Graphic version of this page

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. 



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.

Quran and stethoscope

Shari'a, dissection and justice in modern Egypt
2018 Annual Lecture
Professor Khaled Fahmy, University of Cambridge

17.30pm, Tuesday 20th November
Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS

This lecture describes the process of the introduction of modern medicine in early nineteenth-century Egypt. It describes how dissection was instituted as a central practice in the Qasr al-'Aini School of Medicine, Egypt's first institution of modern medicine founded in 1827. It charts how different segments of Egyptian society understood and reacted to this disturbing practice. It also follows the increasing reliance of a budding legal system on autopsies as a prime means to establish legal proof in criminal cases. As such, the lecture suggests how forensic medicine can be a lens through which we can study the implementation of shari'a in a modern state context. 

Khaled Fahmy is a historian of the modern Middle East, with a specialty in the social and cultural history of nineteenth-century Egypt. Born and raised in Egypt, Fahmy studied economics for his BA, and then political science for his MA, both degrees he received from the American University in Cairo (AUC). He then went to the University of Oxford where he wrote his DPhil dissertation on the history of the Egyptian army during the first half of the nineteenth century. After receiving his doctorate in 1993, Fahmy moved to the US where he worked first at Princeton University then at New York University. After seventeen years in the US, he returned to his home country in 2010, and joined his alma mater, AUC, as chair of the Department of History. In 2013, Fahmy returned to the US, this time as a visiting fellow at Columbia University, then as a visiting professor at Harvard University. He joined the University of Cambridge in 2017. His latest book, In Quest of Justice: Islamic law and Forensic Medicine in Modern Egypt, is due to be published by the University of California Press in November 2018.

Tickets are available to BRISMES members only until 30 September.

BRISMES Annual Conference 2018


We are delighted to announce that the call for papers for the 2018 annual conference is now available on the conference website.The conference will be held in collaboration with King's College Department of Middle Eastern Studies on 25 - 28 June with the theme 'New
Approaches to Studying the Middle East'. 

We are delighed that the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize shortlist was announced at the conference.  Details here.

Research for Giulio Regeni

10 - 11 May | University of Messina and University of Catania

This international initiative is organized by SeSaMO, BRISMES and ASAI with the sponsorship of EURAMES. The Study Days will focus on the present-day political and cultural situation in Egypt, on media coverage of the Regeni’s case, on Italo-Egyptian relations, and on the peculiar nature of Area Studies fieldwork.

BRISMES representatives speaking will be Professor Paul Starkey and Dr Alam Saleh.

Further information.

Speaking of jihad, what do we mean by 'religious radicalisation'?

Joint Annual Lecture with BRAIS

jihad shutterstock 267297464

We are very pleased to announce that a text of Professor Roy's lecture will appear in the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies in due course.  

Middle East Careers | Thursday, 8 November | University of Manchester


leeds careers event

BRISMES and the University of Manchester will be hosting a careers evening for students interested in or working on the Middle East.  There will a panel discussion with professionals from different sectors including academia, business and the diplomatic service, followed by a networking reception where students will have an opportunity to question the panellists informally.  More information shortly.

lse mec logo1

Middle East Careers

BRISMES and the LSE Middle East Centre recently hosted a careers evening for students interested in working in or on the Middle East. 

Podcast of the event

Recent BRISMES Actions

square logo

Read BRISMES' Urgent Call to show support for the Central European University in Hungary (April 2017) and statement on Trump's Executive Order on Immigration (January 2017).
BRISMES is now a signatory to the MESA Statement on academic freedom in Turkey (21 July 2016).
Read the text of BRISMES' message to President Al-Sisi regarding the death of Giulio Regeni (6 February 2016).
Read the text of BRISMES' message in support of colleagues in Turkey (19 January 2016). 


Peter Sluglett

We are saddened by the death of Peter Sluglett and offer our condolencies to his family.

 Leonard Lewisohn

We are sorry to announce the death of Leonard Lewisohn and offer our condolences to his colleagues, friends and family.

 2017 Information Pack 

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