Middle East Studies

Director's Message

Nadje Al Ali

Dear CMES Colleagues, Students, and Friends of CMES,

I extend a warm welcome to you all at the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year.

As director of the Center over the past two years, I have built on its existing strengths and expertise, whilst expanding into and exploring new areas. I am very proud of our joint achievements last year which included 26 online events and eight on-campus events with a total viewership of 20,324 and counting. Brown’s Middle East Studies is not only on the map in terms of US academia, but is now a well-established and known entity in Europe and the Middle East. Students and faculty in different parts of the world have been commenting on our programming at the same time as we have been trying to rebuild the community around campus which had been difficult in the previous year due to Covid-related restrictions. In addition to your support, I have been able to lean on the institutional memory and graceful efficiency of our Center’s administrator Barbara Oberkoetter, and also the help of our CMES faculty steering committee.

Meanwhile, our donors and supporters have allowed us to welcome our first Alomran Family Postdoctoral Research Associate. Fulya Pinar is a cultural anthropologist who focuses on displacement and social movements in Turkey. She will be joining us for two years. We are also very excited to welcome Professor Abed Takriti, Darwish Visiting Professor in Palestinian Studies. Professor Takriti is joining us for the year from the University of Houston where he is the inaugural Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Arab History. He will be organizing several events, including the annual New Directions in Palestinian Studies workshop. In the fall, we are planning two searches for postdoctoral research associates. One for Iranian Studies and the other for Palestinian Studies, with each appointment beginning in July 2023.

This academic year will start with an online conversation on September 9 with Ashjan Ajour to discuss her recently published book Reclaiming Humanity in Palestinian Hunger Strikes: Revolutionary Subjectivity and Decolonizing the Body. On campus, we have invited our visiting professor Marie Ostby to talk about her work on Iran titled:  The Global Genres of Modern Iran: Flexible Forms and Cross-Cultural Exchange from Travelogues to Twitter.

Amongst many other events we are organizing this year is a panel on reproductive rights in the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The idea is not only to provide an overview of reproductive rights in these regions but also to share strategies for mobilization and organizing. We are also participating in hosting a series of events marking 60 years of the Algerian Revolution, including an exhibition, a series of film screenings, a symposium, and a conversation with two veteran Algerian women activists. We will continue to keep you posted about our various activities and events throughout the year.

Time has passed quickly since I took up the role of Director of CMES in the summer of 2020 and I have missed being able to thank you all in person for your support of and great enthusiasm for CMES. I am very much looking forward to seeing many of you in person in Providence as well as online for our virtual events.


Nadje Al-Ali

Director, Center for Middle East Studies
Robert Family Professor of International Studies
Professor of Anthropology and Middle East Studies