May 2006

[left to right, Burhan Ghalioun, Muhammad ‘Abid al-Jabri, Ibrahim Gholum, Fahmy Jad’an and Abu-Ya’rab al- Marzouqi at University of Bahrain Ibn Khaldun conference in May]

The theme of “reform” in its socio-economic, political, religious, and ethical dimensions has been, for the last five years, a topic of greatest contention and debate in the Arab World. This theme was recently extensively deliberated in a conference entitled “Khaldunian Thought and the Discourse of Reform” in celebration of the 600th anniversary of Ibn Khaldun, the erudite Arab thinker, scholar, politician, and historian of the 14th century. Sponsored by the College of Arts at the University of Bahrain, it hosted renowned contemporary scholars including Muhammad ‘Abid al-Jabri, Burhan Ghalioun, Fahmy Jad’an and Abu-Ya’rab al- Marzouqi, among others. (more…)

Is there a Middle East? At first glance we either have a very silly question or an occasion for an academic conference. In this case it was the latter at Yale University this past weekend. The Council for Middle East Studies of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies hosted a dozen scholars from various disciplines. Papers were given on the history of the term “Middle East,” its geographical borders in maps and mental templates, how the region implied has been imagined, colonially appropriated and the continuing relevance of the region in a world hooked on oil and stymied by regional terrorism. (more…)