Call for Papers, Panels and Roundtables: Decolonizing Middle Eastern Studies – Critical Perspectives and Emerging Debates

World map with FIME and Tampere University logos. Pairs of scissors and dotted lines outline the Middle East and North Africa on the map.

The Seventh Finnish Colloquium of Middle East and North African Studies 

10 – 11, June 2024 – Tampere, Finland (with a hybrid option for online participation)

Call for Papers & Panel and Roundtable Proposals – Deadline: Extended until January 31, 2024


Calls for decolonizing Middle Eastern Studies have proliferated in recent decades. These calls are not confined only to academic circles but resonate with the historical and on-going struggles for liberation against different forms of colonization in the region and globally. Accompanying the surge in the concept’s popularity is the rising confusion and debates around the term ‘decolonial’, including accusations of the concept turning into a mere academic exercise. In this colloquium, we convene to explore the multiple meanings, potential applications, and limitations of ‘decolonizing perspectives’ within the context of the Middle East and its rich tapestry of past and ongoing struggles.

Keynote speakers:

Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Queen Mary University of London

Assistant Professor Nikolas Kosmatopoulos, American University of Beirut


This multidisciplinary colloquium is organized by the Finnish Institute in the Middle East (FIME) and Tampere University. We encourage proposals for panel sessions, roundtables and individual papers that break boundaries between research traditions, challenge prevailing points of view, and experiment with new topics and ways of giving a conference presentation. We welcome proposals on both the historical and the contemporary Middle East – including presentations that challenge our whole conceptualization of the limits and boundaries of the ‘Middle East’ itself.  Proposals for panels or roundtables conducted in other languages than English are welcome and can be arranged given the resources available. Possible themes include, but are not restricted to, the following: 

  • Decolonial methodologies: decolonizing research practices and prevailing concepts 
  • Research in the margins: research in marginal spaces and among marginalized groups 
  • Decolonial theory and its many (mis)uses: what kind of politics are advanced by calls to decolonize and by whom? 
  • Decolonial and other critical approaches: new combinations and incompatibilities (for instance, post-colonial, settler colonial, Marxist theory and critical theory) 
  • Decolonizing the histories of ‘the Middle East’ 
  • Intersectional perspectives to Middle Eastern Studies 
  • Decolonial perspectives to state and citizenship in the Middle East 
  • Decolonial theory and the question of violence 
  • New perspectives to studies on ancient cultures and people 
  • Decolonial perspectives to markets, capital and class in the Middle East 
  • Decolonial perspectives on environment and climate in the Middle East 
  • Decolonial perspectives on ethnicity, sectarianism, and race in the Middle East 
  • Critical perspectives to decolonizing endeavors 

Master and PhD students are also encouraged to apply with presentations based on their theses and dissertations. 

The deadline for the submission of panel and roundtable proposals and individual abstracts is January 31, 2024. Further instructions and the web forms can be found on the web page of the Finnish Institute in the Middle East.

The selected participants will be informed of the results by February 9, 2024. The deadline for registration and the payment of the conference fee (70 €, students 30 €, online participants 30 €) is March 15, 2024. Further information on registration will be sent with the letter of acceptance. The final program of the colloquium will be published by mid-April at Registrations for participants without a paper will also be opened in mid-April. 

Instructions for submitting your abstract   

Abstracts are submitted with a web form. Authors are invited to submit proposals for presentations and/or pre-organized panels or roundtable discussions. If you prefer to organize a panel or present in a language other than English, add the necessary information on the web form. 

To propose an individual presentation, please fill in this form. The maximum length for abstracts is 2300 characters.  

Pre-organized panels should consist of a chair and 3–4 presenters. Please use the designated form for panels here

To propose a roundtable discussion for the conference, fill in the form here.