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The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (popularly known as BRISMES) was established in 1973 to encourage and promote the study of the Middle East in the United Kingdom.  We are the UK's premier Middle East Studies association.  We bring together teachers, researchers, students, diplomats, journalists and others who deal professionally with the Middle East. 

At the national level the Society pursues a concerted strategy by impressing on national, governmental and university bodies the importance of safeguarding and expanding Middle Eastern studies.  Our links overseas make the Society the foremost channel through which scholars outside Britain may create co-opeerative links with UK-based researchers.

We publish the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies which our members receive as part of the membership package.  We organise public lectures, and our Annual Conference attracts speakers and delegates from all over the world and is often the largest gathering of Middle Eastern scholars in the UK. 





The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) has not endorsed the academic boycott of Israeli Institutions as advocated by BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions).

There was an indicative vote of the membership held at the Annual General Meeting. The majority of those attending voted in favour of the boycott. This vote is not binding on the Society.

The Society’s position on BDS remains that which was endorsed at the 2015 Annual General meeting:

‘Mindful of current developments in the Middle East and North Africa, which have created an atmosphere of almost unprecedented uncertainty about the future of the region; and recognising the variety of deeply-held views on the part of BRISMES members and others on the political and ethical issues involved; BRISMES takes this opportunity to:

—reaffirm the non-political nature of the Society and the commitment enshrined in the Society’s Constitution to encourage cooperation among persons and organisations concerned with the scholarly study of the region;

—reaffirm the right of BRISMES members and others to engage in open and transparent discussion of all relevant issues, including those related to BDS, in an atmosphere free from intimidation and censorship;

—confirm that the BRISMES annual conference continues to represent an appropriate forum for such discussions;

—deplore all measures, on the part of whatever authority, that restrict legitimate academic activity and/or hinder academic cooperation between researchers within and outside the region;

—commit to organising discussions at the BRISMES Annual Conference or other appropriate fora and provide a platform for debating BDS.


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BRISMES Annual Conference 2019

Joining the Dots: 
Interdisciplinarity in Middle East Studies
University of Leeds | 24-26 June 2019

Delegates to this year's annual conference heard 
two brilliant keynote addresses by
Mona Harb and Salman Sayyid to look forward to! 
See here for their keynote titles & abstracts.


For BRISMES statements on various infringements to academic freedom, please see here.   

Research for Giulio Regeni

On 10-11 May 2018, BRISMES representatives Professor Paul Starkey and Dr Alam Saleh attended an international initiative organised by SeSaMO, BRISMES and ASAI, with the sponsorship of EURAMES.  The event was held at the universities of Messina and Catania.  The Study Days focused on the present-day political and cultural situation in Egypt, on media coverage of the Regeni case, on Italo-Egyptian relations and on the peculuar nature of Area Studies fieldwork.  It is hoped that the papers presented will be published.

Further information.

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  Speaking of jihad, what do we mean by 'religious

   Joint Annual Lecture with BRAIS


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  Shari'a, dissection and justice in modern Egypt   

   Professor Khaled Fahmy, University of Cambridge


We are very pleased to announce that a text of both lectures will appear in the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies in due course.  

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Middle East Careers

Podcast of the event

Arabic Mapping Project

On 25 May 2018, the British Academy launched a pilot for a project aiming to map foreign language teaching and research in the UK education sector.

Starting with Arabic, the interactive map shows teaching provision, capacity and pathways of the language, from secondary school to postdoctoral research on the culture and history of the Arabophone world.

2017 Information Pack 

 Header Globe Image Credit: 'The Middle East', © Richard Clifford via Flickr.