MESA - Middle East Studies Association

MESA 2017 Programmatic Requirements

Categories of Presentation

There are five categories of presentation:

  1. Panel
  2. Roundtable
  3. Thematic Conversation
  4. Individual Paper for panel placement
  5. Special or Current Issues Session

1. PANELS on a common theme or problem are strongly encouraged. Preorganized panels should ideally include four papers (maximum of five), a chair and discussant. It is preferable that neither the chair nor discussant be paper presenters. The program committee reserves the right to add papers to preorganized panels that include fewer than four papers. Sessions will be accepted or rejected in their entirety. The panel summary of between 300 and 400 words should exhibit a clear, scholarly focus and a clear description of the overall purpose of the panel. It cannot include the name of any participant or organizer. If it does, it automatically will be disqualified.

Each paper abstract must be between 300 and 400 words, relate to the presented theme, and be academically strong. Paper abstracts should be scholarly, with a strong, focused statement of thesis or significance, clear goals and methodology, well-organized research data, specified sources, and convincing, coherent conclusions. These are the criteria by which the program committee will conduct its review. The name of the author cannot appear in any paper abstract. If it does, the proposal automatically will be disqualified.

Note: multi-part sessions are discouraged due to programmatic space limitations. Experience teaches us that program committees often find multi-part sessions to be too much of a good thing. Multi-part sessions will be accepted or rejected in their entirety even if one part of a session is deemed stronger than the other.

The panel organizer will create and manage the panel using the electronic submission system. The work flow will be something like this:

  1. panel organizer logs-in to myMESA and creates the session, providing basic information about the panel, including the title, sponsorship, funding sources, primary discipline, geographic and research areas covered, and the panel summary.
  2. panel organizer selects paper presenters and the panel chair and discussant (if known at the time), which will prompt the system to send an email message to the participants inviting them to login to myMESA to accept the invitation and, in the case of paper presenters, submit an abstract of the paper they will present.
  3. Paper presenters will submit their 300-400 word abstracts themselves; the panel organizer cannot submit abstracts on behalf of the paper presenters.
    Panel organizer ensures that the submission is complete by 11:59pm, Mountain Standard Time on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, by logging in to myMESA and tracking the progress.

Panels organized in honor of an individual cannot include the individual's name anywhere on the materials to be reviewed if the honored individual is to participate on the panel. If the panel is accepted on its academic merits, the organizer can request permission from the program committee to name the panel in honor of the individual.

2. ROUNDTABLES promote informed discussion and debate concerning the current state of scholarship in particular fields, work currently in progress or the particular problems involved in the employment of new approaches, new models, etc. The roundtable format lends itself to open discussion in an atmosphere where participants provide their points of view and engage the audience in active discussion. Participants do not prepare papers and do not lecture to the audience. Rooms are set in a manner to facilitate discussion and to allow for group interaction. Only a limited number of roundtables are placed on the program in any given year. Seating is restricted to 25-30 maximum.

The roundtable organizer will create and manage the roundtable using the electronic submission system. The work flow will be something like this:

  1. roundtable organizer provides basic information about the roundtable, including title, sponsorship, funding sources, discipline, and the roundtable summary, which should be a minimum of 300 words and a maximum of 400 words and should define the subject or problem to be addressed. It should be sufficiently precise to allow the program committee to understand the scope and purpose of what is being proposed. A copy of the summary should be sent to each participant, who in turn will prepare a statement detailing their own approach to the topic under consideration. The roundtable summary may not include the name of any roundtable participant or organizer. If it does, it automatically will be disqualified.
  2. roundtable organizer selects the roundtable presenters and chair in the myMESA system. The system will "invite" the participants to login, accept the invitation and, in the case of presenters, submit a description of what role they will play on the roundtable. The description should be 300-400 words, single-spaced. The name of the author cannot appear in the description. If it does, the proposal automatically will be disqualified.
  3. roundtable organizer ensures that the complete roundtable has been submitted by 11:59pm, Mountain Standard Time on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, by logging into myMESA and tracking the progress.

Roundtables organized in honor of an individual cannot include the individual's name anywhere on the materials to be reviewed if the honored individual is to participate on the roundtable. If the roundtable is accepted on its academic merits, the organizer can request permission from the program committee to name it in honor of the individual.

C. THEMATIC CONVERSATIONS provide a place to pose new questions for research, explore new trends and approaches to old questions, meet like-minded scholars, and engage in open academic exchange in an unstructured space. There are two assumptions underlying proposals: that the “conversation” is a dialogue already in progress, perhaps on an electronic discussion list, and that it will be a multi-meeting “conversation,” spanning a minimum of two MESA annual meetings, although not necessarily directed or attended by the same individual(s).

Submission Guidelines:

  1. There will be no more than one “conversation” for each panel time slot of the meeting, and this may be further limited by the number of available meeting rooms.
  2. The room arrangement will be conference style, with seating restricted to 25-30 maximum; attendance will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
  3. Each conversation should have an organizer, or a referee, and no more than 5 specifically designated discussants who would presumably set the agenda for discussion. Not all discussants need be MESA members, but organizers or referees must be. All participants must pay the appropriate category of annual meeting pre-registration, in accordance with MESA regulations.
  4. There should be some evidence of a debate or dialogue already in progress (i.e., circulating position paper, discussion list, previous panels, perhaps a mini-conference elsewhere, etc.)
  5. The MESA Newsletter could also be considered as a place to call for participation, or to announce a thematic conversation.
  6. There should also be an intention to carry on the conversation for two MESA meetings, three at a maximum.
  7. The program chair in consultation with Program Committee and/or Board members in relevant fields will review submissions only for duplication of effort and clarity.
  8. Thematic conversations will be distributed across the meeting, with an eye to preventing conflicts with related panels where possible, and will be listed with roundtables and regular panels, as well as on a separate page in the program.
  9. Per MESA’s regulations, no individual may participate in more than two sessions, including panels, roundtables, and thematic conversations. Each member may propose only one abstract for a formal paper presentation.
  10. Due to the unstructured nature of thematic conversations, submissions in this category are not eligible for sponsorship by an organization.

The conversation organizer will create and manage the thematic conversation using the electronic submission system. The work flow will be something like this:

  1. conversation organizer provides basic information about the conversation, including the title, discipline, and a maximum 400 word position statement outlining the nature of the conversation. Additional supporting materials showing that the conversation is on-going should be emailed separately to mark@mesana.org.
  2. conversation organizer provides the names of the participants, which will prompt the system to "invite" the participants to login, accept the invitation to participate, and submit their maximum 400 word responses or further elaboration on their role in the conversation.
  3. conversation organizer ensures that the complete thematic conversation has been submitted by 11:59pm, Mountain Standard Time on Monday, May 1, 2017.

The deadline for thematic conversation submissions is May 1, 2017, so that the proposed conversations can be included in the preliminary program. Date of arrival before the deadline will constitute priority for placement on the program should there be an excess number. We anticipate limited room for new thematic conversations for the 2017 meeting. Please keep this in mind as you consider your submission options.

D. INDIVIDUAL PAPERS accepted by the program committee will be grouped into panels and assigned a chair. The paper presenter will log-in to myMESA and provide information about the paper and an abstract. The abstract should be 300-400 words, typewritten and single-spaced. The name of the author cannot appear in the abstract. If it does, the proposal automatically will be disqualified. The program committee will be looking for abstracts that are scholarly, with a strong, focused statement of thesis or significance, clear goals and methodology, well-organized research data, specified sources, and convincing, coherent conclusions.

F. SPECIAL SESSIONS, including current issues presentations, are meant to supplement the annual meeting program. They should be of interest to people in all disciplines and should be set apart from the rest of the program by their compelling and unique nature. Organizers are strongly cautioned not to submit for special session status proposals that would more appropriately be regular panels, nor should organizers look upon the special session option as a way to circumvent the deadline and policies that apply to proposals for panels. If a session looks and sounds like a regular panel, it should be reviewed as such. MESA members are welcome to propose special sessions in writing, submitting a letter to the Secretariat including information on the proposed topic, presenters, sources of funding, and a statement explaining why the session deserves special status on the MESA program. The letter will be shared with the program chair and a subcommittee of MESA's Board of Directors and others as deemed appropriate. Only a very limited number of sessions will be accorded special status on the program. Special session proposals must reach the MESA Secretariat by April 1 of the year of the meeting in order to be considered. Current issues presentations are not subject to the April 1 deadline since they are developed only as issues arise.

Chairs/Discussants

Panel organizers are responsible for choosing a chair and discussant for their panel. A chair and discussant may be identified at the time a proposal is submitted or at any time before the meeting. To propose a chair and/or discussant the organizer will add them to their session in myMESA and the system will "invite" them to participate.

MESA will assign a chair to each non-preorganized panel. Those wishing to volunteer to chair one of these panels should complete a chair request form available on MESA's website. Once the program has been set MESA will send a list of composite panels to those who indicated an interest in serving as chair and will make assignments on a first-come, first-served basis.

Final Papers, Presentation Guidelines, and No-Show Policy

Final Papers: In order to facilitate high quality panels, all presenters are asked to upload a copy of their working paper to the myMESA system by October 15. Papers do not need to be complete with footnotes and bibliography; only a working paper is required. Chairs and discussants cannot do their job adequately if they hear the paper for the first time during the actual presentation; it is vital to the integrity of the panel that the paper be distributed on time. Roundtable and thematic conversation participants do not prepare papers and therefore are not subject to this requirement. The uploaded papers are available only to co-panelists. MESA no longer displays papers or makes them available in any way.

Paper Presentations: Participants should not read their papers, but rather should present them in summary only. Generally, 15-20 minutes will be allowed for each presentation (dependent upon the number of papers on the panel). The chair is responsible for strict adherence to this rule. The remainder of the time should be devoted to discussion among the panelists and audience.

No-Show Policy: Program participants must notify the MESA Secretariat if they are not able to attend the meeting in advance of their scheduled presentation or they will not be eligible to participate on the next year's meeting program.

Please direct questions to Mark Lowder at mark@mesana.org.



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