Four Puget Sound students, including two SOAN majors, just returned from participation and presentations at a mini-conference concerning research in and about the Middle East. The mini-conference itself was entitled Integrating Middle East and Arabic Studies Across the NW5C. This group of faculty, whose collaborative efforts have been supported by the Northwest five college consortium (including Puget Sound, Reed, Lewis and Clark, Whitman, and Willamette), are seeking to collectively reinforce our universities’ capacities to foster students’ interest and experience with the study of Middle Eastern societies, cultures, and histories.
In addition to attending two lectures (including Tarik Elseewi’s “New Media, New Subjectivities in the Arab World,” and Sohail Hash’s “Islam, Constitutionalism, and the Challenge of Democracy”), Puget Sound students participated in two student-focused roundtable sessions with faculty and students from the other Northwest Five colleges. Those sessions included On the Ground: Research Experiences in and about the Middle East, and Next Projects: Workshop on Ongoing Projects in or about the Middle East. The four Puget Sound students (Carolynn Hammen, David Balgley, Kathryn Stutz, and Peter Atwill) were active contributors and participants in both of these conversations.