Statement of Purpose
Founded in 1973, BRISMES provides a forum for educators and researchers in Middle East Studies. Membership is open to all regardless of nationality or country of residence. We work to promote interest in Middle East Studies and to raise awareness of the region and how it is connected to other parts of the world, including the UK. Middle East Studies is a diverse field, which encompasses all the humanities and social sciences and reaches from the present back to classical antiquity.
The long history of our field of study has made us particularly aware of the connections between knowledge and power. We see connections between research, education, teaching and fundamental questions of social change. We do not believe that research and education should be divorced from the wider social and political context nor that it should exist to serve elites. We believe that a commitment to promote research and education in Middle East Studies involves a duty to consider the conditions under which knowledge is produced and disseminated, and if necessary, to speak out against power structures and interests that prevent the flourishing of research and education in our field.
We currently have around 500 members drawn from all over the world and are governed by a Council of trustees elected from the membership. Since 1974, we have published the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies – now issuing 5 editions a year through Taylor & Francis – which is free to members. We offer funding and prizes to support and recognize the best research, to which all BRISMES members are eligible to apply. We also organise public annual lectures and the BRISMES Annual Conference, which draws participants from all over the world and attracts the latest research on all aspects of Middle East Studies in Britain and beyond. Members enjoy a reduced attendance rate here, too.