Cross-Disciplinary Axes

The five cross-disciplinary axes bring together converging themes between team members and allow for the pooling of ideas and skills. The objective of these areas is to foster exchanges between the disciplinary teams. 

IREMAM Contributors: S. Belguidoum, V. Berhault, N. Bulbul, K. Chachoua, A. Dusserre, J. Honvault, R. Jacquemond, C. Mussard, C. Parizot, C. Rhoné-Quer, I. Seri-Hersch, F. Siino, C. Vendryes

Since its creation, IREMAM has been especially interested in mutations in the movement of people (migrants, tourists, businesspeople, etc.), technology (policies, legal, security, etc.) and merchandise in North Africa, in the Middle East, and throughout the Mediterranean. This axis examines how changes in modern forms of mobility have contributed to reshaping spaces, regulatory mechanisms and the borders that they cross.

In the first decade of the 2000s, it is not only European countries that have given a political and security response to evolutions in migration routes and practices, to the point of throwing the established political, economic and social balances within the Schengen Area into doubt. In the southern and eastern Mediterranean, new border control technologies (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc.) have been implemented, and alongside them more restrictive legal and legislative frameworks. Furthermore, the widespread globalisation of exchanges, and the outbreak of conflicts following the Arab Springs have contributed to redirecting trade networks. Be it for the transportation of common consumer goods from China to the Middle East and the Maghreb, or for the exportation of clandestine oil to Asia, Europe and the Americas, these exchanges have resulted in a reorganisation of trade routes, economic areas, and the urban hubs of some countries in the region.

The research on circulations carried out at IREMAM has recently expanded to include the work of historians and cultural studies researchers. Since 2015, these historians have become involved in discussing recent historiographical theories on globalisation and “connected histories”, in light of their own research. Researchers have also questioned how connected histories – and exchanges in general – apply to spaces that are already connected, for example for the early modern Mediterranean. In this vein, they have begun to question how connected history, a notion invented by Early Modern History, can be applied to contemporary historical situations. This research is in constant dialogue with that of cultural studies researchers, who look at how the circulation of texts and publications, via translation trends in particular, has affected learning, and the transformation of national cultures in the Mediterranean.

The resolutely cross-disciplinary approach of this axis not only brings together the approaches of cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, geography, history, law and political science, but also those of artists and professionals (customs officials, soldiers, industrialists, NGO workers, etc.). Its aim is twofold: firstly, to use the complementary nature of this knowledge to identify an increasingly complex and dynamic research subject, and secondly, to play on the confrontation of these practices and perspectives to reveal potential new lines of research.

Research Programs

- antiAtlas des frontièresLabexMed, IMéRA, LAMES, LEST, Ecole supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence, Pacte (Universités de Grenoble/CNRS), coordination : Cédric Parizot
- MIGRINTERACT (La fabrique du droit des migrations au Maghreb), Action Marie Curie, Commission européenne, coordination : Delphine Perrin
- MONDISMAG – PHC Maghreb, coordination : Saïd Belguidoum, Olivier Pliez (LISST) poursuit le programme initié en 2016 sur la circulation des biens et des personnes entre Asie/Maghreb/Europe.
- Circulation des savoirs et des textes en Méditerranée coord. R. Jacquemond (IREMAM/Fondation Abdul-Aziz Al Saoud). 
- Traduction et circulation des idées en sciences sociales, coord. K. Chachoua (IREMAM/CNRPAH/CRASC).

Although IREMAM has often been considered to be an “area studies laboratory”, priority has always been given to thinking about the conditions of knowledge production in the social sciences, in and about Arab and Muslim societies. In this respect, this multi- and cross-disciplinary axis is common to the laboratory’s three poles; its objective is to encourage the emergence of new research leads, and innovative practices. Three principal themes are explored here: literary history, how fields of knowledge are structured, how archives are compiled, and conceptions of heritage.

By giving special focus to the different “renaissances” that have marked the contemporary era in the ex-Ottoman space, starting in the 19th century, this axis endeavours to take stock of critical rereadings of national literary histories, from a comparative perspective. These rereadings have accompanied the formation of national literatures, already affected by relationships of imperial domination, by regional rivalries, by universalist or national ideologies. The transformations that have been underway since the 1990s (diminishing universalist ideologies, the reshaping of national spaces, the spread of a liberal economic model, the migratory movements or voluntary exiles that have reconfigured political spaces in crisis) have resulted, almost everywhere, in a critical rereading of the history of these national “renaissances”, both in the creative domain (with new generations of writers and artists), and in academic fields (with literary and cultural critics and historians).

This axis also questions the role of political, economic, social and cultural factors, notably in conflict situations, in structuring the domains of knowledge and culture in the societies under study. This question is all the more relevant today in the Middle East and the Maghreb, a space pregnant with conflict. However, this work does not simply limit itself to the contemporary reporting of events; part of a longer-term exploration, it endeavours to understand how war has imposed itself as a structural element in the political, social, cultural and economic history of societies. Particular attention is also given to memorial practices (autobiographies and memoirs), and to private practices of archiving documents of all kinds. What preservation strategies are developed for endangered private archives in a crisis context? How are archival collections, and the archiving of private documents, affected by it? The distance that their owners take with the state institutions of their birth-countries, and requests for aid from foreign institutions for their conservation, are vital elements for understanding this issue.

Research Programs and Seminars

- Mediterranean Literary Renaissances, Coordination: R. Jacquemond and S. Baquey.
- Social Sciences and Conflicts. Coordination: M. Catusse, C. Raymond et F. Siino
- Land, Terrains and Disciplines: Generational changes and permanence in the humanities and social sciences in Algeria (19th-21st centuries). Coordination : K. Chachoua
- Non-State Archives, Personal Accounts and Social Sciences. Coordination : J. Honvault et N. Michel. Partenariat IFPO/IREMAM.
An IFPO/IREMAM partnership.
- Documents in Oriental Languages and the Campaign in Egypt according to the Defence History Service (SHD) (Vincennes). Coordination : M. Tuchscherer
- Seminar Did you say the Maghreb? Coordination: K. Boissevain, A. Dusserre, S. Mazzella. 


Picture: An Arab school in Algiers © ANOM

Team Leaders: Juliette Honvault et Christine Mussard
Contributors: Vanessa Guéno, Juliette HonvaultFrançoise LorcerieChristine MussardChloé PellegriniFrançois Siino

This axis is an invitation to explore new themes around the ways in which knowledge is shared and learned both in the Arab-Muslim space, and among populations originally from the region who live as minorities. Educational policies, teaching practices, didactic methods, the material that is prescribed, taught, and actually understood, as well as the places, conditions and actors of sharing/learning processes, are considered within the historical and geopolitical specificities of this region.

A monthly research seminar, brings together the projects of researchers from different IREMAM research teams (Contemporary Social Sciences, History and Islamic Studies, Languages, Literature and Linguistics) that deal with education. The research questions tackled at the seminar draw from the findings of recent historiography, but also from the needs of the teaching academy community as they come. The scientific activities and events carried out by the researchers are presented in an academic blog

Groupe d'études iraniennes de l'IREMAM

Photo © Reza Ahmad on Unsplash

Coordinators: Homa Lessan Pezechki, Camille Rhoné-Quer

IREMAM's Iranian Studies Group brings together professors, researchers and students (master and PhD students) working on the Iranian world in the broadest sense. This group aims to federate research and study activities on the Iranian world, mainly in the field of arts, humanities and social sciences, but also to promote meetings with researchers from other disciplines. It relies, among other things, on the documentary resources available in the Iranian Studies Room at IREMAM (books in Persian, Arabic, Turkish and European languages), as well as at the MMSH Library and at the Fenouillères University Library.

PhD Students: Mattéo Coq, Feruza Makhmasobirova, Yoan Parrot 

Lectures of the Iranian Studies Group


29.11.2021. « Urban planning, water management, and landscape change of the Firuzabad Plain (south Iran) in the Late Antiquity », 14h, MMSH, salle André Raymond et en visioconférence. Avec Elnaz Rashidian, postdoctorante (IMBE).

19.10.2021 (cancelled Lecture). « Études sur l’onomastique parthe dans les sources épigraphiques, littéraires et historiques de la Géorgie », 13h30-15h30, MMSH, salle André Raymond et en visioconférence. Avec Helen Giunashvili, chercheuse, George Tsereteli Institute of Oriental Studies Ilia State University.

27.04.2021. « L’économie politique de la République Islamique d’Iran », 10h-12h, en visio Zoom. Avec Thierry Coville, chercheur à l’IRIS et spécialiste de l’Iran.

24.03.2021. « La conquête de l’empire perse par les Arabes : 150 ans de résistance »,10h-12h, en visio Zoom. Avec Jean-Claude Voisin, historien et archéologue, ancien directeur de l’Institut Français de Téhéran. Co-fondateur du magazine Paris Téhéran, Jean-Claude Voisin est par ailleurs membre du Conseil d’Administration du Centre Franco-Iranien-Paris.

02.02.2021. « La littérature persane dans le cinéma d’auteur iranien. L’univers poétique d’Abolfazl Jalili, cinéaste iranien », 10h, en visio Zoom. Avec Seyedvahid Yaghoubi, docteur en littérature française et comparée, enseignant de la langue persane et spécialiste des questions culturelles, artistiques et cinématographiques au Centre Franco-Iranien. Il est l’auteur de L’ésthétique de la courbe dans la poésie surréaliste, L’Harmattan, 2020.


06.10.2020. « Le statut des femmes au Gilân, un sujet controversé », 14h-16h, MMSH, salle Germaine Tillion. Avec Christian Bromberger (PR émérite AMU/IDEMEC).

04.02.2020. Conférence, 14h-16h, MMSH, salle Germaine Tillion. Avec Samra Azarnouche (MCF EPHE/FRE2018) : « Le concept de "livre sacré" et la tradition exégétique dans le zoroastrisme de l’Antiquité tardive » et Sylvain Brocquet (PR AMU/CPAF) : « Védique et avestique. »


03.12.2019. « Chronologie des monuments sassanides du Fars (Sarvestan, Firuzabad) », 10h-12h, MMSH, salle Duby. Avec Nicolas Faucherre (PR AMU/LA3M), Morteza Djamali (CR AMU/IMBE).

26.11.2019. « Approches linguistiques des mondes iraniens », 10h-12h, MMSH, salle Duby. Avec Cyril Aslanov (PR AMU/LPL, IUF), Homa Lessan Pezechki (PR AMU/IREMAM) et Nicolas Tournadre (PR AMU/Lacito, IUF) : « Caractéristiques des langues néo-persanes et évolutions spécifiques. »

05.11.2019. “Revisiting the Idea of Medieval Tolerance: Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, Jews and Christians”, 10h-12h, MMSH, salle Duby. Avec Rustam Shukurov, professeur d’histoire médiévale à la State University of Moscow.

15.10-2019. « Céramiques lustrées de Kâshân, XIIe - XIVe siècle : études de cas », 10h-12h, MMSH, salle 101. Avec Yves Porter (PR AMU/LA3M, IUF), Anaïs Leone (Doctorante AMU/LA3M).

Colloquiums and study days

18.11.2021. Journées des doctorants et masterants : « recherches en cours sur les mondes iranien et mongol », MMSH, salle Duby. Responsable : Camille Rhoné-Quer. Organisateurs : Mattéo Coq (doctorant AMU/IREMAM) et Camille Aubert (masterante AMU/IREMAM).

17-18.11.2020. Colloque « L’eau dans le monde iranien : usages, partages, représentations de la Préhistoire à nos jours », MMSH, salle Duby et en distanciel.

18.02.2020. Journée sur le chiisme, 10h-16h, MMSH, salle Paul-Albert Février. Avec Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi (DE EPHE/LEM) : « Les shiites et le Coran. Les origines de l’islam entre apocalypse et empire », Denis Gril (PR émérite, AMU/IREMAM) : « Le personnage de ‘Alî entre soufisme et shi‘isme dans l’Iran médiéval» et Sabrina Mervin (CR EHESS/CéSor) : « Le pèlerinage de l’Arba‘în à Karbala : la walâya en marche. »

27-28.03.2018. Colloque « Iran : entre héritages pluriséculaires et réalités contemporaines », MMSH. Org. Homa Lessan Pezechki et Camille Rhoné-Quer.

Training Workshops

20.04.2021 & 26.03.2021, 14:00 – 18:00 (+1:00 GMT, Paris time). ONLINE Research and Training Workshop / Atelier de recherche et de formation. Coord. Maria Szuppe (CNRS/CeRMI, Paris), Camille Rhoné-Quer (AMU/IREMAM), Sacha Alsancakli (Sorbonne Nouvelle/CeRMI, Paris), avec le soutien du GIS MOMM : « Reading Sources in Area Studies. Contribution of biographical data for the social and cultural history of Turko-Iranian societies (9th-18th c.) / Lire les sources en études aréales. L’apport des données biographiques pour l’histoire sociale et culturelle du monde turko-iranien (IXe-XVIIIe s.) » Atelier relevant du programme de recherche « L’historiographie hors la cour : apport des sources non-officielles à l’histoire des sociétés turco-iraniennes de l’Anatolie à l’Asie centrale, XIe-XVIIIe s. » (voir infra).

Research programs

Programme de recherche « SOciétés agropastorales prémongoles et ressources hydriques dans le bassin de l’Amou Darya : regard croisé des archives de la LONGue durée (SO-LONG) », septembre 2021-février 2023. Projet financé par l’Institut SoMuM, Université Aix-Marseille. Coord. Camille Rhoné-Quer, en collaboration avec Élodie Brisset et Morteza Djamali, AMU/IMBEMarie Favereau (Paris Nanterre/MéMo), Feruza Makhmasobirova (AMU/IREMAM).

Programme de recherche « L’historiographie hors la cour : apport des sources non-officielles à l’histoire des sociétés turco-iraniennes de l’Anatolie à l’Asie centrale, XIe-XVIIIe s. », 2020-2021. Organisation Maria Szuppe (CNRS/CeRMI, Paris), Camille Rhoné-Quer (AMU/IREMAM), Sacha Alsancakli (Sorbonne Nouvelle/CeRMI, Paris), avec le soutien du GIS MOMM.

IREMAM Contributors: G. Alleaume, V. Berhault, N. Bulbul, K. Chachoua, J. Honvault, J-F. Legrain, F. Le Houérou, C. Parizot, S. Partouche, et M. Tuchscherer

This axis deals with the methodological and epistemological questions brought up by the use of exploratory and innovative practices in research in the humanities and the social sciences. This exploration began at IREMAM more than a decade ago, around archival practices and the heuristic values of images. It has recently been expanded, given the integration of digital and artistic practices by a growing number of scientists into their research activity. This digital evolution, as much in societal practices as in research practices, has led researchers to reconsider their methods, categories, paradigms, theoretical orientations, objectives, labelling tactics and the way in which disciplinary fields are defined. Including artistic practices in research has also brought its own major changes. The experiments carried out for the last fifteen years, particularly in anthropology, have demonstrated its relevance, for example providing food for critical thought on the forms and constructs that we use to gain access to, and to shape reality.

In the humanities and social sciences, recourse to digital practices has led to a number of major changes, be it in data collection, production, or handling, or in the elaboration of new forms of narration and publication. Given the fact that digital practices involve more diverse and numerous collaborations that challenge the boundaries between, on the one hand, the humanities and the social sciences, and on the other, the exact and experimental sciences, it seems more appropriate today to speak of Digital Studies than of Digital HumanitiesDigital Studies imply not only interrogating the demarcations between disciplines, but also exploring the collaborative processes established between them.

At IREMAM, this axis federates several explorative approaches: compiling digital databases to exploit the corpus of historical archives; creating tools to visualise network data; exploring new forms of digital publication; exploring the potential of accessible video technology to create critical document tools, etc.

Research Programs

- antiAtlas of Borders, Cédric Parizot. Integrating artistic creation into research, this program attempts to apprehend in a unique way the mutations of borders and spaces of our contemporaneous societies.
- Images and Collective ImaginingsF. Le Houérou. A continuation of the Filming the Global South program.
- A historical Approach to the Internet: Research questions, epistemology and using tools for an immediate research objectiveJ-F. Legrain
- The Digital Archives of Ottoman AlexandriaG. Alleaume. Development of a document database, based on the serial scraping of Arabic archives of the Alexandria Mahkama (tribunal) for the period 1550-1850. Indexation of proper nouns.
- Yemeni ArchivesJ. Honvault. Cataloguing and digitizing the archive collection of the statesman Ahmad Nu’mân, and Fatima al-Baydani's sound archive.
- Egyptian Arabic contextual dictionary online, (C. Audebert, an IREMAM/IFAO partnership).
- Exploitation of the Arsène Roux and Marcel Gast Funds (S. Chaker).