Organised by the Middle Eastern Studies Program of AUD’s School of Arts and Sciences, the conference will cover different aspects of incorporating new approaches to Middle Eastern Studies through eight scholarly panels over the course of the three-day event. Two eminent academics will address the participants, Dr. Joseph Massad of Columbia University, a highly regarded speaker and expert on Middle East issues who will be giving a lecture entitled How not to study women and gender in the Muslim world during the opening session, and Dr. Gary Bunt of the University of Wales Trinity St David who will give the second plenary session address the issue of Interpreting Cyber Islamic Environments.
Dr. Bunt runs the website virtuallyislamic.com which contains the latest headlines and commentary on Islam and the net. The conference will explore how in academic domains there is an expectation to incorporate the vast scope of Middle Eastern Studies (MES) under one umbrella. Unfortunately, MES is traditionally divided along geographical lines, based on specific regional boundaries. While this can be useful at the level of departmental organisation, this often obscures the historical interactions between the areas under study. Re-locating Middle East Studies will explore the concepts that a growing number of scholars within MES circles are striving to subvert this static presentation of North Africa and West Asia by instead focusing on the flow of ideas, people, and products across regional boundaries.
The eight panels scheduled over the three-day conference include: Social Change, Justice and Transnational Forces in West Asia; Reframing Identity: Activating Cultural Memory. Through Literature and Monuments; Negotiating Modernities and the Contemporary in Visual Culture; Trans-disciplinary Studies of Women and Gender in West Asia and North Africa; New Dynamics in the Economies of West Asia; Fluctuating Geopolitics of West Asia; Youth Culture Activating New Geographies, Art Forms and Social Media; and finally Re-readings/ Re-takes; and Narratives in Literature and Media.