Research Activities

Panel Session

Pannel Session on "Transformation of Public Spaces in Urban and Rural Middle East" at the 35th Annual Meeting of Japan Association for Middle East Studies (JAMES) in Akita University (May 12th, 2019)

Center for Islamic Studies (Sophia University) will hold a panel session at the 35th Annual Meeting of Japan Association for Middle Eastern Studies (JAMES), which will be held in Akita University. This panel session will be organized to present results of research activities in NIHU Area Studies Project for the Modern Middle East, Sophia University.

Panel Session Title: Transformation of Public Spaces in Urban and Rural Middle East

【Date】 May 12th, 2019, 12:40 - 14:10
【Venue】 Akita University (Tegata Campus)
【Chair】 Erina Iwasaki (Sophia University)

Naoko Fukami (JSPS Cairo Research Station), Takenori Yoshimura (Daito Bunka University), and Katsumi Shishido (Kagoshima Prefectural College):

"Changing of the Public Space in Relation to Urban Streets and Their Facilities: A Comparative Analysis from Past and Present Historical Cairo"

Masaki OKADO (National Institute for the Humanities):

"Role of the Coffee Shop (Ahwa) for Upper Egyptian Migrant Workers in Alexandria, Egypt"

Erina Iwasaki (Sophia University) and Yoshiyuki Kitazawa (Kyoto Sangyo University):

"Diwan as a public space in Jordan: A case study of northern Jordan"

【Commentator】 Masatoshi KISAICHI (Juntendo University)


A key issue in the Arab region is the creation of a public space. Broadly speaking, a public space would be a place that diverse individuals could have access to, and open to everybody. The aim of this panel is to scrutinize actual public spheres of the past and present, at the grass-root level of urban and rural communities.

Why a grass-root perspective? Generally speaking, “public” has been tied to the urban middle class. By focusing on the urban and rural poor, popular classes and farmers as well, we may broaden and develop the concept of “public” in the Middle East. Another feature of this session is taking into account of historical contexts on the view that the public spaces are created within the historical context of each society.

As such, this session is composed of three case studies of different approaches: history, architecture, anthropology, and politics. First presentation deals with a case of al-Darb al-Ahmar in the Islamic Cairo, followed by the second case of Upper Egyptians and a coffee shop in Alexandria and the third case of a village in Northern Jordan.

Research Activities

  • Sophia and Waseda Joint Research Prokect Histories and Current Circumstances of Interreliglous Relations in Asia and Africa
  • isramic area studies, sophia university(2006-2015)
  • Inter-University Research Institute Corporation National Institutes for the Humanities
  • Center for Modern Middle East Studies, National Museum of Ethnology
  • Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
  • Center for Islamic Area Studies at Kyoto University
  • Graduate school of international resource sciences,akita univercity
  • Organization for Islamic Area Studies,Waseda University
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