Thursday, 12 March 2020, 06.00 PM-07.30 PM
Since the dawn of the oil era, cities in Saudi Arabia have witnessed rapid growth and profound societal changes. As a response to foreign architectural solutions and the increasing popularity of Western lifestyles, a distinct style of architecture and urban planning has emerged. Characterised by an emphasis on privacy, expressed through high enclosures, gates, blinds, and tinted windows, ‘New Islamic Urbanism’ constitutes for some an important element of piety. For others, it enables alternative ways of life, indulgence in banned social practices, and the formation of both publics and counterpublics. Tracing the emergence of ‘New Islamic Urbanism’, Stefan Maneval discusses the changing conceptions of public and private space, in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, in the Saudi city of Jeddah. In his recently published book (London: UCL Press 2019), he challenges the widespread assumption that the public sphere is exclusively male in Muslim contexts such as Saudi Arabia, where women’s public visibility is limited by the veil and strict rules of gender segregation. Showing that the rigid segregation regime for which the country is known serves to constrain the movements of men and women alike, Stefan Maneval provides a nuanced account of the negotiation of public and private spaces in Saudi Arabia.
Stefan Maneval holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from Freie Universität Berlin. In 2017/18 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the OIB. Since August 2018, Stefan Maneval is based at the Department of Oriental Studies at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, where he investigates contemporary theological discourse on religious diversity in Lebanon. Since 2019, he is a member of the Arab-German Young Academy (AGYA) at the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW).
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