Call for Papers

British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) Annual Conference 2011

At the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, 27 - 29 June 2011, in association with the European Association for Middle Eastern Studies (EURAMES) and the Asian Federation of Middle East Associations (AFMA)

‘The Middle East: Aspirations and Challenges’

With sub-themes, organised by the BRISMES research networks on:

  • Clerical Authority in Shiite Islam
  • Critical Middle East Studies
  • Faith, Politics and Society
  • Liberation, Domination and Expression
  • Resistance, Representation and Identity

New (6th June 2011): BRISMES 2011 final programme (413kb, pdf document)

Deadline for paper proposals: 10 January 2011
Deadline for registration: 12 May 2011
Deadline for submitting papers: 30 May 2011

Please register as soon as possible.

We also welcome non-presenting conference participants. Papers/panels on other topics as well as the above may be proposed.

The 2011 BRISMES Annual Conference will take place from the 27th to the 29th of June 2011. The event will be hosted by the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) at the University of Exeter, the conference theme being ‘The Middle East: Aspirations and Challenges?’ The conference will also give the opportunity for the five BRISMES research networks to convene sessions in the course of the conference.

The central theme of the conference is intended to encourage presenters to move beyond the debates on radicalisation, security and terrorism which have pre-occupied many Middle East specialists since 9/11. The conference seeks to move the focus to what the peoples of the region themselves aspire to, and what the challenges are in their satisfying these aspirations. External assumptions of what Middle Eastern peoples aspire to have often proved inaccurate and unrealistic. The aspirations referred to are not only political, but also cultural, social, religious and economic. They may be reflected in historical as well as contemporary narratives. Perceptions of “development” and “progress” are meaningless without examining the reality of aspirations. Similarly, challenges depend on what the populations themselves actually want. In all of these dimensions, we wish to give emphasis to a bottom-up approach – a stress on the micro rather than the macro. We hope, then, to open up debates on aspirations and challenges in all dimensions of contemporary Middle Eastern life, with new insights into such diverse topics as popular literature, political regeneration at the grassroots level, film-making, religious trends, sexuality, trends towards integration and disintegration, and micro-economic organisation.

The conference will also highlight the areas of research undertaken by BRISMES’s ongoing research networks. The networks have been formed around issues deemed of critical intellectual concern, creating nuclei of researchers pursuing similar interests. The conference will provide them with an opportunity to convene sessions in their fields: Clerical Authority in Shiite Islam; Critical Middle East Studies; Faith, Politics and Society; Liberation, Domination and Expression; and Resistance, Representation and Identity. The convenors of the research networks will have responsibility for organising these sessions and accepting/rejecting papers.

As in previous BRISMES conferences, panels on topics not covered by the overall theme or the research networks may also be proposed. Individual papers, however, will not be accepted unless they are relevant to the overall theme, relevant to the research network sessions, or integral to a panel proposed on a different topic.

Titles and abstracts (250 words) for 20-minute papers, with a short biographical statement, contact details and affiliation should be sent by 10 January 2011 to:

Dr Lise Storm
Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics
Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
University of Exeter
Stocker Road
United Kingdom

Alternatively, e-mail your abstract to

Proposals for panels (of three papers or more) should comprise the panel title, a 200-word rationale, name of the panel chair, and 250-word abstracts of each paper (with contact details and affiliation for each speaker).

Notification of successful papers and panels will be given by 1 March 2011.

Book Online

Online booking and payment (paper-based version also available - see Downloads)


Download the call for papers  (65 kb pdf document)

Download the panel proposal form   (45 kb Word document)

Download the paper proposal form  (40 kb Word document)

Download the paper-based version of the booking and payment form (55 kb Word document)

Download information about accommodation (55 kb pdf document)

Download information about the Barclays Capital Travel Support Fund (8kb rtf document)