Graphic version of this page


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. ...Read more



  • Paul Starkey receives the BRISMES Award for Services to Middle Eastern Studies PStarkey resize

We are delighted to share the news that the recipient of the BRISMES Award for Services to Middle Eastern Studies this year is Professor Paul Starkey. He is one of the most distinguished scholars of Modern Arabic literature and his work has been foundational to the field and his many publications have hugely enhanced our understanding and love of this field. His book, Modern Arabic Literature, has been a key text in degree courses across the country, if not the world. He is internationally recognised for his translations of Arabic novels, which have opened up the rich and dynamic field of Arabic literature to non-Arabic speaking audiences and is known for translating ‘unknown’ or ‘controversial’ authors who, with time, have become reference points for other authors and movements. He has an unrivalled breadth of knowledge of Arabic literature and he continues to promote the field and especially its teaching and broader accessibility through his translations. He is also a warm and generous person who has been supportive of the next generation of scholars.

Paul has dedicated a huge amount of time and effort to BRISMES and is one of the longest serving members of BRISMES Council. He served as Vice President of BRISMES from 2012 to 2018 and, as outgoing Vice President, continued as a member of Council until 2020. One of Paul’s most important legacies is the BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom, which was established in 2019. He played a central role in setting up the committee and he continues to be a very active member.

Read the speech by outgoing BRISMES Vice-President, Nicola Pratt, given on presentation of the award to Paul Starkey at the 2021 BRISMES Annual General Meeting.
- 21 July 2021

  • Letter to Egyptian President on the arrest and interrogation of Dr Alia Mossallam

On 15 July 2021, the BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom sent a letter to the Egyptian President to express our deep concern about the arrest and interrogation of our respected academic colleague Dr Alia Mossallam, an EUME (Europe in Nahen Osten) Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin, Germany. In the letter we request that all charges brought against Dr Mossallam be dropped, and that she be allowed to travel freely to Germany to resume her post-doctoral fellowship at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin.
- 15 July 2021

  • Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize 2021 - Winners Announced

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize for the best PhD dissertation on a Middle Eastern topic in the Social Sciences or Humanities awarded by a British University in the previous calendar year. 

Joint Winners:

Hannah Elsisi Ashmawi
Mu'taqal Machine: Power, Gender and Identity in Egypt’s Political Prisons, 1948-1981
(Merton College, University of Oxford)

Mattin Biglari
Refining Knowledge: Expertise, Labour and Everyday Life in the Iranian Oil Industry, c.1933-51
(SOAS University of London)


Valentina Zagaria  
‘Burning’ borders: Migration, death and dignity in a Tunisian coastal town
(London School of Economics and Political Science)

Honourable Mention:

Haya Al-Noaimi
The ‘Protectors of our Nation’: constructing masculinities between protection and in/security in Qatar and the UAE
(SOAS University of London)

Congratulations to our prize winners and thank you to everyone who submitted their dissertations for consideration. Read more about the prize and the winning dissertations here.

- 14 July 2021

  • Letter to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

On 9 June 2021, the BRISMES Committee on Aacdemic Freedom sent a letter to Professor Chamovitz, President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, expressing our deep concerns about the events that took place on 11 May 2021 on and near the University campus in Beer Shava. These events, as detailed in the letter, appear to demonstrate a hostile and discriminatory environment for Palestinian and Arab students, and that on 11th May the University was unable and/or unwilling to provide them with safety and security.
- 9 June 2021

  • Letter to the UK Minister of State for Universities

On 26 May 2021, the BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom sent a letter to Michelle Donelan MP, the Minister of State for Univesties, to express deep concerns about comments that were made during the Education Select Committee on 27 April 2021, regarding the IHRA definition of antisemitism and the autonomy of universities. The letter urges the Minister to reconsider the Government’s policy of imposing the IHRA definition of antisemitism onto universities and to make clear their full and unequivocal support for academic freedom and the autonomy of universities.
- 27 May 2021

  • Statement from BRISMES Council on the latest escalation in Israel/Palestine

BRISMES views with grave concern the latest escalation in Israel/Palestine, noting that yet again Palestinians are paying a disproportionate price. As educators, we are acutely aware of the long history of Palestinian dispossession, and of the ways in which rounds of violence are predictable without a just and comprehensive peace. We would like to:

  1. Offer our solidarity to all members who are directly or indirectly affected by what is happening;
  2. Circulate this collective letter, in support of the dignity of Palestinians as a foundational principle of academic integrity, in case members would like to sign:;
  3. Remind members of the resolution passed at the BRISMES AGM of 2019, which expressed support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions that are complicit in occupation and settler colonialism: Read the resolution;
  4. Remind members that the 2020 BRISMES AGM resolved to establish BRISMES Campaigns Limited to advocate for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The public launch of BRISMES Campaigns will be held during the forthcoming BRISMES Annual Conference (7 July 2021, 3.15 – 5.15 pm). If you would like to be involved with BRISMES Campaigns, please email the Secretary, Dr Jamie Allinson, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

- BRISMES Council, 20 May 2021


If you need to contact BRISMES, please do so by emailing  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES)
71-75 Shelton Street
Covent Garden
London WC2H 9JQ

facebook  twitter

  The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies is a registered charity: 1161206 and a limited company: 08747770  | VAT Registration Number: 828 5681 90