CMES is a research and outreach center, housed within the Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research (ISBER) at UC Santa Barbara. We develop and support programs that enhance public understanding of the Middle East and the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East. CMES affiliates have expertise in Middle Eastern history, politics, economics, religions, cultures and languages. 

Our mission is to encourage critical and informed knowledge of the Middle East, and support critical Middle Eastern scholarship. We achieve this through lectures, workshops and seminars, providing grants, and a public education and a cultural outreach program for K-12 educators and students, among other means.



  • Faculty Spotlight | Stuart Tyson Smith (Anthropology)

    Faculty Spotlight | Stuart Tyson Smith (Anthropology)

    Professor Stuart Smith brings ancient Egyptians and Nubians to Zoom at Harvard University's Hutchins Center Professor Stuart Tyson Smith’s (Anthropology) research seeks to unravel the historic relationship between ancient Egyptians and Nubians. His latest contribution to the region's history is presented below in an inaugural W.E.B. Du Bois Virtual Lecture at Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, titled “Black Pharaohs? Egyptological Bias, Racism, and Egypt and Nubia as African Civilizations”. Moderated by the Center’s Director and famed literary scholar, Henry Louis Gates Jr., the lecture delves into misconceptions and discoveries pertaining to the race and ethnicity...
  • 2020 | CMES Affiliated Graduate Student News

    2020 | CMES Affiliated Graduate Student News

    UC Santa Barbara has a vibrant graduate student community invested in Middle East focused research. Below are highlights of CMES affiliated graduate students' scholarship.  Amy Fallas (History) published several reviews: “Researching Modern Egypt Online,” Digital Archives Review, HAZINE; “The Chaldeans: Politics and Identity in Iraq and the American Diaspora,” Book Review, Arab Studies Journal 28, no. 1 (Spring 2020), 122-126; and “Orthodox Religion and Politics in Contemporary Eastern Europe,” Book Review, Journal for Religion, State and Society 48, no. 2 (Summer 2020). Ms. Fallas also published in and was interviewed by several news outlets: “Some textbooks still parrot Donald Trump’s...
  • Shadow and Light (virtual exhibit)

    Shadow and Light (virtual exhibit)

    In partnership with Beau Beausoleil and Heather Hughes, Mona Damluji (Film and Media Studies) co-curated a virtual exhibition of The Shadow and Light Project that honors Iraqi academics killed in Iraq between 2003-2012. The exhibit is hosted by the UCSB Library and has just gone live: About the Exhibit The Shadow and Light project compiled by Beau Beausoleil, a poet and activist in the Bay Area, memorializes Iraqi academics assassinated between 2003-2013. This timeframe roughly parallels the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. To create the project, participants from all over the world selected the name of an assassinated Iraqi academic to memorialize with...
  • Fall 2020 | CMES Affiliated Faculty News Part II

    Fall 2020 | CMES Affiliated Faculty News Part II

    Continuing from CMES Affiliated Faculty News Part I, we celebrate and congratulate CMES affiliated faculty on their recent accomplishments. Ahmad Atif Ahmad (Professor, Religious Studies) published a series of articles on Harvard's Islamic Law Blog titled “From Punishment to Restitution”: 1 2 3 4. Professor Ahmad also tackled the translation of a 15th century manuscript by a Syrian jurist on cases that constitute exceptions to the canon that 'Silence yields no legal commitment.' The author of this work classifies the source with which silence may be considered an indicator of a commitment into classes, where it is sometimes interpreted based...
  • Fall 2020 | CMES Affiliated Faculty News Part I

    Fall 2020 | CMES Affiliated Faculty News Part I

    CMES affiliated faculty have been busy in 2020. Here are a few highlights of their work. We will be highlighting more in part II! Peter Bloom (Chair, Film and Media Studies) co-convened a workshop at the Getty Research Institute entitled Narration and Perception in the Archive of Optical Mediation Workshop that was held Feb 20-21, 2020, from which a new media initiative has emerged entitled Distance and Proximity and an edited publication is in the works. Professor Bloom also published "Intersecting Legacies of bandes dessinées and Belgian Colonial Instruction: Les aventures de Mbumbulu in Nos images (1948-55)" in Visualizing Empire:...