Identity and Conflict in the Middle East and its Diasporic Cultures (March 20-22, 2014)

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Facult of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Balamand

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Balamand invites you to participate in its international conference, "Identity and Conflict in the Middle East and its Diasporic Cultures." The conference will be held on the campus of the University of Balamand in the Al-Kurah district of North Lebanon.

Throughout the long twentieth century and more than a decade into the twenty-first, localized and large-scale conflicts have contributed to the redrawing of the Middle East's geopolitical, ethnic, and religio-sectarian boundaries. The abstraction of West Asia and its reinvention as the Middle East in the wake of the Ottoman Empire's dissolution and recurring foreign interventions are striking cases of such reconfiguration. More recently, the Arab uprisings have shifted the political paradigm, and have opened a space for yet another reconfiguration. Representations of Middle Eastern conflict – in fiction and nonfiction, oral stories and historical accounts, political and religious discourse, music, film, and old and new forms of media – have sought to engage and reshape its contours within the national and regional as well as the global imaginary. Although widely divergent accounts of these conflicts exist, textual, auditory, and visual "war stories" have sometimes helped to consolidate hegemonic representations of the Middle East as both a single geographic and cultural reality, and, perhaps paradoxically, a group of disparate regions riven by violent political, religious, and tribal differences. These models seem to require that deep historical ties and shared cultures within and across Middle Eastern regions be occulted or suppressed.

This conference will consider the ways that representations of conflict through word, sound, and image have reconceptualized histories, geographies, religions, cultures, and political and economic systems, and affected peoples' identities and lived experiences, across the Middle East and Middle Eastern diasporas. We encourage work that pressures received understandings of identity and conflict as categories, that accounts for forms of structural violence, that considers nonviolence and acts of resistance to war, and/or traces confluences and lines of connection among seemingly independent events and the means of depicting and narrativizing them. In so doing, we hope to further dynamic, interdisciplinary and transnational scholarship that is committed equally to the historiography and sociology of conflict, the analysis of its representations, and the remapping of regional interrelations.

We invite scholars of literature, film, media, and music, as well as historians, anthropologists, sociologists, psychoanalysts, linguists, translators and political scientists to contribute work that examines conflict and identity across any region in the Middle East and /or Middle Eastern diasporas along the following axes:

➢ Arts, Film and Literature—the role of the arts in representing, challenging, and consolidating the polarities of conflict
➢ Media and Discourse Analysis—these include examinations of the mainstream media and alternative news sources, the language and discourse of media, and the translation and dissemination of news globally
➢ Nationhood and History—the interventions of national and nationalist ideologies, transnational sectarian and religio-political groups, and the historiography and sociology of conflict
➢ Arab Uprisings—the efficacy of the Arab uprisings in reshaping and shifting the sociopolitical and economic realities in the Middle East

The conference will be conducted in English. Consequently, all abstracts, papers, and presentations should be in English.

Deadline for abstracts (300 words): October 1, 2013.
Please upload abstracts to our website under "Abstract Submission Form."

Presentations and Panels:
Each paper presentation will be 15 minutes in length. Presentations will be grouped into panels by the organizers.

For more information (including registration, fees and accommodations) please visit our website:

For questions and inquiries, please contact
Dr. Mazen Naous, Chair of the Scientific Committee, at
Aline Jabbour, Administrative Assistant, at +961-6-930250 Ext. 1456 or +961-3-093880

Thursday through Saturday (two and a half days), March 20-22, 2014

Conference Cultural Activities:
- An optional outing will be scheduled for Sunday, March 23, 2014
- Art exhibition representing war and conflict
- Display of books on conflict
- Concert

Publication of Selected Essays:
The University of Balamand Press will publish a peer-reviewed volume of selected essays from the conference.