Seven Hills Conference Center and Towers Conference Center
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132
October 16-17, 2009
General Objectives: San Francisco State University's Middle East and Islamic Studies (MEIS) program invites proposals for participation in a second annual California State University (CSU) conference on Middle East and Islamic Studies to be held on the campus of San Francisco State University. The conference is intended as a successor to the CSU Fresno conference on "Teaching about the Middle East in the 21st century" held in October of 2008. The main objective of the 2009 conference is to bring scholars in the field of Middle East and Islamic Studies, broadly defined to include North Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, and Islamic civilizations and communities more generally, to share and collaborate in their research interests (i.e. by working on edited collections, collective grant proposals, or future conference panels and workshops, for instance for MESA), as well as working on ways-electronically and otherwise-to disseminate teaching ideas. With this in mind, the conference format will be workshops designed to facilitate collaborative work and the building of formal or informal research teams. Each workshop will have approximately 10 participants. Workshop participants will present papers within the workshop format. The conference will thus hold six different and concurrent workshops (see below) on a number of different topics on October 16-17, 2009. Each set of workshop participants will meet for a day and a half to produce a draft for a particular collective project (course syllabi, grant proposals, proposals for edited collections, panel proposals, thematic journal proposals, etc). Proposals are welcome from faculty, advanced graduate students, and independent scholars both within and outside the CSU system. Applicants are asked to send a statement with their area of expertise and what they could substantively contribute to such a workshop. Applicants are encouraged and welcome to gear their proposals directly toward a particular workshop and avoid sending multiple copies of the same proposal to different workshop coordinators. The deadline for the submission of the proposal is May 1, 2009.
Workshop I: About That Other Middle East (The Non-Muslim One)
Contact Person: Prof. Carel Bertram, San Francisco State University
Description: Turn the clock back 100 years or more and today's nation states of the Middle East (writ large), which are almost all major players in today's world, had completely different demographics. Although indisputably influenced (but go ahead and dispute it by showing how it works the other way) by Islamic culture, communities of Zoroastrians, Jews and Greek Orthodox, Assyrian and Armenian Christians have at various periods been major, even dominant demographic and cultural elements from Sa'na to Samarqand since the advent of Islam. And before. Thus, the topic of this workshop is the history, role and stories of the individual confessional communities that contradict the image of the Middle East as coterminous with the world of Islam. Can this story be told without a sole rhetoric of "resistance to the Arab and Islamic onslaught" [Mordechai Nisan,] or can we speak of how memory of a shared past is made inclusionary or exclusionary [Lewis]? Our goal is to find a resilient frame for this topic and to present it accurately in its historic and contemporary, thematic and lived diversity. We welcome work that explores historical or contemporary communities, their strategies in relating to power, including maintaining a sense of cohesion and identity through linguistic, geographic, religious or other cultural means. Each strategy and each interaction with the majority or ruling culture has its immediate and long-term consequences as well. Thus, papers might follow specific groups as they move into new cultural conditions. This includes, for example, Copts in Egypt in or over various periods; the position of Mizrachi, Sepharidic and even Ashkenazi Jews in their historic Middle Eastern homelands or in their exilic communities outside the Middle East or in Israel; the position of former Ottoman millets, especially Ottoman Greeks and Armenians in the new Turkey or other former Ottoman lands, and even the relationship of exilic communities, those who have left the Middle East, as they gaze back at their former/ancestral homes in terms of politics or identity.
Objectives: To discuss our different approaches to this common theme, identify areas of sensitivity and lacunae and have real and helpful conversations about how we can best serve the field here. There are several possible outcomes of this workshop, including an edited volume/journal on this "other Middle East" and/or, a documentary film for teaching purposes, using our combined sources and resources. This is not a closed objective; participants may offer or brainstorm new ones, but participants will commit to a final product.
Abstract Submission Guidelines and Deadline: The applicants must submit a one-page (or clear and succinct) proposal, in which they describe (1) the subject of their study; (2) the type of research they have done to support it; (3). (even if it seems obvious) how their work fits in with the topic "The Other Middle East: individual confessional communities that belie the Middle East as coterminous with the world of Islam"; and (4) whether they prefer collaborating on an edited volume/special journal issue or an educational film. Please email with subject: MEIS WORKSHOP PROPOSAL by May 1, 2009 to firstname.lastname@example.org [Carel Berttram, Associate Professor, Department of Humanities, SFSU] Dr. Bertram will acknowledge receipt, so if you do not get an acknowledgement, please write again. Applicants will be notified of the decision of the program committee by June 1, 2009. Full paper deadline and details to be advised after acceptance.
Workshop II: Iran: Thirty Years after the Revolution
Contact Person: Prof. Sasan Fayazmanesh, CSU-Fresno
Description: 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. The revolution changed Iran politically, transforming it from a monarchy to an Islamic Republic. Hence, the 1979 revolution is also referred to as the "Islamic Revolution." The political transformation, however, has not been the only outcome of the revolution. The revolution has had profound effects in different arenas, both inside and outside of Iran.
Internally, the revolution influenced economic relations in Iran. It reconfigured class structure, changed the labor laws and the direction of the labor movement in Iran. It also affected Iran's economic performance, including the rate of growth of gross domestic products, foreign direct investment, capital outlays in different sectors of the economy-particularly the oil sector-unemployment rate, rate of inflation, and exchange rate. In addition, the revolution has had a profound effect on the role or status of distinct and identifiable groups within the society, including women, students, and minorities. Moreover, the revolution has influenced art, literature, culture, science and technology in Iran. Despite many difficulties and barriers, the Iranian film industry has thrived, scientific endeavors have flourished and technological advancements were made in certain sectors of the economy.
Externally, the Iranian revolution has drastically changed the relationship between Iran and other countries. A closer relation has developed between Iran and some members of the Non-Aligned Movement. However, Iran's relation with the United States, Israel and some European countries has deteriorated considerably. Moreover, Iran has been under numerous unilateral sanctions by the US since 1979. In the past few years it has also come under some unilateral sanctions by the European countries. In addition, three multilateral sanction resolutions have been imposed by the United Nations on Iran since 2006. These sanctions have affected both Iran's economy and the economies of various countries, particularly those that have targeted Iran.
Objectives: The purpose of this workshop is to produce an edited volume on Iran, tentatively titled Iran: Thirty Years after the Revolution. If the applicant's proposal is accepted, s/he is required to present a rough draft (25-30 pages) of the paper to the members of this workshop and exchange her/his views with other participants by September 16, 2009. The workshop's coordinator will review the papers and will return them to the presenters for submission of the final, revised copy on February 15, 2010. Upon the compilation of all the papers, the edited volume will be submitted for publication.
Abstract Submission Guidelines and Deadline: The applicants must submit a 300-word proposal, in which they describe their project's working title and thesis statement, to Professor Sasan Fayazmanesh, Department of Economics, California State University, Fresno, 5245 North Backer Ave M/S 20, Fresno, CA 93740-8001 (telephone 559-278-2672, email: email@example.com) by May 1, 2009. Applicants will be notified of the decision of the program committee by June 1, 2009.
Workshop III: Teaching the Middle East through the Humanities: Representing the Region through Literature, Art and Film
Contact Person: Prof. Persis M. Karim, San Jose State University
Description: Because many US-based college students have little or no exposure to the Middle East, the arts and humanities provides an excellent opening to engage students in the field and in the region as a whole. Organized by Professor Persis Karim (San Jose State University), this workshop will bring together scholars of Art, Literature and the Film to introduce strategies for teaching the Middle East through the Humanities. The workshop participants will be asked to discuss some of their teaching successes and will offer practical tools/suggestions for how to select materials for a college-level audience, and to look at the ways that the representations of art and culture can awaken a curiosity about the region as whole. Some possible workshop topic might include: "Teaching Arab novels in Translation"; "Teaching the History of Colonialism in the Region through Literature"; "Contemporary Film and Culture from the Middle East"; "Using Documentaries to Introduce the Region"; "How to Introduce Islam Using Film and Art"; "Countering US Media Images of the Middle East by Using Art and Film in the Classroom"; "Using Al-Jazeera and other Middle East Media Sources to Teach the Middle East"; "Music and Art in the Teaching of the Middle East," and "Using Diaspora Literature of Iran and the Arab World to Open the Doors of Learning to Middle Eastern Studies.
Objectives: The objectives of this workshop are to assist scholars and professors to share innovative and thoughtful ways to introduce the region and its culture into a multi-disciplinary university classroom Sample syllabi, examples of texts and films, and other materials will be presented at the workshop. One objective of the workshop is to develop website resources that can be used by MEIS to disseminate information and can serve as a resource for college and university professors interested in using humanities sources in their classrooms. In addition to developing sample syllabi, workshop participants will be encouraged to write testimonials and articles that address the particular challenges of teaching Middle Eastern Studies to U.S.-based university students. A further objective of this workshop is to propose a similar MESA-sponsored workshop at its annual conference.
Abstract Submission and Guidelines Deadline: Please submit a 300-word electronic (including a draft sample syllabus and possible teaching materials) abstract for your presentation by May 1, 2009 to Persis M. Karim, (firstname.lastname@example.org), Department of English and Comparative Literature, an Jose State University/1 Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192/(408) 924-4476. Applicants will be notified of the decision of the program committee by June 1, 2009.
Workshop IV: Islam in Mughal Historiography
Contact Person: Prof. Santhi Kavuri-Bauer, San Francisco State University
Description: The Mughal Empire has always captured the imagination of people the world over. Their architectural monuments are matchless, as are the music, art and poetry they patronized. The Mughal Empire is also a source of great pride among Indians as marking a period when their country was strong and the envy of the world. To contend with this strong memory, the British rulers sought to reduce the entire Mughal Empire to the policies of Akbar, an atypical Muslim ruler who sought to combine Hindu and Muslim beliefs. Akbar's Din-i Ilahi, or Divine Faith, has served as the template for every Indian government seeking to unite Hindus and Muslims under one rule. After the British, Indian secularists adopted the same narrative tropes of the Mughals and modeled their own power on their conciliatory policies.
Most general histories of the Mughal Empire written after Independence gave short shrift to the role of religion in Mughal policies and social and cultural practices. Too often the Islamic faith of the emperors and their nobles is reduced to certain isolated events such as the building of a mosque or a shrine, or a visit to a Sufi pilgrimage site. Alternatively, the heterodox policies of Akbar come to overdetermine the constantly shifting religious allegiances of the Mughal rulers.
Due to the secular academic orientation of some scholars of modern Indian history and the popular representations of the media, the Mughals' Islamic faith and practices are often downplayed in favor of their more conciliatory religious projects. This imbalance calls for a new dialogue among scholars of Mughal India regarding the constitutive position of Islam in the Mughal Empire.
Objectives: This workshop seeks to initiate such a dialogue, produce critical questions and propose new directions of research. Each participant is expected to present a six to ten-page paper outlining a strategy for properly assessing the place of Islam in Mughal history, or they are welcome to present research already conducted on this subject.
Abstract Submission and Guidelines Deadline: Applicants should submit a 200-word abstract of their project to Santhi Kavuri-Bauer, Art Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121 or e-mail it to email@example.com. The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2009.
Workshop V: Human Rights in the Middle East and the Muslim World
Contact Person: Prof. Mahmood Monshipouri, San Francisco State University
Description: There is relatively little prospect of eliminating all obstacles to protecting human rights in the twenty-first century. Applying universal human rights standards to the Middle East and Asia is far from simple. One of the most daunting tasks facing the international human rights community is how a commitment to the full range of human rights is possible given the Middle Eastern and Asian countries' unequal economic and political circumstances and priorities. The human rights movement must come to grips with the question of how best to improve human rights in the Muslim world given the realities and dynamics of the state system of international relations. Global standards must be enforced while taking into account the complexity and diversity of security considerations as well as socioeconomic and cultural contexts. This workshop blends thematic, historical, and contemporary issues of human rights in the Middle East and Asia. It consists of three parts:
Part I: Framing the Human Rights Discourse in the Middle East: (women, minorities, political economy, theology, Islamism, secularism). This part is thematic and focuses on how the dominant discourses and issues of human rights in the Middle East are framed.
Part II: The Regional and Case Studies (the Arab world, Central Asia, Iran, and Turkey). This section examines human rights within local, national, and regional contexts. By contextualizing human rights issues, a comparative study would emerge denoting marked differences and stark similarities in the region.
Part III: Tools and Strategies (Collective action, legal empowerment, advocacy, and social movements). This section examines the ways in which human rights issues can be better protected. Strategies, such as protests, demonstration, participation, boycotts, communications, and the like are assessed and promoted.
Objectives: The purpose of this workshop is to produce an edited volume on the subject. If the applicant's proposal is accepted, s/he is required to present a rough draft (25-30 pages) of the paper to the members of this workshop and exchanged her/his views with other participants by September 16, 2009. The workshop's coordinator will review the papers and will return them to the presenters for the submission of the final, revised copy by February 15, 2010. Upon the compilation of all the papers, the edited volume will be submitted for the publication.
Abstract Submission Guidelines and Deadline: The applicants must submit a 300-word electronic, in which they describe their project's working title and thesis statement, to Professor Mahmood Monshipouri, firstname.lastname@example.org., Department of International Relations, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA, 94132 by May 1, 2009. Applicants will be notified of the decision of the program committee by June 1, 2009.
Workshop VI: State-Society Relations in North Africa, the Middle East, and Muslim Asia
Contact Person: Prof. Nicole Watts, San Francisco State University
Description: Like no other state in history, the modern state seeks to transform society into an image of its own making and to harness its citizens' productive power for its own benefit. States in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia have, like those all over the world, attempted this feat, with varying degrees of success and failure. This workshop examines state efforts to dominate society in these areas and the myriad ways that social groups have resisted, assisted, and otherwise modified state rule. A main point of the workshop is to move away from persistent popular and academic images of the state as a monolithic institution ruling over a pliant and largely helpless society, and towards more sophisticated understandings of the ways that states (and parts of states) and societies (and parts of them) affect each other around the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.
Objectives: In particular, the workshop will seek to "disaggregate" the state and explore how different parts and levels of the state may work in opposition to one another (as well as in a coordinated fashion), and how different social groups interact both in conflict and cooperation with state institutions to affect policy outcomes in predictable and unpredictable ways. Examples might be activists' use of the courts to challenge regimes (even in authoritarian contexts), how different administrative levels of a bureaucracy might work in different ways (thus producing unexpected policy outcomes), how alliances between social movement actors and parts of states might re-shape local norms or change political dynamics, etc . Potential participants should note that the topic is grounded in theoretically diverse but topically linked studies on state-society relations by scholars such as Joel Migdal, Rogers Brubaker, Timothy Mitchell, and others. These theorists will be used to inform our discussion but are by no means exclusive.
Abstract Submission Guidelines and Deadline: Applicants are asked to submit a succinct proposal statement of approximately 600-900 words. The proposal should contain: (1) the subject of their study; (2) the type of research done to support it; (3) how your work fits in with the workshop topic "State Society Relations" (even if it seems obvious) and any particular theorists you use to inform your work; (4) your interest in working on any of the following: an edited volume, a grant proposal, a thematic journal proposal, course syllabi, or an educational documentary film. Other suggestions for collaborative work are also welcome. For inquiries and to submit proposals, please email with subject: MEIS WORKSHOP PROPOSAL by May 1, 2009 to email@example.com (Asst. Professor Nicole Watts, Department of Political Science, SFSU). Prof. Watts will acknowledge receipt, so if you do not get an acknowledgement, please write again. Please do NOT submit hard-copy proposals. Applicants will be notified of the decision of the program committee by June 1, 2009.
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