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Monday, January 26, 2015

Call for Papers: Middle Eastern and North African Undergraduate Organization Conference

The Middle East and North Africa Undergraduate Organization (MENA-U), the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), and the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS) at the University of Arizona cordially invite you to participate in the 1st Annual Middle Eastern and North African Undergraduate Organization Conference to be held Thursday March 5th, and Friday March 6th, 2015 at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.

Keynote Speaker:
Roger Allen, Professor of Arabic Language & Literature, University of Pennsylvania  will be this year’s keynote speaker. On Friday March 6th he will deliver a talk entitled “The 1001 Nights: A Tale of Two Tale Collections.”

Thursday, January 22, 2015

LEAP's Project SHINE

Project SHINE

Summer Help IN English

Apply to LEAP’s Project SHINE and Teach English in the Palestinian Refugee camps of Lebanon this Summer

Deadline: February 13, 2015  

Learning for the Empowerment and Advancement of Palestinians (LEAP) is an educational empowerment program for Palestinian refugee-youth in Lebanon dedicated to nurturing the intellectual growth and creative curiosity of our students. LEAP encourages youth to become agents of change by supporting them in their educational pursuits during their most formative years.

LEAP aims to illuminate the plight of Palestinian refugees, particularly in Lebanon, through volunteer-run educational programs and scholarship opportunities; simultaneously facilitating a rich cultural exchange, and deepening the understanding of Palestinian refugees. It provides a space in which ideas, goals and aspirations can be nurtured to their full potential. Learn more...

PROJECT SHINE - Summer Help IN English
The SHINE project is a summer intensive English program.  LEAP recruits volunteers to teach English and extracurricular activities, while living and working in the refugee camps of Lebanon. In turn, our volunteers learn about the Palestinian refugee reality in general, but particularly in Lebanon where the situation for Palestinian refugees is particularly dire, especially in recent years due to the Syrian refugee crisis.  Volunteers and students share a mutual learning experience.  Upon return to their home communities, volunteers are expected to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinian refugees and amplify the voices of refugees through report-backs, information sessions, and other community events.

In addition to the remedial English classes, SHINE offers students weekly field trips and recreational activities to encourage physical and emotional growth at a pivotal stage in students’ lives.  Some of these activities include yoga, debke (a Palestinian folkloric dance), theater, social media, film, photography, poetry, and creative writing.

Only one third of refugee-students enrolled in first grade at UNRWA schools go on to complete their high school education.  One major factor contributing to high dropout rates is failure to pass the Lebanese Brevet high-school entrance examination.  The exam is administered in English and Palestinian refugee students exhibit high failure rates in marked contrast to their Lebanese counterparts simply because they are not proficient in English. 

Project SHINE provides a summer session in remedial English in order to prepare students for the Brevet examination, strengthen their English proficiency, and provide a space for intellectual and recreational activities to change the routine of camp life during the summer and nurture children’s intellectual curiosity and growth.

LEAP seeks dynamic, compassionate, and motivated volunteers who enjoy working with young adults; value the right to quality education for all people; believe in refugee-rights; have a passion for social justice; maintain respect and diplomacy in their interactions with people of different backgrounds; and are capable of working under challenging circumstances.

Volunteers must be prepared to work in small classrooms with sporadic or scarce electricity, extreme heat, and limited resources. Volunteers must also be able to endure difficult living conditions such as cramped and uncomfortable apartments, as well as extreme heat and discomfort. Most importantly, LEAP volunteers must be culturally sensitive and carry themselves in a mature, appropriate, and respectful manner at all times during the program.

We strongly encourage interested applicants to apply. This is a unique opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the Palestinian refugee reality in Lebanon. The Program has consistently been described as a meaningful, unforgettable experience, for youth and volunteers alike, and we hope that you will join our team.

To apply to Project SHINE, please complete the online application before the deadline on 
13 February 2015 Apply today!

To learn more, support our projects and/or partner with us, please visit the LEAP website.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Call for papers: AIMS Workshop

AIMS Workshop on Linking Public Opinion and Political Action
May 30 – June 1, 2015

We invite applications for the 2015 AIMS annual workshop, “Linking Public Opinion and Political Action,” to be held May 30 - June 1, 2015 in Tunis, Tunisia.  The workshop aims to strengthen our understanding of the link between public opinion, elite behavior and outcomes. There is often a gap between public attitudes and political outcomes.  For instance, public opinion surveys show widespread support for democracy in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya, but this support has not translated into smooth transition processes toward democracy. Similar gaps are found with regard to service provision, foreign policy and other outcomes, and the distance between preferences and outcomes varies across time, between countries and sub-regionally.

There are several potential explanations for these gaps.  It may be that elites remain unaware of public sentiment even when relevant polls exist, or they distrust the information that reaches them. It may also be that some segments of the public are more relevant than others, and elites respond to their interests.  Or, potentially, that pressure from those with political connections or other competing interests overrides public concerns – at least in some places, at some times.

The workshop will bring together scholars and policymakers from North Africa and the US/Europe to examine the relationship between public opinion and government behavior and policymaking on a series of issues:  elections, democratization, social service delivery, cultural and religious policy, and foreign policy. The goal will be to examine the extent to which public opinion and elite behavior are congruent; to determine the reasons for convergence or divergence; to engage in theory-building regarding the relationship between public opinion and elite behavior; and, where possible, to offer suggestions about ways to narrow the gap between ordinary citizens and decision-makers.

The workshop will center around four interactive roundtables based on substantive areas of public concern and a fifth session that will summarize and outline conclusions.  Substantive panels are expected to focus, respectively, on governance and political accountability, social service delivery, cultural and religious policy, and foreign and security policy.  At each roundtable, panelists will reflect on and endeavor to explain the relationships between public opinion and ultimate outcomes in the thematic area under consideration. 

To facilitate this discussion, the co-organizers will circulate results of available public opinion polls regarding the topic at least one month before the meeting.  Prior to the conference, panelists will be asked to reflect on findings based on these data, or other survey data to which they may have access, and to assess their significance and impact in relation to key events and elite action, or inaction, in selected (or all) Maghrib countries.   These reflections and assessments will be summarized in memoranda that will be circulated in advance of the meeting and then briefly presented as a starting point for the discussion at each thematic roundtable.

The results of roundtable discussions will be transcribed and form the basis of five joint papers: one on each topic and a final paper that aims to summarize both Maghrib- or country-specific lessons learned and more generalizable analytical insights. These papers will be drafted by the co-organizers and panel chairs, circulated for comment and review among the participants on each panel, and then submitted for a special issue of JNAS.  

We invite scholars and policymakers who have worked on these issues from different perspectives (e.g., institutional, elite, public opinion/political behavior, and policymaking) to submit expressions of interest.  Please include your CV, a brief statement of interest that includes the substantive questions you would like to address, the theoretical perspective you bring to the table, and your approach to anticipating the link between public opinion, elite behavior and outcomes. Applications are due February 15th and can be submitted in English, French, or Arabic. Panelists will be selected by March 1st. Selected panelists will submit memoranda by May 1, 2015.

Please send submissions or inquiries to the conference organizers, Dr. Ellen Lust (ellen.lust@yale.edu) and Dr. Mark Tessler (tessler@umich.edu).

Friday, January 16, 2015

Call for Paper Proposals: Conference on Islam in Russia

October 15–16, 2015  •  Deadline to apply: February 1, 2015
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University invites submissions of paper proposals for an international conference on Islam in Russia.

Islam in Russia takes many forms, from the Tatars’ moderate EuroIslam to traditional Sufism in the Caucasus to the radicalized Salafi ideas found among a minority of young Muslims throughout the country. These different Muslim identities interact with a state that has in recent years come to be increasingly dominated by ethnic Russian and Orthodox Christian identities. At the same time, the strengthening of the Russian state has led it to increase its influence on Muslim religious practices and the everyday lives of Russian Muslims.

The Crimean crisis of 2014 has again highlighted the significance of Islam in contemporary Russia. The Russian government tried to mobilize state-supported Muslim organizations to sway Crimean Tatars to its side. This strategy was consistent with Moscow’s long-standing practice of co-opting religious groups by appointing a state-sanctioned representative. Since the time of Catherine the Great, Islamic authorities were expected to promote interpretations of Islam that supported the state. Needless to say, attempting to co-op believers into supporting a particular religious interpretation runs the risk of alienating those who disagree with the official interpretation. The resulting power struggles have played an important role in shaping Muslim identity in Russia in the post-Soviet period.

This conference will focus on what it means to be a Muslim in Russia today and how these meanings are reflected in Russian political life. Conference participants will examine the variety of Muslim identities in modern Russia and also consider the evolving role of Muslims in Russian history.

Suggested Themes
We are interested in papers from a range of disciplinary perspectives that address the history, evolution, and future of Muslim communities, cultures, and identities in Russia. We encourage papers that move beyond the description of particular populations or institutions and introduce analyses of the problems, paradoxes, contradictions, and challenges involved in thinking about Muslims in Russia.

The following themes are suggested as guides for the formulation of topics for paper proposals:

  • History of Muslims in Russia
  • Radical Islam in the Caucasus
  • Integrated Islam across Russia    
  • Islamic Society and the Russian State
  • Muslim Migrants across Russia

Papers will also be considered on any other themes relevant to the role of Islam and Muslim populations in Russia. Note that the working language of the conference is English: all papers must be submitted and presented in English.

Graduate Student Workshop
In addition to the conference, a smaller graduate student workshop will be held immediately prior to the conference. The workshop will allow graduate students pursuing research projects related to Islam in Russia to get feedback and suggestions for their work from both their peers and from senior scholars participating in the conference. Travel funding will be available for students attending from outside the Boston area.

Submitting a Proposal
Junior and senior scholars in the humanities and social sciences, as well as others working in relevant areas, are eligible to apply, irrespective of citizenship or country of residence. Proposals should be submitted via the conference website. Students applying to participate in the graduate student workshop should follow the same process as regular applicants, noting their graduate student status in the appropriate place on the online application form.

The deadline for submitting proposals is February 1, 2015. All materials must be submitted in English. Decisions will be announced by May 1, 2015. Presenters must submit their final conference papers by Sept 15, 2015. Selected papers will be considered for publication in a special issue of Problems of Post-Communism.

The Davis Center will cover presenters’ expenses for travel, lodging, and meals. A modest honorarium will also be provided (contingent on presenter’s eligibility to receive payment).

Project Organizers
Timothy Colton, Morris and Anna Feldberg Professor of Government and Russian Studies, Chair of the Government Department, Harvard University

Dmitry Gorenburg, Editor, Problems of Post-Communism, and Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

More Information
Please contact the Davis Center at 617-495-4037 or daviscenter@fas.harvard.edu with any questions about this event.

The conference and student workshop are made possible by the generous support of Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Call for Papers: Susman Grad Student Conference

Everyday Enchantments: Beyond Disenchantment’s Critical Horizon

The History Department’s 37th Annual Susman Graduate Student Conference Rutgers University
Friday, April 10, 2015

Keynote Speaker: This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Kate Keller. She is an Assistant Professor of History, African Studies, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College and the author of “Political Surveillance and Colonial Urban Rule: “Suspicious” Politics and Urban Space in Dakar, Senegal, 1918-1939” in French Historical Studies.

Disenchantment, beginning with Weber’s deployment of the term, has long been understood in the humanities and social sciences as a dialectical process linked to universalizing notions of modernity, rationalization, and enlightenment. This process of disenchantment moves toward rationalism and away from belief: as articulated by Talal Asad, it “implies a direct access to reality, a stripping away of myth, magic, and the sacred.” It is a process constituted by the interlinking projects that we have come to know as “modernity” (secularism, human rights, science and medicine, capitalism, etc.). More recently, however, disenchantment has also been seen as a project of (re)enchantment, a view in which the institutions of our “modern,” “secular” world are themselves enchanted, or were perhaps never disenchanted at all. This complication of the narrative of disenchantment creates new political and conceptual possibilities that compel us to reconsider our work as academics and to examine how we approach our historical subjects, and how imagination plays a role in our intellectual work.  

This conference sees the everyday as a crucial site for recuperating “enchantment” as a critical methodology, which leads to such questions as:

  • What role does enchantment play in the ways in which historical subjects move through their daily lives?

  • What ethical and political work can the lived experience of the everyday perform in the humanities and social sciences?

  • How can the everyday serve not only to counter grand metanarratives or universal theories, but as a site for the creation of theory itself—as a site from which we can critique the epistemologies and methodologies of our own scholarly work?

We invite graduate students from the humanities and social sciences to submit papers, panels, workshops and roundtables based in any time period or geographical location that are related, but by no means limited, to the following themes and subthemes:

1. The Ethical and Political Work of the Everyday: Environmental racism and disposable life, ecologies of space, the right to the city; histories of resistance;  histories and anthropologies of violence; popular and everyday cultures; politics of experience

2. (Dis)Enchanting Epistemologies/Methodologies: Critical approaches to temporality (break between modern and pre-modern); historicization and critique of popular/contemporary epistemologies and methodologies in the social sciences and the humanities;de-colonial knowledges; indigenous knowledges in the academy; archive and museum studies; geopolitics of knowledge

3. Mapping Bodies, Blurring Boundaries: Intersections of race, gender, and sexuality, trans and queer histories/methodologies; desire and affect; material culture and new materialism; critical geographies, mobilities and migration

4. Competing Universalisms : Histories of nationalism, secularism, human rights; politics, propaganda, and political culture; histories of capitalism, commerce, and global exchange, science and technology studies; cosmopolitanism

Proposals are due at 11:59 PM on Sunday March 1, 2015. Please submit all proposals by e-mail to the Susman planning committee at susmanconf@history.rutgers.edu.  Participants will be notified of acceptance by March 9th, and will be required to submit completed 10 page papers by April 3rd.

Individual paper proposals should include a 150-300-word abstract with paper title, and a CV with author contact information. The organizers of complete sessions should send in a single submission and abstracts, 200-word description of the session, and CVs with contact information for all participants. Please list any audio-visual requirements.

Call for Papers: CMENAS Graduate Student Symposium

Call for Papers

Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies
University of Michigan
Graduate Student Symposium

Abstract DUE:     February 1, 2015 (deadline extended)

The Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies (CMENAS) at the University of Michigan invites abstract submissions of no more than 300 words for its inaugural Graduate Student Symposium to be held April 9, 2015.  Papers must address the modern Middle East or North Africa in some way and be the product of graduate research, either at the MA or PhD level.

Panels will be organized into themes based on accepted papers.  Such themse may include, but are not limited to, (1) country-specific considerations, (2) gender and society, (3) visual or material culture, (4) postcolonial studies, and (5) literature. 

Abstracts, along with a short C.V. should be sent to the organizing committee at cmenas.graduate.student.symposium@umich.edu by February 1, 2015.

Final decisions will be announced via email before February 15, 2015.