Inaugural Middle East Conference 2020 | HBKU
Inaugural Middle East Conference 2020

Inaugural Middle East Conference 2020

Ideas Towards New Agendas

Representations of the Middle East in recent years have been beset with disturbing images of conflict and civil war, radicalism and sectarian strife, ethnic and gender violence, and destruction and forced displacement. Such portrayals are not limited to popular discourse alone; the academic and research agenda too have been securitised by concerns over radicalism and identity politics. The perception that the Middle East is somehow different in an unfortunate manner from the rest of the world has thus reshaped – and arguably distorted – both public understanding and the research agenda of the region.

This conference presents an opportunity to recast the Middle East beyond the reductive daily headlines. The case for the conference and its timing emanate from an urgent need to redress a distorted research agenda which has in recent years been unduly shaped by conflict, radicalism and security issues. 

The principal objective is to take steps to develop a new, more constructive agenda for Middle East studies which recognises the region’s evolving characteristics and challenges, but also sees these in the wider context of international dynamics and interactions. We encourage participants to re-think and re-imagine the epistemologies, directions and agendas of our field. 

The Middle Eastern Studies Department (MESD) at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) in Hamad Bin Khalifa University is proud to host this inaugural two-day international conference on 20-21 April 2020 in the Education City in Doha. This is an interdisciplinary conference and we expect participants with expertise from a broad range of academic disciplines in both social sciences and humanities. The conference aims to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on Middle East studies in its quest for developing new research agendas.  Read more

Dean's Welcome Message

I am delighted to announce the inauguration of our Middle East Conference, which is taking place on April 20-21, 2020. The Middle Eastern Studies Department (MESD) of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) has announced a call for papers in December, 2019.

CHSS was established with a vision to enrich society in Qatar and across the wider world. We believe that there is a need to create homegrown and local knowledge about the region from the region itself. Ironically, research on this part of the world has always originated from the West. It is time for a Middle East Conference to take place here - in the Middle East - to shed light on the challenges we face from within.

Our goal of advancing social justice commits us to making a positive social impact locally and globally through unique and transformative interdisciplinary educational opportunities. This conference will produce fertile ground to encourage research and innovative approaches for enriching the field from within the region, and to create cross-regional and trans-regional academic collaborations. Moreover, this conference will help us discuss and highlight the gaps, norms and emerging trends in this field of study.
In addition, the significance of this conference is that it will shed light on the Middle East as both a subject of study and of teaching. Therefore, I am happy to welcome you to the inaugural Middle East Conference, which will be a regular biennial conference alternating with The Annual International Translation Conference hosted by our Translation and Interpreting Institute at CHSS, HBKU.

Dr. Amal Mohammed A Al Malki
Founding Dean

Chair's Welcome Message

Our inaugural Middle East Conference (MEC) comes at a time when our region continues to be under the spotlight. At the same time and for many of you, it is an introduction to our young and growing Middle Eastern Studies Department (MESD) at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University.

As our concept note indicates, the study of the region as well as its popular characterizations have rarely been challenged. Our region continues to suffer from widespread conflicts and civil war, sectarianism and external intervention, and pervasive perceptions of exceptionalism which continue to mar popular conceptions and interactions with the region.

MESD has a small and growing group of scholars devoted to the study of the Middle East and North Africa region in its various complexities. It is our firm belief that the time is now ripe to take stock of the state of Middle East studies through a critical and interdisciplinary re-examination of the field within an international context.

We look forward to welcoming you to MEC, which promises to be a great gathering of scholars in a wonderful setting here in Doha.

Hassan Hakimian
Professor of Economics and Director of Middle Eastern Studies Department
MEC Conference Chair