CMES Faculty Travel Awards Recipients Presenting at MESA 2016


The Marriott Copley Place, Boston, Massachusetts


Thu, 11/17/2016 - 12:00am to Sat, 11/26/2022 - 4:29am


The CMES Faculty Travel Award

Participant in Roundtable presentation: "Electrifying the Middle East and North African Studies"
Gokce Gunel, UA Assistant Professor, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies 
Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting 2016
Date: November 18, 2016 at 3:45pm
Click here for abstract 

Resource Extraction in a Conquered Province: The Changing Role of Ottoman Syria in the Mid-16th Century 
Linda Darling, UA Professor of History
Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting 2016
Date: November 19, 2016 at am
Click here for abstract 

Using Technology for Increasing Students' Multiple Literacies and Intercultural Competence 
Mohamed Ansary, Instructor, Arabic
Recipient of the CMES Pedagogy Travel Award
Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting 2016
Date: November 19, 2016 at pm
Click here for abstract

Affirming Humanity: Palestinian Views of African Struggles in the 1950s and '60s
Maha Nassar, Assistant Professor, Modern Middle East History, Islamic Studies
Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting 2016
Date: November 20, 2016 at 12n 
Click here for abstract

Gunel Abstract

In 1961, Dubai Electric Company built its first power generation plant, and strung the town with wires, allowing for artificial lights as well as newfound luxuries such as fans, refrigerators, radios, and air conditioners. These public infrastructures arrived in Dubai long after Cairo, Beirut and Saudi Arabia, and enabled Sheikh Rashid to legitimize his position as the new ruler of Dubai. As the demand for electricity grew, this small electric grid became connected to other parts of the UAE and the Arab Gulf. In the early 2000s, the investment in electric infrastructures lead to the formation of a region-wide power grid among six Gulf countries: UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. The integrated power grid is expected to reduce outages and increase power exchange across seasons and time zones. At the same time, the construction of the new grid allows the actors in the Arab Gulf to engage in economic diversification projects, specifically by investing in renewable energy power generation and nuclear energy. This talk explores the production of the GCC power grid, known as “the backbone,” and understands infrastructures of power as sites of political claim making, economic diversification and the articulation of novel forms of publicness. It also examines how the investment in electric infrastructures becomes a “launch-pad,” extending the Gulf’s economic and energetic connections to Europe and North Africa, while at the same time facilitating the planning of other cooperative projects such as water and railway interconnection grids within the GCC.

Darling Abstract

The Ottoman Empire’s relationship to its provinces is often seen as one of unmitigated exploitation. This view follows from study of its tax registers, but other kinds of records reveal different aspects of Ottoman governance. This paper uses the mühimme registers (records of “important affairs”) to investigate Ottoman governance in Syria after its conquest in 1516 and to discuss some aspects of this transformation that are not very well researched. Focusing on military and fiscal administration, the paper catalogues the issues addressed in the registers and discusses how the Ottoman state dealt with them. It traces relations between the imperial capital and the province, and between the provincial capital and other localities both internal and external to the province, revealing how the state struggled to control its own officials and to negotiate with provincial powers.

The province’s main resource was men, and the paper traces the different military groups of Syria and their activities. The fact that some Ottoman soldiers possessed Mamluk names points to a degree of continuity between the two regimes. Taxation is not ignored, but along with tax collection, the paper examines the expenditure of revenue in the province and the problems and solutions involved in fiscal management. Some of these processes also raise the question of continuity, or at least comparability, between Ottoman and Mamluk systems of governance.
The paper also addresses the changed relationship between Syria and Egypt, Damascus and Cairo. The sources reflect a separation between the two, as after the conquest each was governed directly from Istanbul, and a shift in the relative status of each province. They also provide some evidence on how this separation and altered status affected the outlook and behavior of officials and subjects.
The Ottoman conquest of the Arab lands coincided with the beginning of the early modern period on both shores of the Mediterranean, ushering in a period of state centralization and great power politics. At that moment, Syria was transformed from a frontier province of the Mamluks, their bulwark against the Mongols, to a rather more central province of the Ottoman Empire, a military and commercial crossroads and a center for pilgrimage traffic. At the same time, Egypt changed from an imperial hub to a breadbasket, whose significance was economic but no longer political. Some implications of these changes visible in the mühimme registers will conclude the paper.
Ansary Abstract:
This study explored the development and effectiveness of using technology-based tools in and out of the classroom to trace the formative assessment of 43 students using content based learning (CBL) curricula. The study also investigated how successfully students improved their ICC performance due to the immediate feedback they received on reading and listening activities based on the authentic materials of these curricula. Data were collected from daily technology-based assignments and in-class activities over a 15-week semester. Results showed increased learner motivation, increased development in the students’ skills, knowledge and attitudes through CBL, as well as growth in participant engagement in practices of the target culture and its multiple literacies.
Nassar Abstract:
A number of recent scholarly works have shed new light on how Palestinians and African Americans have compared their respective struggles for freedom with one another. This scholarship has focused mainly on the period prior to 1948 and the decades after 1967. Less attention has been paid to the crucial period in between these two watershed years. Moreover, given the dominance of English-language sources in this body of scholarship, important Palestinian perspectives have not yet been brought to the fore. In particular, the writings of Palestinian intellectuals in Israel who saw clear parallels between their own positionality as minority citizens and the positionality of African Americans have not yet been adequately investigated.
I address this gap in the literature by tracing the ways in which Palestinian intellectuals in Israel engaged with multiple facets of the African-American struggle for freedom. I do so through a close reading and analysis of the three main Arabic publications of the Israeli Communist Party: al-Ittihad, al-Jadid and al-Ghad. In particular, I examine al-Jadid’s translation into Arabic of works by Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and W.E.B. Du Bois; al-Ittihad’s coverage of the Civil Rights movement; and al-Ghad’s discussion of the portrayal of African Americans in Hollywood movies. I also provide a careful reading of Mahmoud Darwish’s 1966 two-part essay, “Letter to a Negro.” Through a textual analysis of these writings, I argue that Palestinian citizens of Israel understood that they, like African Americans, faced a racialized system of oppression that had similar internal logics, albeit with different external manifestations. More importantly, I argue that these Palestinians drew upon the experiences and perspectives of African Americans in order to reaffirm their own sense of humanity, as well as to affirm the humanity of others who were likewise struggling against systems of oppression.
By tracing the vicissitudes of these discourses, this paper elucidates the inter connectivity of political and cultural formations among Palestinian citizens of Israel and African Americans during an important—and often overlooked—period of history. By focusing on Palestinian writings in Arabic, this paper also provides fresh insights that can contribute to important and timely discussions developing among scholars in Middle Eastern studies, cultural studies, critical ethnic studies, decolonization studies, and American studies.