[URBANTH-L]CFP: Dynamics of Space in the Middle East & North Africa

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Fri Dec 16 17:12:09 EST 2005

CALL FOR PAPERS: Arab Studies Journal 

The Dynamics of Space in the Middle East and North Africa 

Until recently, scholarship concerned with issues of space in the 
Middle East focused primarily on the city. Approaches varied from 
functional and political sociology to studies of aesthetic and 
material culture. Debates about the existence and characteristics of 
an 'Islamic city' were particularly heated and reflected subtle yet 
critical shifts in the field at large. More recent works have become 
increasingly nuanced as scholars from various disciplines have begun 
to address space not merely as a pre-existing terrain but as a 
category of critical analysis. The relative slowness of this shift 
can be partly explained by the serious challenge that analysis of 
space poses to the identity, coherency, and linearity assumed by more 
conventional categories of analysis. Received categories of identity 
or cultures may well shatter when re-examined from the perspective of 
space. Space, as Edward Soja reminds us, has long been marginalized 
and muted in critical social theory. What contributions could 
analyses of space make to an understanding of the Middle East? How 
would perspectives on this area change when looked at through the 
prism of spatial formations and conceptualizations? 

Henri Lefebvre makes an analytical distinction between 'place' and 
'space', describing the latter as the historical and global force 
associated with capitalism, and the former as the natural, pre-modern 
terrain which space conquers. Place, it is argued, is rapidly 
eroding. How is the production--and elimination--of space central to 
reassessing the nonlinearity of some histories, to tracking the 
subtleties and contradictions of capitalism in different regions, 
communities, populations, and nations? How do these considerations 
underlie studies of tourism and cultural heritage, and the spatial 
politics of globalization? In addition to research on urban planning 
and architecture, studies that examine the formation of ethnic, 
class, and national spaces are needed. The topics of segregation; 
gender; globalization; immigration and the global city; media and the 
internet; war and geopolitics; and literature and art, among others, 
are also important in bringing both new and largely unmined 
dimensions to the study of the Middle East. 

The Arab Studies Journal invites scholars to address these and other 
questions arising from an analysis of space. Scholars are encouraged 
to submit papers from all fields of the social sciences and 
humanities. Comparative studies between different areas (within and 
beyond the Middle East) are particularly welcome. This issue of the 
Arab Studies Journal hopes to contribute to and advance the growing 
interest in spatial questions in Middle Eastern Studies, and also 
engage broader theoretical debates, which transcend geography and 
disciplinary boundaries. 

Submissions must adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition. 

Papers may be submitted online at WWW.ARABSTUDIESJOURNAL.ORG 
or mailed to: 

Editors, Arab Studies Journal 
ICC 241 
Georgetown University 
Washington, DC 20057, USA 

DEADLINE: 1 May 2006 

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