Middle East History & Theory Workshop Conference at University of Chicago

The 33rd Annual Meeting of the Middle East History and Theory (MEHAT) Conference will take place at the University of Chicago on will be held Friday and Saturday, May 4-5, 2018.

This conference, free and open to the public, will feature a keynote address by Dr. James Gelvin (UCLA) and our traditional lamb-roast dinner Saturday night!

To view the schedule of events, click here.

A copy of the conference flyer poster can be downloaded here.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at mehatconference@gmail.com.

Best regards,

Joseph Cross & Carl Bryant Shook



Friday, May 4, 2018

“Which Way Forward? Digital Humanities and Middle Eastern Studies”

This round-table discussion features Marlis J. Saleh (Bibliographer for Middle East Studies, University of Chicago Libraries), Miller Prosser (The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago), Oya Topcuoglu (Middle East and North African Studies Program, Northwestern University), and Mohamed El Marzouki (Lewis College of Human Sciences, Illinois Institute of Technology).

4:30pm in Ida Noyes Hall (1212 E. 59th St.)

Reception to follow.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Registration and all panels take place in Stuart Hall (5835 South Greenwood Ave)

8:00-8:15am                Registration and Coffee

8:15-9:45am                 Session I

Normalizing and Interpreting Destruction in the Late 20th & Early 21st Century Middle East –  Stuart 101

Nicole Beckman (University of Chicago), Discussant

Cat Cleveland (University of Chicago), “Hiroshima in Beirut: Atomic Imagery in Lebanese War Literature 1975-1990.”

Taylor Miller (University of Arizona), “Wayfinding Through the Landswept: The Aesthetics of Homelandscapes and Material Manifestations of Belonging in Jerusalem.”

Hannah Porter (University of Chicago), “‘Screaming in the face of the arrogant’: Understanding the logic and symbolism of Ḥūthī discourse.”


Diplomacy and Third-Party Politics in the Early Twentieth Century –  Stuart 102

Sami Sweis (University of Chicago), Discussant

Aram Ghoogasian (University of Chicago), “A Weekend in Cairo: The Beginnings of American Power in Turkey.”

Richard Harrod (Independent Scholar), “Ḥamīd al-Dīn Yemen & The United States in the Early Postwar Period: Engagement & Challenges, 1946 – 1954.”

Erin O’Halloran (St. Anthony’s College, Oxford), “The St James’ Conference on Palestine, 1939: An Indian Dimension.”

The Politics of Early Modern Cultural Production: India, Iran, and the Levant –  Stuart 104

Alexandra Hoffmann (University of Chicago), Discussant

Shaahin Pishbin (University of Chicago), “Poetics of the Imagination: Mīrzā Jalāl Asīr and the ṭarz-i Khayāl.”

Tarek Shamma (Binghamton University), “Bible Translation and Minority Christian Identity in the Nineteenth-Century Levant.”

Darren Wan (University of Chicago), “Learning to Read Persian After the Persianate: The Politics and Poetics of Classicism in Colonial Bombay, 1870–1900.”


10:00-11:30am            Session II

Contested Constructs: Post-War Identities and Nationalisms in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin –  Stuart 101

Toygun Altintas (University of Chicago), Discussant

Alexandra Courcoula (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), “The Benaki Art Collection: Conceptions of History and Heritage in Early Twentieth Century Greece.”

Ufuk Erol (Indiana University Bloomington), “A Brief Genealogy of Modern Alevi Historiography.”

Varuzhan Geghamyan (Yerevan State University), “‘Reis R.T.E.’. Personality Cult and Islamic Nationalism in Modern Turkish Poetry.”

Institutions and Ideologies of Education, from Ottoman Cairo to Erdoğan’s Turkey –  Stuart 102

Annie Greene (University of Chicago)Discussant

Derya Doğan (Indiana University Bloomington), “Socio-Political Contexts of Modernization of Islamic Education in the 20th Century.”

Lauren Poulson (University of Chicago), “The Archaeological Project in the Republic of Turkey: From Atatürk to Erdoğan.”

Kyle Wynter-Stoner (University of Chicago), “An Institutional History of Madrasas in 16th and 17th Century Ottoman Cairo.”

Creating and Consuming Culture in the Modern Middle East –  Stuart 104

Rachel Schine (University of Chicago), Discussant

Mohamed Khalil Harb (Harvard University), “Escapism by Design: An Ethnography of Leisure-Consumption Architecture in Beirut.”

Sharon Jacobs (University of Pennsylvania), “Yerba Mate and the Mahjar: Diaspora Influence on Levantine Consumer Culture.”

Asma Mehan (Politecnico di Torino), “Making Heterotopia: Azadi Square as Palimpsest of Political Memory.”


11:45am-12:45pm       Lunch


1:00-2:30pm               Session III

Men in Love: Masculinity and Madness in Pre-Modern Romances –  Stuart 101

Sam Lasman (University of Chicago), Discussant

Isabel Lachenauer (University of Chicago), “Ḫusrev, Behrām Çūbīn, and Warrior Homosociality in Faḫrī’s Ḫusrev ü Şīrīn.”

Allison Kanner (University of Chicago), “A Pact Between Conflicting Codes:Javānmardī in Niẓāmī’s Laylī o Majnūn.”

Alexandra Hoffmann (University of Chicago), “Manly King or Mad Lover? On the Meaning of Blackness in Fayżī’s Nal o Daman.

Cameron Cross (University of Michigan), “A Dying Man in a Deathless Body: The (Hor)cruxes of Kingship.”


Intersections at the Periphery of the Mongol World Empire –  Stuart 102

    Carol Fan (University of Chicago), Discussant

Armen Abkarian (University of Chicago), “’In Bitter and Grievous Times’: Depictions of the Mongol Empire in Armenian Colophons.”

Zachary Schuyler (University of Chicago), “Fall of the Chinggisids: From Golden Family to Figureheads.”

Xinyi Wei (University of Chicago), “Contextualizing the Hui Hui Astronomy Bureau in the Mongol World Empire.”

Zach Winters (University of Chicago), “The Ṣavfat al-Ṣafā and Ṣūfism in the Mongol Era.”


Digital Humanities and the Middle East – Stuart 104

Joseph Cross (University of Chicago), Discussant

Matthew Brauer (Northwestern University), “Before Souffles-Anfās: Expanding the Digital Archive of Maghrebi Print Culture to the Nineteenth Century.”

Kathryn Franklin and Anthony Lauricella (Oriental Institute, University of Chicago), “The Best Digitization for Knowledge of the Regions: Mapping Medieval Literary Landscapes Using Quantitative Methods.”

Marko Jovanovic (Institute of Social Sciences), “Digital Humanities and Islamic Manuscript Studies.”

Krishna Kulkarni (University of Chicago), “The Digital Libraries of Afghanistan.”

2:45-4:15pm               Session IV

The End of Life: Implying and Interpellating Communities in Death

–  Stuart 101

Alex Shams (University of Chicago), Discussant

Itamar Toussia Cohen (Tel Aviv University), “‘A Love That Lasts Beyond the Grave’: Animals, Companionship and Death in Muslim Societies.”

Emrah Karakuş (University of Arizona), “The Viral Life: Neoliberal Immunity, AIDS panic, and the Queer Death in Turkey.”

Faraj Hamdan (University of Arizona), “The Role of Mourning Councils (Majalis al-‘Aza) among Iraqi Shi’a Women.”


Governing Change: People, Places, and the Law –  Stuart 102

    August Samie (University of Chicago), Discussant

Dilyara Agisheva (Georgetown University), “Colonial Encounter and the Transformation of the Legal System in Crimea in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries.”

Chloe Bordewich (Harvard University), “Disappearing Spaces: Mapping Egypt’s Desert Across the Colonial Divide.”

Henry Clements (Yale University), “Ottoman Bureaucracy and the Birth of the Modern Süryani Community.”

Aysegul Uysal (University of Chicago), “‘Producing “True Muslims’: A Close Examination of the Islamic State’s Governance System.”


Broadcasting for Dissent and Control: Media Beyond Censorship – Stuart 104

Thomas Maguire (University of Chicago), Discussant

Sara Farhan (York University), “‘Huna Baghdad’: Competing Visions in Television Programming in Monarchic Iraq.”

Lucy Flamm (University of Texas at Austin), “Combating Curated Memory: Modes of Narration and Pahlavi Iran.”

Andrew Mines (University of Chicago), “Generating State Authority Through Spectacles of Violence: Mapping ISIS’s Video Propaganda Strategy.”

John Perugini (University of Arizona), “Digital Space meets Protest Space: Twitter and 140journos during the Gezi Park Protests.”


5:00-6:30pm             Keynote Address

Dr. James Gelvin, UCLA

“Theorizing Nationalism in the Arab Middle East: A Personal Story”

Ida Noyes Hall (1212 E. 59th St.)

6:30-8:00pm            Traditional lamb-roast dinner

This dinner, free and open to all conference participants, is made possible by the Middle Eastern Studies’ Students Association (MESSA), University of Chicago.

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