Call for papers: Sixth Finnish Colloquium of Middle East and North African Studies

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Studying the Middle East: where, how and for whom 

9–10 December 2021, Helsinki, Finland 

NB! The call for papers has been extended till 29 August 2021.

Where to draw the boundaries of the Middle East and Middle Eastern studies? Scholars focusing on this region are bound together by their interest in the languages, cultures, religions, history, and politics of the Middle East – not by a shared method or theoretical framework. Therefore, there is no single definition for the area or the field of study. Nevertheless, the sphere of Middle Eastern studies presumes and partly also produces the Middle East as a coherent object of study. This colloquium aims at reflecting on how these alternative Middle Easts are studied and discussed especially in the Finnish context and how they are connected to specific cultural, political, and economic forms of power. 

This colloquium is organised by the Finnish institute in the Middle East (FIME) and the University of Helsinki, and it focuses on the boundaries, intersections, and collisions between different research traditions in Middle Eastern and North African studies. We encourage submissions 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 presentations, panels, and roundtables on both the historical and the contemporary Middle East. Possible themes include, but are not restricted to, the following:    

– Alternative spatio-temporal, political, and cultural understandings of the Middle East 
– Limitations of the spatio-temporal perspective: research in diaspora contexts and digital spaces  
– Representations generated by research on the ancient Middle East 
– Historical memory in the Middle East 
– Identity of those studying the Middle East 
– Ghosts of orientalism and racism 
– Whose voice should be heard in Middle Eastern studies and who should hear it? 
– Researchers’ freedom of speech and public responsibilities. For instance, attempts to pressure and silence researchers on topics such as migration and Islam. 
– Ethically sound research collaboration and participatory research 
– Middle Eastern studies, politics, and activism 
– Effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Middle Eastern studies 

We are especially interested in submissions that discuss these themes in the Finnish context. Students are encouraged to apply with presentations based on their theses. 

The deadline for the submission of panel and roundtable proposals and individual abstracts is 29 August 2021. Further instructions and the web form 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 10 September. The deadline for registration and the payment of the conference fee (60 €, students 30 €) is 1 October. Further information on registration will be sent with the letter of acceptance. The final program of the colloquium will be published in the beginning of November. We will also open the registration for audience then. 

Instructions for submitting your abstract 

Abstracts are submitted with a web form. Authors are invited to submit proposals for presentations, pre-organised panels, and roundtables. Presentations can be either in Finnish or English.

To propose an individual presentation, please fill in the form ( The maximum length for abstracts is 2,300 characters.  

Pre-organised panels should consist of a chair and 3–4 presenters. Please use the designated form for panels ( After filling in the information on your panel, please fill the same form as for the individual presentations (above) for each panellist. Please select “yes” when asked if you are applying as a participant of a pre-organised panel or a roundtable.  

It is also possible to suggest a roundtable discussion, if the panellists are not going to prepare papers for the colloquium. Please indicate in the form ( the theme, objectives, and participants of the discussion. After filling in the information on the roundtable, each discussant will have to fill in the form for individual presenters. Instead of sending their abstracts, the discussants should share a short biographical introduction in the abstract field.  

Important information for all applicants 

Please abide by the limit of 2,300 characters in the abstract field. Any extra characters will not be registered in our system. 

To submit the form, you must accept theprivacy notice for colloquium applicants and participants. 

You can send mail to FIME (fime(at) if you have trouble submitting the form. 

Remote participation

The colloquium can be participated remotely. We particularly wish to have proposals for pre-organized panels from the remote participants. The fee for remote participation is 30 €.