“Utopias in the Middle East and Beyond” Workshop

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Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
15 October 2021
Location: 
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Middle East History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Islamic History / Studies, Area Studies, Social Sciences

Call for Proposals:

Utopias in the Middle East and Beyond: Workshop

Centre for Islamic and West Asian Studies, Royal Holloway University of London

February 2022

 

Utopias in the most widely accepted sense--that is, preconceived models of an ideal society that encourage, legitimise, and guide (political) action--were strikingly absent from the initial phase of the 2011 Arab uprisings. However, new political imaginaries emerged throughout the revolutionary process itself with various actors attempting to realize new-born utopias, be they short-lived, such as the encampment on Cairo’s Tahrir Square, or more durable, like Syria’s local councils. To use Gilles Deleuze's terms, the relative absence of “transcendent utopias” (i.e., pre-conceived political projects geared toward the establishment of a perfect society) should not obscure the presence of “immanent utopias” (i.e. trial-and-error political experiments that take place in an endless process of resistance to oppression). Considering this, we invite scholars with various disciplinary backgrounds to take stock of the many utopias that have shaped (or, at least, strove to shape) the Middle East and adjacent regions throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

We are looking for contributions

  • on utopias broadly defined as the desire for a different, better way of being, a definition which accommodates a wide variety of forms, functions, and contents;
  • on utopian visions, produced by both state and non-state actors;
  • on utopian projects stemming from a variety of ideological backgrounds such as modernism, nationalism, anarchism, socialism, Third-Worldism, Zionism, Islamism, and millenarianism;
  • that focus on both “transcendent” and “immanent” utopias;
  • that explain how utopias emerged, unfolded, and in some cases, disappeared;
  • that explore instances of cross-pollination between utopian projects;
  • that might challenge existing typologies of utopias.

 

Proposals should be sent to ciwas@rhul.ac.uk, specifying in the email subject: “Utopias in the Middle East and beyond” by 15 October 2021. Proposals must include a tentative title and an abstract (600 words including mention of sources used).

Centre for Islamic and West Asian Studies, Royal Holloway University of London will cover travel and accommodation for the workshop. Contributions will be published in an edited volume.

 

Key dates:

Abstract submission: 15 October 2021

Notification of acceptance: 31 October 2021

Chapter drafts (4.000 word): 16 January 2022

Workshop: 18 February 2022

First draft of chapters (8.000 words) due: 1 May 2022

    Contact Info: 
    • Proposals should be sent to ciwas@rhul.ac.uk, specifying in the email subject: “Utopias in the Middle East and beyond” by 15 October 2021. Proposals must include a tentative title and an abstract (600 words including mention of sources used).
    • Inquiries about the project should be referred to the project’s organisers: Dr. Simon Wolfgang Fuchs (simon.w.fuchs@orient.uni-freiburg.de), and Dr. Thomas Pierret (thomas.pierret@univ-amu.fr).
    Contact Email: