Third Summer Institute on Critical Security Studies in the Arab World

Call for Applications

Third Summer Institute on Critical Security Studies in the Arab World

June 17-23, 2019 | Beirut, Lebanon

Application Deadline: January 15, 2019

The Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) is pleased to announce the call for applications for the Third Summer Institute on Critical Security Studies in the Arab World to be held on June 17-23, 2019 in Beirut, Lebanon. This training workshop is an activity of the Beirut Security Studies Collective (BSSC), which is supported by the ACSS within its Working Groups Program. The Institute targets junior scholars working within critical approaches to questions of security in the Arab World.

About the Beirut Security Studies Collective

The Beirut Security Studies Collective (BSSC) is coordinated by Professors Samer Abboud (Villanova University) and Omar Dahi (Hampshire College). Its goal is to engage critically with existing academic and policy debates about ‘security’ and international relations of the Arab region while developing alternative approaches and understandings that focus on the concerns and experiences of scholars and societies within the region, and more broadly, the Global South. The core members of the BSSC collectively authored a manifesto entitled, “Towards a Beirut School of critical security studies,” which outlines the intellectual roots of the Collective, its research agenda, methodologies and ethics.

The work of this project is organized under several themes managed by a network of scholars based in and with ties to the Arab region. These themes serve as a basis for the Summer Institute and currently include the following:

  • Political economy of (in)security: This theme explores the ways in which violence and insecurity are increasingly tethered to the political economies of the Arab region and, in turn, how these political-economic landscapes are shaped by the exercise and production of insecurity. This is developed through three broad lines of inquiry: commodification of security, the relationship between capital accumulation and violence, and the connections between aid provision and violence.
  • (In)security of everyday life: This theme explores the micro-relations of everyday experiences of (in)security by taking people’s experiences, understandings, and terminologies as starting points for what it means to feel (in)secure and further looks into the strategies people employ to live with some form of insecurity.  The theme explores questions of how fear, risk, precarity, and instability operate in the daily maneuverings of people’s lives, and how aspiration, hope, and well-being are achieved and sustained.
  • Technologies of security: This theme addresses the relationship between technology and security in the region. It seeks to investigate the implications of a wide range of technologies from GIS applications to biometric border management on the governance of security and production of (in)security.
  • Discourses and genealogies of knowledge production: This theme focuses on the politics of knowledge production in the field of International Relations of the Middle East and seeks to produce alternative approaches of theorizing knowledge on the region. It also aims to critically assess the available concepts, theories and methodologies that are currently used to study security in the Arab region.
  • Borders, migration, and mobility: This theme aims to unpack the making and remaking of borders in the Middle East in light of unfolding conflicts, and the so called "migration/refugee" crisis. It uses multiple approaches to exploring the resilience or erosion of borders: ethnographies of borders (everyday smuggling, mobility of dwellers), unpacking deep historical (dis) connections (trade, exodus), or more contemporary practices of governing and securing the borders (surveillance, policing).

For more information on the broader project, visit this page on the ACSS website, and the BSSC website, The Beirut Forum for Critical Arab Security Studies.

Objectives of the Summer Institute

The Summer Institute brings together doctoral students, early career scholars, and other junior researchers for training and mentoring with a team of established faculty members who will provide sessions on a range of methodological and  theoretical approaches, as well as professional issues that will equip the participants with the theoretical tools and practical skills necessary for conducting critical research on security in the Arab World.

Structure of the Summer Institute

The Summer Institute will consist of five main parts. All main sessions will be conducted in Arabic and English with simultaneous translation.

  • The first part of the Institute will involve participants presenting their research and receiving written feedback from the faculty session leaders as well as from other participants. Participating researchers will be divided into several working groups and each group will be mentored by one or two faculty leader(s).
  • The second part of the Institute will involve substantive and targeted thematic sessions given by faculty members and guest speakers. The central aim of these sessions is to introduce participants to some of the above mentioned themes and the ways in which critical research on security issues in the Arab World can be conducted. With that aim in mind, faculty leaders will provide a range of readings for participants that will structure the theoretical and methodological sessions.
  • The third part includes site visits, walking tours and/or public events. These activities serve as  case studies for the issues to be explored during the Institute and will be conducted in collaboration with local researchers, practitioners, and activists.
  • The fourth part consists of writing sessions whereby participating researchers will work on further conceptualizing their research topics based on the taught thematic sessions.
  • The fifth and final part of the Institute will consist of professionalization sessions where participants and faculty leaders come together to discuss issues around publishing, fieldwork, teaching, and other professional concerns.


Confirmed faculty members for the Third Summer Institute include:

  • Nicole Grove, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Hawaii-Manoa, US
  • Omar Dahi, Associate Professor of Economics, Hampshire College, US
  • Jamil Mouawad, Lecturer, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  • Sami Hermez, Assistant Professor in Residence, Northwestern University-Qatar, Qatar
  • Bashir Saade, Interdisciplinary Lecturer in Politics and Religion, University of Stirling, UK

Expected Outputs

Participants in the Institute are encouraged to become active members of BSSC’s network and will be expected to share their findings in appropriate fora provided by the Working Group. Those with original research projects will be asked to prepare essays to be published on the BSSC's website, the Beirut Forum for Critical Arab Security Studies. These contributions may either appear as part of a larger workshop symposium or as individual essays.


  • The Summer Institute targets junior researchers working within critical approaches to questions of security in the Arab world. Junior researchers, such as those with a Master’s degree, or those who are completing a PhD degree or who are within 3 years of their post-PhD careers, are eligible to apply. However, a PhD is not a requirement for applying. Experienced researchers without a PhD are also eligible to apply.
  • Applicants whose topic of research does not fit with any of the specific themes of the Collective as mentioned above or with the general topic of critical security studies, or not focused on the Arab region are not eligible to apply.
  • Applicants can only apply with an existing research project of their own (whether current or past). The Summer Institute is designed to develop the skills of scholars and researchers with existing research projects, even if they are at a preliminary stage. The Summer Institute is organized around writing sessions, in addition to theoretical and practical sessions. For a beneficial experience, interested researchers must submit a research proposal as part of their application to work on during these sessions.

Registration, Travel, and Accommodation

There is no registration fee for accepted applicants. Arab nationals will be eligible for a travel subsidy. Applicants will be asked to provide proof of citizenship in an Arab country, defined as a member of the League of Arab States, or nationality of an Arab country, defined as long-term residents, even if they don’t hold citizenship as in the case of refugees or stateless residents.

Students and researchers from outside the Arab region are responsible for their own travel arrangements and are expected to cover their own travel expenses to Lebanon. Accommodation and meals will be provided for all participants for the duration of the Institute.

How to Apply

Those interested in attending are asked to submit an application on the ACSS Applications Platform.

Applications must include:

  • A completed profile on the ACSS Applications Platform
  • An application form including the following attachments:
    • Research Proposal (2,000 words, excluding the bibliography). The proposal must clearly lay out the primary research question, the background and rationale, the methodology, literature review and theoretical framework.
    • A cover letter/personal narrative (500 words) summarizing your research project, where you are in your current research project, how this opportunity will benefit your research plans or professional development, and your prior experience in the Arab region.
    • An updated CV including a list of publications, grants and distinctions (where applicable).

The application system will close on January 15, 2019 at 11:59 PM. After this date, no further applications will be accepted through the system. Please note that the ACSS does not accept applications submitted via email at any point during the application period or after the deadline has passed.

Selection Process

A Selection Committee composed of core members and researchers from the CSS Working Group will review applications and decide on a list of finalists. Those finalists may be asked to submit more detailed information before they are officially accepted into the Institute. Final participants will be selected based on the merits of their proposals and the relevance of their research interests and backgrounds to the topic of critical security studies in the Arab region. Final decisions will be announced towards the end of February 2019 or beginning of March 2019.


January 15, 2019: Application deadline. The application system will close at 11:59 PM.

End of February 2019-Beginning of March 2019: Selection notification.

March 29, 2019: Confirmation of participation.

June 17-23, 2019: Summer Institute takes place.

Contact Information

If you have questions or would like to request more information about the application process, please contact Jana Chammaa, ACSS Program Coordinator, at


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