The inaugural edition of the international Middle East Conference 2022, organised by the Middle Eastern Studies Department (MESD) at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), Hamad Bin Khalifa University, will take place online on February 6 and 7.
Registration is free and open to all.
Under the theme 'Knowledge and Power in Middle East Studies: Regional and International Perspectives', speakers will look closely at the influence of power asymmetry on the evolution of the discipline and how local and regional capacity in knowledge production and research is enriching the field.
The opening keynote address on February 6, which is titled 'A Nexus, Not a Locus: Middle Eastern Studies and South-to-South Relations', will be given by Prof Marwan Kraidy, dean and CEO, Northwestern University in Qatar. He will elaborate an approach to Middle Eastern Studies that envisions the Middle East as a nexus of a variety of historical and contemporary forces that continue to shape relationships within the region and beyond. Prof Hassan Hakimian, conference chair and MESD director, and Dr Amal al-Malki, founding dean of CHSS, will present welcoming remarks.
International speakers will place the discussions in an interdisciplinary, global context during four in-depth panels, beginning with a panel discussion on 'Transnational Dynamics and International Politics: How are Evolving Big Power Politics Impacting the Middle East'. This panel includes Dr Lina Khatib of Chatham House, London.
'Analysing the Mena Social Dynamics Using NLP and Big Data Methods' will feature Dr Kareem al-Darwish, Qatar Computing Research Institute, analysing the news consumption of more than 8,000 Twitter users in response to the May 2021 Israeli-Palestinian conflict, using unsupervised stance detection.
At 'Society, Cities, and Space in the Mena Region' on February 7, Dr Amy Kallander, Syracuse University, and Dr Karem Said, University of Houston, will offer examples of the ways masculinity was imagined and embodied in Tunis and its suburbs/periphery at different postcolonial and post-revolutionary moments.
Dr Hiba Bou Akar, Columbia University, will present an ethnographic study conducted in Beirut’s Hayy Madi/Mar Mikhail neighbourhood and address the “doubleness” of its ruins - as products of a past civil war and a present territorial war in a time of peace.
'Knowledge and Power in Palestine: The Quest for Statehood and the Marginalisation of Rights' will feature Dr Leila Farsakh, UMass Boston, re-examining the Palestinian quest for self-determination by engaging with an emerging trend in Palestine studies that advocates for breaking out of the statehood frame to fulfill Palestinian rights. Dr Adam Hanieh, University of Exeter, will focus on the political economy aspects of Palestine's relationship with the Middle East. Dr Susan Akram, Boston University, will illustrate how ‘getting the law right’ paves the way for a more equitable shared future in the same land.
Prof Hakimian said: “Our first major international Middle East Conference comes at a time when our region faces complex challenges. This gives us an opportunity to highlight issues at the heart of scholarship contributing to our understanding of the region and the challenges it faces.”