A conference to be held at Lund University – 16-17 April 2015

The recent political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa region have exposed growing concerns about conflict, political stability, and reform prospects across its societies. They have reinvigorated discussions about the conditions necessary for democratic change. Understanding the structural, institutional and cultural dimensions of transitions toward a democratic path is a major subject of scholarly research and policy practice. The Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) with the support of Vetenskaprådet (The Swedish Research Council) and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond seeks to foster dialogue and debate on the ways these challenges can be met. To this end, we would like to invite interested scholars to contribute to a conference to be held in Lund in April 2015 critically exploring the relevance of pathways to democracy derived from the historical experience of Nordic societies and of Turkey which have often been held to be promising “models” of transition.

The conference aims (i) to create opportunities to exchange insights and advance analysis of the potential of the Nordic and Turkish societies to provide useful resources to the consolidation and deepening of pluralistic democracies and human rights in the region and, at the same time, (ii) to examine how and why the two societies have come to represent models and (iii) explore the ways these are being criticized and debunked both domestically and internationally.

We invite abstracts of papers that critically reflect on  the “Nordic” and “Turkish models” and their limitations, the relevance of the experiences these are held to represent in the processes of political transition the MENA societies are undergoing;  evidence of cross-fertilization of the processes of democratization and recognition of human rights between Nordic societies, Turkey and the MENA countries;  challenges/obstacles to and local recourses for democratic transition in MENA societies.

Abstracts of no more than 400 words can be submitted to no later than 15 November 2014.

Convenors: Umut Ozkirimli, Spyros A. Sofos, Andrea Karlsson.

For more information, please contact Spyros A. Sofos (

Write for Babylon

Mens Gulfstatene lever godt på sin oljerikdom og Tyrkia har vært blant de raskest voksende økonomiene i verden, lever store deler av regionens øvrige befolkning under fattigdomsgrensa. Den palestinske staten bygges opp til bistandsavhengighet. Land som Irak er rangert blant verdens mest korrupte. Babylon ønsker å rette fokus mot forskning som tar for seg de økonomiske strukturene som påvirker liv og politikk i Midtøsten.

Ikke-tema artikler er alltid velkomne.

Innleveringsfrist for artikler: 1. februar 2014
Innleveringsfrist for anmeldelser og essays: 1. mars 2014

48H of Syria in Lund

48H of Syria is an event organized by Lund University and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
The event takes place in Lund during a time span of 48 hours, from 5-7 December. Events include lectures, seminars, theater workshops, concerts and poetry readings. 48H of Syria is a non-political event with the aim of spreading knowledge about the current situation in Syria.

More information and full program here >>