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Since Tunisia’s independence in 1956, the country has had a unique approach to the issue of gender compared to other Arabic countries as it pushed a public discourse on modernization and women’s rights. In this video, STEFFI HOBUß describes the approach of her researcher group to analyze how the issue of gender has been negotiated in Tunisia and how this has influenced Tunisia’s cultural memory ever since. By combining the philosophical idea of the resignification of concepts with an empirical approach, the team found that on the one hand, there were real improvements for women but on the other hand, the state instrumentalized and almost entirely dominated the discourse on women’s rights in order to present as a modern state what was effectively a dictatorship. This has strong implications for today’s Tunisia because any ideas and policies of modernization or feminism carry dictatorial connotations.


Steffi Hobuß is Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor of Philosophy as well as Vice-Dean for Internationalization at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg. Previously, she has held teaching and research positions at the University of Bielefeld and the University of Hannover. She has won the Leuphana University of Lüneburg Award for Innovative Teaching three times, most recently in 2015. Since January 2016, she is the leader of the Tunisian-German interdisciplinary research project ‘Transformation, Culture, Gender’. Since 2017 she acts as leader of the Leuphana College.


Leuphana University, Lüneburg

Sustainability research, cultural research, education, management and entrepreneurship: Through these four science initiatives, in course work and research, Leuphana University of Lüneburg addresses the challenges of civil society in the 21st century. The bodies responsible for these initiatives are the faculties newly established in 2010: Education , Culture , Business  and Sustainability . There are research topics spanning multiple faculties – in keeping with developments of current and future relevance – devoted to the Democracy, Digital Media and Health.   Companion to the substantive quality of the curriculum, Leuphana places particular reliance on students' responsibility, curiosity and initiative, on a broad-ranging change in perspective that questions presumably settled knowledge, and on dialogue not only among the various disciplines but between science and practice. The course of study follows a degree model unique to the German higher-education landscape, a model  that has already received multiple awards. With its launch of the Digital School in 2013, Leuphana also entered the age of the online universities, where it is setting new standards in social learning.   For its development as a humanistic, action-oriented  and sustainable  university, in 2007 Leuphana received an award from the business community's innovation agency for the German science system, the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, in its competition devoted to 'Excellence Strategies for Small and Medium-Sized Universities', and in 2010 from the Mercator Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation for the nationwide competition on 'The Future of Instruction'.   To strengthen Lüneburg as a location for research and business, scientists and the business community are working side by side on visionary projects under unique conditions, as part of the EU-sponsored regional development project for Innovation Incubators. A total of nearly EUR 100 million is flowing into regional economic development. In more than 50 projects, there are some 300 firms in the former Lüneburg district working with teams of researchers on behalf of a broad range of new research and infrastructure projects and measures in education and training. The Incubator places the emphasis on the topics of Digital Media, Health and Sustainable Energy. ( Source )  
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Original publication

Sprachliche Resignifikation im Kontext der Diktatur: Der Begriff der Frauenrechte in Tunesien (1987-2011)

Hobuß Steffi and Nadia El Ouerghemmi
Philosophieren in der Diktatur
Published in 9998

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