The conference is organized under the auspices of the Oriental Institute,
Czech Academy of Sciences and Centre français de recherche en sciences
sociales (CEFRES) in Prague, with the kind support of Groupe de Recherches
et d’Etudes sur la Méditerranée et le Moyen-Orient (GREMMO, Lyon) and
Cercle des Chercheurs sur le Moyen-Orient (CCMO).
Since 2009, the protest movements have spread like wildfire throughout the
regions of the Middle East and North Africa. On a closer look, the
protests were far from uniform, both in terms of their origins as well as
their objectives. Some were provoked by electoral fraud, others by growing
social discontent. Although factors such as corruption and inept
governmental responses to the needs of the time featured everywhere, civic
rights and political freedoms were at the top of the demonstrators’ agenda in some
places, while they had already become the norm elsewhere. Furthermore, the
masses turned out on the streets in places as culturally and historically
diverse as Iran (2009), the Arab countries (2011), Israel (2011) and
Turkey (2013). Indeed, apart from sharing the same geographical location,
the very centers of protest, such as Cairo, Istanbul, Tehran and Tel Aviv, do
not have that much in common, ethnically, socially or politically.
Some issues are common, however, such as the calling for a renewal of the
relationship between the state and its citizens, the issues raised by the
hectic urbanization of the previous decades, the interface between the
religious and secular worlds, structural challenges within these
societies, and, above all, the fallout from the 2008 economic crisis and
the subsequent renewed centrality of social conflicts. Even so, these commonly shared
issues had a variety of different impacts on Middle Eastern societies, due
to the wide diversity of contexts. Keeping this diversity in mind, the
conference aims to bring together political scientists, historians,
geographers, sociologists, anthropologists and other academics who have
specialized in studying relevant countries/societies. Instead of trying to
bridge the unbridgeable via recourse to abstract theoretical
constructions, the conference aims at multi-level comparison, based on a
respect for the individuality of particular cases.
Conference venue: Prague, May 29-30, 2014.
Language of the conference: English and French.
Guidelines for applications:
1) Abstract of around 500 words (in either English or French)
2) A short bio, including a list of publications
These, together with any other queries, should be sent to
Deadline: March 1, 2014.
Conference fee: 30 EUR
The organizer does not provide accommodation, but can arrange it (at
discount rates). Travelling costs are covered by the participants at their