The past, present and future of Middle Eastern studies provides the context for a six-part webinar series organized by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).
Organized by CHSS’ Middle Eastern Studies Department (MESD), the series commenced on October 26 with Changing Regional and International Landscapes of the Gulf, which examined a wealth of local and global issues shaping the region’s future.
These included the current lack of cooperation over shared concerns, the changing shape of national identities, and the apparent rolling back of the United States’ traditional role as guarantor of regional security.
Moderated by CHSS’ Dr. Steven Wright, Changing Regional and International Landscapes of the Gulf was informed by an esteemed panel of experts, including Dr. Luciano Zaccara, Assistant Professor and Research Coordinator in Gulf Politics at Qatar University. He was joined by Prof. Beverley Milton-Edwards, a professor of politics at Queen’s University Belfast and Senior Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar. Further contributions came courtesy of Dr. Courtney Freer, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, Middle East Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science, and Dr. Kristian Coates-Ulrichsen, Bake Institute Fellow for the Middle East at Rice University.
The series continues November 2 with Digital Humanities in the MENA Region. Moderated by CHSS’ Dr. George Mikros, the webinar explores the digital dimensions of the region’s diverse cultural landscape and subsequent social development. In doing so, panelists will outline how innovative digital humanities methods can be used to analyze a wide range of cultural outcomes, including cooking recipes, key government and religious texts, and more.
Dr. Mikros will be joined by Dr. Fotios Fitsilis, from the Scientific Service of Greece’s Hellenic Parliament, Dr. Patrick Juola, Professor of Computer Science at Duquesne University, and Dr. Daniel Newman, a professor in the School of Modern Languages and Culture at Durham University. HBKU will also be represented by Dr. Tanvir Alam and Dr. Jens Schneider, both assistant professors in the College of Science and Engineering.
Moderated by MESD’s Dr. Hassan Hakimian, Professor and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Department, CHSS, Area Studies and Social Theory: A Middle Eastern View provides a timely reminder that Middle Eastern studies have long been viewed as inimical to the production of meaningful knowledge concerning the region. In an effort to overcome this, the University of Illinois’ Dr. Asef Bayat examines the pitfalls and potential of regional studies to make better sense of the Middle East and contribute to social theory in general.
Speaking ahead of the second webinar, Dr Hakimian said: “This series aligns perfectly with our commitment to providing transformative educational experiences that bridge disciplinary boundaries. Our participants come from diverse academic backgrounds and reflect how Middle Eastern studies have evolved in recent decades.
“We strongly believe that the days of studying the Middle East and North Africa region in separation from other disciplines are long gone. From a cultural, economic and political perspective, what happens in our region often has a profound impact on other parts of the world and vice versa. We are no longer disconnected and digital technologies are already helping to magnify the wider picture in our living experiences."
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences regularly holds events to highlight its research activities and projects. For more information, please visit https://www.hbku.edu.qa/en/chss/events
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