Leiden disability studies lunch

The Rethinking Disability team invites all Leiden based scholars working on disability for a ‘Leiden disability studies lunch’! This lunch will take place on Wednesday 13 June 12.30-13.30 in the conference room of the Huizinga building, Doelensteeg 16 in Leiden. If you want to attend please send an email to:


Cleveringa conference: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability: The MENA Region in the Modern Period Cairo 25-26 November 2018

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability: The MENA region in the modern period

International Conference to be held on 25-26 November 2018


  • Leiden University
  • ERC Rethinking Disability
  • Embassy of the Netherlands in Cairo
  • Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo

Languages: English and Arabic (Presentations should preferably be in English)

Keynote Speakers

  • Dr Heba Hagrass (International disability consultant- Member of the Egyptian Parliament)
  • Dr Shaun Grech (The Critical Institute- Malta)
  • Prof  Monika Baar (Leiden University- The Netherlands)

Call for papers:

The socio-cultural issues concerning the lives of the persons with disabilities (PWD), their families and their environment present considerable challenges even in well-resourced regions of the world; let alone in countries experiencing certain economic or societal hardships. In either context, the study of the emancipation of people with disabilities cannot be undertaken without a broader enquiry into the historical, cultural and social contexts of the disabled citizens living in different times and locations around the world.

In recent decades, representatives of the emerging fields of medical humanities and disability studies have been constantly facing intellectual challenges arising from accelerating scientific developments in medicine and the bio sciences. These developments intrigued sociologists, historians, anthropologists etc. to dedicate more attention than ever before to the social and cultural aspects of the human body and human health. For instance, the enormous differences in health care expenditures across the world present an angle from which to ask questions about social justice, discrimination, exclusion, integration and the responsibility of the state or civil society towards certain groups with vulnerabilities. Disability is a concept around which social scientists can construct or deconstruct relations and representations between health and society, while scholars working in cultural studies may interrogate the formation of a distinct identity and sub-culture of people with disabilities. The MENA region with its cultural and historical peculiarities, and the Global South in more general terms, promises to be a very important location for analyzing how issues of physical and mental health intersect with social and economic concerns.

With a focus on the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region and the Global South, themes and topics of this international academic conference can include but are not limited to:

  • Disability and its perception(s) and meanings through history:
  • Disability in relation to technology: good practices and ethical problems
  • Islam and disability (physical and mental)
  • Education for and about the persons with disability: specialized institutions versus independent living, community-based rehabilitation (CBR)
  • Rights, representation and equality of PWD: strive for equality or demand for special conditions? (work, housing, access, education)
  • UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006):  given the local peculiarities, what challenges may occur in the course of its implementation in the MENA region?
  • Disability and welfare: what responsibilities should be carried by the state, by individuals, philanthropic organizations and by society at large?
  • Children, gender, women and sexuality  in relation to historic and contemporary issues of disability
  • International and regional organizations of disability groups: the MENA region in a global context
  • Disability figuring and images in literature and cinema
  • Stigmatization of PWD and strategies of de-stigmatization
  • Disability culture: arts, activities and self expression
  • Accessibility, integration and inclusion: PWD and the actual/virtual  public space in MENA

The conference is open to participants from the academia as well as for social activists and governmental representatives. An edited volume to be published by an international publisher is planned for selected research papers presented during the conference.

Presentations are welcome in English and Arabic but are preferred in English for practical reasons. Each presentation would be 20 minutes followed by a 10minutes discussion in a themed panel.

Proposals for cultural and artistic activities, whether presented by or about persons with disabilities, are welcome. The venue is accessible to participants and guests with disability.

Deadline:  Please send a 300-500- word paper/activity proposal in English or Arabic before September 1st 2018 to (

For requests of participation, paper proposal or artistic contribution, kindly send your CV to the email address above.

For inquiries or questions kindly contact Dr Amany Soliman

Limited budget for contributing to the travel and accommodation of international participants with outstanding proposals is available on a competitive basis. This is intended for those who are not eligible for funding from their home institutions and who are committed to contributing to the envisaged edited volume. Please indicate at the time of application if you would like to be considered for a subsidy.

Kindly find the Arabic description.

For more information, please follow the Twitteraccount.


Cleveringa Annual Conference

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability:

The MENA Region in the Modern Period

Cairo 25-26 November 2018

Venue: Italian Cultural Institute in Zamalek-Cairo


Day 1 Sunday November 25th 2018

Registration: 9:00 – 9:30 AM


Opening and Welcome Remarks: 9:30-10 AM

Dr. Rudolf De Jong

Director- Netherlands -Flemish Institute in Cairo

Dr. Paolo Sabbatini

Director- Italian Cultural Institute in Cairo

Prof. Monika Baár

Leiden University, the Netherlands


Panel I: Keynote Speeches

10:00- 11:30 AM

Dr. Heba Hagrass

Member of the Egyptian Parliament and International Disability Consultant

“Transforming the Reality of Persons with Disabilities in Egypt: A Look Forward”

Dr. Shaun Grech

Critical Institute-Malta

“Disability and Poverty: Engaging Critical Disability Studies”


Coffee Break 11:30-11:45


Panel II: Disability in Modern History

11:45-1:45 PM

Moderator:  Prof. Sara Scalenghe

– Dr. Gildas Brégain

Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, et L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique, France

“The Transformations of the Policies of Assistance to the Blind in North Africa during the 20th Century (Algeria – Tunisia)”

– Dr. Abdelwahab Shaker

Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt

“Forgotten Voices: The Egyptian Labor Corps, Disability and the First World War”

– Mr. Sam De Schutter

Leiden University, the Netherlands

“A Pan-African Rehabilitation Network: The Creation of the African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI) in the 1980s”


Lunch Break 2:00-2:45 PM


Panel III: Disability, Technology and Social Media

2:45- 4:00 PM

Moderator: Dr. Rudolf De Jong

– Dr. Heba Fawzi El-Masry

Tanta University, Egypt

“The Taboo of Disability in Egypt: A Sociological Approach to Intra-lingual Translation of the Concept of Disability on Twitter”

– Dr. Engi Aboul-Ezz

Beni Suef University, Egypt

“The Image of PWD in Social Media, and its Reflection on Egyptian Users in Daily Life”

– Mr. Mohamed Sobhi

Bibliotheca Alexandrina , Egypt

“Human-Computer Interaction to Design the Smart Education System (SES) for Visually Impaired Users”


Panel IV: Collective views on disability in the Arab World

4:00- 5:30 PM

Moderator: Prof. Monika Baár

– Prof. Sara Scalenghe

Loyola University, USA

“History of Special Education in the Arab World”

– Dr. Amany Soliman

Alexandria University and Leiden University

“The Arab Decade for Persons with Disability: Pan-Arab Civil Society Efforts and Disability Movements (1998-2014)”


Coffee Break 5:30- 5:45 PM


Panel V:

UNCRPD: Applications and challenges from the Arab World

5:45-7:00 PM

Moderator: Mr. Shaun Grech

– Dr. Majid Turmusani

UN disability consultant- Canada

“Challenges and Opportunities for the Implementation of CRPD in the Middle East: Insights from Iraq and Qatar”

– Dr. Riham Debian

Alexandria University- Egypt

“Into Arabic: UNCRPD’S Rights Discourse and the Politics of Interpretation in Translation”


Roundtable Discussion

Views from Western Europe: Interdisciplinary Studies of Disability

7:00-8:00 PM

Moderator: Mr. Sam De Schutter

– Ms. Anaïs van Ertvelde

Leiden University, the Netherlands

– Ms. Anna Derksen

Leiden University, the Netherlands


Day 2 Monday November 26th 2018

Panel VI: Disability in Arab Cinema and Literature

9:30- 10:45 AM

Moderator: Dr. Riham Debian

– Dr. Rasha ElGohary

Misr International University, Egypt

“The Story of Illness and Disability in Egyptian Movies”

– Ms. Basma Shelbaya

Cairo University, Egypt

“War, Violence and Disability in Literature: Comparative Texts from Syria and Europe”


Panel VII: Success Stories from the Arab World

10:45- 12:45 PM

Moderator: Dr. Gildas Brégain

– Dr. Ghaleb ElNahedi

Sattam Ibn Abdelaziz University, Saudi Arabia

“The Positive Impact of Including Students with Intellectual Disabilities: in Saudi Arabia Schools”

Taha Hussein Library for the blind and visually impaired

Bibliotheca Alexandrina- Egypt

Helm Foundation presented by Ms. Amena EL-Saie

“Society without Barriers”

NGO, Egypt


Coffee Break 12:45-1:00 PM


Panel VIII: PWD Training and Integration in Egypt

1:00-3:00 PM

Moderator: Dr. Majid Turmusani

Prof. Eman Mahfouz

Minia University- Egypt

“Linking Prevention and Equity Concept in Managing Disability”

Dr. Mai Eid

Aswan University, Egypt

“Towards Universal Design in Architectural Education in Egypt”

Dr. Dalia Elganzoury

Mansoura University, Egypt

“Civil Society and the PWD Community: Views from the Egyptian Delta”

– Mr. Ahmed Abouelsaad

Cairo University, Egypt

“Measuring/Analyzing the Inclusiveness of Schools from Architecture Perspective”


Lunch Break 3:00- 3:45 PM


Panel VIIII:

Disability between Islamic Shariaa and Civil Legislations

3:45- 5:15 PM

Moderator: Dr. Amany Soliman

– Prof. Hassan Sanad

Dean of the Faculty of Law, Minia University

“The Rights of the PWD between International Conventions and Egyptian Legislations”

– Dr. Mohamed Fawzi Abdelhay

AlAzhar University, Egypt

“Disability and Islamic Jurisprudence in Modern Times”

– Dr. Hamada Hassan

Minia University, Egypt

“From Islamic Shariaa to International Law: Protection of the PWD”


Panel X:

Religiosity and Disability: Applications from Muslim Societies

5:15- 6:30 PM

Moderator: Dr. Mohamed Fawzi Abdelhay

Ms. Bouchra Yahia

Radboud Nijmegen University, the Netherlands

“Islamic psychology: A religious perspective on human nature and mental health”

– Dr. Gihan Othman

Alexandria University, Egypt

“Religiosity and Emotional Balance: Application on Muslim PWD Egyptian Children”

– Ms. Hadil Lababidi

Friedrich- Alexander University, Germany

“Perspectives on Dementia in Islam”


Coffee Break 6:30- 6:45 PM


Cleveringa Annual Lecture

6:45- 8:00 PM

Prof. Monika Baár

Professor of History- Leiden University

Principal Investigator of ERC project: The Global Impact of IYPD 1981in Historical Perspective

“Historical Aspects on the Community Building, Integration and Quality of Life of People with Disabilities”

Introduced by: Dr. Said Fares

Leiden University Alumnus – Lecturer at AlAzhar University



Lecture by Samuel Moyn (Yale University), 13 June 2018

We are pleased to announce that Yale University professor of law and history Samuel Moyn will be giving a lecture at Leiden University on June 13th. The renowned scholar in the field of European intellectual history and human rights history will be discussing the relationship of human rights law and movements to their global economic context between the successive eras of national welfare states and of neoliberal globalization.



Historians without Borders: Writing Histories of International Organizations

Leiden University – 22-23 March 2018


Practical information

This workshop is organized by the ERC project ‘Rethinking Disability’. It is intended to bring together early-career researchers from different fields working on international organizations, to discuss methodological challenges together with peers and established scholars. A combination of a master class, keynote lectures, and roundtable discussions aims at providing an informal and interactive setting for the exchange of ideas and perspectives. (more…)

CFP: Historians without Borders: Writing Histories of International Organizations

Leiden University – 22-23 March 2018

This workshop is organized by the ERC project ‘Rethinking Disability’. It is intended to bring together early-career researchers from different fields working on international organizations, to discuss methodological challenges together with peers and established scholars. A combination of a master class, keynote lectures, and roundtable discussions aims at providing an informal and interactive setting for the exchange of ideas and perspectives. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Davide Rodogno (The Graduate Institute, Geneva)
  • Corinne Pernet (University of Geneva)
  • Kiran Patel (Maastricht University)


“Mindervalide is geen synoniem van zielig, Meryl”

Recently Anaïs van Ertvelde has written opinion piece in Dutch for the Belgian newspaper DeMorgen entitled: “Mindervalide is geen synoniem van zielig, Meryl” (“Disability is not a synonym for pitiable, Meryl”), wherein she critically discusses the treatment of disability by Hollywood.

Click here (pdf.1) and here (pdf.2) to read the article.


Alternatively, you can read the article