Open Panel Call for Papers: Migrational Epistemologies: Translation in the Middle East and North Africa

Kamran Karimullah's picture
Call for Papers
September 9, 2019 to September 30, 2019
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies, Digital Humanities, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies

Genealogies of Knowledge II

Evolving Transnational, Transdisciplinary

and Translational Epistemologies


Hosted by

Baker Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies

Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China


In collaboration with

Genealogies of Knowledge Project, University of Manchester, UK


10-12 April 2020


Open Panel CfP

Migrational Epistemologies:

Translation in the Middle East and North Africa


Convenor: Kamran I. Karimullah, University of Manchester, UK



This panel seeks to explore how translation and other forms of mediation have participated in the production and contestation of knowledge in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by renegotiating and/or transforming the meaning of key concepts and values at specific historical points. Such mediation has occurred within different contexts, where criteria for the recognition and validation of ideas, sources of knowledge, theories and research methods shifted especially in the transition from the premodern to the modern era. Owing to the effects of the internet and social media, for example, migrational epistemologies today emerge in a way that radically transcends traditional boundaries. Heightened awareness of the significance of migrational epistemologies is envisaged to challenge orientalizing narratives on the production and circulation of knowledge in MENA, and to contribute to the emancipation of subaltern, diasporic and non-institutional perspectives on knowledge, truth and validity from Euro-centric, ethnocentric and state-centric paradigms.


The panel seeks to foreground the contribution of all actors, locations and moments involved at every stage of the process of knowledge production, circulation and contestation, acknowledging that epistemologies in MENA further emerge within networks of interlocking communities, regions, economies, families, neighbourhoods, tribes and geopolitical territories whose boundaries transcend national cultures and socio-political movements. Privileging local narratives and local embodiments, the panel seeks to explore the epistemological economies in which people and commodities as well as concepts, terminologies, values, practices and norms have circulated and have been translated-enacted by local translators-actors, ultimately revealing how translation functions to produce local epistemologies, values and aesthetics.


Topics of interest include but are not restricted to the following:


  • The evolution and transformation of the epistemological foundations of traditional political and scientific discourses in MENA, including sources of knowledge, research methods and standards of argumentation and proof
  • The construction of knowledge, rationality and expertise across a range of movements, media and disciplinary boundaries through the contestation of the widening powers of state organs
  • The role of Arabic translation and interpretation in shaping epistemological changes across MENA, including the lexicographical evolution of Arabic driven by translation from European languages and the emergence of Arabic as a language of warfare, politics and science in the region.
  • The emergence of Arabic and European-language presses, print capitalism, journalism and transnational/translational print networks, and their role in negotiating epistemological shifts in the region
  • The use of Arabic corpora, visualization tools and other resources that fall under the remit of Arabic digital humanities to explore issues of relevance to the theme of the panel.


Dr Kamran I. Karimullah is a lecturer in Islamic philosophy and medicine at the University of Manchester, and a Post-doctoral research associate on the Genealogies of Knowledge project. His research interests include medieval and modern medicine and philosophy in the Middle East, corpus-assisted translation studies, and the reception of Classical Greek and modern European medicine and philosophy. His most recent publications are ‘The  Emergence of Verification (taqīq) in Islamic Medicine: The exegetical legacy of Far al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s (d. 1210) commentary on Avicenna’s (d. 1037) Canon of Medicine’ (Oriens 2019) and ‘Sketching Women: A corpus-based approach to representations of women’s agency in political internet corpora in Arabic and English’ (Corpora, in press/2020).


Submission of Paper Proposals


Submissions should be sent to the panel convenor (Kamran Karimullah, by 30 September 2019.


Submissions should consist of:


  1. Abstract (350-400 words, including up to 5 bibliographic references).


  1. Contributor’s 150-word (maximum) biodata written in the third person. See examples from a previous event here:


  1. Full affiliation(s).


Notification of acceptance will be sent by 30 October 2019.