Outreach & Pedagogy Events

Upcoming Events

Thinking about the future at a time of Nakba reoccurring 

Date: Wednesday, 27 March 2024 

Time: 13:00-14:30 UK time 

Location: Online via Zoom

Past Events

The possibility of environmental justice during the ongoing Nakba: Agriculture, food, and infrastructures in Palestine

Date: Wednesday, 6 March 2024

As we watch in real time the annihilation of a people, human and non-human infrastructures, and the environment, we want to make space for reflecting together on the possibility for environmental justice and liberation - for a future in Palestine. In the spirit of solidarity, we engage in a conversation about agriculture, food politics, and the materiality of social organisation with scholars and practitioners. Agriculture as an activity connected to human and non-human survival will be discussed, along with the politics of food and its weaponization as an instrument of war. In parallel, the destruction of infrastructures is not only symbolic, but also has real consequences by making it difficult to imagine a future during a time when the Nakba is continuing to unfold but with even greater violence than ever before. Join us for a conversation about Palestine, the present and the future of environmental justice, and solidarity.


  • Dr Muna Dajani (LSE)
  • Dr.des Saad Amira (Al Quds Bard College, Palestine)
  • Akshaya Kumar (Human Rights Watch)

Chair: Dr Paola Rivetti (Dublin City University & BRISMES)

Roundtable | Terrorism, counter-terrorism, and the permissibility of violence

This roundtable was co-hosted by the BRISMES Outreach & Pedagogy Subcommittee and the BISA Critical Studies on Terrorism (CST) Working Group.

Date: Friday, 1 December 2023

The Critical Studies on Terrorism sub-discipline was created as a critical response to narratives of the Global War on Terror, to interrogate the ‘productions and constructions of terrorism’ and the violence that is perpetrated to counter it. In light of the current state and non-state violence, occurring in Gaza/Israel, we want to re-open this conversation and reflect on the discursive power of the category ‘terrorism’ and the violence it permits in response to it. Following the recent attack by Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation in several countries, unprecedented levels of state violence have been legitimised and justified - violence which the UN has warned runs the risk of constituting acts of ethnic cleansing. Internationally, a broad use of the term ‘terrorism’ is being used to curtail freedoms of speech, expressions of solidarity and the right to protest, confirming previous warnings by the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights. This roundtable discussion brings together scholars at this important moment for a conversation on the different framings of terrorism that permeate national and international discussion on Gaza and Israel.


  • Lisa Stampnitzky (Lecturer in Politics, University of Sheffield)
  • Sophie Haspeslagh (Lecturer in International Relations, Department of War Studies at King’s College London)
  • C. Heike Schotten (Professor of Political Science and affiliated faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston)
  • Somdeep Sen (Associate Professor, Roskilde University)
  • Layla Aitlhadj (Director and Senior Caseworker, Prevent Watch)
  • Akram Salhab (PhD student in Politics, Queen Mary University of London)

BRISMES Book Talk | Female Bodies and Sexuality in Iran and the Search for Defiance

Date: Wednesday, 25 October 2023

Outreach & Pedagogy

About the Book

This book uses storytelling as an analytical tool for following wider social attitude changes towards sex and female sexuality in Iran. Women born in 1950s Iran grew up during the peak of secularization and modernization, whereas those born in the 1980s were raised under the much stricter rules of the Islamic Republic. Using extensive ethnographic research, the author juxtaposes narratives of body and sexuality shared by these different generations of women, showing the intricate ways in which women construct and convey meanings and communicate their emotions about the unspoken aspects of their lives.


  • Nafiseh Sharifi (Independent Researcher in Gender Studies)
  • Rassa Ghaffari (Postdoctoral Researcher in Sociology, University of Genova)
  • K. Soraya Batmanghelichi (Associate Professor for the Study of Modern Iran at the University of Oslo)


  • Paola Rivetti (Associate Professor, Dublin University & Chair of BRISMES Outreach & Pedagogy Subcommittee)

The Effects of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism on Academic Freedom

Date: Thursday, 28 September 2023

As the controversial IHRA Definition of Antisemitism that conflates criticisms of Israel with antisemitism has been adopted by UK universities, a new report conducted by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES), the largest academic association in Europe focused on the study of the Middle East and North Africa, and the European Legal Support Center (ELSC), examines its consequences for academics and students. The report demonstrates that the definition is not fit for purpose and is infringing on academic freedom and freedom of speech, while also harming the mental health, reputation and career prospects of students and staff.


  • Akram Salhab (PhD Researcher, Queen Mary University of London)
  • Gabriel Frankel (Legal Officer in the UK, European Legal Support Center)
  • Hagit Borer (Professor of Linguistics, Queen Mary University of London)
  • Ben Jamal (Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign)


  • Paola Rivetti (Associate Professor, Dublin University & Chair of BRISMES Outreach & Pedagogy Subcommittee)

Remembering Sarah Hegazi: Queer Mourning and Militancy in the MENA

Date: Wednesday, 14 June 2023

On June 14th 2020, the Egyptian queer feminist communist activist Sarah Hegazi took her own life while living in exile in Canada. Hegazi was one of many subjected to the horrors of the moral panic launched by the Egyptian state in the aftermath of what has become known as the ‘rainbow flag incident’, which saw the targeting, arrest, and abuse of people identified as or suspected of being queer in Cairo after rainbow flags were waved at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in 2017.

This panel brings together queer feminist scholars and activists from the MENA to reflect on Hegazi’s political legacy, the weaponization of sexuality from above and below that has alienated and killed many like her, and the political potential of grief and mourning such as that made evident by the unprecedent outpouring of rage that followed her death. While much has been written and said about the structures that oppress queer people in the MENA, less attention has been paid to not only how they survive and resist, but how they imagine and enact alternative queer futures amidst vulnerability made ordinary, and the role that mourning can and has played in fuelling this utopian militancy.


  • Sara Mourad (Writer & Assistant Professor of Media Studies, American University of Beirut)
  • Ghiwa Sayegh (Writer, Publisher and Founding Editor, Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research)
  • Malak Elkashif (Journalist, Researcher & Executive Director, Transat MENA Organisation) 


  • Sophie Chamas (Lecturer in Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London & BRISMES Council Member) 
  • Sabiha Allouche (Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter & BRISMES Council Member)

The Question of Palestine in International Perspective
Neve Gordon in conversation with Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur

Date: Wednesday, 7 June 2023

Co-organised and hosted by the Race, Gender and Sexualities Research Group, and the Crime, Harm and Justice Research Group at the School of Law and Social Sciences at LSBU.

Francesca Albanese was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, by the Human Rights Council at its 49th session in March 2022 and has taken up her function as of 1 May 2022.

Neve Gordon is a Professor of International Law and Human Rights at Queen Mary, University of London, and the Vice-President of the British Society for Middle East Studies.

Earthquake in Turkey and Syria: Post-disaster state, international and bottom-up responses

Date: Thursday, 23 March 2023

This panel examines reactions to the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria by the Turkish and Syrian states, the international community, and the population with the goal of shedding light on the workings of hybrid sovereignties, borders, and solidarity, and the impact of liminality on everyday life. The trans-border nature of this disaster, indeed, also speaks to the question of human movement between Turkey and Syria, political violence, and responses to it.


  • Rana Khoury (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Devrim Umut Aslan (Lund University and BOYUT, Bogazici University International Community)

Rethinking the Empirical Reality of Statehood in the MENA Region

Date: Wednesday, 23 November

This panel examines how post-colonial states in the Middle East became a site of hybrid sovereignties, porous borders, identity politics, and liminality impacting everyday life. The legacy of European colonialism in the region is widely discussed vis-à-vis regime establishment and legal structure. However, the state operations posing a threat to ethnoreligious minorities, pursuing identity politics deepening sectarian disputes, coming short in its machinery to undertake public services, and affecting the geopolitics of the region have attracted little attention. The panel undertakes the objective to examine the margins of the state across the region to illustrate the concrete statehood (empirical) in antagonism with its abstraction (theoretical). The permanent state liminality that has marked the politics since the Arab uprisings in Tunisia; the divided state authorities and sectarian dynamics mediating a hybrid security provision at a national and local level in Lebanon; the everyday experience of the securitisation of the Kurdish identity before the ongoing civil war in Syria; and the cross-border life and activities among the Kurds in Iraq and in Iran are cases that the panel will discuss. Informed by ethnographic data collected from fieldwork in the region, the panel members draw attention to the empirical reality of statehood in the region affecting everyday life and to the role of particularity (empirical) in drawing the horizon of the politics in the contemporary MENA region.

Chair and Discussant

Dr Marianna Charountaki (University of Lincoln)

Titles of Presentations and Speakers

  • Nation-State at Its Margins: Kurds in Syria (Yunus Abakay, Doctoral Candidate, University of Exeter)
  • Mediating Security in a Sectarian State: Case Study of Lebanon (Vito Morisco, Doctoral Candidate, University of Exeter)
  • Has Cross-Border Activity Weakened the Kurdish Movement in Iran or Helped It to Survive? (Hemn Seyedi, Doctoral Candidate, University of Exeter)
  • A Decade After the Arab Uprisings: Liminality and Politics at the Margins of the Tunisian State (Ihsan Majdi, Doctoral Candidate, University of Exeter)

Contemporary Arabic Literature and Literary Translation

Date: Wednesday, 19 October 2022

This panel will discuss contemporary Arabic literature and literary translation published in the last dozen years, particularly following the onset of the ‘Arab Spring’. Distinguished international writers, translators and researchers within the Arabic literary (translation) field will discuss and reflect on recent developments as well as publishing trends and practices. The panel will situate these developments within the changing socio-cultural and political contexts of the Arab world and reflect on the extent to which these contexts and events have affected the production, distribution and reception of Arabic literature in translation.

The panel will also examine some of the recently published translated Arabic literature, survey its predominant contemporary narratives and showcase their own recent award-winning novels, plays and research projects. Additionally, the speakers will share their inspirations and motivations as well as discuss the social, cultural and political contexts informing their particular work. Panel members will also discuss their writing experience, the challenges they face and the reception of their work in the Arab and Western worlds. 

Chair: Dr Hanem El-Farahaty (Associate Professor of Arabic Translation and Interpreting, University of Leeds and BRISMES Council Member)

Discussant: Dr Abdel-Wahab Khalifa (Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting, Cardiff University) 


BRISMES-Balfour Project Event: Peace Advocacy Fellowship Presentation and Q&A

Date: Wednesday, 7 September 2022

This event, organised by BRISMES and the Balfour Project, was an opportunity for postgraduate students and final year undergraduate students, who were interested applying for the Balfour Project Peace Advocacy Fellowship, to meet the team, learn about the fellowship, and ask questions about it!

To find out more about the content and expectations for the 2022/23 Fellowship programme, please read the Balfour Project Call for Fellows. The Fellowship is open to final year undergraduate and postgraduate students based in the UK who are committed to the Balfour Project Approach. As a fellow, you will be given the opportunity to make a tangible contribution to the work of the Balfour Project by campaigning for peace on the basis of the charity’s approach within your academic institution and more generally.

Alaa Abd El-Fattah's You Have Not Yet Been Defeated

Date: Wednesday, 22 June 2022

About the book

Alaa Abd el-Fattah is arguably the most high-profile political prisoner in Egypt, if not the Arab world, rising to international prominence during the revolution of 2011. A fiercely independent thinker who fuses politics and technology in powerful prose, an activist whose ideas represent a global generation which has only known struggle against a failing system, a public intellectual with the rare courage to offer personal, painful honesty, Alaa’s written voice came to symbolize much of what was fresh, inspiring and revolutionary about the uprisings that have defined the last decade. Collected here for the first time in English are a selection of his essays, social media posts and interviews from 2011 until the present. He has spent the majority of those years in prison, where many of these pieces were written. Together, they present not only a unique account from the frontline of a decade of global upheaval, but a catalogue of ideas about other futures those upheavals could yet reveal. From theories on technology and history to profound reflections on the meaning of prison, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated is a book about the importance of ideas, whatever their cost.

Chair and discussant

  • John Chalcraft (London School of Economics) 


  • Nicola Pratt (University of Warwick)
  • Sherif Azer (University of York) 

Teaching Palestine in the Present

Date: Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Who writes Palestinian history, in the present, and down to the present? How is it written and practiced, in and outside Europe, and what for? How has what the Italian revolutionary and intellectual Antonio Gramsci called the ‘war of position’ (an organizational and cultural struggle in the ‘fortresses’ of civil society) been fought from above and below in schools and universities? What are the stakes of the struggle? Who is involved? This panel addresses these questions by examining factors such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, transnational Palestinian solidarity, university politics, the firing of academics, publishing, education, academic freedom, pro-Israeli groups and individuals, state power, and Zionism. We will aim to open up a wide-ranging discussion of how the ‘integral politics’ of Palestinian history are playing out amid contested forms of hegemony in the present, while considering how those in Middle East Studies can best intervene.

Chair: Teodora Todorova (Teaching Fellow in Sociology, University of Warwick / Chair, BRISMES Committee on Outreach and Pedagogy)

Discussant: Yara Hawari (Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network)


  • Nicola Pratt (Professor, International Politics of the Middle East, University of Warwick / BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom)
  • Tamara Ben-Halim (Co-Director and Founder of MAKAN)
  • Giovanni Fassina, (Programme Director, European Legal Support Centre - ELSC)
  • Martin Konečný (Director, European Middle East Project - EuMEP) 
  • John Chalcraft (Professor of Middle East History and Politics, London School of Economics / BRISMES Secretary / Director of BRISMES Campaigns). 

Critical approaches to foreign policy 

The BISA Foreign Policy Working Group hosted this joint event with BRISMES to debate Critical approaches to foreign policy. The event looks at foreign policy through different lenses. On the ontological level, it revisits foreign policy analysis through a critical discussion of how non-state actors as agents can be related to foreign policy matters. On the epistemological level, foreign policy is perceived through different approaches: A feminist perspective that links feminist critiques with current foreign policy practices. The focus lies in a critical stance on the transformative potential of feminist foreign policy. But equally, the event aims at the exploration of the interlinkages between security and reconciliation, in relation to foreign policy, as tools for sustainable peacebuilding reconciliation.

Chair: Teodora Todorova (Teaching Fellow, University of Warwick and Chair of BRISMES sub-comittee on Public Outreach and Pedagogy)


  • Marianna Charountaki (University of Lincol)
  • Karoline Färber (King’s College London)
  • Professor Aigul Kulnazarova (Tama University, Japan)

New Voices in Middle East Studies

The Arab Revolutions of 2010-11 reinvigorated social movement transformations across the Middle East and North Africa, giving voice to a multiplicity of silenced and marginalised constituencies. Occupations of space as a strategy to reclaim the public commons from neoliberal corporatisation and authoritarian governance has since inspired close to a decade of social movement mobilization across the world from Occupy to Black Lives Matter. Yet in the shadow of counter-revolutionary political repression, pessimism concerning the legacy of the Revolts abounds. In response to this, this roundtable seeks to bring together critical scholarly voices to reflect on the legacies of the Revolts and the opportunities and obstacles for meaningful social, political, and economic transformation in MENA.

Chair: Teodora Todorova (Teaching Fellow, University of Warwick and Chair of BRISMES sub-comittee on Public Outreach and Pedagogy) 


  • Yara Hawari (Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network)
  • Kamran Matin (University of Sussex)
  • Mezna Qato (University of Cambridge)

Database of Expertise

The Database of Expertise in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies provides a publicly available list of MENA experts with their research and areas of expertise.

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