Aarhus Universitets segl

Economic Change and the Future of the Middle East

Anniversary conference at Arab and Islamic Studies, Aarhus University

Marking 70 years of Middle East studies and 60 years of Arabic studies

at Aarhus University




27-28 September 2023, at Aarhus University, Nobelparken, Jens Chr. Skousvej 3, 8000 Aarhus C

The conference marks the 70th anniversary of the engagement of Aarhus University with the Middle East (Peter Vilhelm Glob and T. Geoffrey Bibby’s archeological expedition to Bahrain) and the 60th anniversary of the establishment at Aarhus of the ancestor of today’s program in Arab and Islamic Studies, the Institute for Semitic Philology, in 1963.

Wednesday 27 September (building 1453, room 415)

10.30 Welcome, by Mark Sedgwick and Thomas Fibiger

10.35 Panel session 1: Economics and Transition

  • Morten Valbjørn, Aarhus University:  Saudi scenarios – triangular reflections on possible causes and consequences of the Saudi reform process
  • Fannie Agerschou, Danish Institute for International Studies and Roskilde University Center: Diversifying the Saudi economy: Having fun as a viable economic and political path post oil-dependence
  • Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, University of Copenhagen: Islam and Economics: Insurance Fatwas

12.00 Lunch for participants

Wednesday 27 September, public session (building 1451 room 219)

13.00 Keynote 1:

  • Thomas Richter, German Institute for Global and Area Studies, Hamburg: Economic reform in times of climate crisis on the Arabian Peninsula: Structural adjustment and state autonomy

14.15 Coffee

14.30 Anniversary of Middle East and Arabic Studies in Aarhus

  • Panel with Mark Sedgwick, Thomas Fibiger, Marianne Qvortrup Fibiger, Martin Riexinger, and Dina Hessellund Winther.

16.00 Anniversary reception

Thursday 28 September (building 1453, room 415)

9.30 Keynote 2:

  • Nelida Fuccaro, New York University Abu Dhabi: he Image Economies of Middle Eastern Oil: Past and Future

10.45 Coffee

11.00 Panel session 2: Sustainability and Change

  • Johanne Christiansen, University of Southern Denmark: ‘I am going to put a khalīfa on earth’ (Q 2:30): The Qur’an, Nature, and Climate Change
  • Martin Hvidt, University of Southern Denmark:  Green transition in the Arab Gulf States: The positive impact of high oil prices
  • Thomas Fibiger, Aarhus University: Migrant economies and other (Middle) Easts: The religious welfare state of the Dawoodi Bohra

12.30 Lunch   

13.30 Keynote 3:

  • Joanne Randa Nucho, Pomona College, California: After the Grid: Electricity, Fragmentation, and Renewable Energy in Lebanon in the post 2019 era (Co-authored with Danielle Fheili)

14.45 Coffee

15.00 Panel session 3: Islam and the Environment

  • Kirstine Sinclair, University of Southern Denmark: The Arctic Muslim and Questions about Mosques and the Environment: What is Extreme about the Arctic?
  • Mark Sedgwick, Aarhus University: Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s Green Environmentalism
  • Oleg Yarosh, Aarhus University: Visions of Perfection in Western Sufism

16.30-17.00 Conclusion

Organized by Professor Mark Sedgwick and Associate Professor Thomas Fibiger, Arab and Islamic Studies Research Network (ICSRU), Aarhus University and supported by a grant from the Danish Institute in Damascus.