early modern and present day writings and debates about ‘the East’ and ‘Europe’, as well as visual representations, obliges us to question the nature of time, space and place delineations: a process further fuelled by post-colonialism and the dilemmas of globalism that has by no means reached its end or lost its urgency.
To what extent have the successive European-based conceptual constructs of ‘the East’ affected scholarship and general perceptions of cultural heritage in the areas, cultures or geographies defined as ‘East’? And, equally important, how has ‘Europe’ been defined, translated and conceptualized in scholarship originating from that ‘East’, or rather geographical areas situated to the east of Europe or in North Africa? What has the effect of these constructs been on society at large, for example on heritage politics or religious disputes? The four broadly-defined sessions in which these and related questions will be discussed allow for a variety of methodological approaches to these topics.

Registration and further information
The registration form can be found here. If you have any questions with regards to the conference, please send an email to

Preliminary Program
Friday June 24
9.00 Welcome
9.30 Key Note Lecture Edhem Eldem, Bosporus University
Session 1
• Weststeijn, Johan. ACMES/Stichting Zenobia. Arab Intellectuals on the Trojan War and the Story of al-Zir.
• Uslu, Gunay. University of Amsterdam. Discovery of Troy: Ottoman-Turkish Claims to Heritage.
Cakir, Burcin. Trinity College, Dublin / Glasgow Caledonian University. Transnational Perceptions at War: The West/East Divide in Soldiers’ Letters and Memoirs from Gallipoli.
• Hoijtink, Mirjam. University of Amsterdam. From Eastern to Islamic Art: a paradigm shift in European exhibitions towards WWI.

14.30 Session 2 • Simonyi, Sonja. New York University. Cowboys, Indians, Others: Postwar
Cinematic Representations of Eastern Europe’s Frontier Identities (1959-1989).
• Lilova, Dessislava. Sofia University. Europe and Russia in Bulgarian Imagined Geographies: Mapping the Border.
• Van Henten, Jan Willem. University of Amsterdam. Martyrs from the East Recycled and Reinterpreted in the West.
• Troelenberg, Eva-Maria. Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florence. Directions of the Gaze: A Visual Cultural History of the Suez Canal.

Saturday June 25
9.30 Welcome 10.00 Session 3
• Zwiep, Irene. University of Amsterdam. The East in Europe: The Paradox of Modern Jewishness.
• Admiraal, Lucia. University of Amsterdam. The Fate of Our Israelite Brothers in Europe. The Egyptian-Jewish Weekly al-Shams on Nazism and Anti-Semitism, 1939.
• Kilpatrick, Hilary. Lausanne, Switzerland. No borders. The circulation of texts and technology between the mid-17th and early 19th centuries in Europe and the Near East.
• Woltering, Robbert. University of Amsterdam. Western Zionism and Eastern Judaism in the work of Abdelwahab Elmessiri

13.30 Session 4
• Faridi Majid, Fatemeh. and Koutlaki, Sofia. University of Quran and Hadith, Tehran and The Iranology Foundation, Tehran. One Event, Two Readings: A Look at Alexander’s Expedition to Iran in Iranian and Greek History Books.
• Bijl, Paul. University of Amsterdam. Legal Self-Fashioning: Empathy, Will and the Colonial History of Rights.
• Benzaquen, Stephanie. Erasmus University Rotterdam. European Fellow Travellers and The Asian Third World: Illustrating the Co-Creation of Revolutionary Cambodia in the 1970s.
• Wintle, Michael. University of Amsterdam. Japanese World Maps between East and West.


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