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.
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:
- Incorporating diasporic communities and their ongoing circulations: How does the movement of people and the circulation of commodities and ideas reframe our understanding of the region? What role do diasporic communities, transnational migrants, and refugees of various conflicts play in shaping home- and host-lands? How are migrant lives shaped by labor demands, institutional pressures, and state policies? In turn, do migrants’ day-to-day practices and movements disrupt academic categorizations? And what about internal migration?
- Frustrated uprisings, derailed revolutions: In the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings, how does MENA fit within/diverge from global resistance? Are emergent patterns around counter-revolutionary effort and the securitization of governance rooted within and/or beyond MENA? How do we address the interrelations of militarized police forces, securitized governance, the global arms industry, and the proliferation of conflict zones - territorial and transborder?
- MENA and the environment: What are locally grounded visions for social, cultural, political sustainability, and where does environmental sustainability figure? How do the legacies of resource extraction, expansionary capitalism, and the lack of sustainability efforts affect communities in the present moment, and in the near and distant future? Are we seeing new efforts or old patterns in indigenous and minority populations’ advocacy for land rights and sustainable development?
- MENA and the production of knowledge: How have recent developments in the field changed the relations between academics and their sites of study? Where have scholars located MENA within studies of the global (world history, international studies, world literature)? How can MENA studies respond to calls to decolonize knowledge production? In what ways can postcolonial, feminist, queer, Marxist, or other critical theoretical approaches contribute to this process?
To submit a paper proposal, please send a title and an abstract of ~250 words to email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Randle-Bent: email@example.com