Faculty News

1/25-1/27/16: Call for Papers: Political Parties in the Middle East: Past, Present and Future Perspectives


Convened by the Subject Areas of History and Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies

University of Manchester, in Association with the Centre for Advanced Study of the Arab World.

Dates: January 25-27, 2016

Location: University of Manchester

Please complete the paper submission form on the conference website by no later than 5 October 2015. Selected participants will be contacted towards the publication of an edited volume.


Co-organised by Dr. Siavush Randjbar-Daemi and Dr. Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi

Political parties have long been considered the staple of any modern political system. In the Western political tradition, parties have featured as the locus of organised activity by elites and politically conscious sectors of society, coalescing around the defining issues of the day, as well as shared socio-economic interests, demanding representation and a stake in the political order. Over time, political parties came to be seen as the sine qua non of assuming government and the exercise of power in any self-avowed parliamentary democracy.

In the aftermath of World War I the states comprising the MENA region began to increasingly witness the emergence political forms that resembled those found in the metropole, and the imperial powers which had overseen its incorporation into the world economy and subjugation to Europe’s competing global empires. Where people and social groups had previously pursued political activity by means of secret societies, or redress through traditional associations such as guilds, village elders, town notables, and the clergy, with the advent of the modern era, the political party came to be seen as an ever-more appropriate and efficacious means of organising and directing political action and expressing political demands. By the end of the British and French mandate a whole host of political parties had emerged, with some acting as the voice of traditional landed elites and urban notables, while others were born in response to the arrival of the new class of urban intellectuals, salaried professionals and civil servants under the sway of modern ideologies such as liberalism, fascism and communism.

Following WWII, with the onset of the Cold War this trend gathered pace and radical projects such as Nasserism and Baʿathism, whose chief concern was Arab unity and the overturning of the old sources of social power and elite rule, the region was transformed irrevocably in what became an epoch of decolonization and calls for non-alignment. Authoritarian presidencies forged off the back of military coups in Egypt, Syria and Iraq, had at their inception sought popular mandates and thereby attempted to build a single-party state order to mobilize a host of groups including recent urban migrants, the intelligentsia, members of the new professional classes and state bureaucracies and the peasantry. New genres of political literature were created and consumed, and novel ways of engaging an increasingly literate public, receptive to the ideas and discourses of the newly-minted anti-colonial elites, came into being.

In the aftermath of the defeat of the leading Arab nationalist states in June 1967 the Palestinian cause for national liberation assumed a more independent line as evident in the early politics of Fatah, while Israel’s party system found itself increasingly forced to come to terms with a rapidly shifting demography and a fragile PR system under the shadow of military occupation. One of the main features of Iranian politics, post-1941, has been the dichotomy between the Marxist, pro-Moscow Tudeh Party, widely considered to be Iran’s only mass political party of the 20th century, and its adversaries’ scorn and indirect emulation. In 1975, Iran would become what was possibly the only one-party monarchy in modern world history. Many of these political parties which endeavoured to fundamentally challenge the status quo in their societies were also often vehicles for social mobility, progressive gender norms and the promise of wealth redistributions, changing the nature of their societies in an unprecedented fashion.

Political parties also partook in the construction of new constitutional configurations, where until 2011 the prospect of dynastic presidencies in Libya, Iraq, Syria and Egypt backed by the one-party state held the promise of becoming a generalizable regional trend. By contrast, Iran following the Revolution of 1979 witnessed the birth of a factional order labouring under the imprimatur of theocratic rule, and has subsequently struggled to institute a stable party political system.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in MENA Islamist parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood, despite their longevity, sought to persevere in debilitating authoritarian contexts through the cultivation of welfare regimes and networks so as to reach the wider population.

The wave of upheavals and euphoria which swept the Middle East following January 2011, has led to serious queries regarding the role and importance of political parties. A question remains as to whether the repression of organised political activity in several parts of the Middle East has led to their irrelevance, as social movements, both informal and highly integrated, take centre stage in this highly networked, information age. While the post-2011 Arab Uprisings may well have spoken to the bankruptcy of the traditional political party form, the counter-revolutions which almost invariably followed reaffirmed the importance of highly organized, hierarchical and more often than not, militarised, organizations to political outcomes in evolving social conflicts. The Green Movement of Iran and the Tahrir Square revolt werecommonly seen as shunning structured political organisation, which made them all the more unpredictable, while sceptics pointed to their inherent limitations and ultimate unsustainability going forward.

Moreover, the apparent sectarianization of several conflicts in the region has also been strongly linked to political groupings and mobilizations along sectarian lines, posing the question whether the “sectarian party” is with us to stay?

This international conference aims to make sense of past, present and future perspectives on political party organization in the Middle East and North Africa. It will seek to understand whether political parties in MENA should still be considered an integral part to the creation of resilient democratic states or the enactment of radical social transformation, as well as chart the evolution of the single party system and the challenges it has faced over the past decade. It will aim to bring together a wide range of scholars studying topics ranging from the social bases of marginalized political organizations to mainstream parties which have held power for decades. It is the conference’s intention to contribute to extant international scholarship on political parties in the fields of history, political science, international relations, sociology and anthropology and the literature concerned with political parties in the post-colonial world.

Proposals might choose to focus on the following themes:

  • Nationalism and Political Parties
  • Ethnicity and Political Parties
  • Imperialism and Political Parties in the Middle East
  • State formation and Political Parties in the Middle East
  • Political Parties and Democratization in the Middle East
  • Political Parties and Class Politics
  • Modernization Theory and the Legacy of Political Parties
  • Political Parties in the Arab Spring
  • Does Political Pluralism in the MENA Require a Multi-Party System?
  • Political Parties in the Age of Social Media
  • Political Parties and the Legacy of the Left in the Middle East
  • Official Co-opted Political Parties in the Middle East
  • Loyal Oppositions in the Middle East
  • Political Parties and Welfare Networks
  • Political Parties and Sectarianism
  • Factionalism or Multi-Party System?
  • Political Parties and Revolutionary Elites
  • Political Parties and Arab Armies
  • Political Parties in the Middle East: A Spent Force?
  • The validity of the Western political party theory and conceptualization in the modern Middle East.

Limited funding is available to cover select travel and accommodation expenses of accepted panellists.

Please complete the paper submission form on the conference website by no later than 5 October 2015. Selected participants will be contacted towards the publication of an edited volume.


International Conference on the Geo-Politics of the Middle East: Call for Papers

Geo Politics of the Middle East

The Middle East Studies Forum (MESF) at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADICG), in partnership with the Middle East Institute (National University of Singapore) and the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (ANU) are pleased to issue this Call for Papers for the forthcoming symposium ‘Making Sense of Geo-Politics in the Middle East’.
Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia), October 28-29, 2015

The rise of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, which claims to revive the historic Islamic Caliphate, has brought to the fore intense state rivalries. This is most notable between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which appear to be locked in a number of theatres of conflict from Syria to Yemen. But other enmities have also intensified as a result of growing tensions and states’ self-perception of their regional weight. These include frictions between Qatar and Egypt, Iran and Turkey, and Egypt and Turkey. Compounding each of these is the emergence of the self-declared Islamic State and the prospects of a future Kurdish state.

This conference welcomes informed and robust discussion of the following key questions:

  • Do recent events suggest a reassertion of state-centric politics over ideological considerations?
  • Are we witnessing the demise of ideology as a normative tool for change?
  • To what extent can the reassertion of geo-politics in the Middle East be seen as a vindication of the neo-realist paradigm in International Relations?
  • What is the trajectory of future developments in the region?
  • What are the key factors driving geo-politics in the Middle East

Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof. Mehran Kamrava, Center for International and Regional Studies, Georgetown University
  • Prof. Amin Saikal, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (the Middle East and Central Asia), ANU
  • Prof. Gareth Stansfield, Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University

Abstract Submission:

If you would like to present a paper as part of this conference, please submit the following to Dr. James Barry (james.barry@deakin.edu.au) by Friday 31 July 2015:

– A title and 250 word abstract addressing one of the key questions outlined above, and a 100 word biography

Hosted by:

The Middle East Studies Forum at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, in partnership with the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore and the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (the Middle East and Central Asia).

Contact: Gemma Ross McGlynn, g.rossmcglynn@deakin.edu.au

8th Annual ASMEA Conference: Call for Papers & Panels

October 29 – 31, 2015

Key Bridge Marriott Hotel * Washington, D.C.

ASMEA is currently seeking proposals for paper and panel presentations for its Eighth Annual Conference. Scholars from any discipline, tenured or untenured faculty, or those otherwise affiliated with a recognized research institution, may submit proposals to present at the Conference. Unique proposals from senior graduate students (ABD) will also be considered. Proposals on topics related to the Middle East and Africa should consist of a one-page outline of new and unpublished research. A recent C.V. with all contact data also must be included with name, e-mail, phone number, and affiliation.

The deadline for proposals is Monday, March 30, 2015.

REGISTER for the Eighth Annual Conference.

ASMEA offers the following GRANT OPPORTUNITIES to its Members in conjunction with the Eighth Annual Conference.

ASMEA Research Grants
The Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa is pleased to offer research grants of up to $2500 to qualified professors and students engaged in the study of the Middle East and Africa. Application deadline is Monday, March 2, 2015. Find out more information, HERE.

Moroccan Studies Research Grant
ASMEA and the Moroccan-American Cultural Center (MACC) are pleased to offer research grants for scholars and students whose research is focused on the Kingdom of Morocco. Grants of up to $2500 will be awarded to qualified applicants. Application deadline is Monday, March 2, 2015. Find out more information, HERE.

Conference Travel Grant
ASMEA is pleased to offer travel grants of up to $500 to attend the Eighth Annual Conference for qualified members whose paper proposal is accepted for presentation and have not been awarded any other grant from ASMEA. Applications will be available in the Spring.


Any questions or for more information, contact ASMEA at 202.429.8860 or info@asmeascholars.org<mailto:info@asmeascholars.org>.

Call for Proposals: Grants for Postdoctoral Fellows for research in the fields of

Post Doctoral Fellowship for research in the fields:

  • The Persian Gulf Today
  • Iran since the Islamic Revolution
  • Contemporary North Africa

See the Truman Institute website for application instructions:

http://truman.huji.ac.il/?cmd=grantsandscholarships.269  (Hebrew)

http://truman.huji.ac.il/?cmd=grantsandscholarships.270  (English)

Closing date for applications: February 15th, 2015

Call for Papers: BRISMES International Annual Conference 2015: ‘Liberation?’

Date and time: 24 – 26th June 2015, LSE Middle East Centre

Conference website: http://brismes2015.com/

Deadline for paper and panel proposals: 20 February 2015

BRISMES Annual Conference 2015 will explore the theme of ‘liberation’ in the Middle East. We invite paper and panel proposals on any aspect of liberation – and will also welcome papers on any other theme. We will include panels on as wide possible a range of disciplines, including:

  • politics
  • religious studies
  • history
  • law
  • economics
  • sociology
  • anthropology
  • literature
  • linguistics
  • geography
  • translation studies
  • language teaching.

Please submit paper and panel proposals through the conference website (http://www.brismes2015.com).

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Middle East Studies

The Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES) at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs invites applications for the position of Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Middle East Studies. Fellows may come from any discipline in the social sciences or humanities, as long as their primary substantive specialization is in the Middle East/North Africa (to include Iran and Turkey). Candidates should receive their Ph.D. on or before September 1 of the fellowship year, and must be in
residence at IMES for the duration of the fellowship period (September 1 – May 31). Fellows are expected to take an active part in the intellectual life of the institute, including giving a research presentation and attending other institute events. This position offers a salary of $45,000, medical benefits, access to the GW library system, a computer, and office space. The fellow may also be invited to teach an M.A. level course at the Elliott School in an area related to his/her research.

To Apply: The candidate is required to submit the following materials in PDF format to imes@gwu.edu:

– CV (not to exceed 2 pages)
– Statement of Research (not to exceed 1,000 words)
– Writing Sample (an article or a chapter of the dissertation)
– Three letters of recommendation

Deadline: For full consideration, please submit the complete application by January 31, 2015. The successful candidate will be notified via email by 1 March, 2015.

Woolf Institute Visiting Fellowship 2016

The Woolf Institute, which specializes in the study of relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims from a multidisciplinary perspective, invites applications for its annual visiting fellowship.

The Fellowship is tenable for a two to three month period that overlaps one of the Cambridge terms 2016:
Lent term: 12 January–11 March 2016
Easter term: 19 April–10 June 2016

The successful candidate will be expected to be involved in a project of academic research, public education or of the arts in an area relevant to the Institute’s work.

The Fellow will be asked to present their work at a symposium on the subject of their project proposal.

There is no stipend attached to the Fellowships, but Fellows will be entitled to free accommodation in Cambridge and round-trip travel from their country to Cambridge. They will also have access to the Woolf Institute and Cambridge University libraries.

The Fellowship is available for a postdoctoral scholar of any academic rank, a policymaker or analyst in a relevant area of work, or an artist (writer, painter, photographer, etc.) and will most likely be asked to participate in some of the Institute’s teaching or practice-based activities. Further information about the Institute can be found at: http://www.woolf.cam.ac.uk.

A letter of application, CV, the names of two referees who may be approached, a project proposal (1,500 words max.), and a sample of work should be sent to: Electors of the Visiting Fellowship, Woolf Institute, 12-14 Grange Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DU, UK or e-mailed to Tina Steiner at bs411@cam.ac.uk.

Questions may be addressed informally to the Deputy Director, Dr Shana Cohen at sc736@cam.ac.uk.

Deadline for the submission of applications is 20 February 2015.

Scholars from the University of Haifa

The Center for Judaic Studies & Contemporary Jewish Life and the Doris and Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies and the Office of Global Affairs at the University of Connecticut will be co-sponsoring a series of public lectures, research seminars, classroom visits, and community events during the week of September 2 through September 7, introducing the research and studies of Dr. Efraim Lev and Dr. Moshe Lavee, co-directors of the University of Haifa’s Interdisciplinary Center for the Broader Application of Genizah Research, a research institute that is investigating way to use newly available digital technologies to foster wider and more diverse study of the extraordinary historical archives of the Cairo Genizah.  Read the  2014 UHaifa Project Press Release

Lefebvre on H-Diplo and Israel-Palestine

Prof. Jeffrey Lefebvre’s invited contribution to the H-Diplo roundtable discussion of Louise Woodroofe’s book, Buried in the Sands of the Ogaden: The United States, the Horn of Africa, and the Demise of Détente, was published online in H-Diplo Roundtable Review, volume XV, No. 29, April 7, 2014.

Also, on April 15, 2014, Prof. Lefebvre gave a presentation for the Stamford faculty colloquium series, “The Israel-Palestinian Conflict: The End of the Two-State Solution?”

Middle East Research Fellowships 2014-2015

The Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School is now accepting applications for the Middle East Research Fellowship Program for the academic year 2014-2015.

The Middle East Research Fellowship Program offers one year pre- and post-doctoral fellowships for research related to Middle Eastern governance and public policy. All fellowships carry a stipend. Fellows range from recent recipients of the Ph.D. or equivalent degree, to university faculty members, to employees of government, international, humanitarian, and private research institutions with significant professional experience. Applicants for pre-doctoral fellowships must have passed general examinations prior to appointment. We welcome applications from political scientists, historians, economists, sociologists, legal scholars, and other social scientists, as well as from policy practitioners. We also encourage applications from women, minorities, and citizens of all countries.

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