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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. 



Letter from BRISMES to Durham University

Read BRISMES' letter to Durham University VC, protesting the ending of administrative services to BRISMES. 

18 December 2019

Call for expressions of interest to host future BRISMES Annual Conferences 

We are seeking statements of interest for serving as the Host for the annual BRISMES conference in June of 2021 or 2022. The BRISMES conference aims to foster dialogue between scholars, practitioners and activists concerned with the region from all disciplines and all approaches. We seek expressions of interest from groups, departments and/or organisations throughout the United Kingdom. The Conference Host is a group or organisation which serves as a liaison to BRISMES, assisting in the identification of the conference theme and keynote speakers, conference spaces, accommodation, catering and reception options and sponsorships, as well as in creating a programme committee.

Further details on the Call and how to submit expressions of interest are available here

The deadline to submit expressions of interest is 21 February 2020, midnight UK time, and should be sent to Nicola Pratt via the BRISMES administrator: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Short-listed applications will be contacted by the end of March 2020 and site visits carried out by BRISMES officers and staff in summer 2020.

Call for Associate Editor - British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies

The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (BJMES) is looking for an associate editor who specialises in Iranian Studies. Knowledge of Persian is essential. The job involves assigning referees for articles related to the wider Persianate world and usually in the field of politics, but also on history, art and literature. Once the reviewer reports have been received the associate editor then makes a decision on whether to publish, to request major/minor revisions, or to reject.
The average amount of time spent on the process is about five hours per week. But on occasions when the number of submissions rises this may increase.
Please apply in the first instance to Dr Lloyd Ridgeon ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), Editor of BJMES, by 31 January 2020.

Iranian Internet Shutdown 

The Iranian state has shut down internet access in response to widespread unrest following a recent hike in gas prices. The shutdown is now over 5 days old and it is unclear when restrictions will be lifted. There are concerns that the ban on internet access will adversely impact admissions prospects for Iranian students applying for universities abroad. Specifically, these students may miss application deadlines and have difficulty sending application fees. This is likely to affect a large number of talented applicants hoping to study at North American and European universities, including many who wish to study the Middle East. BRISMES calls on academic institutions to make special accommodations for Iranian applicants for the duration of the ban. These accommodations could include extensions on application deadlines, waivers of application fees and accepting paper applications in lieu of online submission.

22 November 2019

Statement from the BRISMES Council

At the BRISMES annual general meeting of 24 June 2019, held in conjunction with the BRISMES annual conference at the University of Leeds, a large majority of BRISMES members in attendance voted to support a resolution to boycott Israeli universities, which have been complicit in the denial of the basic rights of Palestinian academics and students. A full text of the resolution can be found here. Further information about the boycott of Israeli universties can be found here

The BRISMES Council is currently studying how it can respect the views of the BRISMES membership and implement the resolution, whilst adhering to the BRISMES Constitution and abiding by UK Charity Law. The Council aims to present its recommendations to the 2020 AGM (to be held in conjunction with the annual conference at the University of Kent).

20 November 2019

Listen to the BRISMES Annual Lecture 

You can listen to a recording of Professor Laleh Khalili's lecture 'The Corporeal Life of Commerce at Sea' here


For BRISMES statements on 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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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.