Calls for Participation

If you are planning to organize a panel or roundtable for MESA’s 55th annual meeting to be held in the fall of 2021, please fill out 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. The system opens on January 8, 2021 and closes at midnight (Eastern Standard Time) on February 18, 2021.

Questions about the submission process are always welcome. Please email Kat Teghizadeh at

Please note that The form at the bottom of the page is NOT where you submit individual paper proposals, instead, please find the directions for doing that here. 

Calls for Participation 2021

1. Organizer: Josepha Wessels (
Proposed Roundtable Title: After the Revolution; visions for a sustainable future for Sudan ?
Brief Roundtable Description: During the second wave of uprisings in the MENA regions, the Sudanese Revolution of 2019 was largely led and organised by young professionals who went out on the street to demand change from a decades long dictatorship. It created a unprecedented change in the country whereby the revolutionary process managed to move the previous president Omar al-Bashir out of his power position. This was followed by a chaotic process of bringing together a civilian and military representation to lead and govern the country towards free and fair election in two years time. Significant political changes have taken place since, despite that fact that some old authoritarian forces are not fully gone and many political hurdles are still present. However, this transitional period provides an enabling environment for the implementation of nationwide change and redirects governmental foci of national concern in many different societal sectors. One of those is resilience, mitigation and adaptation towards climate change. Sudan is at the forefront of global climate change impacted by drought, floods and sandstorms. The Nile floods of 2020 indicate that the future will face many challenges and this requires a strong governance at both national and grassroots level. In particular the importance of local knowledge on climate change and the environment is emphasized by young Sudanese professionals and is of special interest to this roundtable. The roundtable invites papers about Sudan's 2019 revolution and its relationship with social change, governance, environmentalism, sustainable development and change for the future. In particular we invite papers by Sudanese scholars on this topic. This roundtable is organised by the international research project "Resilience in Urban Sudan" led by Malmö University, Sweden in close collaboration with the University of Khartoum, Sudan.
Deadline for Abstracts: January 24, 2021

2. Organizer: Gwyneth Talley (
Proposed Panel Title: Mega-Sporting Events and the Middle East and North Africa: Past, Present, and Future
Brief Panel Description: The 2021 Tokyo Olympics are set to have the most representation of Middle Eastern and North African athletes since the inception of the modern Olympic Games. The 2022 World Cup will be hosted by Qatar for the first time, while other countries have put in bids to accommodate mega-events including the EuroCup, Olympics, World Cup, and others. But what does participation in these mega events do for the individual athletes, national sports governing bodies, and transregional relationships? Building on Tamir Sorek’s question “Is there a Middle Eastern sport?” this panel seeks to understand the power shift in international sports toward Middle Eastern countries, contextualize case studies, and understand the repercussions of bidding and hosting, or applying again later. How do these big events impact the everyday life of a country’s athlete or average citizen? How does a country build its athletic programs to be internationally competitive? This panel welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to discussing these mega events and their impact on the Middle East and North Africa region.  Please include your name, institution, email address, title, and abstract (400-word limit). Please submit your abstracts to Gwyneth Talley at
Deadline for Abstracts: January 31, 2021

3. Organizer: Brady Ryan (
Proposed Panel Title: Women Writers: Literary Interventions in Arab History and Politics
Brief Panel Description: We are concerned with Arabic literary engagements with twentieth-century history and politics authored by women. In light of how socialism and anti-colonial nationalisms have given way to right-wing nationalisms, ethno-religious fundamentalisms, state violence, and civil wars over the second half of the twentieth century and the first decades of the twenty-first, we turn to women’s writing to interrogate, reimagine, mourn, and reframe past notions of political commitment and national or communal belonging. Women, whose symbolic and moral value lay at the heart of the ‘national allegory’ underlying a generation of Arabic literature and film, are paradoxically considered marginal figures when it comes to authoring political, historical, and literary narratives; women are often asterisks to men’s history, literature, and politics. Therefore, we seek to center women’s interventions in these fields. We seek papers on works of literature (novels, poetry, memoirs) or literary criticism that either interrupt twentieth-century politics and history or make them significant to the present in novel ways. We are particularly interested in papers that address literary engagements with history and politics through any of the following ways: love and loss; memory, mourning, and melancholia; narrative voice or language use. Our approach is comparative. Comparisons are not merely methodological, but also epistemological, i.e., a way of seeing the world (Hallaq 2000). It is led by the theoretical understanding that language is dialogic and heteroglossic (Bakhtin 1981).
Deadline for Abstracts: February 4, 2021

4. Organizer: Xiaoyue Li (
Proposed Panel Title: Infrastructure and Society in the Middle East and North Africa
Brief Panel Description: Infrastructure connects, supports, delineate, segregate, prosper, indebt, communicate, separate societies. Its existence in the society is often taken for granted, as it constitutes elementary presumptions of human life—dwelling, water, lighting, transport, communication, and so forth. It contours societal landscapes, draws people in, and promises their capacities. Thus, infrastructure is as much material as it is social. It proposes and actualizes an engineering arrangement of things, the arrangement that determines its durability, viscosity, visibility, and other qualities. Meanwhile, it also configures specific social engagements, from financing operation, material production, institutional management to various forms of everyday entanglement that affects personal desires, identities, and belongings. The distinction between infrastructure’s materiality and sociality is fluid and relational rather than definitive. This panel is about how human beings make infrastructures and how they make us. It explores the Middle East societies through the concept of infrastructure—of things and systems made, built, renovated, sustained, teared, wore, subverted, resisted by people involved. This panel welcomes papers from all academic disciplines and geographical areas within the MESA’s scope. Please include your name, institution, position, email address, abstract (300- 400words), and send to Xiaoyue Li at
Deadline for Abstracts: February 10, 2021

5.  Organizer: Hilly Moodrick-Even Khen (
Proposed Panel Title: Covid-19 Implications for the Relationships Between the Kurdish National Movements /Autonomous Administrations and Their Respective States
Brief Panel Description: The Kurdish national movements and the autonomous administrations in the various parts of Kurdistan- especially in Syria, Iraq and Turkey- have experienced significant challenges and developments since the Arab Spring. While the most dramatic development was the 2013 establishment of the Autonomous Administration in North East Syria (AANES), in Iraq, a national awakening also took place in 2017 when a determinative majority approved the independence referendum (later rejected by the Iraqi federal government). In Turkey, President Erdogan continued to supress Kurdish political activity and infringe upon the Kurdish population’s human rights, and yet, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has played a deciding role in a number of recent elections. The Covid-19 pandemic, which underscored the concept of the nation-state and encouraged the flourishing of national sentiments throughout the world, exposed the national frictions between the Kurds and their respective states. The panel intends to discuss the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Kurds national movements and autonomous administrations within the states of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. It will deal with the following questions and more: how did the respective states handle the pandemic in general and how did they deal with the pandemic in the autonomous administrations or with regards to the Kurdish population? Was their treatment discriminatory? Were the Kurdish administrations in Iraq and Syria given autonomy in dealing with the pandemic? If so, what were the differences between the authorities of the administrations in Iraq and in Syria, vis-à-vis the ongoing armed conflict in Syria and the Syrian regime’s ban on direct cooperation between the AANES and UN agencies and international NGO’s? What are the expected repercussions of the pandemic on the national sentiments of the Kurds in Iraq, Syria and Turkey and will it be able to promote aspirations for self-determination? This panel welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to discussing these and other related questions. Please send your abstracts of approximately 400 word limit, including your name, institution, email address to
Deadline for Abstracts: February 1, 2021

6. Organizer: Enaya Othman (
Proposed Roundtable Title: Pandemic at the intersection of History, Gender, Religion, and Health in the Muslim Communities
Brief Roundtabl Description: This roundtable aims to bring together interdisciplinary perspectives on health, culture, religion, history and gender to investigate Muslims’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic from diverse perspectives. It seeks to address issues including physical and mental well-being, religiosity and spirituality, collective culture, coping strategies, family and social relations, gender, social identity and justice, and how these interplay with one another across the global Muslim community. It also welcomes papers incorporating historical and cultural perspectives into health by drawing analogy and comparison with how Muslims have dealt with pandemics and similar global health crises in the past, especially their responses based on religion. 
The topics may include -but not limited to- the following issues:
- The ways personal wellbeing, social equity, and gender roles have been influenced by the current pandemic process
- The impact of COVID-19 on Muslims’ daily life especially with respect to the fulfillment of religious obligations and communal events
- Muslims’ perspectives on the causes of this global crises, its rationalization, treatment, vaccination, and the need for quarantine
- The role of Muslim scholars and imams in educating and mobilizing the community in response to the pandemic within a religio-cultural framework  
- Social and economic implications
- Muslim historical sources on the pandemic and similar type of crises
- The ways transnational relations are influenced, utilized, or maintained during the pandemic
Particularly, studies with integrated methods and interdisciplinary approach are welcome. Please send your proposals to
Deadline for Abstracts: February 8, 2021

7. Organizer: Karim Malak (
Proposed Panel Title: Prisons, dungeons and arsenals: Confinement in the Middle East
Brief Panel Description: Our panel, tentatively titled “Prisons, dungeons and arsenals: Confinement in the Middle East,” interrogates the development and history of confinement across the Middle East from the early modern period up to the present. Dungeons and other places of confinement and incarceration have long existed, and were deployed by rulers for various purposes during the 16th-18th century. But around the 19th century a new place of confinement was created by the modern state: The prison. Foucault links the rise of this institution, as well as the police, to the biopolitical technologies of government through reform of the individual. However this transition from sovereign power to governmental power has been challenged, with new research challenging the primacy of the prison as a site of reform that was beyond the reaches of the sovereign. Is the picture of sovereign power adequate to the early modern period? What was the logic behind the centralization of apparatuses of punishment in the colonial and national periods? This panel also explores more explicitly questions of political economy. Is there an unexplored history of the conjuncture of centralized confinement and new forms of property and personhood? What role do prisons and police forces play besides their strictly legal mandate? Are prisons places of internal exile, or internal political organization? How did prisons enable or hinder criminological discourses? How did nationalists approach questions of prison reform? How did the literati depict the prison in their writings? Did women in the Middle East and Ottoman Empire experience confinement in the same way that men did, or were their spaces of confinement different? Those interested in presenting a paper on this panel should write a 150 word abstract and a brief bio with name and affiliation to Karim Malak at and Alaa El-Shafei at
Deadline for Abstracts: February 5, 2021

8. Organizer: Linda Istanbulli (
Proposed Panel Title: Laughter in Times of Distress: Humor and its Politics in Middle Eastern Literature and Popular Culture
Brief Panel Description: Like millions around the world, people in the Middle East have found in laughter a relief valve for the fears, speculations, and tensions that the COVID-19 pandemic generates. From literature and diaries to talk shows and blogs, writers and cultural producers have also turned to humor, mobilizing its multifaceted effects and its unique abilities to probe the intricate relationship between the aesthetic, the social, and the political. As they engage humor during a global pandemic, cultural producers in the Middle East build on a long history, both in literature and popular culture, in which humor has been employed not only for its liberating and emancipatory capacities, but also for its disciplinary, didactic, and ideological possibilities. Thinking through humor, not as a uniform but as a diverse phenomenon that is deeply engrossed in texts and contexts, and its dynamic relationship to group values, social identity, and literary and cultural traditions, this panel will consider the complex ways in which, and the ends to which, humor has been employed in times of distress in Middle Eastern literature and popular culture. Taking literary and artistic responses to the current pandemic as a point of departure without limiting ourselves to the present moment, we seek papers that consider not only humorous genres but also instances and representations of humor in works engaging conflicts, illness, war, displacement, and ongoing oppressive practices in order to foreground a pluralistic approach to questions about the forms, meanings, and receptions of humor in dark times, as well as its function as a vehicle through which various genres, mediums, cultural traditions, and historical moments intersect. We are particularly interested in papers that think through continuities as well as ruptures between premodern and modern modes and functions of humor. Possible topics and areas of consideration might include, but are not at all limited to:
- How have forms of humor been mobilized to negotiate, subvert, or sustain various paradigms of structural oppression?
- What role has humor and its representations played in moments of individual and collective displacement and identity erasure?
- What effects do literary instances of humor in trauma narratives and retellings have in the process of reclaiming and reconfiguring traumatic pasts? And do such instances facilitate a shift beyond common aesthetic forms in working through painful histories?
- Intertextual practices are at the heart of humor’s language, forms, and reception. What role does intertextual humor play in meaning making and remaking? And how does it facilitate new understandings of both the past and the present?
Please send your abstract (300-400 words) with you name, institution, and email address to Linda Istanbulli at
Deadline for Abstracts: February 10, 2021

9. Organizer: Riad Al Chami (
Proposed Panel Title: Lebanese Electoral Decisions: The Impact of Social Media on the Digitalized Youth
Brief Panel Description: The purpose of my paper is to understand the impact of social media on the Lebanese youth’s political behavior in order for politicians and concerned parties to be able to maximize the usefulness of their platforms to reach their target audience. The role played by the social media during the recent Lebanese elections taking place on May 7, 2018 astonished analysts and media experts; the rapid propagation of news, pictures, and videos dominated over any other satellite-related channel. As a result of that observation, the topic of social media and its impact on electoral decisions; specifically, the youth, has become a center of discussion among the concerned political parties.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 5, 2021

10. Organizer: Jocelyn Sage Mitchell (
Proposed Roundtable Title: Pandemic Pedagogy: Reimagining Teaching and Learning in MENA Studies
Brief Roundtable Description: The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced sudden and substantial changes to academic teaching and learning practices across the board, including the interdisciplinary field of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) studies. These challenges are compounded by MENA-specific concerns of access, inclusion, privacy, and academic freedom. In this roundtable, we explore how the shift to remote teaching and learning has affected the pedagogy of MENA studies. How have in-person practices adapted to remote settings? How have the tools of remote learning created new opportunities for education and dialogue in the classroom? How has the move to remote teaching brought to the forefront issues of equity, inclusion, privacy, and academic freedom? What “small teaching” strategies have worked best in our classrooms? How have we been able to navigate the pedagogy of care? What insights can the pedagogy of MENA studies provide to the academic world about the ways we can reimagine teaching and learning in a post-pandemic future? Our call for papers seeks contributions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, classroom structures, and institutions of learning. This roundtable will prioritize a conversational format and interaction with the audience, so participants should be willing to limit their initial contributions to 5 minutes. Please email us your name, email address, academic affiliation, and an abstract (maximum of 400 words) by Monday, February 8, 2021. Contact the organizers with any questions: Jocelyn Sage Mitchell ( and Victoria Hightower (
Deadline for Abstracts: February 8, 2021

11. Organizer: Burt Clarissa (
Proposed Panel Title: Examining Race in Arabic Literary Heritage and its Cultural Outgrowths, from pre-Islam to the Present
Brief Panel Description: The pre-organized panel gathers a set of papers examining the discourse of race, racial theorizing, and racial social constructs in Arabic literary works from the Literary Heritage, or from folk literature, and modern versions of the Arabic literary heritage in a variety of genres and media. The literary and cultural works to be examined in this light range from the poetry and narratives attributed to the pre-Islamic era, through recent versions of such material for modern screen audiences. The full panel proposal will be submitted with input from the proposals which will be part of the panel. Please send a draft abstract if you think your proposed paper would fit well into this panel.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 5, 2021

12. Organizer: Frances Hasso (
Proposed Panel Title: Race and Eugenics: Interdisciplinary Approaches
Brief Panel Description: This truly is a brief description and will become elaborated if there is interest (including changing the session title if necessary). I would like to present a paper on race and eugenics in modern Palestine (from my forthcoming book). I would like to organize a cross disciplinary panel of papers on these questions focused on any geo-location, time period, or discipline/interdiscipline. Historical sensitivity and addressing gender/sex a plus. The goal is to push some key analytics/concepts forward. Submit as early as you like. If organizing something similar, let me know if collaboration is possible. Thanks!
Deadline for Abstracts: February 15, 2021

13. Organizer: Iclal Vanwesenbeeck (
Proposed Panel Title: Opera in Late Ottoman Empire
Brief Panel Description: This interdisciplinary panel invites papers that explore the genesis and flourishing of opera in late Ottoman Empire Istanbul. We particularly welcome papers that study the connections between the rise of lithography, print culture, and opera librettos in Istanbul, post-Tanzimat modernization efforts and opera, cultural and ethnic diversity in the public operas of Pera, opera productions during the Crimean War, literary representations of opera in Ottoman novels, and opera culture during the Abdulmecit era (1839-61). Papers that focus on productions of a specific opera, opera house, or production are also encouraged.  Please email your name, email address, academic affiliation, and an abstract (maximum of 400 words) by February 16, 2021 to Email the organizer with any questions or ideas for the panel.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 16, 2021

14. Organizer: Ahmed Idrissi (
Proposed Panel Title: The Historical Turn in Contemporary Arabic Fiction
Brief Panel Description: The recent proliferation of Arabic novelistic production that reimagines historical periods, events and past popular figures is quite remarkable. While earlier Arabic historical novels found in past Arab and Muslim history a rich source to fashion stories that served to consolidate a sense of cultural identity and infuse Arab nationalism, the recent turn to historical material in recent Arabic fiction represent a shift by its diverse subject matter and complex narrative structures. Judging by the number of prizes recent Arabic historical novels won in various prize categories, this turn to history seems to enjoy not only warm critical reception but also special meritorious recognition for creativity and artistic achievement. In this panel, we welcome papers that explore the significance of this historical turn in terms of the recent transformations in Arab societies and cultures. What kind of aesthetics and politics shape and inform representation in these historical novels? What ‘rhetorical stance’ do these writers adopt in appropriating, adapting or reimagining the historical time and space, and for what ends? To what extend do these narratives reflect anxieties about continuities/ discontinuities with the past or preemptively attempt to resist prospective iterations in the future? Is this turn to history indicative of new and emergent revisionist perspectives on identity, nation and belonging? Please send a 250-word abstract and a short bio to by February 14, 2021.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 14, 2021

15. Organizer: Dalal Alsayer (
Proposed Panel Title: Architecture , Energy, and Environment in the Middle East
Brief Panel Description: The relationship between architecture and energy is often relegated to questions of sustainability, efficiency, and management: How can buildings consume less energy or how can energy be efficiently managed within systems of architecture? Equally, the entanglement between architecture and environment has, until recently, received limited scholarly attention. The infrastructures that enable the extraction, consumption, transportation, and transformation alter ecosystems, populations, and built environments; however, they are often missing in the spatial histories of energy. More specifically, in the Middle East, environment played a significant role in the decisions being made by leaders, architects, planners, and designers. Whether it is the desire to green deserts by establishing experimental farms, or the need to manage society by forced sedentarization schemes, or the construction of profound petroleum infrastructures to extract, transport and refine crude oil, the architecture designed and built sought to harness the environment into a tangible and managed system. The environment played a significant role in the large-scale infrastructure and architectural transformations that were enacted on the region from antiquity to the present. Following recent scholarship that examine the interaction between architecture, enegery, and environment, this panel explores this deeply complex relationship by focusing on the infrastructures, landscapes, and architectures that sustain, enable, prevent, and/or reconfigure social, political, spatial, and geographic relations vis-à-vis processes of energy. From coal mines that enabled global trade and oppressed workers and dams that produce energy and alter agriculture practices to company towns that reconfigured geopolitical boundaries and became sites of dissent, this panels seeks proposals that examine such complex systems. How were sites of extraction and/or consumption designed, managed, implemented, or prevented? How did these systems impact adjacent peoples, environments, ecosystems, and geopolitics? What happened when the source of energy was transformed, depleted, or became obsolete? This panel seeks papers that examine multiple sites, time periods, and/or geographies. Papers that adopt multi- or trans-disciplinary approaches that question methodology, archives, and approaches to better unpack the latent networks of energy are highly encouraged. How did the environment shape the architecture built? How was environment mobilized by those suppressed or displaced through architecture? How were ideas about the environment embodied in architecture to shape ideological, social, and political positions? What role did energy play in the decisions around the architecture design and built? Papers that scrutinize how specific actors (human and nonhuman), projects, systems, and built environments conformed or resisted transformations are of great interest. Equally, papers that demonstrate the multifaceted systems at play around environment and architecture from a historical, spatial, and/or geopolitical perspective are highly encouraged. Please email your abstract (maximum of 400 words) and your name, email address, and academic affiliation by February 10, 2021 to Please feel free to email with any questions or ideas for the panel.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 10, 2021

16. Organizer: Gul Kale (
Proposed Panel Title: Knowledge in Action: Social Practices and Sciences in the Middle East
Brief Panel Description: Postcolonial and decolonial theories raised new critical questions about Eurocentric discourses on the role of sciences in social transformations. Yet, the relation between social practices and sciences in Middle Eastern societies have not been studied in detail from an interdisciplinary perspective. This panel will look at various forms of knowledge and sciences within the context of social practices and discourses. It will also examine the history of science and technology in relation to their changing sociocultural roles and meanings. Papers will investigate various forms of knowledge and sciences as active agents in the formation of social practices and in the production of material culture, rather than assessing them merely as theoretical pursuits. Subjects may range from medicine to geography, and from engineering to mathematics, which all had real-life applications and impacts in various historical and environmental contexts from the early modern to the modern period. Papers that explore the utilization of sciences for control through imperialist and nationalist policies as well as studies investigating the role of indigenous local scientific practices are welcome. Please send a 300-word abstract and a short bio to by February 10, 2021.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 10, 2021

17. Organizer: Stephen Cory (
Proposed Panel Title: Political, Social and Religious Change in the Pre-Modern Islamic Maghrib
Brief Panel Description: I am organizing a MESA panel on the pre-modern Islamic Maghrib for the 2021 conference.  300-400 word abstracts for the paper proposals will need to be submitted on the MESA website by February 18, 2020.  However, since I have to submit a panel proposal, I will need to know who is on the panel and what they plan to talk about by early February. The tentative name for the panel is "Political, Social and Religious Change in the Pre-Modern Islamic Maghrib."  But I am open to considering paper proposals dealing with other topics related to the pre-modern (before the nineteenth century) Islamic Maghrib.  If interested, or if you know anyone else who might be interested, contact me at
Deadline for Abstracts: February 12, 2021

18. Organizer: Shir Alon (
Proposed Panel Title: Cultures of Resilience in the Contemporary Middle East
Brief Panel Description: In the past two decades, “building resilience” has become the key term in national security discourses, signaling a new approach to preparedness for both manmade and national disasters. Resilience is often treated as an unquestioned good, and the way it reconfigures our relationship to, and concepts of, time, community, environment, or “the good life,” often goes unquestioned. The embrace of resilience as an end in and of itself, and its cheerful championing by neoliberal institutions, obliges us to ask what other modes of relating to the future are abandoned in favor of resilience’s ideal of individual or communitarian flexibility and adaptability, as well as what new lifeforms resilience, as a neoliberal governmentality, defines. This multidisciplinary panel invites papers in cultural studies, anthropology, performance studies, ethics, or critical security studies to ask how resilience has penetrated contemporary discourses in the Middle East and to what ends it has been employed in diverse contexts, such as Beirut’s multilayered crises laid bare by the August 4 explosion, the ongoing project of settler colonialism in Palestine, or the unequally distributed devastations of COVID19. Additionally, we are interested in how activists, artists, and individual subjects have responded to resilience’s normalizing demands, challenging its ideological use as a practice of control and docility.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 10, 2021

19. Organizer: Ümit Eser (
Proposed Panel Title: Empire’s Eleventh Hour: Ethnic Violence, Imperial Vision, and National Churches in the Ottoman Empire
Brief Panel Description: Our panel titled “Empire’s Eleventh Hour: Ethnic Violence, Imperial Vision, and National Churches in the Ottoman Empire” focuses on the nationalization of the religious and ethnic minorities at the end of the Ottoman Empire. The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th and early 20th century converted religiously and ethnically diverse societies into homogenous nations. Although Christians and Muslims had coexisted for centuries closely interacting with each other, the Ottoman Empire became the center of the competing nationalist agendas. With the waves of nationalism during the transition of the Empire to the nation-states, the churches also had to integrate into national units. The main themes of this panel are the Nationalization of churches, and the role of the churches in the mobilization of the masses during wartime; the Muslim-Christian conflict at the end of the Ottoman Empire, which finally lead to the evacuation of the Anatolian Christians. The questions we addressed: How the churches and the religious communities adopted the national identity and integrated it into the nationalist discourse. How national authorities used the religious centers to assimilate or accommodate the minorities? To what extent the nation-states attempt to co-opt religious and administrative authorities in the war zones? Did homogenization of Anatolia and the Balkans go hand in hand with the religious conflicts? What were the parallelisms between the political and religious polarization? Please email a maximum 400-word abstract and your name and affiliation by February 12, 2021 to or
Deadline for Abstracts: February 12, 2021  

20. Organizer: Brian Catlos (
Proposed Panel Title: Confessional Frontiers in the Islamicate Mediterranean
Brief Panel Description: Traditional historiography divides the pre-modern Mediterranean into three clearly delineated religio-political spheres: Dar al-Islam, Byzantine Christendom, and Latin Christendom. Scholarship in recent decades has done much to call that into question, demonstrating that – religious hostility notwithstanding – people and polities on opposite sides of these confessional divides engaged in a broad range of collaborative ventures, including military alliances, commercial partnerships, and cultural enterprises. Dynamics including slave-taking, the holding of elite hostages, service as mercenaries, diplomacy, migrations and immigration further undermined these supposed frontiers, as did the presence of significant out-group minority religious communities in each of these regions. Code-switching, cultural commuting and inter-confessional marriage introduced further ambiguities on the personal level. In any case, it is wrong to assume that the constituent principalities of these zones were motivated politically primarily by a sense of religious solidarity rather than realpolitik. Likewise, individuals likely did not see religion as their most salient identity in many circumstances. For this panel we seek papers that examine the porous and ambiguous nature of the boundaries between these spheres, whether in terms of politics, commerce, culture, or ideology in relation to the Islamicate Mediterranean in the period from about 800 to about 1600 – a larger Mediterranean that includes the continental hinterlands around the Black and Red Seas as well as the Mediterranean itself. We ask how and in what contexts and circumstances these boundaries manifested themselves and in what contexts and circumstances they abated. How did cross-confessional alliances that undermined them intersect with the rhetoric of holy war that reinforced them? When might other categories of identity have superseded them? How did currents of ideology and of pragmatism shape relations and conceptions of identity, and to what extent did the Mediterranean serve as unifying frame? Papers embodying any relevant disciplinary perspective: history, literature, art history, and cultural studies are welcome, as are papers that explore intersectionalities such as gender, class or ethnic identity. Papers that take a comparative approach or that suggest new methodologies are particularly sought after.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 12, 2021

21. Organizer: Ilknur Lider (
Proposed Roundtable Title: AATT Roundtable - Transition to Online Teaching:Reconstructing Language Teaching Pedagogies & Curricula
Brief Roundtable Description: With the onset of the Covid 19 Pandemic, language instructors and program coordinators have been asked to revise existing language curricula and teaching pedagogies while simultaneously learn and integrate a wide range of new technologies and online tools into lesson design, content delivery and assessment. This unexpected transition has presented new opportunities for a less commonly taught language like Turkish in terms of materials development and lesson design based on novel ways of student engagement and interaction with the language in various virtual platforms. Yet, the transition also has ground breaking implications with unforeseen challenges for the existing language learning pedagogies that have been informing the Turkish Language Curricula and teaching practices in face-to-face classroom settings. The AATT Roundtable will bring together Turkish language teaching professionals to address emerging issues, challenges and drawbacks, share best practices for successful transition to online teaching, and facilitate discussion on reconstructing language teaching pedagogies and curricula to accommodate learner needs in online environments. We welcome participants on following issues: (1) effective course design in various modes of content delivery including synchronous, asynchronous, hybrid or blended classrooms, (2) effective use of online tools, applications and social media to develop collaborative learning activities in interpretive, interpersonal and presentational modes of communication, (3) new assessment methods and tools that have proven to be successful in online teaching environments, (4)Flipped classroom approach for lesson design & implementation (5) strategies to foster collaboration and a sense of community among students in online classes, (6)Netiquette- norms and expectations for virtual classroom interactions. We hope that the AATT Roundtable will provide a venue to share and discuss our teaching experiences in these unprecedented times and learn from each other as we all have been trying to manage the current shift to online teaching amidst a global pandemic. Please send your proposals (300-400 words) with your name, academic affiliation and an email to Ilknur Lider at
Deadline for Abstracts: February 16, 2021

22. Organizer: Elizabeth Perego ( and Mostafa Abedinifard (
Proposed Roundtable Title: The State of Middle Eastern and North African Humor Studies: Pasts, Presents and Horizons
Brief Roundtable Description: In the wake of the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, also called the “Green Movement,” as well as when protests for dignity, sometimes called the “Arab Uprisings,” erupted across many parts of the Middle East and North Africa in 2010-2011, academics, regional observers, and media outlets noticed the flurry of creative expression produced by demonstrators and rioters as the latter took to the streets to demand better economic and political conditions. The use of humor by revolutionaries and/or users on social media, e.g., by starting satiric news programs or channels, at home or in the diaspora particularly caught the attention of scholars and has featured heavily in work on political cultures present during and after these incidents. Yet, efforts to try to understand the significance of contemporary comedy in the region have often failed to account for longer and rich humorous traditions within it, a tradition whose roots, in its modern history, goes back at least to the blossoming/proliferation of comedy, including political satire, in the Middle East and North Africa since the mid-19th century. Furthermore, scholars working on humor in the region generally produce compositions that focus only on the employ of comedy within certain linguistic, ethnic, or national groups despite the powerful capacity of humor for traversing boundaries and borders. In other words, despite the “global intertextuality” (Semati, 2012) of many such instances of humor, extant studies of them in the MENA region countries often fail to consider possible transregional connections and/or mutual influences among the occurrences and instances of humor in national settings. Emphasis on such connections is especially important given the thriving electronic technologies and their increasing role in the spread of what is called “politicized humorous cellphonelore” (Etaati, 2017). This roundtable seeks to examine whether the creation or formalization of a broader subfield of Middle East and North Africa humor studies would assist scholars with overcoming some of these lacunae and barriers. It hopes to convene emerging and lead scholars working on humor across geographic and temporal spaces in the Middle East and North Africa to discuss the potential benefits of regional perspectives towards comedy and to consider, among other issues, the following questions: What is the current state of the study of humor and its uses in the Middle East and North Africa, and what may potential future trajectories be for research in this domain While some scholars have theorized the existence of “Arab political humor,” “Turkish humor,” or “Maghribi sarcasm” (Kishtainy, 1986; Gurel 2015; Berque 1962), can we speak today of a broader, more inclusive typology of “Middle Eastern and North African humor” given the diversity of the region and its global connections? What intellectual fruit could the creation of a viable subfield of Middle Eastern and North African humor studies within wider inquiries of the region yield? This roundtable aims to showcase different disciplinary approaches to humor while paying special attention to areas for future academic production and collaboration surrounding the topic of humor in Middle East Studies, whether through conference meetings, digital projects, edited volumes, or journal special issues. If interested in joining this discussion, please send a 300–400-word, single-spaced explanation of your experience with and approach to the study of humor in the Middle East and North Africa along with a brief description of the role that you could play in this roundtable to and  Please submit statements by February 12th.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 12, 2021

23. Organizer: Selim Sazak (
Proposed Panel Title: Bringing the Ottomans Back Into IR
Brief Panel Description: IR scholars are increasingly turning away from paradigmatic "-isms" (Lake, 2011). There is a growing momentum for pluralizing, globalizing, and historicizing the discipline. This push is also accompanied by a collective reckoning with the discipline's Western-centric biases (Colgan, 2019; Hobson, 2012). One such blind spot is the Ottoman Empire. The First World War is IR’s “most analyzed and contested case” (Copeland, 2001: 56) and an integral part of its history as an academic discipline (Porter, 1972). Even though their decline was a major cause of the war, the Ottomans remained virtually invisible to IR scholars until quite recently (Sazak, 2020; Bulutgil, 2017; Kadercan, 2014; Nisancioglu, 2014; Savage, 2011; Zarakol, 2010). In International Organization, they appear only in two articles, with no direct relevance (Narang and Nelson, 2009; Tetreault, 1991). International Security, another prominent journal, has only two articles that directly deals with the Ottoman Empire in its publication history (Bulutgil, 2017; Kadercan, 2014). This panel is part of an ongoing effort for a special issue at a leading peer-reviewed journal around the theme of "Bringing the Ottomans Back into IR." We are seeking innovative, cross-disciplinary research that illustrates the potential Ottoman history holds for IR scholarship. Papers focusing on the imperial periphery (the Balkans, the Middle East, North and East Africa, etc.) are especially sought after. Submissions from early-career, female, and otherwise underrepresented scholars are highly encouraged. Please email your abstract (maximum of 400 words) and your name, email address, and academic affiliation by February 16, 2021 to Please feel free to email with any questions or ideas for the panel.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 16, 2021

24. Organizer: Anne Marie Butler (
Proposed Panel Title: Staying Outside: Negotiating Anti-Assimilationist Gender and Sexual Variance in South West Asia, North Africa and Diasporas
Brief Panel Description: Many scholarly frameworks have taken up issues of gender and sexuality that explore why and how oppression functions within contexts of the Middle East, South West Asia, North Africa and its diaspora. While these perspectives are crucial to understanding power operations, they often do not emphasize the voices of resistance that articulate new strategies of world-making. What artistic and activist interventions have contributed to thinking about gender and sexuality in more specific and culturally relevant terms within the Middle East, SWANA region, and its diaspora? This panel proposes gendered and sexual outsiderness as a position of power. Drawing on anti-assimilationist modalities such as queer, feminist, and decolonial theory, we seek scholars who use archives and instances of queerness, deviance, perversity, and the like to help nuance this history. The chairs encourage submissions of interdisciplinary scholarship that investigate how queer people in the SWANA region and its diaspora deploy “outsider” positions related to sexuality and gender that is tied to ethnicity, class, race, ability, and legacies of colonization as intentionally disruptive practices. This panel emphasizes strategies and experiences of resistance to the state, social norms, and cultural expectations through varied ways of activism and cultural production. Addressing questions of same-sex desire and gendered and sexual outsiderness, this panel centers voices from any context from the Middle East, North Africa, South West Asia, and their diasporas to better illuminate agency and resistance to sexual imperialism, state oppression, and forced assimilation of gender non-conforming individuals.  Please send a 300-400 word abstract and a brief CV (with optional brief bios) to session chairs by Wednesday, February 10th at midnight EST:  Dr. Anne Marie Butler, Kalamazoo College: and Dr. Andrew Gayed, New York University:
Deadline for Abstracts: February 10, 2021

25. Organizer: Ali Sipahi (
Proposed Panel Title: How Cold was the Cold War? Anthropological Perspectives
Brief Panel Description: Lévi-Strauss’ much debated distinction between ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ societies referred to different historicities, or to varieties of subjective ways of relating the past (and the future) to the present. The Cold War was ‘hot’ in this sense particularly in the non-Western societies as the modernization theory, both ideologically and in practice, accelerated time and expanded the horizon of expectations in the daily life, for ordinary people. In MENA region, American culture began circulating even on the town and village level both in representational (such as the propaganda films in the movie theaters) and concrete (such as the agricultural supplies) forms. Contrary to commonsense, the Cold War was more eventful and ‘hot’ in the margins, rather than the center, of the societies. It was an era of diffusive globalization of culture (while economies were nationalized). The Cold War literature predominantly focuses on high-politics and ideology, and even when it deals with culture the camera rarely leaves the capital cities. This panel is interested in the daily margins of the national public and seeks to understand the Cold War life in MENA region from an anthropological perspective in which peripheral and/or local embodiments of the Cold War are investigated. Currently, we have panelists working on Turkey. We either want to expand our panel with contributions about other regions or want to dedicate it to Turkey with more panelists.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 15, 2021

26. Organizer: Yasmine Nachabe Taan (
Proposed Roundtable Title: Knowledge Production and the Writing on Visual Culture in the Middle East from the 1950s to the late 1990s
Brief Roundtable Description: The last few years have witnessed a rising interest in the production of knowledge and writing on visual culture in the Middle East. A number of initiatives have emerged to look into the aspirations and challenges in the graphic design practice in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq focusing on the period between the 1950s and the late 1990s.  This roundtable discussion seeks to address the pressing need to establish a record of Arab visual culture and design history. The aim is not about rescuing visual material from the past as much as it is the concern and the responsibility to make the material accessible to future generations. In an age defined by archival knowledge understood as an apparatus of social, political, cultural, and historical power, questions such as what to include and what to exclude in the historical narrative on the production of visual material in the region are raised. This knowledge depends on the accessibility of the archive, and the way visual material relates to the political and social conflicts. In the absence of institutional archives and a historical narrative on graphic design in the middle east, the writing on design can create an alternative history, one that is reflected in the visual production (be it a poster, a book cover, a typeface, a page layout, a type design or an illustration). This roundtable seeks to explore research methodologies and possible historical narratives in the writing on visual production in the region by raising the following questions: What are the challenges in locating, compiling, and developing material on visual culture in the region? How did the limited resources in print and production technologies shape visual production in the context of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq? Can we speak of a dominant aesthetic strategy particular to the region? And how is this particular visual production seen as an extension of the political and cultural engagement? And how does it participate in the reconstruction of individual and collective identities be they revolutionary of national? Scholars are invited to share case studies, research methodologies and alternative visual narratives in the analysis of visual production in the region. Please submit your (300-400 word) roundtable statement to Yasmine Nachabe Taan at or
Deadline for Abstracts: February 15, 2021

27. Organizer: Zeynep Tüfekcioglu (
Proposed Panel Title: Ambiguity in Turkey’s Literatures
Brief Panel Description: This panel is organized by members of the sub-project “Religious Ambiguity in Turkey's Literatures from 1923 to the Present: A Yardstick for an Open Society?” at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, which is financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In this project, we work with the notion of ambiguity, and also test its usefulness, as an analytical tool to investigate historical and cultural encounters between the three monotheistic religions, namely Islam, Christianity and Judaism with a particular focus on their literary representations; and we investigate ambiguities, produced by sectarian differences within Islam, disassociations from the Sunni doctrine, and voluntary as well as forced conversions from Judaism and Christianity to Islam.  For this panel, we are particularly interested in papers that examine literary narratives, rhetorical devices and literary tropes, which articulate processes of Islamization, (forced) conversion, and assimilation. Moreover, we seek papers, which, in addition to Turkish, also look into Kurdish, Armenian and Greek literatures from Turkey. Topics and questions may include, but are not limited to the following: - Does ambiguity function as a productive narrative device in literatures of Turkey regarding matters of religion, gender and ethnicity? - How do literary and cultural narratives of (forced) conversion negotiate, eliminate and/or produce religious ambiguities? - What is the role of ambiguity in the short stories and novels of pious authors who challenge Sunni Islam orthodoxy? - What are the rhetorical devices and literary tropes that are employed in order to produce, undermine or underscore religious, ethnic and gender ambiguities in Turkey’s literatures? This panel welcomes papers with interdisciplinary approaches to such questions. Please send your abstracts (of approximately 400 words), including your name, institution, email address to by February 15, 2021.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 15, 2021

28. Organizer: Emily Drumsta (
Proposed Panel Title: Crime in the Archives
Brief Panel Description: This panel brings together disciplinary and methodological perspectives on crime in different historical periods and spaces across the Middle East. It understands crime both as a violation of legal code and as individual or group practices that represent—or are represented as—disruptions to dominant social, economic, or political orders. How do official and unofficial representations of disruptive, “criminal” acts illuminate tensions within and challenges to these established orders? How does the concept of crime and the criminal elicit different perspectives on justice and its relationship with law, state, and community? How does crime—as an object of state interest and public curiosity, but also as a practice (theft, looting, espionage, plagiarism)—contribute to the production of particular kinds of archives? With these and related questions in mind, we solicit papers that may touch upon, but are not limited to, themes of: • Crime waves as real or imagined phenomena • Crime in film, fiction, and popular culture • Crime as a challenge to state or social order • State or individual crime and its archival traces • Criminal or criminalized communities. Please send abstracts of 400 words maximum to Alex Winder and Emily Drumsta by Monday, February 15.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 15, 2021

29. Organizer: Noah Hysler Rubin (
Proposed Panel Title: Digital Heritage and Cultural Landscapes in the Middle East
Brief Panel Description: Identifying, preserving and conserving heritage in a global world have always been challenging tasks, being inherently related to political and ideological contexts. Cultural landscapes are never constant, and identities - on communal, urban and national scales are - often disputed. UNESCO's ongoing heroic attempts at creating a unified list of places 'worthy of conservation', overruling local, sometimes competing, narratives, are often contested, as trying to evaluate places and sites as 'heritage' brings up questions of both space and substance – which values? whose heritage? The challenges, however, are also methodological, starting with documentation. Exposing archives has long been discussed an issue of postcolonial 'order of things' and extensive attempts are being made to expose hidden archives, sometimes termed 'contact zones' for disputed communities. Yet even when documents are made available, there still remains the challenge of making them accessible. This proposed session aims to raise questions, challenges and methodologies of documenting and making accessible heritage in the age of digitization. It might be assumed that when archives are finally exposed, furthermore, digitized, the task of exploring them, and thereby using them for creating and recreating historic narratives becomes simple. Yet this is not so. The task of digitization – which includes identification, digitizng, and most of all, cataloging the material – is as much a matter of personal and cultural interpretation as it is of technical exposition. The process raises such critical questions as, which material is considered important enough to be digitally handled? Which platforms are most suitable for the creation, analysis and visualization of digital archives and collections, allowing as many communities as possible to narrate their stories? Which sets of maps should be used for the geographical layout of narratives, and which historical frameworks should be used as reference? Finally, last but not least - which terms and names are used for identifying people or places, or, to use more professional terms – which vocabularies and semantic data should be used for categorizing databases of various cultural, social and national imperatives? I offer a discussion based on my ongoing experience of heritage documentation and digitization in Jerusalem, specifically relating to the city's modern building and planning, where even the greatest collaboration between Israelis and Palestinians is burdened by the ultimate question as to which term should prevails: the Jewish Temple Mount or the Moslem Haram al-Sharif.  Relevant contributions from across the Middle East are welcome.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 16, 2021

30. Organizer: Naghmeh Esmaeilpour (
Proposed Panel Title: Iranian Cineture: Local Narratives, Global Receptions
Brief Panel Description: In cultural globalization, films play an important role as a social medium to connect different countries and nations and their cultures, traditions, and religions. As an example of this model, Iranian filmmakers employ transmedial narratives in their films to imbed or transfer information about Iranians to “the whole world to see.” To put it in other words, multimodalities, transfictionality, and transmediality applied in Iranian Cineture (Cinema and Literature) facilitate and mediate a negotiation between different cultures and nations. On the one hand, artists employ literary techniques such as irony, monologue (aside), metaphor, and metafiction to show poetic or dramatic characters within the constant connection to world literature narratives. On the other hand, authors use cinematic techniques like cut-scenes, flash-back or flash-forward, and cinematic dialogue forms to describe characters’ philosophy, state of mind, and life in relation to world cinema. This panel seeks to address how Iranian filmmakers and authors, as the cultural makers, employ local narratives in their films or literary works as a medium of implanting or transferring new ideas to their audiences, presenting or representing two parallel boundaries imploded worlds (fact and fiction), and affecting the perception of global viewers of Iran. Moreover, we are interested in how Iranian cineture, in conjunction with other media (through transmediality, transfictionality, or multimodality), addresses global themes such as humanity, gender equality, (religious) war, love, and betrayal, and identity crisis that lead to achieving global receptions. This multidisciplinary panel invites papers in cultural studies, film studies, Iranian studies, reception studies, and literary studies to ask how Iranian filmmakers represent or employ Cineture or local narrative in their works to achieve global reception. Additionally, we are interested in how Iranian films and filmmakers act against or for, propagate or negate Iran’s role in cultural globalization through “the spreading of culture-defining stories across media. ”
Deadline for Abstracts: February 18, 2021

31. Organizer: Valentine Moghadam (
Proposed Roundtable Title: Women, Work, and Family in the Time of COVID-19
Brief Roundtable Description: The COVID-19 pandemic has posed variable challenges not only across countries but also within them because the pandemic has affected certain groups – women, lower-income and poor households, ethnic and religious minorities, refugees, prisoners, LGBT citizens, and others – in specific ways. From an intersectional perspective, the pandemic’s impact on women includes the following: loss of income and mobility; increased domestic violence as lockdown and stay-at-home orders expand; expulsion due to refugee or migrant status; vulnerability to the COVID-19 in feminized sectors such as healthcare, schooling, the food industry, and other “frontline” sectors; and increased demands on women’s domestic labor and time burdens to homeschool children and care for the sick and elderly. As economies suffer, social spending may decline, resulting in more hardships, especially for lower-income households and those headed by women. As these impacts extend to the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, this Roundtable aims to open discussion on the pandemic’s gendered effects across the region or in specific MENA countries. Questions include: to what extent have women’s societal gains over the past decades been adversely affected by the pandemic’s effects? Has the pandemic affected women differently across occupations and professions, education and income? What of the experience of refugees, or of female migrant workers? Regarding violence, have hotlines and women’s shelters been affected?  We also are interested in discussion of women’s coping mechanisms or renewed forms of mobilization. Are movements or campaigns underway to improve labor legislation, family laws, and policies for maternal employment? We welcome diverse methodological approaches – comparative, large-N, or case-study analyses – and encourage contributions that are empirical and well documented. The Roundtable aims to bring together experts who will speak to these issues and other challenges related to women, work, and family in the time of COVID-19. A follow-up webinar for purposes of publication of findings may be considered. 
Deadline for Abstracts: February 17, 2021

32. Organizer: Afsane Rezaei (
Proposed Panel Title: Conspiracy Theories Across the Middle East: Intersections of the Global and the Local
Brief Panel Description: This panel aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines to explore local vernacular responses in the Middle East to conspiracy theories (CTs) with a global circulation. For the purpose of the panel, we are primarily interested in CTs that have originated outside the local contexts but incorporated into local discourses to represent permissible actors, relations, and pre-existing narratives structures in the ME context. Examples include the QAnon discourse, the “New World Order”, or CTs surrounding the COVID-19 origin, spread, or treatments, with 5G, Bill Gates, and bioweapons among the supernodes of the so-called conspiracy. As these CTs commonly represent erosion of trust in official sources of information (Tangherlini), or fear of governments’ use of the pandemic “to impose...control on its citizenry” (Bodner et al, 2020), they can be also adopted in the everyday and political discourses in the ME, particularly through digital media and un- or counter-official sources of information. Questions that the panel aims to address include but are not limited to: - How are global CTs’ content or structure modified and localized in the ME social and political context? - How do the global nodes of the alleged conspiracies interact with local governmental or non-governmental actors and relations? - What role do non-local CTs play in vernacular theorizing and folk politics in ME societies (and/or its diaspora)? - How do CTs guide people’s political actions or daily life practices in the local context? - How do postcolonial power relations factor in the production and transmission of conspiracy theories? - What are the possible larger implications of the ways in which CTs are produced and transmitted?The panel welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to discussing these and other related questions. We are interested in a range of genres through which conspiracy thinking is often manifested, such as narratives, rumors, memes, proverbs, or other genre of vernacular expression. Please send a 300-400 word abstract and a short bio (name, affiliation, disciplinary background and/or research areas) to panel organizers at and
Deadline for Abstracts: February 15, 2021

33. Organizer: Salam Hawa (
Proposed Panel Title: Arabs’ Dialogues with the ‘Other’
Brief Panel Description: This panel is concerned with the founding principles of Arab identity, as opposed to Islamic identity. The interest is to engage in discussions regarding Arab language and culture expressed by Arabs whose identity is associated primarily to the culture and the language rather than in religion. To that end, it questions the accuracy of Arab historiography, as it probes the notion of ‘Be/longing’ and ‘agency’ of Arab artists, writers, and interpreters. This panel includes three presenters, Farouk Kaspaules, visual artist based in Ottawa whose presentation addresses issues of Arab identity, memory, marginality, and belonging, which he expresses in his art; his presentation will include images from his solo presentation entitled ‘Be/longing’. Norah Alkharashi, post-graduate student at the University of Ottawa discusses the dialogue between Arab writers and American intellectuals following US invasion of Iraq in 2003; and independent author, Salam Hawa discusses the link between Arab historiography and abuses of memory and of forgetting. This panel welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to discussing topics that touch on Arab identity and its relation to the ‘other’ in the Mashreq part of the Arab world. Please include your name, institution, email address, title, and abstract (400-word limit). Please submit your abstracts to Dr. Salam Hawa,
Deadline for Abstracts: February 12, 2021 

34. Organizer: Peter Polak-Springer (
Proposed Panel Title: Semiotic landscapes of Al-Andalus in Contemporary Times
Brief Panel Description: We are looking at how the memory of Al-Andalus (Andalusia / Moorish Spain) is represented in modern and contemporary politics, music, and culture. So far, we have a people who will present papers on the following topics: 1) the Memory of Al-Andalus in Palestinian Arab press discourses before and after the Nakba, 2) musical representations of Al-Andalus memory; and 3) the contemporary linguistic and semiotic landscape of Al-Andalus in Doha. We are looking for one or two more paper presenters. The paper can be an analysis of the functionality of Al-Andalus memory in modern society, culture, and politics as promoted via various venues, e.g. music, art, literatures, the press, etc.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 15, 2021

35. Organizer: Hadi Gharabaghi (
Proposed Roundtable Title: Researching USIA/USIS Paper-trail & Film Collections
Brief Roundtable Description: This roundtable intends to examine limitations and possibilities of researching the paper-trail and film and media collections of the United States Information Agency (USIA) and the corresponding offices of the United States Information Service (USIS), which operated throughout the world including the Middle East region. A bulk of these collections has recently become available at the United States National Archives in College Park, Maryland (NACP). From 1953 to 1999, the USIA produced or distributed roughly 20,000 motion pictures throughout the world, ostensibly working within the parameters of propaganda. Cultural/political historians, in the USA as well as throughout the Middle East have had limited access to study the representational practices and enduring legacies of this prodigious output. The NACP has begun the process of digitizing a corpus of USIA films plus volumes of corresponding documentation. While sample film series such as AKHBĀRI ĪRĀN [Iran News] (412 episodes of 7-10 minutes news magazine series in Persian) and HOJĀ NASREDDIN sereis (24 episodes of 10 minutes puppet animation) are now available on NACP website, the contextualizing paper-trail and many more film series requires researching the center in person, which is not feasible to many scholars in the Middle East region. This raise the need for broader access. A group of recent dissertation projects and ongoing research––focused on Iran, Arab region, Turkey, Pakistan, and India––has brought scholarly attention to enormous value of the USIA collection for genealogical research in the ideological as well as infrastructural development of audiovisual education, cinema and media governance, among other topics. This roundtable seeks to address limitations of accessing the collections and opportunities of network scholarship through online features for sharing and localizing the access. We invite media scholars, archivists, and scholars in digital humanities who have researched the collections in the past or are familiar with relevant archival centers throughout the Middle East and South Asia as well as the United States to joint the roundtable.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 15, 2021

36. Organizer: Mohammed Kadalah (
Proposed Panel Title: (Re)creating Home: On Belonging and Finding Community for Refugees in the US
Brief Panel Description: The lives of newly-coming refugees to the US is never easy especially after the Executive Order on Refugees and Travel Ban in January 2017. The limited mobility coupled with the rising anti-refugee rhetoric created a dire need for recreating a community and home through bonding with the community and other refugees in the US. Several forms of cultural production have emerged to support the refugees’ efforts to build their social networks and maintain a strong bond with the US society in general and the refugee community in particular. This interdisciplinary panel seeks to explore the familial, cultural, and social possibilities for the refugees’ recreation of community and reimagination of home. How did they succeed in building social networks that facilitated their transition into their new lives? What does home mean for refugees, both as an idea and as a geographical space? How have refugees recreated, imagined, and narrated home in the creation of their new communities? What is the nature of social cultural influences that govern the social life of refugees? The panel invites scholars to submit proposals that explore the possibilities, circumstances of efforts of refugees in their attempts to recreate home and build new networks and communities. This panel welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to discussing these proposed questions and other similar and/or related questions. Those interested in presenting on this panel should write a 150-250 word abstract and a brief bio with name and affiliation to Mohammed Kadalah at:
Deadline for Abstracts: February 17, 2021

37. Organizer: Tabby Anvari (
Proposed Panel Title: Iran’s New Century and the Formation of National Identity
Brief Panel Description: Iran enters a new century in March, yet the struggle to define Iran’s cultural identity remains contested and unresolved. Iran’s rich and complex history complicates the question: it is an ancient civilization with multiple ethnicities, multiple religions, and numerous sects, and a society in which xenophobic tendencies dwell uncomfortably with an infatuation with the West. With such a heritage, what are the parameters of Iran’s cultural identities at the turn of the new Iranian century? Do they include Aryan nationalism? Statism? Or is a militant and assertive Shi’ism a defining characteristic? Does the long tradition of monarchy define Iran, perhaps along with nostalgia for Iran’s pre-Islamic religious traditions? Perhaps the defining characteristic of Iran’s cultural identity is to be found in the Persian language and poetry, of which Iranians are famously proud? Even if we allow that Iran’s national identity is a mosaic of all these sensibilities and susceptibilities, which of these competing tendencies is gaining salience and which are fading? And how have globalization and information technology, two phenomena that have shaped the postmodern condition, influenced the formation of Iranian identity? This panel will explore these conflicting identities and seek to illuminate some of their more intricate aspects. This panel welcomes scholars from both the humanities and social sciences to participate in this important dialogue.
Deadline for Abstracts: February 17, 2021

38. Organizer: Kyle Wynter-Stoner (
Proposed Panel Title: Manuscript Cultures in the Islamicate World 
Brief Panel Description: This panel invites papers that explore reading and manuscript cultures in the Medieval and Early Modern Islamicate World. We welcome papers that deal with all aspects of manuscript culture, such as the reception histories of texts, the analysis of paratextual notes on manuscripts, the transmission histories of texts, the histories of book collections, and the histories of reading communities. Though the panel focuses on the manuscript age, we also welcome papers that explore the transitional period from manuscript culture to print culture in the 19th century. We also encourage papers on the manuscript cultures of non-Muslim communities in the Islamicate world. Please email your name, email address, academic affiliation, and abstract (maximum of 400 words) by February 17 2021 to
Deadline for Abstracts: February 17, 2021

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