Leyla Dakhli  – Principal Investigator (PI) of DREAM

Leyla Dakhli is a historian and a full-time researcher at the French Center for National Research (CNRS) at the Marc Bloch Center, Berlin. Her work focuses particularly on the study of Arab intellectuals, as well as, the social history of the South Mediterranean region. She is a member of the editorial comittee of the International Review of Social History (Amsterdam) and Le Mouvement social (Paris), both prominent journals in social history and she contributes regularly to other journals. She is part of the ERC founded research project « Open Jerusalem » and is also a member of its core-team. Dakhli is a collaborator in the program « Free Schol » aiming to research on “endangered” scholars and their contribution to European Academy since the 1920’s.

Her last publications include Histoire du Proche-Orient contemporain, Paris, La Découverte, 2015 ; (with Vincent Lemire), Etudier en liberté les mondes méditerranéens. Mélanges offerts à Robert Ilbert, Publications de la Sorbonne, avril 2016; Le Moyen-Orient  (fin XIXe-XXe siècle), Éditions du Seuil “Points Histoire”, nov. 2016.


Youssef el-Chazli (Post-Doc)

I am a sociologist of contemporary Egypt and a postdoctoral researcher at the DREAM research project. In 2018, I earned my PhD from the universities of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France) and Lausanne (Switzerland). The dissertation focused on my hometown, Alexandria, and the multiple transformations the city has witnessed in the last three decades. Between 2011 and 2016, I was a graduate assistant at the University of Lausanne and during the 2014-2015 academic year, I was a visiting scholar at the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University in New York. Before that, I studied Law at Cairo University and the University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne; Political Science and Middle East Studies as an undergraduate at Sciences Po Paris; and obtained my M.A. in International Relations also from Sciences Po Paris.

Over the past decade, I have worked and published on different topics. My main focus has been Egyptian contentious politics. In my doctoral dissertation, I studied the case of Egypt’s 2nd city, Alexandria, its multiple economic, cultural, urban, and political changes from the 1980s onwards. This work led me to analyse both the dynamics of political activism in Alexandria as well as the specific developments of this city, its urban fabric, social institutions and local history. For my M.A. thesis, I investigated pro-Palestinian activism in Egypt, transnational solidarities, and Egyptian foreign policy in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Besides this main focus on Egyptian politics, I have also worked on the uses of social media in politics and the “independent” or “underground” art scenes in Cairo and Alexandria.

Publications can be found here

Melanie Henry (Post-Doc)

I graduated with a PhD in History from University of Aix-Marseille in 2018. My PhD thesis focused on revolutionary events in Alexandria, Egypt, during the 20th century. The political context of the fieldwork carried out between 2010 and 2015 in Egypt deeply influenced my approach of the revolutionary phenomenon as a moment “out of time”. This dissertation, entitled “The revolutionary « treasure »: uprisings and activisms in Alexandria in 1946 and 1977, Egypt” is thus an attempt to put in to history subjective experiences of time during extraordinary political moments such as revolutions.

It is mainly based on an oral enquiry, literature, press, and judiciary sources. Although my main interest remains the sensitive history of revolutionary moments, I moved my field of investigation to Algeria (20th century). Drawing on anthropological history, I’m pursuing my research on how ordinary people get involved into political action, and the various ways through which the past is made to become a part of the present. More specifically, I’m wondering how collective memories of hope fade, reappear, and get reinvented through bodies, families, and societies. Currently, I am based in Paris at the Centre d’histoire sociale du XXe siècle (University of Paris I).

Publication can be found here.

Giulia Fabbiano (Post-Doc)

My research benefits from an international and interdisciplinary training in anthropology, sociology andcultural studies. It deals with the postcolonial Mediterranean, focusing on narratives of belonging and collective memory.

During my PhD, I highlighted complex historical features of Algerian migrations and analysed the emergence of “ethnic other/self-narratives” in contemporary France in relation to its postcolonial territories. The resulting book monograph “Hériter 1962. Harkis et immigrés algériens à l’épreuve des appartenances nationales,” addresses 1962, the moment when Algeria became an independent nation-state, as a crucial turning point. In stressing the impact of 1962 on identity and memory issues, my work analyzes the processes by which minorities are created and racialized and examines the unstable forms of belonging amongst and explores their everyday life on the edge of the French society in the wake of the Algerian Revolution. In my next projects, I studied mobility in the Mediterranean region resulting from global and postcolonial connections. I particularly paid attention to imagined geographies of home and their representation in the postcolonial space. Blending ethnographic fieldwork, personal archives, textual analysis and artistic practice, I explored what I called the “third-space,” a kind of dialogical and heterotopic cartography of belonging, that result in homecoming journeys.

As a Postdoctoral Researcher at DREAM, I would continue working on heterotopic and anachronic issues of revolutionary patterns in the contemporary Algeria, including its diasporic locations, investigating how memories of past are archived as well as performed nowadays.


Elena Chiti

Elena Chiti is an Associate Professor in Middle Eastern Studies at Stockholm University. She is a literary translator and a cultural historian of the Middle East, with a particular focus on Egypt and a parallel interest in Syria and Lebanon. She holds a PhD from IREMAM/Aix-Marseille University, with a thesis on Alexandrian literary milieus in an epoch of transition (1879–1940). She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Oslo in the framework of the project “In 2016: How It Felt to Live in the Arab World Five Years after the ‘Arab Spring’”. Her work analyses cultural productions as sources to explore identity-making in times of social and political turmoil, whether at the end of the Ottoman empire or in the phase that follows the 2011 revolutions. She is now pursuing this path in the framework of DREAM. You can find her work on academia.edu.

Kmar Bendana

Kmar Bendana is a Professor of Contemporary History (Emeritus since 2018). The works of Kmar Bendana relate to the cultural and intellectual history of contemporary Tunisia: magazines, cinema, textbooks, university, translation. Kmar has been involved in writing and coordinating scientific journals: Watha’iq, Correspondances, IBLA, Rawafid, L’Année du Maghreb.

Since 2011, KB has been running a blog entitled “History and Culture in Contemporary Tunisia“.

Amin Allal

Amin Allal is a researcher in political sociology at the French Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). He is affiliated to the Research Institute on Contemporary Maghreb in Tunis. He has recently published and co-edited (with V. Geisser): Tunisie. Une démocratisation au-dessus de tout soupçon (Paris, CNRS éditions, 2018) ; and (with A. Boutaleb and M. Vannetzel) Introduction aux mondes arabes en (r)évolution (Bruxelles, De Boeck, forthcoming).

His research explore the politics of popular classes, focusing on various scenes of social interactions such as labour mobilizations or « development » programs oriented towards the « poor ». He builds on qualitative methods (ethnography and non-directive interviews) in order to analyse collective action in local contexts such as the pauperized suburbs of Tangier and Tunis, as well as the mining region of Gafsa in Tunisia.

His publications can be found here. 

Loulouwa al-Rasheed

Loulouwa Al Rachid is a co-director of the Program on Civil-Military Relations in Arab States at the Carnegie Middle East Center. She is a political scientist by training, having earned her PhD from the Institut d’études politiques de Paris. Her work covered the erosion of authoritarianism and survival strategies in the final decade of Baath Party rule in Iraq, and she has spent the past twenty years researching the politics of Iraq and the Gulf region. Previously, she was a senior Iraq analyst with the International Crisis Group; a research fellow at the Collège de France ( Chaire d’Histoire contemporaine du monde arabe); and a consultant for numerous governmental institutions in France and Europe. Al Rachid has written several book chapters as well as peer-reviewed articles in Middle Eastern Studies, Maghreb-Machrek, A Contrario, Critique internationale, Tumultes, Politique Étrangère, and Politique Internationale. Her latest publication is L’Irak Après l’État Islamique: Une Victoire qui Change tout? (Institut Français des Relations Internationales, 2017).

Current work focuses on irregular warfare in the Levant with a special emphasis on Iraqi militias and their regional transhumance from one theatre of war to another. A corollary to this topic is the notion of martyrdom in Iraqi society since 2003 examined through its new narratives, paraphernalia, and expanding institutions.

Samer Frangieh

Samer Frangie received his PhD from the University in Cambridge in 2009. He joined the American University of Beirut shortly after. He is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration at AUB and the director of the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies. His research and teaching interest includes the intellectual and political histories of the modern Middle East, contemporary social and political theory. He has published a number of articles on the intellectual history of the Arab Left and is currently working on a book manuscript on the memory of the left. Aside from his academic work, he has published extensively in the Arab press.

My research takes the Levantine left as a historical terrain to investigate the transformation of political critique and social criticism in the second part of the twentieth century. Through following the rise and fall of the “New Left” in the Arab world, my research tackles questions of political subjectivity and organization, the relationship between aesthetic and politics, and the changing modalities of critique.  

Sophie Wahnich

Sophie Wahnich is a senior research scholar at the CNRS, in political sciences, she has done her PhD with Michel Vovelle in 1994, and have been recruted at the CNRS in 1995. She is the director of the interdisciplinary institute of political anthropology, and this year ( 2018-2019),  she is a member of the school of social sciences at the institute of advanced studies in Princeton. She works on the French Revolution and more specififcally on the role of emotions in the construction of social bonds in a past and present relationship. She is a researcher on the dream project, and will elaborate tools to be able to compare many revolutionary situations.

She has writen several books on the French Revolution, L’impossible citoyen l’étranger dans le discours de la Révolution française, Paris, Albin Michel, 1997, 2010, In Defense of the Terror, liberty or death in the French Revolution, La fabrique 2003/Verso, 2012, La longue patience du peuple, 1792, naissance de la république, Paris, Payot, 2008, Les émotions la révolution française et le présent, Paris, CNRS editions, 2009, La Révolution française n’est pas un mythe, Paris, Klincksieck, 2017. 

Her work can be accessed here.

Fadi A. Bardawil

Fadi A.Bardawil, an anthropologist by training (PhD Columbia University, 2010),teaches contemporary Arab cultures at the University of North Carolina-ChapelHill. Before that, he was a EUME (Europe in the Middle East-The Middle East inEurope) fellow (2010-11) affiliated with the Freie Universität in Berlin, and aHarper Fellow at the Society of Fellows and a Collegiate Assistant Professor ofSocial Science at the University of Chicago (2011-2014). In 2016-2017, he was amember of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Studies inPrinceton. 

Bardawil researches the traditions of intellectual inquiry, practices of public criticism, and modalities of political engagement of contemporary Arab intellectuals, bothat home and in the diaspora. His work also examines the internationalcirculations of social and critical theories, and the genealogies of post-colonial critiques. He is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Arab Cultures and Global Studies, Adjunct AssistantProfessor of French and Francophone Studies, Department of Asian Studies,University of North Chapel Hill, USA. His work can be accessed here.

Yann Potin

Yann Potin is a historian and archivist. He is in charge of Documentary Studies at the National Archives (Department of Education, Culture and Social Affairs) of France and Associate Lecturer in History of Law at the University Paris-Nord. He recently edited the “World History of France” (Le Seuil, 2017) and has just published a collective volume on the artistic “activation” of archives (“Archives en actes, plastic arts, dance, performance”, Vincennes University Press, 2018). His research focuses on the relationship between history and myth, the construction of historiographic sources and their discourse, the history of archives and heritage.

His CV and list of publications can be accessed here.


Lucile Debras

As a CNRS project engineer, Lucile Debras has been an administrator of the Marc Bloch Center since April 2011. After obtaining a PhD in contemporary history at the University of Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle in 2008 (UFR of European Studies, “Relations between the European Parliament and the national parliaments of Germany, Belgium and France “), she joined the CNRS in July 2009, first in the Partnerships Directorate (functional direction to the presidency), then she joined the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences (InSHS) in January 2010.

Within the Marc Bloch Center, Lucile Debras is in charge of budget and administrative monitoring of the French structures (UMIFRE 14 of the MEAE and USR 3130 of the CNRS) as well as projects ANR, ERC and GDRI. She is also a correspondent for continuing education and prevention assistant with the CMB management.


Dorothee Mertz

After her Diploma of French Cultural Sciences at the Freie Universität zu Berlin and the Université Paris 8 | Vincennes Saint-Denis, she gained first project management experience at the Franco-German Youth Office in Berlin, before joining in 2011 the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin as scientific project coordinator. In 2013 Dorothee Mertz took over the project coordination in the sub-project “Violences and Spaces” in the Franco-German research network “Seizing Europe“. Since 2019 she is part of the DREAM-Team, coordinating the activities within the project. She is responsible for event organization and planning as well as for the preparation and planning of research trips in cooperation with the CNRS in Paris. She is also the contact person for public relations and communication of the DREAM project.