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Call for Papers: Locating MENA—Graduate Student Symposium

The Graduate Student Group of Northwestern University’s Middle East and North African Studies Program is pleased to announce a one-day graduate student symposium, “Locating the Field: New Directions in Middle East and North African Studies,” on Friday, May 22nd in Evanston, Illinois. We welcome contributions from graduate students across the humanities and social sciences.

Symposium Theme:

Recent scholarship has challenged canonical geographical, political, and sociocultural constructions of the Middle East and North Africa, detailing otherwise silenced histories, and theorizing possible future directions for the field. This symposium welcomes papers that challenge, expand, or dismantle the physical and symbolic boundaries of MENA--both as place and as discipline--through critical, interdisciplinary scholarship. Given recent and ongoing developments throughout MENA, there is a heightened need to further our understanding of the relationships between people, the spaces they inhabit, and the places they move through. Through this symposium, we will explore several topics and provide different lenses for locating and (re)imagining MENA. We hope to generate debate across universities about the troubled legacies and potential futures of area studies in the context of ongoing movement and change.

Possible topics for submissions:

We are looking for papers that include, but are not limited to, the following topics:


To submit a paper proposal, please send a title and an abstract of ~250 words to by March 15th, 2020. All applicants will be notified about the status of their submission by early April. Accepted applicants will submit a full paper (8-10pp) in mid-May for the symposium. We can help coordinate the pairing of presenters for hotel or other accommodation upon request, though the program cannot cover travel to, or lodging at Northwestern. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided for all presenters on the day of the symposium. Attendees will also have a chance to engage with Northwestern’s MENA faculty and will receive substantial feedback from graduate student respondents on their submitted papers.

Please direct any questions to the emails provided below. We look forward to hosting you on the banks of Lake Michigan!

Northwestern MENA Graduate Group Co-Presidents:

Nicholas Bascuñan-Wiley:
Matthew Randle-Bent:

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