mohammed affaya chercheur en residence iea aix marseille

Mohammed Affaya

Disciplines: HistoryLiteraturePhilosophy
Title and home institution: Professor, Mohammed V University in Rabat
Category of Fellowship: Annual research fellowship
Chair: Resident Fellowship supported by Conseil Départemental 13
Residency length: September 2018 – July 2019

Research project

Quarrel of Images: Reflections on Islam in the Mediterranean

Summary of research project

Mohammed Affaya’s research project at Iméra, the Institute for Advanced Study of Aix-Marseille University, focuses on exploring the texts of thinkers who have left a significant mark on contemporary Arab thought. The main objective of this research is to understand how these thinkers have contributed to shaping an awareness of the gap and difference within Arab society. This gap is particularly evident between the decadent reality experienced by Arabs and the perceived “real” renaissance, symbolized by the current European models and the Arab-Muslim past.

Contemporary Arab thought at the crossroads of Islam and the West in the Mediterranean

In this context, the researcher aims to give substance to modern Arab-Muslim thought by examining perceptions of the Other and exploring a double imaginary shift. The first aspect of this shift concerns the West, perceived as complex, invasive, and seductive. The second aspect concerns the Arab-Muslim past, described as marvelous, ideal but also pathetic. By revisiting the writings of these thinkers, Mohammed Affaya seeks to shed light on these perceptions in the context of the new Mediterranean scenario and the profound changes affecting Islam in this region.

The project takes a critical perspective on past and present representations, seeking to analyze how these ideas contribute to the understanding of contemporary reality in the Mediterranean. It emphasizes the importance of contextualizing the writings of Arab thinkers in the changing landscape of the region while examining the complex interactions between Arab thought, Western influences, and internal transformations within the Muslim world. In summary, Mohammed Affaya’s research aims to make a significant contribution to the critical understanding of contemporary Arab thought in the context of current socio-political and cultural challenges in the Mediterranean.


Professor Mohammed Noureddine Affaya is a professor of aesthetics and contemporary philosophy at the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Mohammed V University in Rabat.

Former member of the Higher Council for Audiovisual Communication (2004-2011);

Former permanent expert with the “Knowledge and Information Society” commission of the Economic, Social, and Environmental Council (2011-2017);

Member of the Higher Council of Education, Training, and Scientific Research (Since 2014);

Vice-president of the “Mediterranean Shores” Association;

He was the editor-in-chief of the “Philosophical Writings” journal.

He has published about fifteen books, including the latest:

– “Unfinished Democracy: The Exit from Authoritarianism and Its Obstacles” (2013). “Contemporary Philosophical Critique: Its Western Sources and Arab Manifestations” (for which he received the “Best Arab Book” award from the “Arab Thought Foundation” in Beirut for the year 2015). “Communication of Adversity: Identity, Democracy, Creation” (in French), 2015; “Consciousness of Recognition: Identity, Woman, Knowledge” (2017). “Images of Otherness: The Other in Arab-Muslim Thought” (2018).

Appels à candidature

Les résidences de recherche que propose l’Iméra, Institut d’études avancées (IEA) d’Aix-Marseille Université, s’adressent aux chercheurs confirmés – académiques, scientifiques et/ou artistes. Ces résidences de recherche sont distribuées sur quatre programmes (« Arts & sciences : savoirs indisciplinés », « Explorations interdisciplinaires », « Méditerranée » et « Utopies nécessaires »).