Conference: Constitutional Experiences in the Middle East and North Africa – Call for Papers

International Conference Constitutional Experiences in the Middle East and North Africa (from approx. 18th to 20th centuries) convened by Stefan Leder and Astrid Meier

Date: November 6-7, 2014

Venue: Orient-Institut Beirut

Deadline: May 16, 2014

The conference is aimed at exploring political concepts and practices which are related to constitutional experiences prior and parallel to the occurrence of written constitutions. Combining political, intellectual, legal and social history across the region, we invite papers on legal and organizational frameworks, administrative bodies, associations, councils, corporative structures, customs, as well as discourses of rule, power and statehood aimed at containing authority. Constitution can in its broadest sense be understood as the internal governmental norms and practices that establish the institution and system of government and define and limit the scope of governmental sovereign powers. Adopting a cross-temporal approach and taking account of diverse historical trajectories, we are interested in exploring the extent to which social practices of power sharing, especially when legally framed, as well as Islamic and other conceptual systems or habitual institutions provide a context that is akin to constitutional thought. (For more see call for paper)

The deadline for the submission of abstracts (300 words maximum) is May 16, 2014. Your abstract, together with a short biographical note, should be sent to Ahmad Hussein (, under the subject header “constitutional experiences”. You will be informed about the decision of the selection committee by June 2, 2014.

Accommodation in Beirut will be provided for the duration of the conference. We are currently finalizing the conference budget and very much hope that air travel will also be provided to participants. However, if your own university, center or institute can help in this matter, this will considerably reduce our financial obligations to our two institutional sponsors. If you plan to apply for a travel grant, please indicate this when submitting your abstract.

Please submit only unpublished papers that would be eligible for publication in an edited volume.

Call for papers (Download pdf)

International Conference: The Occult Sciences in Pre-modern Islamic Culture

Beirut, 5-6 December 2013

From 5-6 December 2013 the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) and the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) are jointly hosting an international conference on “The Occult Sciences in Pre-modern Islamic Culture”.

In pre-modern Islamic culture, a number of “occult” sciences that deal with non-observable realities and are marked by ritual references were acknowledged part of the canon of knowledge and practiced also by natural scientists. The “occult” sciences, al-‘ulum al-khafiya, include sciences such as ‘ilm al-firasa (phsysiognomy), qiyafa (tracking), ‘iyafa (myomancy), kimiya (alchemy), ‘ilm ahkam al-nujum (astrology), ruqya; tawidh (spells and incantations), tabir al-ruya (oneiromancy), and various forms of sihr (magic). To investigate these and similar sciences and to place them in the context of the other sciences in Islam, and of Islamic culture in general, this conference presents contributions that can be placed under two main topics: The first will examine particular “occult” sciences and their context within the body of the sciences. The second explores how the relationship between the natural and the supernatural was perceived in Islamic culture and how the “occult” in these sciences was defined.

Speakers: Saiyad Nizamuddin Ahmad (American University in Cairo), Nader El-Bizri (American University of Beirut), Christopher Braun (Warburg Institute, London), Kristine Chalyan-Daffner (Heidelberg University), Emma Gannagé (Georgetown University, Washington, DC), Antonella Ghersetti (Ca’ Foscari University, Venice), Dahlia Gubara (Orient-Institut Beirut), Muhammad Khalidi (York University, Toronto), Tarif Khalidi (American University of Beirut), Matthew Melvin-Koushki (Princeton University), Eva Orthmann (Bonn University), Liana Saif (British Museum, London), George Saliba (Columbia University, New York), Isabel Toral-Niehoff (Aga Khan University, London).

Download full programme

Venue: American University of Beirut, College Hall, Auditorium B 1.

Contact OIB: phone +961-1-359240; email: Scheffler[at]

Contact CAMES: phone: +961-1-350000 ext. 3845; email: cames[at]