Call for Papers

33rd Annual Middle East History & Theory Conference
The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
May 4-5, 2018

We invite proposals for papers and pre-arranged panels from graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars about the Middle East from the sixth century c.e. to the present day, including but not limited to history, religious studies, geography, anthropology, political science, literary studies, philosophy, art history, and media studies.

Theme. We also encourage submissions related to the theme of this year’s conference, the intersection of Digital Humanities and pedagogy in contemporary Middle Eastern studies. Questions of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • What tools can Digital Humanities offer the field beyond data mining or algorithmic analysis?
  • Is Middle Eastern Studies able to show the way forward in the changing world of Digital Humanities, and in digital scholarship in general?
  • How can modern technology serve the needs of students, teachers, and other scholars impacted by limitations on travel or by the closure or destruction of archives?
  • Does the increase in readily-accessible information (documents, imagery, etc.) available to scholars mean rethinking the foundations and aims of the discipline, especially in the classroom?

Keynote. The keynote speaker of this year’s conference is Professor James Gelvin (University of California, Los Angeles), whose address will be entitled, “Theorizing Nationalism in the Arab Middle East: A Personal Story.”

Application. Please send submissions electronically to, no later than Friday, February 2, 2018. Please include each presenter’s name, institution, and position, and attach a 250-word abstract with a tentative title. For pre-arranged panels, please send a single email with an overall panel description plus individual paper abstracts. The best abstracts will summarize the paper’s topic, its relationship and contribution to existing scholarship and specific conclusions. Abstracts will be evaluated anonymously by the coordinators; therefore, please do not include names or any identifying information in the abstract. If you are unsure about the suitability of your topic, feel free to email us at the above address. Selection results will be announced by early March, 2018.

Panels. Approximately 50 papers will be selected and grouped into panels of three or four. Special preference will be given to pre-arranged panels, although individual submissions are always welcome. Participants should be prepared to deliver a maximum twenty-minute presentation and respond to questions from an assigned discussant as well as conference attendees. Written papers must be circulated to the respondent and fellow members of the panel at least two weeks before the conference. As in previous years, three of our sponsors will offer limited funding for panels in the following fields: (1) Modern Arabic Literature; (2) Central Eurasian Studies; and (3) South Asian Studies. Participants chosen for one of these panels may be eligible for a modest travel subsidy. Those interested should submit abstracts according to the process outlined above, with a note
indicating their interest in a sponsored panel. Applicants not placed on a special panel will still receive full consideration.

Please circulate widely! For questions and accessibility concerns, please write to Further information can also be found at our website,

With all the best wishes,

Joseph Cross
PhD Candidate, NELC

Carl Bryant Shook
PhD Candidate, NELC

2018 Conference Coordinators

MEHAT 2018 Conference Poster