Inaugural Middle East Conference Announced by HBKU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences

(MENAFN- Hamad Bin Khalifa University) Doha, January 24, 2022 – The inaugural edition of the international Middle East Conference 2022, organized by the Middle Eastern Studies Department (MESD) at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), Hamad Bin Khalifa University, will take place online on February 6-7. Registration is free and open to all.

Under the theme “Knowledge and Power in Middle East Studies: Regional and International Perspectives”, speakers will look closely at the influence of power asymmetry on the evolution of the discipline and how local and regional capacity in knowledge production and research is enriching the field.

The opening keynote address on February 6, which is titled “A Nexus, Not a Locus: Middle Eastern Studies and South-to-South Relations”, will be given by Professor Marwan Kraidy, Dean and CEO, Northwestern University in Qatar. He will elaborate an approach to Middle Eastern Studies that envisions the Middle East as a nexus of a variety of historical and contemporary forces that continue to shape relationships within the region and beyond. Professor Hassan Hakimian, Conference Chair and MESD Director, and Dr. Amal Al-Malki, Founding Dean of CHSS, will present welcoming remarks.

International speakers will place the discussions in an interdisciplinary, global context during four in-depth panels, beginning with a panel discussion on “Transnational Dynamics and International Politics: How are Evolving Big Power Politics Impacting the Middle East”. This panel includes Dr. Lina Khatib of Chatham House, London.

“Analyzing the MENA Social Dynamics Using NLP and Big Data Methods” will feature Dr. Kareem Al Darwish, Qatar Computing Research Institute, analyzing the news consumption of more than 8,000 Twitter users in response to the May 2021 Israeli-Palestinian conflict, using unsupervised stance detection.

At “Society, Cities, and Space in the MENA Region” on February 7, Dr. Amy Kallander, Syracuse University, and Dr. Karem Said, University of Houston, will offer examples of the ways masculinity was imagined and embodied in Tunis and its suburbs/periphery at different postcolonial and post-revolutionary moments. Dr. Hiba Bou Akar, Columbia University, will present an ethnographic study conducted in Beirut’s Hayy Madi/Mar Mikhail neighborhood and address the “doubleness” of its ruins - as products of a past civil war and a present territorial war in a time of peace.

“Knowledge and Power in Palestine: The Quest for Statehood and the Marginalization of Rights” will feature Dr. Leila Farsakh, UMass Boston, re-examining the Palestinian quest for self-determination by engaging with an emerging trend in Palestine studies that advocates for breaking out of the statehood frame to fulfill Palestinian rights. Dr. Adam Hanieh, University of Exeter, will focus on the political economy aspects of Palestine's relationship with the Middle East. Dr. Susan Akram, Boston University, will illustrate how ‘getting the law right’ paves the way for a more equitable shared future in the same land.

Professor Hassan Hakimian said: “Our first major international Middle East Conference comes at a time when our region faces complex challenges. This gives us an opportunity to highlight issues at the heart of scholarship contributing to our understanding of the region and the challenges it faces. We are delighted to bring together academics and thought-leaders to join efforts underway at our young and dynamic Middle Eastern Studies Department at CHSS to rethink the status of our field.”

Early registration for the Middle East Conference 2022 is strongly encouraged. For more information about the program, visit

The MESD currently offers two MA Programs; in Women, Society and Development and in Digital Humanities and Societies; and is home to a dedicated group of scholars studying the Middle East and North Africa region in its various complexities. Faculty sharing their expertise on the organizing committee are Dr. Carol Fadda, Professor George Mikros, Dr. Dana M. Olwan, Dr. Marc Owen Jones, Dr. Sophie Richter-Devroe, Dr. Steven Wright, and Dr. Wajdi Zaghouani. More information on the college can be found at


Hamad Bin Khalifa University

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