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2017 IMES Annual Conference: Restless Matters


Institute For Middle East Studies

Historical sites and objects are a focal point of socio-political contestation in the Middle East today. Whether it be the destruction and looting of the Egyptian Museum, Palmyra, or the Buddhas of Bamyan, or it be the renovation and rebuilding of Mecca, the Eyup Sultan complex, or heritage districts in Doha, Cairo or Beirut, the ways in which these historical sites and objects are intertwined with political projects and political-economic processes have drawn increasing scrutiny in recent years.

While popular discourses and news media accounts often portray these matters in terms of the actions of religious zealots, crass developers, or enlightened preservationists, this glosses over a far more textured socio-political terrain this conference seeks to explore. A day-long event that brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars who focus on the Middle East and the region’s past and present connections to other parts of the world, this conference explores the myriad socio-political work historical sites and objects do.


  • Esra Akcan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture, Cornell University

  • Azra Aksamija is an Associate Professor in the Art, Culture and Technology Program, MIT

  • Farah Al-Nakib is the Director of the Center for Gulf Studies, American University of Kuwait

  • Amin Alsaden is a PhD Candidate, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

  • Luna Khirfan is an Associate Professor, University of Waterloo School of Planning

  • Michele Lamprakos is an Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

  • Amal Sachedina is a Post-Doctoral Fellow, Institute for Middle East Studies, George Washington University