A Conference organised by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) and the London Middle East Institute (LMEI) was recently supported by the MBI Al Jaber Foundation at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
The conference took a long view of the past and the future of Middle Eastern Studies, both internationally and within the UK. Topics addressed by an international panel of speakers included:
• Has the academic discipline of Middle Eastern Studies contributed to public understanding of the Middle East in the UK and elsewhere?
• How might the sources of funding (government or private) for Middle Eastern Studies influence the research agendas?
• How has the discipline's focus changed through the expansion of academics in the field, both from the Middle East and elsewhere?
• What is the future of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, particularly in the light of the so-called War on Terror?
Speakers examined the interdisciplinary range of Middle East Studies, addressing the concerns of archaeology, political science, history, economics, anthropology, Islamic Studies, sociology and other contributing disciplines.
Amina Wadud (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Bobby Sayyid (University of Leeds)
Fawwaz Trabulsi (Lebanese American University)
Juan Cole (Univeristy of Michigan, former president of MESA)
Lisa Cooper (University of British Columbia)
Tony Wilkinson (University of Durham)
Sir Roger Tomkys (Chair of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce)
The conference was very well attended with around 130 participants, and the proceedings will be published.