The College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) participated in the 2019 annual BRISMES Conference in Leeds, the UK, from June 24 to 26.
The conference was hosted by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies and the University of Leeds’ Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies.
Under the theme ‘Joining the Dots: Interdisciplinarity in Middle East Studies’, the conference aimed to advance interdisciplinarity as vital in understanding the interconnectedness of the social, cultural, political and economic structures and conditions throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It also explored how disciplinary silos can be overcome in favour of communication between humanities, social sciences, and language studies that focus on the region.
CIS led a session on ‘Histories of Islam in the Gulf’, with a presentation by Dr Alexandre Caeiro, CIS associate professor, on ‘The Politics of Islamic Law in the Gulf: Islamic Institutions and Nation-Building in Twentieth Century Qatar’. Students from CIS also contributed to the discussions, including Reem al-Sada, who spoke on ‘The Religious and the Political in Sheikh Qassim Al Thani’s Writings’; Ashraf Thachara Padikkal on ‘The Transplantation of South Asian Religious Networks to the Gulf: A Study of the Barelwi AP Movement in Qatar (1980s-2010s)’; and Bushra Salaebing addressing ‘Transformations of Religious Knowledge in a Diasporic Setting: The Case of the Patani Meccan Community (1950s-2010s)’.
Dr Caeiro said, “BRISMES provided an excellent opportunity for CIS graduate students to share the results of the research they conducted for their MA thesis with an international scholarly audience. The papers presented combined historical and anthropological methods and insights, fitting wonderfully with the conference’s emphasis on interdisciplinarity.”
The conference provided a platform for Middle Eastern Studies scholars to engage in open and wide-ranging debate on good practice in interdisciplinary design and research, their challenges, as well as their potential for unlocking the complexities of the region.