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A distribution of: CentralAsia-L - Announcement List for Central Asian Studies

WORKSHOP/CFP- Anthropology & Gender in the Middle East, Berlin, 30 Nov.-2


Anja Peleikis, Centre for Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin
Friederike Stolleis, University of Bamberg

Unlike the Anglo-American and French academic traditions, where anthropological research on the Middle East has generally been encouraged, the production of knowledge on the region has been the main preserve of historians and Islamic scientists in Germany. This raises questions about the position of anthropological studies of the Middle East and North Africa in German academic life. How did the two disciplines of anthropology and Middle East studies develop historically without hardly ever overlapping? And how do individual researchers combine theoretical and methodological knowledge with their regional specialisation? This workshop explicitly
aims at bringing together anthropologists who work on the Middle East and North Africa, from Germany and abroad.

We would like to invite reseachers who are interested to present their work through a gender-aware perspective. We believe that gender relations provide a particularly useful lens through which to describe and analyse the changing life-worlds of women and men. These worlds are embedded in
social, economic and political transformation in the region and in large-scale transnational and global processes.

 The workshop is set within the context of the themes of "translocality" and the "public sphere", two lines of research which shape a diverse variety of research projects at the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies in Berlin. We do not expect to exhaust these broad subjects, but to provide a forum for
their exploration, focussing on three main themes:

1. Locating Anthropology in the Middle East. This session shall give room to explore the historical and actual involvement of anthropological endeavours in the Middle East. In an
increasingly globalised world the practice of fieldwork and the
researcher's identities have been questioned and re-conceptualised. We would like to encourage discussions  which explore this challenge of coming to terms
with the changed context of ethnographic work in Middle East societies which become more and more deterritorialised.

2. Transnational/Translocal Agency and the (Re-)construction of Gender Relations. In this panel we would like to focus on the changes and continuities in gender systems within the context of ongoing mobility and the emergence of transnational and translocal communities. Several questions might be
addressed: How can migration experiences reinforce or loosen gender asymmetries? How are local gender identities redefined and reconstructed in globalised, de-territorialised contexts? How are political, social or religious movements linked transnationally and how are they gendered?

3. Gender and the Public Sphere.  Recent research on Middle East societies has challenged the notion that social worlds of men and women are reducible to spheres of "private" and
"public" with power limited to men in the public arena. We would like to challenge the usefulness of a public-private distinction for the understanding of contemporary women's lives in the Middle East. Questions may include: How do activities taking place in private interfere with or influence public life and vice versa? Is the distinction between "public
and private space" synonymous with that between "public and private life"? How would a definition of public and private need to be formulated in order to remain flexible to cultural variation? Can we talk of the emergence of transnational public spheres?
We are looking for active participants who would like to present a paper themselves or act as discussant. If you would like to participate, please inform us by 31st of May 2001. If you want to submit a paper, please do also send us a preliminary title and a brief outline of one to two pages as
well as two or three sentences about yourself (studies, current occupation).

Contributions should be in English and must be submitted in written form by October 15th.

The workshop will take place on the premises of the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies, Kirchweg 33, Berlin  Nikolassee, from Friday afternoon, 30th November to Sunday lunchtime 2nd of December. There will be limited funding available to cover travel expenses and accommodation for conference participants. However, we encourage you to seek alternative funding where possible.

Friederike Stolleis and Anja Peleikis

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further details:
Dr. Anja Peleikis
Centre for Modern Oriental Studies
Kirchweg 33
D-14129 Berlin
Tel: +49-(0)30-80307-0/231
Fax: +49-(0)30-80307-210


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