Exploring and Contesting the (re)production of coloniality in the Middle East: Borders, Transnationalism, and Resistance
From the Napoleonic invasions to the European mandate system; from the Crusades to the current occupation of Palestine; from the founding of ARAMCO to the Iraq War, colonialism has had a deep and lasting impact on the political, economic, and social fabric of the Middle East. Even the modern demarcation of a ‘Middle East’ region has been shaped by colonial practice and knowledge production. But just as colonialism in the region has a long history, so too does decolonisation, expressed through social movements, states, institutions, intellectuals, and acts of everyday resistance and reimagination. With the global and historic calls for decolonisation, reparations, and justice increasingly being made and heard within the academy, this conference seeks to amplify and deepen the conversation on (de)coloniality within Middle East studies. We especially invite theoretical and empirical engagements on:
1) The historical role that colonialism and racism played in both producing and disrupting networks, geographies, imagined communities, trade, lingua-francas, and transnational/ transborder solidarities, identities, and ideologies in the Middle East (and beyond);
2) The role that borders and transnationalism play in shaping politics and society in the region today, brought into sharp focus via increased migrant and refugee movements; occupation; statelessness; transnational solidarities for justice; and the cross-border spread of authoritarian/ sectarian/ and racial repression;
3) Continuities of pre-colonial identities, communities, networks, and practices, that have remained resilient both within the region, and between the region and other parts of the world, despite the impact of colonialism and capitalism.
4) And finally, the conference seeks to build on the theme of the 2021 BRISMES conference: How does knowledge production uphold or contest coloniality in Middle East studies? How has contemporary scholarship evolved and changed to recognise the impact colonialism has had on the way the Middle East was/is studied, taught, and perceived, both within and outside of the Middle East region? To what extent have non-hegemonic narratives, methods, and theories, been afforded greater prominence in Middle East studies? How truly global is the knowledge exchange in Middle East studies, or will a resurgence of nationalism and restrictions on scholarly mobility have a lasting impact on the nature of knowledge production in Middle East studies?