Proliferating Entanglements: Matter and Meaning in the Middle East
In Meeting the Universe Halfway, Karen Barad develops the term “entanglement”, a concept that captures how “existence is not an individual affair. Individuals do not preexist their interactions; rather, individuals emerge through and as part of their entangled intra-relating”. That is, objects, events, ideas and agents are not separate entities with inherent properties, but phenomena that emerge from their mutual relations. Barad’s work not only seeks to transform the way we understand the world, it also strives to trace and make such intra-actions visible in an effort to reconfigure the relations that shape our world. In this conference, we seek to interrogate life, matter and meaning in the Middle East by way of these relations, and the entanglements that underpin them.
Entanglements between the legal, political, social, economic, and spatial take on a range of forms, conditioning not only the spectacular and momentous but also the ordinary and the everyday. They resonate across all aspects of life, shaping the articulation of identities, languages, arts, landscapes, not to mention politics within states, between states and globally. In this conference, we seek to unpack the nature of these connections, relations and encounters from an array of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. We are particularly keen to explore how the prism of entanglement may illuminate dynamics within, between and across the societies and polities of the Middle East.