Calls for Participation

Click on “Calls for Participation - continued” under related documents on the right for additional listings.

If you are planning to organize a panel or roundtable for MESA's 2019 meeting in New Orleans, please use the form below to post a call for papers for your session. You can post calls as far in advance of the meeting as you care to. Please note that the submission timeframe is January 1 through February 15 when the myMESA system will be ready to accept proposals.


Name of Organizer

Stacy Fahrenthold

Email

sfahrenthold@ucdavis.edu

Proposed Session Title

“Middle Easterners Mixed In:” Animus, Rhetoric, and Practice of Border Control in/beyond the Middle East

Session Description
During the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump attempted to popularize militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border by invoking a threat posed by “unknown Middle Easterners mixed in” to a caravan of Latin American asylum seekers. Though laughed off by the Twitterati, his rhetoric targeting Middle Eastern migrants and refugees as threatening to national sovereignty, security, and borders runs deeper than the fungibilities of anti-brown racism. This session examines the rhetoric, policies, and practices surrounding Middle Eastern cross-border migration in the 20th-21st centuries. It analyzes the production of Middle Eastern or Muslim migrants as criminal, subversive, or politically threatening, and will query the location of their political “threat” to national borders in-the-making around the world.

Though papers from all disciplines and periods are welcome, those that deal forwardly with border-crossing, border-policing, deportation, and the production of scales of migrant “undesirability” (racial, sectarian, etc) in the 20th-21st centuries are especially encouraged. I welcome submissions that work with borderlands within the Middle East and across its diasporas; the goal is to compare border control practices and coercive capacities across multiple sites and contexts. Please feel free to email with any questions/ideas.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 08, 2019


Name of Organizer

Feyza Burak-Adli

Email

feyza@bu.edu

Proposed Session Title

Adaptation, Transformation and Transcendence – Sufi Communities in the Contemporary World

Session Description
The late Shahab Ahmed critiqued anthropological study of Islam for being “hampered by presentism” (Shahab Ahmed, 2016: 114) through the narrow scope of data gathered in fieldwork. This panel proposes to examine contemporary Sufi communities through a variety of lenses including ethnographic, textual and historical in order to explore the diverse ways in which contemporary Sufi publics adapt to the multiplicity of challenges and opportunities under the conditions of globalization, neoliberalism, immigration and nation state. The papers in this panel offer insights into how Sufism as a foundational and commonplace social phenomenon in societies in the Middle East is adapting to the contemporary moment: What kinds of new organizational structures do they build and operate in? Are the new institutions just expressions and extensions to traditional authority or do they alter pre-existing power structures? How is community constituted in times of war and displacement? How does communication between diaspora and community of origin function in an age of migration and multimedia? What kinds of new meanings and functions do the Sufi practices assume in the diaspora? How do Sufi women negotiate their status and roles within the new structures of power? How are challenges to authority negotiated with women as leaders/pirs? Utilizing a broad variety of methods and approaches, the panelists explore hidden negotiations as well as public expressions of the communities they studied in to shed light on the attempts at preservation as well as the transformations and adaptations that these communities undergo and facilitate.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 12, 2019


Name of Organizer

Tugce Kayaal

Email

tkayaal@umich.edu

Proposed Session Title

Composing Sexed Subjects: Love, Affection, Desire in the Middle East

Session Description
At the turn of the twentieth century, regulating the sexual orientation and behaviors of subjects in nation states became a political tool for cultivating modern citizens across time and space in the Middle East. From the first half of the twentieth century to the present day, literary, artistic, and medical discourses have had a pivotal role in defining the desired male and female subjects that correspond with the norms of femininity and masculinity based on heterosexual sex and gender binarism. Accordingly, while femininity signified bodies that required care from being a caregiver for others, especially children, masculinity became the distinctive marker of the active citizen as the protector, hence conferring social, political, and sexual privileges on its bearers. In this regard, while both sexes are imagined to be complementary to one another, conjugal love became the only acceptable and “natural” form of affection between two sexes in social and political imageries. Therefore, nation states and its elite intellectuals labeled any form of same-sex desire, behavior, and non-heterosexual sexual orientations as “deviancy” to justify their politics of regulating as well as restricting citizens’ sexualities in alignment with their social, political, and economic motives.

Based on this framework, this panel aims at initiating a conversation on the representations of sexed subjects in the modern Middle East through the lens of queer and gender perspectives. The panel discusses two main questions. First, why and how sexuality became an integral part of defining subjects’ communal and subjective identities as an intersecting category with ethnicity, class, religion, etc.? Second, how does the literary, medical, historical, and artistic representations of sexual identities and orientations contest and/or support the politics of sexuality pursued by governments throughout time in the Middle East?

I invite papers offering analyses of historical, cultural, and artistic representations of “condemned” and “normalized sexualities in various social, political, and economic contexts across time and space in the region. The papers can focus on any spatial and temporal context in the Middle East.
If interested, please send your abstract (300-400 words) to tkayaal@umich.eduby February, 12.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 12, 2019

 


Name of Organizer

Stefan Maneval

Email

stefan.maneval@orientphil.uni-halle.de

Proposed Session Title

Beyond Islamic Art: New Approaches to the Material Culture of the Middle East

Session Description
In recent years, the disciplines of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies have witnessed a growing interest in material culture. The aim of this panel is to foster exchange between scholars working in this research field and to reflect upon methodological challenges.

Scholarly engagement with Middle Eastern material culture is not entirely new. The disciplines of Islamic Art History and Archaeology have been practiced and taught for over 100 years, following a positivist tradition that gives priority to phenomenology and what is considered to be Islamic Art. The recent trend towards material culture studies, in contrast, is characterised, first, by an interest in socio-cultural and socio-historical questions, and second, by taking into account all sorts of artefacts, not just artistic production. The underlying assumption is that material objects – from the buildings we live in to the waste we produce – constitute integral elements of every society. People use things to produce food, facilitate their work, connect with one another, fight each other, worship their gods, mark their sexual or group identity, distinguish themselves from others, exert power over others, stimulate desires, cure bodily, mental and social ills and do away with their deaths. Material objects are thus indispensable in almost all social practices. As Foucault has famously shown using Jeremy Bentham’s prison architecture, the panopticon, as an example, social structures depend heavily on physical structures, which therefore deserve to be considered appropriately.

The new trend in material culture studies is accompanied by an expansion of the analytical perspectives in several directions. Social practices, structures and discourses connected with certain types of objects as well as the sensory perception of, or affects and atmospheres evoked by, material arrangements have increasingly become the focus of attention.

Scholars of all relevant disciplines – Middle East Studies, Islamic Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Architecture, Archaeology, Art History etc. – are invited to submit abstracts for papers dealing with the material culture of the Middle East (submissions dealing with other parts of the Islamicate World are also welcome) from the seventh century to the present. Contributions addressing at least one of the following topics are particularly welcome:
- socio-cultural and socio-historical perspectives on aesthetics and materialities
- social and bodily practices involving the interaction of human beings and objects
- sensual perception of, and affects produced by, physical structures and material arrangements
- discourse pertaining to artefacts, objects and specific materials

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 08, 2019

 


Name of Organizer

Delbar Khakzad

Email

delbar.khakzad@mail.utoronto.ca

Proposed Session Title

Time and Anthropology of Islam

Session Description
The ongoing debates on the Anthropology of Islam have mainly contributed to the role of the secular state and how this institution has shaped new religious subjectivities and new boundaries between the religious and the secular. This panel aims to use ‘time’ and ‘temporality’ as new categories to explore Muslim communities and enriches the current scholarship on the Anthropology of Islam. In addition, by positioning ‘time’ and ‘temporality’ at the center of this panel, the papers seek to rethink or reinforce the idea of Islam as a ‘tradition.’ As mentioned by Talal Asad, “Islam is a tradition” and what is important about tradition is that “all instituted practices are oriented to a conception of the past.” By using ‘time’ as an analytical framework, the relations between the past, the present, and the future are investigated to examine how the disciplinary discourses and practices relate to each other in the Muslim world. Therefore, if Islam is a tradition, how ‘futurity,’ or in the words of Reinhart Koselleck, “the horizon of expectations” can shape the discourses and practices in various Muslim communities?

The panel welcomes the papers that explore the interplay of secular time, religious time, measurement of time, and experience of time with modernity, secularism, and socio-political transformations within the framework of the Anthropology of Islam. In addition, papers that address topics related to time such as nostalgia, hope, waiting, and messianism in an Islamic context are welcome.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 13, 2019


On the Margins of Shi’r:
Historical and Philosophical Perspectives on the Development of Modern Arabic Poetry

According to historical narrative, after attempts in Baghdad of the 1940s modern Arabic poetry finds its footing with the publication of Shi’r magazine by Yusuf al-Khal in 1957. Certainly, Shi'r had a tremendous influence on the development of modern Arabic poetry; nevertheless, a growing number of scholars are investigating the contributions of other figures and tendencies in breaking with classical prosody. The following proposed MESA two-part panel seeks to develop and nuance this line of research by soliciting papers on marginalized figures in the history of modern Arabic poetry; figures that have not received the same degree of attention as luminaries like Adonis, Darwish, as-Sayyab, and al-Malaikah.

The question of poetic modernity arguably begins with the confluence of the revivalist school of Ahmad Shawqi and Mahmoud al-Barudi, the Mahjar schools of North and South America, and the Apollo school/magazine of Ahmad Abu-Shadi. Fully aware of the contentious nature of such a periodization, our aim is to provoke novel and fruitful exchanges on the historical development of Arabic poetry from the late Nahda years until today.

On the margins of poetics a host of figures come to mind; whether marginalized by gender (Sanniyah Saleh and Fadwa Tuqan), ethnicity (the Kurdish Salim Barakat, the Assyrian Sarkun Bulus, and the Berber Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine), linguistic experimentation (Abdellatif Laabi’s Francophone output and Etel Adnan’s English poems), as well as figures who are overlooked despite their involvement with major publications and poetic tendencies (Fuad Rifqah from Shi’r) or their distinct pioneering efforts in developing free verse poetry (such as the Palestinian Tawfiq Sayigh, the Egyptian Salah ‘Abd as-Sabbur, and the Sudanese Mohammed al-Fituri) – the previous list, it goes without saying is not comprehensive but merely an illustration.

We are particularly interested in papers that not only focus on otherwise marginalized poets, but that also seek to introduce novel intersections between the study of Arabic poetry and other fields of cultural research. We especially welcome papers that elicit intersections between the literary study of poetry and other fields within the humanities, such as history and philosophy.

We are hoping to attract 6-8 presentations for submission to MESA 2019 as a two-part panel. Those interested in presenting are expected to submit a 400-500 abstract with a tentative title and a brief 1-2-line bio through the attached Google form. Those interested in the topic but instead of presenting would rather discuss or chair a panel can indicate so in the Google form.

Please submit abstract and fill the Google form by: Friday, February 8th, 2019, 4 pm Eastern time.

The panels are organized by Adey Almohsen and Hamad Al-Rayes.

Adey Almohsen is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Minnesota. He currently lives in Vienna where he writes his dissertation.

Hamad Al-Rayes holds a PhD in Philosophy from Stony Brook University. He currently teaches philosophy to school children in New Orleans through Loyola University’s Philosopher Kids Program.


Name of Organizer

Canan Bolel

Email

cananbo@uw.edu

Proposed Session Title

Margins, Marginalities, and Marginals

Session Description
I am organizing a panel on marginality during the nineteenth century that focuses on individuals and groups which deemed to be abnormal and deviant and as well as on new methodological and theoretical frameworks for the study of marginality. My paper focuses on corporeal and spatial marginalities of cholera-stricken Jews of Izmir during the cholera epidemics of the late nineteenth-century within an Ottoman urban context.

I am seeking three panelists who are interested in joining this panel and also a discussant. If you are interested in contributing to the panel or are interested in being a discussant, please email me (cananbo@uw.edu) by February 12.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 12, 2019

 


Name of Organizer

Susann Kassem

Email

susann.kassem@area.ox.ac.uk

Proposed Session Title

Frontiers of the Nakba: Citizenship, Exclusion, Migration, and Memory after 1948

Session Description
How did the new political borders of Israel shape and affect people’s livelihoods beyond Palestine? In what ways did they contribute to or generate precarity, exclusion, the removal of populations, or forced migrations? How do they impact experiences of citizenship, sovereignty, and belonging? How does the memory of border creation also alter the meaning of a place and an individual or group’s attachment to it? This panel analyzes changing geopolitical borders and the effects of spatial ordering on people’s everyday lives in the Arab world following the Nakba and Israel’s establishment in 1948. It examines the effects of shifting systems of rule and the constant spatial reorganizations on day-to-day life. Furthermore, it explores how forced migration affects how the political subjectivities of a population are formed.

We welcome papers that explore the effects of Zionist territorial reorganizations following the Nakba on the livelihoods, identities, and patterns of mobility and migration of people from places such as Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Syria, and address the different social, cultural, and physical spaces that were impacted by the events of 1948. We welcome papers from all disciplines.

The panel currently consists of the following two papers, and we are currently looking for two more panelists.The first one addresses the changing nature of border control in south Lebanese frontier villages following 1948 and how this affected everyday life, migration flows and the formation of political subjectivities. It is based on oral history interviews collected in Shi’a border villages, which have undergone major political transformations and were subject to a variety of forms of rule, including Ottoman, British, French, Lebanese, and Israeli rule.The second paper carefully historicizes recollections of the Nakba and the departure of large portions of Egypt’s Jewish population by connecting those events with dramatic changes to Egypt’s economic policy in 1949 when the Capitulations were abolished—an event that has largely escaped the social memory of the period.

Please email us with questions/ideas.

Susann Kassem: susann.kassem@area.ox.ac.uk;

Annie DeVries: adevries@samford.edu

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 11, 2019

 


Name of Organizer

Gwyneth Talley

Email

guj.talley@gmail.com

Proposed Session Title

Muslim Youth and Sports

Session Description
The study of sports and leisure are ever-increasing in interdisciplinary scholarship in the Middle East and North Africa. Hadiths, list the recreation and leisure activities that the Prophet Mohammed deemed as suitable. “Any action which is void of the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala is futile (lahw) except for four actions:” archery or walking between two targets, horse training, “playing with one’s wife” and learning how to swim .” Following this list, there are many other sayings that extol the virtues of the sports activities. Imam Abu Ya’qub Ishaq ibn Abi Ishaq Al Qarrab reported Mohammed saying “Teach your children swimming, archery, and horseback riding. ” In addition to these three foundational sports, football now dominates the interest of Muslim youths around the globe. And yet Islam is a point of contention for European national teams whose players have ancestral roots in the Middle East and North Africa (Silverstein 2010).
An increasing number of studies explore the physical activity, sports and leisure of Muslim youth (Stebbins 2013; Amara 2008, 2012; Benn, Pfister & Jawad 2011; Pfister 2008, 2010). The research on physical activity has expanded in new domains such as sports activities during the month of Ramadan, wearing headscarf in Olympic games, and football matches, halal meals in football training camps, mixed-sex swimming lessons and dancing clubs. Sports are also at the center of the debates on Islamic expressions of identity and diversity. This research on Muslim lived experiences across different contexts reveal how sports constitute a terrain for a understanding sports during colonialism, identity making, empowerment, and religious plurality.
We are assembling an interdisciplinary panel to examine sports as a realm of social mobility, socialization and participation in the society for Muslim youths. We will interrogate how sports reveal some particularities in Islamic codes of living and/or how these particularities and religious expressions in sports become a means to defy secular values and life.

We request submissions from all disciplines with 200-400 word abstracts focusing on Muslim Youth and sports either in the Middle East and North Africa and a short biography. Please send submissions and queries to: guj.talley@gmail.com and tpeterso@fiu.edu by February 11, 2019.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 11, 2019


Name of Organizer

Shaherzad Ahmadi

Email

srahmadi@stthomas.edu

Proposed Session Title

Health and Medicine in the Middle East

Session Description
This panel will discuss medicine in the Middle East between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I am specifically interested in the exchange between traditional medical knowledge (considered "superstitious" or ineffective by nationalist reformers) and European/ modern medicine. In other words, the panel will ask what forms of knowledge survived the reformation of health science in the nineteenth century Middle East and how native patients influenced their physicians, pharmacists, and nurses. The aim is to reveal previously under-represented dynamics in patient-medical practitioner relationships and demonstrate the agency of patients in setting the standards for their health care.

Panelists can examine a variety of subjects, however, including medical malpractice, herbal cures, the political consequences of epidemics, nationalist propaganda surrounding "civilized" physicians administering care to "uncivilized" peasants, the interpretation of European scientific thought in the Middle East, or the application of modern medicine in the Middle East.

Subjects that I would consider relevant to this panel include (but are not limited to):

- Disease or epidemics
- Intellectual history of medicine (focusing on European or Middle Eastern practitioners)
- Homeopathy
- Herbal cures or traditional medicine
- Experiences of Middle Eastern medical students
- Experiences of Middle Eastern patients with modern medicine
- The melding of traditional and modern medicine
- Medical malpractice
- Public health
- Drug addiction, licit and illicit
- Mental health (psychology and psychiatry)
- Midwifery, nursing

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 11, 2019


Name of Organizer

Kameliya Atanasova

Email

atanasovak@wlu.edu

Proposed Session Title

“Intersections of Sufism and Islamic Law in the Maghreb and Mashreq”

Session Description
The relationship between Sufis and jurists has been the subject of considerable scholarship in Islamic studies and Middle East history. Existing scholarship on the relationship between Sufism and Islamic law in the broader Islamicate world has tended to focus on the methodological and ideological differences between these two approaches to Islamic learning and knowledge transmission, citing discursive and historical disagreements between Sufis and jurists.

This panel seeks to approach the complex dynamics between Sufism and Islamic law by focusing on the fruitful interaction between Sufis and jurists in the pre-modern Maghreb and the Mashreq. The questions we would like to address include (but are not limited to): In what ways did legal documents (fatwas, books on jurisprudence, etc.) incorporate Sufi methods and concepts? What legal roles did individual Sufis envision for themselves and their orders in their respective communities, and how did they fulfill them? How can different genres of medieval Arabic writing (biographical dictionaries, personal correspondence, treatises) shed more light on the intellectual collaborations between jurists and Sufis?

We welcome short abstracts (of 250-300 words) that address these and other questions which highlight an intellectually fruitful Sufi-jurist relationship.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 11, 2019

 


Name of Organizer

July Blalack

Email

j_blalack@soas.ac.uk

Proposed Session Title

Conceptualizing the Sahara: Images and Imaginings Across Languages and Regions

Session Description
The Sahara has been imagined and described in many fashions over the centuries: as a vast wasteland separating “Arab” North Africa from “Black” sub-Saharan Africa, as a space of hybridity and encounters (Braham 2018), as the site of imagined and unrealized nations (Lecocq 2010; Zones 2010; Wilson 2016), as a Wild West of caravan trade and smuggling routes (MacDougall 1995; Webb 1990); as a space of resistance and emancipation (Wiley 2018) or as a harsh and exotic host to European exploration and self-discovery (Vieuchange 1930; Douls 1888). It has also been acknowledged as a loci of folk culture, oral tradition, the unseen, and dynamic identities (Ould Abdelwahhab 1850; Norris 1968; Ould Cheikh 1985; Bonte 2016; Cleaveland 2002).

Even prior to Spanish and French colonization or the rise of nation-states and their attendant separatist movements, Arabic sources show a loosely-defined conception of the peoples and boundaries of the Sahara (Ould Hamdoun 1952; Ould Salem 2003; Ould Nahwi 1987). Middle Eastern descriptions include fanciful accounts of a legendary City of Brass and a village of Amazon women (Norris 1972) and 18th- and 19th-century rulings from Mecca reveal controversy regarding whether the Northwestern Sahara was part of Morocco or belonged to Bilād al-Sūdān (Lydon 2015). Europhone texts and films reproduced each other’s images of romance and adventure while subtly providing justification for intervention and conquest (Park 1815; Caillié 1827; Carde 1936; Frèrejean 1955; Puigadeau 1992, 1993).

With few exceptions, accounts of the Sahara from different languages and regions are rarely read together to allow for a layered and plurivocal conception of this stretch of land. Furthermore, despite their impact on Saharan exchange, Sahelian imaginings of the Sahara in Wolof, Pulaar, and ‘Ajami remain unexplored in contemporary scholarship. Thus the aim of this panel is to bring images and accounts of the Sahara from different languages and locations into dialogue with each other. This vast expanse of land- sometimes compared to a sandy sea with camels as its ships- has evoked endless geographic imaginings. Rather than evaluate the authenticity of any particular version, we seek to create a plurilingual account of the world’s largest desert- with the hope that many more comparative accounts will follow.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 13, 2019

 


Name of Organizer

Ahmed Idrissi Alami

Email

aidrissi@purdue.edu

Proposed Session Title

Worlding Arabic Literature through Transnational Contexts

Session Description
Cultural production that emphasizes Arab culture within transnational contexts of interaction, exchange and interconnectedness has flourished in recent decades. Whether through adaptation, rewriting or re-imagining, these writers foreground the cosmopolitan character of Arab history and highlight the dynamic textures of Arabic literature through their exploration of transnational dimensions of Arab culture. Writers of these works deploy multifaceted strategies in treating and approaching questions of heritage, identity and belonging. We welcome papers that address transnational Arab cultural history through not only thematic but also theoretical, generic and performative considerations on topics such as:
- Interconnections between Arab culture and global cultural histories
- Reimagining transatlantic Arab history
- Transnational Arab Literary Historiography
- Global appropriations of Arab culture
- Cosmopolitan Arab identities
- Arabness beyond nationalist framing
- Rhetoric and poetics of transnational Arab culture
- Shifting conceptions of the nation state
- Representations of multiple belongings

Please send 300-word abstract and short bio by February 10, 2019.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 10, 2019


Name of Organizer

Kara A. Peruccio

Email

kaperuccio@uchicago.edu

Proposed Session Title

"Good and Mad: A History of Women's Anger in the Modern Middle East"

Session Description
Drawing inspiration from Rebecca Traister's 2018 book "Good and Mad," this roundtable seeks to explore the history of women's anger in the Modern Middle East. This panel is broadly conceived, both in chronology and geography. Scholars working from the the late Ottoman Empire to the Arab Spring, in histories spanning North Africa to Iran (or even further afield) are welcome and encourage. As a field, the history of emotions often focuses on earlier chronologies and on North American and Western European contexts. By studying the Middle East and its range of state organization (whether colonial mandate, authoritarian regime, or kingdom), we will discuss how emotions influence and shape political and social history. This roundtable wants to explore women’s ability to express their anger in both public and private, whether through protest or publication.

Questions to consider in this roundtable:
-How does anger drive political change, whether through participating in protests or writing treatises?
-What about women’s anger is different in driving political change than men’s anger?
-Can we locate anger in non-traditional, non-archival sources, like novels, poetry, art or music?
-Is there a specific manner in which anger is deployed and articulated in the Modern Middle East? Or is anger expressed differently across historical/national contexts?
-What other emotions/affects does anger generate and how do they influence political self-expression?

My own research focuses on Kemalist Turkey and it would be great to assemble historians working broadly across the region and chronology (19th-21st centuries). Please feel free to email with any questions/ideas.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 12, 2019


Name of Organizer

Hilary Falb Kalisman

Email

Hilary.Kalisman@colorado.edu

Proposed Session Title

Gender and Labor in Israel/Palestine

Session Description
This panel seeks to bring together scholars who work on any aspect of the gendered dimensions of labor in Palestine and/or Israel from the late Ottoman period through the present. It will examine how processes of professionalization dovetailed or opposed changing gender roles for men and women. One paper will discuss the gender of teaching in Mandate Palestine, focusing on conflicting ideals of womanhood, education and teaching as a profession. Another paper will discuss women employed during the Mandate period in health and welfare industries, analyzing women's roles in affective labor, local and colonial expertise.

We are looking for both panelists and also a chair/discussant. Please email with any questions or ideas.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 10, 2019

 


Name of Organizer

Enaya Othman

Email

enaya.othman@marquette.edu

Proposed Session Title

Gendered Relationships within and beyond Familial, National, and Ethnic Boundaries in Middle Eastern Communities

Session Description
Gender is a dynamic issue that is informed by strict segregation and institutionalization of male and female roles in Middle Eastern communities. The culture of the region, though diverse, is shaped by patriarchal social relations that allocate women limited social space. In immigrant communities, women confront further subjugation in an age of incessant amplification of stereotypes that are rooted in historical orientalism. One the one hand, cultural ideals, patriarchal society, and orthodox religious approaches continue to impose certain roles and responsibilities on women. On the other hand, women negotiate gender role in connection to historical contexts that inform and transform perceptions of tradition, customs, family law, and daily needs of women in the context of global communities. Women utilize strategies to undermine the authoritative role of social and cultural figures and accommodate their religious, cultural and feminist sentiments.

This panel seeks to explore social, political, and cultural phenomena that pertain to gender issues in Middle Eastern countries and Middle Eastern immigrant and diaspora communities. We are especially interested in papers that examine issues of agency, embodiment, and the destabilization of national, spatial, and temporal boundaries. In this sense, we seek submissions that examine the ways in which gendered institutions are negotiated and reconstructed by women since the 19th century. However, papers exploring any historical period in terms of dynamic gendered relationships and their transformation are also welcome. Scholars and graduate students utilizing interdisciplinary methods of inquiry and analysis are especially urged to submit a paper. This session welcomes submissions dealing with any aspect of gender, including but not limited to

• Global and local influences on gender roles and women agency
• Reconstruction of gender social relations in Middle Eastern diaspora communities
• Immigration and women’s negotiation of their roles and rights
• Women empowerment within and outside Islamic feminism
• Islamic movements and women’s reinterpretation of gender roles with reference to Islamic texts and history
• Power dynamics in family relations
• Women clothing, identity, and power relations
• Socio-economic and political factors that affect gender role
• Sex, sexual liberty, and sexual orientation
• Courtship and self-initiated relationships/marriages as reflection of women agency
• Marriage, spouse selection, transformation of arranged marriages
• Identities within family (motherhood, fatherhood, sibling, only-children, extended families, etc.).

Please send your abstract to enaya.othman@marquette.edu by February 12th.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 12, 2019


Name of Organizer

Ido Ben-Ami

Email

idobenami83@gmail.com

Proposed Session Title

Adaptive Emotions: Feelings, history, and Middle Eastern societies‏

Session Description
The study of emotions raises an important observation concerning the nature of feelings: are they constructed by people or by nature? In the Humanities, the assumption that emotion generation depends on external social, cultural, and lingual practices might seem straightforward. However, such an approach may seem limited in that it overlooks the individual expression that derives inherently from one's interior. The academic debate on emotion generation has been taking place since the mid-nineteenth-century, when theories of emotions as non-cognitive phenomena (such as Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, for example) became widely accepted. The consideration of emotions as a universal phenomenon, however, cannot be the entire story in emotion generation. Today even neuroscientists will admit that the emotional experience of a person cannot be interpreted into meaning without the use of social and cultural influences.
The growing field on the history of emotions is based on the assumption that feelings are learned and thus can change over time. Already in 1941, Lucien Febvre summoned historians to place emotions at the center of their works and overcome any hesitation regarding the discipline of psychology when studying feeling of the past. Albeit Febvre's call, the inclusion of non-cognitive theories of emotion generation within historical research indeed causes concern among several contemporary scholars. Historians who aim to uncover emotional traces of ancient societies will admit that feelings are quite evasive; how can someone trace emotional response of a person who is no longer with us for many years now? Do emotions have a history? In the last decade new ideas were developed in order to approach these questions (E.g., William M. Reddy's differentiation between emotion and emotive, & Barbara H. Rosenwein's idea of emotional communities).
This panel seeks to examine how the history of emotions can be implemented within mediaeval and early modern Middle Eastern studies. By presenting different case studies, we aim to bring different emotions like love, wonder and jealousy to the fore of the historical research.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 10, 2019


Name of Organizer

Anne Marie Butler

Email

abutler4@buffalo.edu

Proposed Session Title

Spaces, Places, Practices: Queer Cultural Flows of the Middle East and its Diaspora

Session Description
Can Michel De Certeau’s notions of space and place provide queer workarounds to the problematics of borders, statelessness, nationalisms, localisms, and globalisms? This panel seeks papers that evaluate cultures, artefacts, lives, narratives, and/or spaces and places through transnational and diasporic lenses to highlight how such practices can transcend the limitations of social and geographical boundaries. In thinking through and with queer(ness), this panel particularly seeks those papers engaging with queerness as a methodology, whether in direct dialogue with embodied queer lives or through a ‘queering’ of seemingly normative materials or concepts. In doing so, this panel aims to produce discussions of how queerness can dislocate binaries and borders.
Papers need not directly engage with De Certeau, although they may, but they should consider the implications of multidirectional (queer) cultural flows.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 10, 2019


Name of Organizer

Noa Schonmann

Email

statusirme@gmail.com

Proposed Session Title

Quest for Status in the International Relations of the Middle East

Session Description
Seeking a fourth panelist to join a panel proposal, focusing on the quest for status in the international relations of the Middle East.
The panel will link the regional scene to the booming literature on "status" in international relations. We’ll be discussing the role and dynamics of status-seeking behaviour in the Middle East, and critically assessing the utility of this concept/theory in deepening our understanding of regional power and identity politics.
Papers offering regional surveys, theoretical insights, or single country case studies are welcome.
Please forward paper abstracts (300-400 words) ASAP, and no later than Wednesday 6 February, to statusirme@gmail.com
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.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 07, 2019

 


Name of Organizer

Ali Asgar Alibhai and Laura Thompson

Email

aliagar52@me.com

Proposed Session Title

The Dimensions of Sacred Sound: Analyzing the Various Lives of the Islamic Call to Prayer

Session Description
The sacred intonation ritual of the adhān, a vocal formula that developed in the seventh century as a mechanism calling Muslims to gather for prayers, is also one of the most distinct communal identity symbols for Muslim societies today. As Islam spread from the Arabian peninsula to the rest of the world, the religio-cultural meanings attached to the Muslim call to prayer developed and expanded, making the call to prayer a multi-purposed ritual.

Our call for papers invites scholars of various disciplines to explore the overlapping historical, socio-cultural, art historical, visual, material cultural, legal, and religious dimensions of the Islamic call to prayer from its inception to its use today. Papers might explore the proliferation of theological and jurisprudential texts concerning the adhān’s ritualistic and/or performative deliverance. What were and what are the prescriptions, diverging opinions, and religious beliefs tied to the ritual of the adhān and its deployment in Muslim societies in the Middle East and around the world? How did these elements vary due to geo-political circumstances and realities? What are the notable variations which still exist today in the Islamic call to prayer among different schools of thought?

Second, and in a related and overlapping vein, how do the adhān and its sacred sound fit into lived contexts, historically or in the contemporary period? These papers could touch on the call to prayer’s sonic qualities: what technology has been used, if any, and who has recited the adhān? How has this sacred sound shaped the built environment around it, and how has the sound also been shaped by this built environment? Has the adhān always been as central to the “Islamic” character of urban spaces as it is in Muslim-majority contexts today? In a similar vein, how has this public sound been filtered through the bureaucracies (imperial, colonial, of the nation-state) that may have authorized (or regulated) it? What have been the proper contexts for a call to prayer, and when has a broadcast of a call to prayer proved contentious?

We invite scholars to explore these questions through various methodologies of inquiry. We look forward to reading your submissions and organizing an invigorating panel and discussion regarding sacred sound, the adhān, and its prominent role in historical and modern Muslim culture and society.

Please email theadhanpanel@gmail.com by February 11th.

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 11, 2019


Name of Organizer

Peter Kitlas

Email

pkitlas@princeton.edu

Proposed Session Title

Meeting in the Middle: Integrated Histories of the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe in the Eighteenth Century

Session Description
While scholarship on the eighteenth-century Middle East and North Africa has at last shorn itself of an Orientalist historiography laden with visions of political and economic decline and intellectual and cultural stagnation, it has nevertheless acquired a no less restrictive and ideologically-induced set of narrative constraints. Generally understood today as the foundational point of European-inspired modernization throughout the Ottoman Empire, Qajar Persia, and Alawi Morocco, the eighteenth century has found itself lassoed to overriding teleologies that presume from the outset normative notions of modernity based on European historical standards. Yet in our efforts to qualify or dislodge such teleologies, how are we to account for the relationship between Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa in the eighteenth century without apprehending it simply as the precursor for later European-inspired modernization or Islamic responses to European colonial enterprises? What is Europe’s place in our understanding of the political, social, and cultural evolutions occurring throughout the Middle East and North Africa during this century? What might be other paradigms for narrating the connections between these two vast and internally variegated regions that better attend to the period’s particularities and dynamism apart from the events that would unfold in the decades and centuries that followed?

This panel seeks to engage new methods and frameworks that address the connections between the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe during the eighteenth century, as well as the historiographical barriers and conceptual challenges that come with writing an integrated history of these regions. While its chronological scope remains deliberately confined, this panel seeks papers that engage with these issues at a broad theoretical scale and from a wide geographic and disciplinary background. In addition to the questions listed above, our panel's other guiding considerations include:

- If Orientalist bilateralism and “clash of civilizations” thinking are no longer the major ideological barriers against the writing of an integrated history of the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe then what remain our greatest sticking points today? What solutions can we offer to overcome them?

- How do we grapple with our contemporary imagined geographies (that is, normative notions of ‘Europe’ or ‘the Middle East’) in writing a history of the eighteenth century? How does an interrogation of these geographic markers help us better understand the ways in which eighteenth-century actors understood their own positions within the trans-continental and trans-Mediterranean connections that interest us?

- Is the “eighteenth century” a useful periodization unit for an integrated Middle Eastern-North African-European history? What sorts of problems do we encounter when we try to contain the events of the early and ultimate decades of the century within a normative chronological pattern?

- How do we account for non-Muslim agents in our integrated histories of the eighteenth century? How do we remain attentive to the richly textured confessional makeups of the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, while still committed to broad-scale and synthetic regional histories?

- Were there certain arenas of eighteenth-century Middle Eastern and North African societies that were more intimately connected to their European counterparts than others? How might we account for these internal asymmetries, and how do we narrate their relationship to the other, less immediately-impacted sectors of their respective societies?

Please send your abstract to both Peter Kitlas (pkitlas@princeton.edu) and Thadeus Dowad (thadeus.dowad@berkeley.edu)

Deadline Date for Abstracts

Feb 12, 2019


Name of Organizer

Linda Istanbulli

Email

istanbulli@berkeley.edu

Proposed Session Title

Multilingualism, Cultural Diversity, and the Evolution of Arabic Literature

Session Description
Unbounded by national borders, Arabic literature from the rise of Islam up until the 19th century is characterized chiefly by its cosmopolitanism; much like the position English occupies today, Arabic was not only the language of cultural production in the regions occupied by native-Arabic speakers, but also throughout a sweeping range of cultures and geographies. The multilingualism of our panel’s title refers not to the literal presence of languages other than Arabic within the Arabic literary text, but to Arabic literature’s historical plurality of subject positions, its implicit heteroglossia. Yet, by the 20th century, it was the nation-state that became the guiding framework for political and cultural projects, and Arabic literature morphed into a grouping of national literatures, less ‘Arabic’ than Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Moroccan etc. The Post-WWII organization of academic departments in Western universities further solidified our own tendency to privilege the national as an organizing paradigm. While Arabic literature has historically enjoyed an implicit heteroglossia-- a heritage that continues into the present-- this is frequently effaced by models of reading that center monolithic narratives of nationhood. The crises of the project of Arab modernity, the crumbling of nationalist ideologies, and the subsequent emergence of visions of difference and multiplicity in the Arab world make necessary the search for new paradigms to conceptualize the mutability of concepts such as subjectivity, agency, and belonging, and a reconsideration of how we understand the discur

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