Middle East History and Theory (MEHAT)

The Middle East History and Theory (MEHAT) Workshop is a Council on Advanced Studies workshop that serves as a multidisciplinary platform where university students and faculty in the Humanities and Social Sciences discuss a wide array of academic questions related to the history, societies, culture, and politics of the Middle East. MEHAT accepts papers dealing with a broad range of subjects pertaining to the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, and over a time span extending from the advent of Islam to the present.

Participants come from a wide range of fields including Middle Eastern Studies, History, Art History, Ethnomusicology, Anthropology, Political Science, Literary Studies, and Religious Studies. By tying in these different fields, one of the workshop’s main concerns is to bridge the existing gap between factual and theoretical approaches to studies of the Middle East. Graduate student presentations usually include dissertation chapters or proposals, works in progress, and discussions of research conducted abroad. Papers are pre-circulated to encourage attendance and informed academic discussion.

In the spring, MEHAT hosts an international conference with a focus on graduate student work, and usually featuring a keynote address by faculty, a performance by the Middle East Music Ensemble, an art and photography exhibition, and a lamb roast, sponsored by the Middle Eastern Studies Students’ Association.

Things to know:

  • The MEHAT workshop typically convenes weekly during the fall, winter, and spring quarters in Pick Hall 218. The MEHAT coordinators determine the workshop calendar on a quarterly basis. Coffee, tea, and light refreshments are usually  provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch. If you are interested in presenting, contact the MEHAT coordinators to arrange an alternate time.
  • MEHAT events will combine a series of academic paper workshops, discussions on translation, themed roundtable discussions, and the occasional lecture.
  • While the workshop is officially centered on the Middle East, it actively seeking to collaborate with other area studies departments and disciplines. No matter what department you’re in, if your work has anything to do with themes, issues, or peoples associated with the Middle East, MEHAT will consider it within its purview. In the same vein, the workshop is open to everyone to attend.
  • Finally, the workshop is intended to be a fun and productive environment to get your ideas out of your own head and hash them out with your colleagues. It is not a lecture series, nor is it a conference. It is okay to submit in-progress, rough-around-the-edges pieces of scholarship and translation. In fact, that’s the point, so don’t be shy!