Convegno alla Sapienza: "Subalterns and the Middle East”

14 aprile 2023

Trasmettiamo la Call for Abstract per il convegno "Subalterns and the Middle East” che si terrà presso la Sapienza Università di Roma il 29 settembre 2023.
Maggiori informazioni di seguito e al seguente link:

Despite the prominent role played in the historical development of the region, subaltern social groups have generally found little space in the scholarship on the MENA/SWANA. This marginalization is strictly related to the elite-centric and (neo)orientalist approaches dominating area studies in the past decades, which – albeit for different reasons – shared the common characteristics of understanding subalterns as passive social subjects unable to bring about consistent change. The result has been to deny subalterns a place on their own right in the historiography of the region and hinder the development of a body of scholarship providing scholars with the necessary methodological and analytical instruments to adequately study them.
The limits of this scholarly gap notoriously emerged with the explosion of the so-called Arab Uprisings (2010-2011 and 2019), against which scholars and observers found themselves deprived of the empirical and methodological references through which make sense of the present and trace its genealogies. This has given a decisive input to reignite interest in the grassroots and the forgotten histories of the subaltern groups in the region, inaugurating a new stream of research which, together with contributing to filling the numerous gaps still permeating the history of the subalterns in the MENA/SWANA, is also playing an important role to critically question the dominant paradigms through which the region has been predominantly approached. At the same time, the return to the grassroots is unleashing a variety of old and new methodological and theoretical challenges, from access to archives and the field to the elaboration of new and more adequate analytical grills to study and understand subalternities in peripheral contexts.

Moving from these considerations, the following conference aims at bringing together junior and established scholars to intervene in two yet intimately related areas: on the one hand, connect and make dialogue the new empirical research produced on subaltern groups in the MENA in recent years; on the other, engage a broad-based dialogue around what does it mean to scholarly deal with the subaltern subject.
The conference welcomes contributions from the whole range of human and social sciences and will focus on four main thematic areas. The first one (Area 1) will revolve around the question of subalterns in/and the historiography of the Middle East, with the ultimate aim of exploring the traditions, problems, and theoretical-methodological challenges that making history of the below and from below implies. The second and third ones will focus instead on the two macro-groups making the core of the regional subalternities: on the one hand, workers, peasants, and the 'urban poor' (Area 2); on the other, women, LGBTIQQ+ groups, refugees and ethnoreligious minorities (Area 3). Finally, the fourth session (Area 4) will be dedicated to the role of subalterns in the revolutionary processes within and beyond the two waves of Uprisings.
How to apply
To apply to the conference, applicants are kindly asked to submit the following information to the e-mail address, specifying in the object “SUBALTERNS SUBMISSION”:
a) Abstract of the Paper (500 words max);b) Short Bio (150 words max);c) Thematic area: ● Area 1 - Visible, Invisible, Invisibilized? The Subalterns in the Middle East Historiography ● Area 2 - Labor making history vs. making labor history: workers, peasants, and craftsmen in the making of the modern Middle East ● Area 3 – Beyond class: gender, ethnic, and religious subalternities in the modern Middle East ● Area 4 - Subalterns in/and the revolution: in and beyond the Arab Uprisings.
Submissions must be sent by no later than June 1, 2023. Successful applications will be notified by July 15, 2023.The language of the conference and the submission procedure is English.
Other informationThe conference requires no registration fees. Upon selection and pending the conference budget, junior applicants without scholarship or mobility funds can be considered eligible for a partial or total coverage of the travel and/or accommodation expenses. Eligible candidates are kindly asked to specify their request for a partial coverage in the application e-mail.

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