Middle Eastern Studies under the spotlight

The Fourth World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

By Victoria Khroundina | January 3, 2014


The Fourth World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES), touted as ‘the most important global event in Middle Eastern studies in 2014’ will take place at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara between August 18th and 22nd, 2014. Organised in collaboration between the METU and the Turkish Social Sciences Association, WOCMES seeks to address questions and explore topics on the Middle East to ultimately be able to exchange new ideas, and strengthen and build regional and global networks for joint research. Scholars, researchers, teachers, students, professionals and other groups interested in studies on North Africa, the Middle East, Muslim states of Central Asia and other regions of the world which are affected by affairs in these areas are invited to submit proposals for panels, roundtable discussions, papers, posters, or the cultural and artistic programme.

The principal themes explored at every WOCMES include the Ancient Middle East, Historical Approaches, Islam in the Past and Present, Christian and Biblical Studies, Urban Studies, Water and the Environment, Economics, Politics, Women and Gender Studies, Normative Phenomena and Legal Research, Migration Studies, Media and Cultural Studies, Linguistics and Literature, and Nationality, Identities and Ethnicity. The list of disciplines this encompasses is long – click here to access it.

Organised every four years (the previous three WOCMES took place in Mainz in 2002, Amman in 2006 and Barcelona in 2010), the Congress’ organisers are looking forward to this year’s location: Ankara. ‘Ankara will undoubtedly be an exciting setting to meet and discuss Middle Eastern Studies. Turkey has always been a significant centre in the Mediterranean and the Arab-Islamic world for obvious reasons,’ says the statement on the WOCMES website. In addition, the Congress will provide a great opportunity for participants to visit and discover the city, which usually plays second fiddle to the more dynamic and sought-after Istanbul.

A few other factors make this year’s Congress exciting: it will be taking place at a time during which significant political and economic changes have been witnessed in the region. Also, culture and artistic disciplines will be placed under the spotlight thanks to a variety of exhibitions, a film festival with roundtable discussions, and a book fair attended by booksellers, publishers and authors being added to this year’s rich programme. 

The deadline for proposals, which must be submitted in either English or French, has been extended until January 31. The website has detailed information on submission guidelines. Click here to submit an abstract for your proposal. The accepted proposals will be announced on February 15. Early bird registration closes on March 15 and latest registration is by June 1. Click here to register.

Image shows ‘The Tree of Science’ at the entrance to the METU. Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

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