MESA - Middle East Studies Association

MESA 2017 Member Calls for Participation

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 14, 2017

Name of Organizer

Madeleine Elfenbein

Email

elfenbein@uchicago.edu

Proposed Session Title

Sovereignty Reformed: Ottoman Authority between the International and the Islamic in the Tanzimat Era

Session Description
Our panel takes as its subject the political thought and praxis of the Tanzimat era, particularly the re-formations of Ottoman authority that emerged in this period according to a set of standards we identify as both Islamic and international. We invite collaborators interested in any aspect of Tanzimat-era political authority and the changes it underwent. We are particularly eager for papers that explore the conversion of authority into the grammar of political modernity (law, state, society) and focus on the discontents and aporias this conversion produced.

More than half a century after Şerif Mardin’s The Genesis of Young Ottoman Thought (1962), we are still in the wake of its call to treat Tanzimat-era political thought as part and parcel of the global era. The reification of the Tanzimat into projects, institutions and other concrete instantiations of the modern age has obscured the conceptual ruptures and predicaments it unleashed. Our panel aims to move beyond the longstanding tendency of Tanzimat scholarship to ender its subject as a collection of individual and institutional narratives structured by the motif of domestic reform, and instead to situate the problem of authority in the Tanzimat era within this global “problem-space,” in David Scott’s language (2004). We are interested in exploring this problem through the lens of Hannah Arendt’s argument concerning the dematerialization of authority (1954) and the articulation of new sites of power, knowledge and subjecthood.

Please send abstracts of 300 to 400 words along with name, email address, academic affiliation by February 13th to the panel organizers, Madeleine Elfenbein (elfenbein@uchicago.edu) and Selim Karlitekin (sk3560@columbia.edu).

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 13, 2017

Name of Organizer

Elif Ege

Email

elifeget@buffalo.edu

Proposed Session Title

Gender-Based Violence, Solidarity, and Advocacy

Session Description
The “gender deficit literature” (El-Said, Meari & Pratt 2015) on the uprisings since 2011 has been replaced with an illuminating scholarship that examines this social and political transformation from the lenses of gender and sexuality (Abouelnaga 2016; Hasso & Salime 2016). This literature has pointed out various forms of violence against women and discussed the mobilization strategies, both activist and advocacy works, developed by women’s organization in order to eliminate gender-based violence. Scholars have emphasized the role of the international law, institutions, declarations and transnational solidarity networks, and argued that women’s groups resort to these globally-acclaimed frameworks and solidarity relations in their negotiations with their states and societies in order to achieve their demands. (Vinson & Golley 2012; Stephen 2012; Rizzo, Price & Meyer 2012).

However, these times of uncertainty in the Middle East and in the world, which has witnessed different forms of war and conflict and the global rise of state-promoted sexism, racism and xenophobia call for reexamining this framework. For, the international forces have started to lose their power to impose certain legal and political frameworks, and local advocacy groups are facing a less and less cooperative and more hostile states, such as the Turkish state that attempts to contract women’s rights despite the local and international pressure. In such contexts, the relationships among international organizations, states and advocacy groups have become more complicated than the aforementioned framework suggests.

To bring a new light on this discussion this panel asks: What types of activism and advocacy strategies do/can women’s groups use to mobilize against gender-based violence in a context of increased discursive and physical violence perpetrated by the state and/or private individuals? In what ways do they implement international legal and political norms and regulations in their negotiations with state and society? How do they establish transnational solidarity relations? And, how do they interpret the changing dynamics in the region in terms of women’s movements’ capacity to influence paternalistic states and their legal and institutional frameworks to eliminate gender violence? This panel tackles with these questions with the purpose of expanding the outlook on mobilization strategies for battling gender-based violence. It critically assesses the advocacy and activist practices around violence against women and interrogates how the organizers navigate the changing political atmosphere as they try to achieve their demands. Thus it will further examine the complex and dynamic character of gender justice activism.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 13, 2017

Name of Organizer

Anne Marie Butler

Email

abutler4@buffalo.edu

Proposed Session Title

Contemporary Political Art of the Middle East

Session Description
This panel seeks to highlight recent artistic projects by collectives or individuals, or curated shows, that are political in nature. This panel is intentionally broad in taking a varied and interdisciplinary approach to political, meaning that work, shows, or performative actions that dialogue with contemporary Middle Eastern moments in any way are of interest. All regions of the Middle East and its Diaspora are welcome.

Papers should be grounded in visual analysis, political pertinence of work(s), and relevant theory. All disciplines are welcomed, particularly art historians, cultural critics, visual studies scholars, and gender and sexuality studies scholars.

It is the organizer's goal to group papers on contemporary art together, due to the niche nature of this field at MESA conferences.

Topics of interest include and are not limited to:
performance
mixed media
installation
curating
activist art
artist collectives
Queer art
dissident art

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 13, 2017

Name of Organizer

Nathaniel Greenberg

Email

ngreenbe@gmu.edu

Proposed Session Title

Global Populism and the Middle East

Session Description
In the lead up to and immediately following the July 3, 2013, Coup d’état that would oust from office Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, rival leaders from the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party and Egypt’s armed services engaged in a series of elaborate exchanges aimed at bolstering their respective positions and shoring up public support. While the boldest lines of division demarcated positions in place for decades, the impact of the 2011 uprising and the concurrent explosion of previously clandestine voices into the arena of public discourse accelerated the development of an equally significant, though lesser discussed fault-line in the country’s culture wars, namely, the identitarian politics of discourse. Looking to the contemporary Middle East as a case in point this panel welcomes essays addressing the new global language of populism. How does the current rhetoric of populism in the Middle East resonant with previous like instances in history? What are the new shapes of division, of alliance? What is the ideological and material connection, or disconnect, between current populist trends in the MENA and those in the West? How does populism in the Middle East today manifest in cultural production? In political decree? These are some of the questions this panel hopes to engage.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 13, 2017

Name of Organizer

Ana Vinea

Email

avinea@umich.edu

Proposed Session Title

Psychiatry in the Middle East: Hospitals, Science, and Care

Session Description
Arguably, psychiatry as an institution, a science and a mode of care has been under-researched in the Middle East. This is despite its wide-ranging and multifaceted historical presence in the region, beginning with the 19th and early 20th century’s establishment of asylums and the employment of psy-concepts and practices in diverse social fields and forms of knowledge, from pedagogy to colonial ethnography to name a few. Ever since, psychiatry has played a major role in the reconfiguration of normality, subjectivity, and governance, amidst the various social and political transformations that have reshaped the region.

This panel aims to contribute to recent studies that have begun to fill this lacuna (e.g. Keller 2007, Schayegh 2009, Pandolfo 2009, Mittermaier 2011, El Shakry 2014, Behrouzan 2016) by examining modern and contemporary psychiatry in the Middle East from the 19th century to the present. As these researchers, we take lead from the scholars of psychiatry who have approached it from multiple points of view, documenting its history, examining its current practices, and critiquing its interventions. While these latter studies have mainly focused on psychiatry in the West, the project of psychiatry in peripheral places can be a critical site for investigating how global diagnostics and treatments adapt to and are transformed by local actors in specific contexts. In a more recent development, humanitarian psychiatry (Fassin & Rechtman 2009) has emerged in the Middle East as a new humanitarian expertise that adopts psychiatric interventions to treat victims of violence and war. Psychiatry has moved from asylums to the clinic and the humanitarian field as it became part of emergency humanitarian interventions. Psychiatric disorders like PTSD, anxiety, OCD and schizophrenia are common diagnoses in the Middle East, with some diagnoses being more contested and debated than others from different points of view. These diagnoses have been accompanied by the rise of a major psycho-pharmaceutical market in the region that has further shaped understandings and lived experiences of subjectivity and mental illness.

In light of this proliferation of psychiatry and the psychologization of everyday life, this panel investigates psychiatry as an institution, a science, and a mode of care through anthropological, historical, and literary accounts from the Middle East. Drawing from various historical episodes and present formations, we ask: What is the history, forms, and trajectory of psychiatry as an institutional formation in the Middle East? How has the institutionalization of psychiatry transformed understandings and practices around insanity and madness? What ideological and societal roles has the framing of psychiatry as a science has played and continues to play in the region? What contestations to such claims of scientificity have surfaced and how they have shaped the practice and position of psychiatry in the Middle East? What are the modes of care that psychiatry offers and what are their effects on the remodeling of normality, (disordered) subjectivity, and governance?

We invite contributions that focus on one or more of the following topics, or on other topics linked with the general theme of the panel:
-19th century asylums and contemporary psychiatric hospitals in the Middle East
-the history of psychiatric concepts and practices in the region
-psychiatry and colonialism
-psychiatric spaces: asylums, contemporary psychiatric hospitals, clinics
-the formation of psy-professionals
-psycho-pharmaceutical markets
-psychiatry and the law
-humanitarian psychiatry: refugees, war, and violence
-psychiatry as science
-the history and ethnography of psychologization
-the formation and transformation of the psychiatric patient
-disordered subjectivities and psychiatric care
-gender and psychiatry

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 10, 2017

Name of Organizer

Waleed Hazbun

Email

wh20@aub.edu.lb

Proposed Session Title

Travel, Tourism, and Study Abroad: Cultures and Spaces of Encountering/Commodifying Difference

Session Description
We are interested in hearing from scholars in any social science/humanities field to join a panel on topics relating to a broad definition of tourism, travel, and study abroad. This is also possibly include the themes of mobility, cultural exchanges, and transportation. On possible organizing theme might be 'dark tourism’ and the relation between war/violence and tourism/heritage/commemoration.

The final deadline for panel submission is February 15, 2017, thus I would like initial expressions of interest by January 30, 2017. Please send to wh20@aub.edu.lb

Also, to join the MENA Tourism Network email list, either send a blank email to mena-tourism-net+subscribe@googlegroups.com or write me and I can add you directly.

Best regards,

Waleed Hazbun
Associate Professor of International Politics | American University of Beirut
Visiting Scholar | Center for Middle East Studies | UC Berkeley [Spring 2017]

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 05, 2017

Name of Organizer

Sylvia I. Bergh

Email

bergh@iss.nl

Proposed Session Title

Local governance and social accountability reforms in the wake of the Arab Spring

Session Description
In recent years, various social movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Morocco, Israel and elsewhere began challenging existing regimes of rule, focusing their public accusations on political elites as well as the institutions of the state. Underpinning and propelling different forms of collective action was a wide discontent regarding an uneven distribution of civic, political and social rights of citizenship between different groups and classes of the state. While there is now quite a substantial body of literature on the underlying causes of the various revolutions and protests, and valuable studies are emerging on the main actors and their practices, the responses from the states and donors in the area of strengthening social accountability at the local level remain under researched.

These responses include the creation of new “participatory” institutions (e.g. participatory urban planning systems, municipal service centers, and consultative committees for gender equity and equal opportunities in Morocco and Tunisia), increased decentralization to municipal levels, and the establishment or strengthening of Economic and Social Councils and Ombudsman offices. Similarly, international donors have scaled up their work on social accountability initiatives, including community score cards in the education field in Egypt and Morocco, health (Egypt), and water (Yemen). Various participatory and gender-responsive budgeting initiatives are also underway.

However, it is not well known to what extent social movements and individual citizens are willing to engage with these new state and donor initiatives, and what are the outcomes of such engagements in terms of local accountability, state legitimacy, and citizenship. A related question is whether local actors hold notions and understandings of accountability that differ from Western ones, especially in terms of religious actors and their notions of ‘moral accountability’. The panel organizers are looking for papers addressing (some of) these questions, preferably through the use of empirical case study materials, from scholars working on any country in the MENA region. Collectively, the panel also aims to make a methodological contribution in terms of exploring how the impact of these new social accountability initiatives can be evaluated.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

February 10, 2017

Name of Organizer

Kathryn Hain

Email

hainsontheroad@hotmail.com

Proposed Session Title

New findings on jawari, qiyan, and other female slaves in the Middle East.

Session Description
CFP: New findings on jawari, qiyan, and other female slaves in the Middle East.
This panel seeks new research on any aspect of gendered slavery, concubinage, courtesanship, or slave trade in the Middle East. Cross Disciplinary papers from Religious Studies, History, Sociology, Gender, etc. from Islamic origins to the Modern period, from Iberia to India are welcomed. If abstracts have corresponding themes, these similarities will be incorporated in the final panel description, but at this stage, we want to provide an opportunity to present any new work in slavery studies.
Scholars interested in joining other MENA slavery scholars at MESA’s 51st Annual Conference in Washington D.C. are invited to send a 300-400 word abstract to Dr. Kathryn Hain, hainsontheroad@hotmail.com. Deadline is Jan. 30. Participants who are selected for the panel will be notified by Feb. 5, and abstracts need to be uploaded to the MESA site by Feb. 15. All presenters need to be a member of MESA or will need to join MESA to participate.
If you would prefer to present your work at AHA 2018, Jan. 4-7, also in Washington D.C., please send me your information. I will put you in communication with the other potential panelists.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Jan 30, 2017

Name of Organizer

Jocelyn Sage Mitchell

Email

jocelyn.mitchell@northwestern.edu

Proposed Session Title

The Dynamics of Tolerance in the Contemporary Middle East

Session Description
With the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East and right-wing populism in the West, the meaning and value of tolerance and diversity have become a focal point for academics, politicians, and pundits alike. Tolerance spans both the social and political realms, covering the treatment of different groups, such as women and minorities (identity-based tolerance), as well as the treatment of different viewpoints (ideological tolerance). Whenever they discuss the Middle East, voices from across the political spectrum in the West regularly ask why members of the LGBTQ community, women, and non-Muslims often face limitations on self-expression and movement. As well, many suggest that low tolerance for political and social differences in the Arab world is one of the key contributing factors to the failures of the Arab Spring. Yet one of the most oft-cited verses in the Quran is about toleration of social and political differences: “We have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another.” (49:13)
 
Despite the intense focus, little is known about how tolerance is understood outside of secular Western democratic conditions; what may motivate it in less free, authoritarian societies; and what it implies in terms of behavior. In Western settings, tolerance is typically defined in terms of rights—allowing others you dislike or disagree with to have their civil rights, such as free speech on multiple media platforms—yet such rights are limited or nonexistent in many authoritarian states in the Middle East. In these conditions, what does tolerance mean and what does it require? Why tolerate—what are the benefits? Can toleration exist in a context where there are not universal rights and norms or where citizens are not equal before the law? And what insights can academic work in the Middle East provide to the region, and the world, about how best to promote tolerance?
 
We welcome papers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, methodologies, and cases. We are especially interested in how new sources, methods, and case studies allow us to both pursue innovative lines of inquiry and challenge our basic assumptions about the meaning, impact, and promotion of tolerance in the region and the world. Already submitted topics investigate abstract versus concrete notions of tolerance in a nationally-representative survey experiment in Qatar, the Omani Ibadi framework for tolerating non-Islamic behaviors, and the position of Coptic Christians in Egypt. Our panel will focus on interaction with the audience, so participants should be prepared to give their presentations in 8–10 minutes. Please email your name, email address, academic affiliation, and a 400-word abstract by the deadline, and be prepared to register with and submit to MESA no later than the submission deadline on February 15. Contact the organizers with any questions: Jocelyn Sage Mitchell (jocelyn.mitchell@northwestern.edu) and Sean Foley (Sean.Foley@mtsu.edu).

Deadline Date for Abstracts: February 5, 2017

Name of Organizer

Brian Catlos

Email

brian.catlos@colorado.edu

Proposed Session Title

Shared Religious Spaces, Rituals and Traditions in the Pre-Modern Islamicate Mediterranean 

Session Description
Previously seen by historians as a theater of conflict, divided into clearly divided and hostile zones of religious domination, the Mediterranean is now recognized as a being a region in which religious boundaries were blurred, ambiguous and shifting, and in which Christians, Muslims and Jews of various denominations and orientations, lived amongst each other, and had a profound influence on the development of each others’ religious beliefs and practices. This is rooted first and foremost in their common Abrahamic heritage, theological orientation and scriptural tradition, but also in a shared legacy of Perso-Hellenic (as well as Latinate and Nilic) esoteric beliefs and folk traditions, and common grounding in the Hellenistic philosophical tradition, all rooted in the shared geography of the Mediterranean. This was particularly evident in the Islamic-dominated Mediterranean, thanks to Islam’s internal diversity, its orthopractic approach to doctrine, and the extremely ethno-religiously diverse character of the Islamic Near East.

 

In recent years much exciting work has been done by scholars of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, from a range of disciplines in this field; for example: Yusuf Meri, Diogini Alberi, Glenn Bowman, David Freidenreich, Sarah Stroumsa, Jonathan P. Decter, Monica Green, Sidney Griffith, Milka Rubin, Harvey Hames, Elisha Russ-Fishbane, Andrew Jotischky and Antón Pazos, just to name a few.
This panel will seek papers by scholars of the medieval and pre-modern Islamicate Mediterranean from a range of disciplinary perspectives (social, political and economic history, art history, literature, and anthropology) whose work explores the shared religious traditions, rituals and spaces of the area, as reflected in both conflicting and syncretic dynamics relating to ritual, theology, myth, legend and tradition, as expressed in law, polemci, doctrine and ideology, and in practice in devotional, ritual, and custom, whether relating to specific sites or itineraries (e.g. pilgrimage routes), or to the larger regional framework. Preference will be given to papers with a strong comparative, methodological or theoretical dimension, and which focus on more than one religious community (whether within or across the major confessional groupings). Organized by the Mediterranean Seminar, a scholarly forum with over 1,200 affiliates world-wide, we plan to invited specific scholars to submit proposals as well as to publish a general call for papers. This panel will provide a rare opportunity for scholars of different backgrounds who are each engaged in exciting, comparative work to converse with each other and the panel audience.

Deadline Date for Abstracts: February 10, 2017

Name of Organizer

Carolyn Goffman

Email

cgoffman@depaul.edu

Proposed Session Title

Missionary Renegades: Subverting the Conversion Project

Session Description
CFP: Missionary Renegades: Subverting the Conversion Project

MESA 2017, Washington, D.C.

American missionaries on the ground in the Ottoman Empire and later in the Middle East often found themselves at odds with their governing organizations back in the U.S. or Europe. While some clung to the Christian conversion project, others scrambled to find new ways to make themselves useful, even indispensable, to the local populace or governing powers.

This Panel seeks papers that explore renegade missionaries and their relationships with each other, with their governing Boards back home, and with their local hosts. Topics may include rebels within the missionary organizations, disparities and disputes between male and female missionary agendas, or the re-branding of missionary projects.

Please send 300-400-word abstract to cgoffman@depaul.edu by February 10, 2017.
Panel Organizer: Carolyn Goffman, DePaul University.

Deadline Date for Abstracts: February 10, 2017.

Name of Organizer

Yael Warshel

Email

ywarshel@gmail.com

Proposed Session Title

Children, Youth, and Media in Middle Eastern, North African, and Gulf Conflict Zones

Session Description
This panel seeks to carve out new pathways into the subject of children, youth and media. Abstracts are sought that critically interpret how Middle Eastern, North African, and Persian/Arabian Gulf children and youth use, play with, produce, interpret and/or are influenced by media in conflict zones. Abstracts should come from or be framed from the “voice”, or perspective of children and youth and connect how their respective media uses and practices impinge on the development of their culture, constructions of civic and national identity, intergroup attitudes, political opinions, and/or peace and conflict related practices and behaviors. To that effect, papers might examine the media uses and associated daily lives -- past and/or present -- of among others, Algerian, Iranian, Iraqi, Israeli, Lebanese, Libyan, Palestinian, Syrian, Tuareg, Yemini or Yezedi girls and boys. Papers that explore these areas as they relate to the lives of those among them who have been (forcibly-) migrated, are borderlands children, have been born due to the uses of rape as a weapon of war, and/or whom, through them, have become child mothers, are particularly encouraged.

Abstracts, and so papers, may conceptualize children/childhood or youth from a biological, legal, constructed, and/or subaltern perspective. They may either be modern or historical in focus. Field-based research from a variety of disciplinary, theoretical, and methodological perspectives are encouraged. Research from communication, children and youth/childhood studies, anthropology, political science, sociology, psychology, history and related disciplines are all welcome. To that effect, media analogous analyses of non-formal education, arts, music, dance, and leisure practices and spaces are invited. The goal of the panel will be to foster a critical transdisciplinary merger of these varied disciplinary approaches.

If interested, and for any questions, please email Yael Warshel at ywarshel@gmail.com

The following information should be emailed by Feb 8, 2017:

1) your name, affiliation, and contact details.

2) a 300-400 word abstract fitting the above panel theme and MESA’s criteria for evaluating abstracts, including being, “scholarly”, and possessing “a strong, focused statement of thesis or significance, clear goals and methodology, well-organized research data, specified sources, and convincing, coherent conclusions.”

Yael Warshel
Telecommunications, Rock Ethics Institute, and Comparative and International Education
The Pennsylvania State University
ywarshel@gmail.com

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 08, 2017

Name of Organizer: Ana Vinea
Email: avinea@umich.edu
Proposed Session Title: Psychiatry in the Middle East: Hospitals, Science, and Care
Deadline for Abstracts: January 25, 2017
Arguably, psychiatry as an institution, a science and a mode of care has been under-researched in the Middle East. This is despite its wide-ranging and multifaceted historical presence in the region, beginning with the 19th and early 20th century’s establishment of asylums and the employment of psy-concepts and practices in diverse social fields and forms of knowledge, from pedagogy to colonial ethnography to name a few. Ever since, psychiatry has played a major role in the reconfiguration of normality, subjectivity, and governance, amidst the various social and political transformations that have reshaped the region.

This panel aims to contribute to recent studies that have begun to fill this lacuna (e.g. Keller 2007, Schayegh 2009, Pandolfo 2009, Mittermaier 2011, El Shakry 2014, Behrouzan 2016) by examining modern and contemporary psychiatry in the Middle East from the 19th century to the present. As these researchers, we take lead from the scholars of psychiatry who have approached it from multiple points of view, documenting its history, examining its current practices, and critiquing its interventions. While these latter studies have mainly focused on psychiatry in the West, the project of psychiatry in peripheral places can be a critical site for investigating how global diagnostics and treatments adapt to and are transformed by local actors in specific contexts. In a more recent development, humanitarian psychiatry (Fassin & Rechtman 2009) has emerged in the Middle East as a new humanitarian expertise that adopts psychiatric interventions to treat victims of violence and war. Psychiatry has moved from asylums to the clinic and the humanitarian field as it became part of emergency humanitarian interventions. Psychiatric disorders like PTSD, anxiety, OCD and schizophrenia are common diagnoses in the Middle East, with some diagnoses being more contested and debated than others from different points of view. These diagnoses have been accompanied by the rise of a major psycho-pharmaceutical market in the region that has further shaped understandings and lived experiences of subjectivity and mental illness.

In light of this proliferation of psychiatry and the psychologization of everyday life, this panel investigates psychiatry as an institution, a science, and a mode of care through anthropological, historical, and literary accounts from the Middle East. Drawing from various historical episodes and present formations, we ask: What is the history, forms, and trajectory of psychiatry as an institutional formation in the Middle East? How has the institutionalization of psychiatry transformed understandings and practices around insanity and madness? What ideological and societal roles has the framing of psychiatry as a science has played and continues to play in the region? What contestations to such claims of scientificity have surfaced and how they have shaped the practice and position of psychiatry in the Middle East? What are the modes of care that psychiatry offers and what are their effects on the remodeling of normality, (disordered) subjectivity, and governance?

We invite contributions that focus on one or more of the following topics, or on other topics linked with the general theme of the panel:
-19th century asylums and contemporary psychiatric hospitals in the Middle East
-the history of psychiatric concepts and practices in the region
-psychiatry and colonialism
-psychiatric spaces: asylums, contemporary psychiatric hospitals, clinics
-the formation of psy-professionals
-psycho-pharmaceutical markets
-psychiatry and the law
-humanitarian psychiatry: refugees, war, and violence
-psychiatry as science
-the history and ethnography of psychologization
-the formation and transformation of the psychiatric patient
-disordered subjectivities and psychiatric care
-gender and psychiatry


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