[S6679] Eco-Systems of Research in the Middle East and North Africa

Created by SYSTEM Manager
Friday, 12/03/21 2:00 pm


Stalled economies, shrinking public spheres, decreasing resources for public institutions and increasing securitization and privatization of data collection --- this is the prevailing dismal picture of the MENA region and the discouraging context of knowledge production and Higher Education. Add to this the global pandemic and resultant restrictions on mobility and convening and the future for research appears bleak indeed.

And yet, research continues to take place, and there are lively online discussions and burgeoning portals for the production and dissemination of analysis and commentary on the politics, economics and social transformations of the region. This creative flow blurs the boundaries between academia and media, between academia and activism and between the institutional and the interstitial.

What then are the patterns and trends, constraints and potentials in current research contexts and practices in the MENA region. What is the present and future of research in the region in the light of unfolding crises, the fall of old orders and the rise of new hegemonies? How are research communities and institutions responding to the heightened demands for new knowledge in the context of deteriorating infrastructures, and decreasing resources?

Speakers will address multiple aspects of these questions including: The current challenges to higher education and research institutions; new possibilities emerging from new actors, interstitial collectivities, and thought-communities; the emergence of new audiences for new types of knowledge and the changing connections between academia, activism and policy. Finally, what are the possibilities for constructive and ethical collaboration between researchers based in different locations – in the MENA region, in diasporic spaces, in the Global South, in the Global North? Given the highly variegated landscape of knowledge production across the region, specific cases and examples will highlight local complexities as well as regional commonalities.


Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS)


Unknown; Unknown; Unknown




Lisa Anderson

(Columbia University/American University in Cairo)
Anderson is the author of Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century (Columbia University Press, 2003), The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830-1980 (Princeton University Press,...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Dina Rizk Khoury

(George Washington University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair;

Mohammed A. Bamyeh

(University of Pittsburgh)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Seteney Shami

(Arab Council for the Social Sciences)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Organizer;

Hanan Sabea

(American University in Cairo)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Omar AlShehabi

(Gulf Centre for Development Policies)
Omar AlShehabi is Visiting Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of British Columbia, and Director of the Gulf Centre for Development Policies in Kuwait. His latest work in English is Contested Modernity: Sectarianism, Nationalism, and Colonialism...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Zeynep Gambetti

(Boğaziçi University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;