Presentation of the A*Midex / Iméra – Averroes Chair: Mediterranean Islam

This chair proposes in particular to restore all its place to critical thought in contemporary Islam. Beyond all forms of literalism, of exegesis which prohibits exegesis, it is a question of inscribing Islamic thought in history, in forms of contextualization which invite comparative analyzes of the religious fact. This is a chair that invites a resolutely interdisciplinary approach, even if it places the Islamic approach at the center of its questions. It also brings together philosophy, history, anthropology, sociology, the study of texts and their translations, as well as questions of transmission between cultural and religious heritages.

From Mediterranean Islam: this reference to Mediterranean Islam comes from Jacques Berque and Mohammed Arkoun and seeks in particular to overcome the divisions and classic oppositions born of a certain orientalism. Questioning Mediterranean Islam, from an Averroes chair, is a way of crossing borders, borders of knowledge as well as symbolic and institutional borders. It is also a way of taking into account the religious plurality and the diversity of historical and cultural heritages, Judeo-Arab heritage as well as Greco-Latin heritage. Inscribing the Muslim religious fact in historical trajectories that link one shore of the Mediterranean to the other is a way of overcoming frontal oppositions and drawing other genealogies that invite possible common worlds.

Andalusian philosopher and jurist, born in Cordoba in 1168 and died in Marrakech in 1198, Averroès/Ibn Rochd undoubtedly produced the most important philosophical work of the Middle Ages. It is in particular his commentaries on Aristotle that are authoritative and that have earned him great notoriety in the Muslim, Jewish and Christian world. His Decisive Speech / Fasl al maqal, in particular, is a major work which marks the place of reason in Islam and which opens the way to critical thought.

About the Chair’s partner

A*Midex, Aix-Marseille Excellence Initiative, brings together a consortium of 8 establishments from the Aix-Marseille higher education and research site, under the coordination of Aix-Marseille University. In line with the actions carried out since its creation in 2012, the A*Midex foundation, through the excellence initiative, intends to consolidate the experiments undertaken, particularly within the framework of interdisciplinary training/research establishment institutes; it intends to continue attracting and training talent on site, while giving them the tools they need to build their careers over time; to interact with civil society and the site’s priority territories, in order to both play a driving role within the metropolis and local areas, mainly European, Euro-Mediterranean and African and internationally. Finally, it intends to promote within the site the incubation of projects responding to major scientific and societal challenges, in connection with national and European policy.