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Call for Papers: Graduate Student Conference on Social and Political Change in MENA (April 8, New York)

Call for Papers

Avenues of Social and Political Change: 

Five Years of Contention in the Middle East and North Africa 

April 8, 2016

The Graduate Center, City University of New York

365 Fifth Avenue, New York City

Abstract Submission Deadline: February 5, 2016

Five years after the eruption of mass protests across North Africa and the Middle East, citizens of these countries now live under contrasting conditions. While some countries, such as Tunisia, have made headway on the road to freedom and social justice, others are embroiled in civil strife, like Syria, or are being crushed by the return of authoritarianism, like Egypt. Yet, despite the zigzagging trajectory that these uprisings have thus far treaded, new channels and imaginings of social, political and economic change have opened up over the past five years. This conference will explore current possibilities that have been opened up through and in the aftermath of the grassroots uprisings that have swept through the region since 2011 and the sustained struggles for these arenas as well as the counter-efforts that have attempted to constrain and constrict them. Instead of succumbing to a choice between either presenting a triumphant narrative or emphasizing the democratic setbacks facing social movements, activists, and the population at large, this conference will attempt to reframe the question to ask what actual and concrete opportunities for economic, social and political transformation have unfolded beyond and despite of the historical and structural constraints that are in place.

Graduate students are invited to submit proposals (250-400 words) to present working projects or completed research papers on the following themes:

  • (De)democratization and the limits of authoritarianism;
  • prospects for electoral politics;
  • re-imagining public space;
  • the role of labor strikes and worker unions;
  • political economy;
  • collective memory/amnesia and the production of historical narratives;
  • gender politics;
  • activism and political subjectivities;
  • Islamists and conceptions of the secular/religious;
  • resurgence of nationalism;
  • state power and representations.

Paper abstracts and inquiries about the conference are to be sent to:

Best Regards,

Derek Ludovici, PhD student in cultural anthropology at the Graduate Center (CUNY)

Ola Galal, PhD student in cultural anthropology at the Graduate Center (CUNY)

If you prefer, email your comments to




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