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.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

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August 2021
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NEWS

  • Congratulations to Prof. Laila Shereen Sakr for receiving an award to back digital humanities, social science projects

    Congratulations to Prof. Laila Shereen Sakr for receiving an award to back digital humanities, social science projects

    Scholars receive significant award to back digital humanities, social science projects View the complete news release at: https://www.news.ucsb.edu/2021/020331/big-time-support The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has awarded UC Santa Barbara scholars Laila Shereen Sakr and Rachael Scarborough King its Digital Extension Grant Awards. The grants support digitally based research projects that advance inclusive scholarship in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. Sakr, an assistant professor in the Department of Film & Media Studies, was awarded just under $150,000 for her project, “Arab Data Bodies: Social Media in Mixed Reality.” She shares the grant with her co-principal investigator, Susana Ruiz of UC Santa Cruz. “It is thrilling to receive ACLS...
  • Event Highlight | Immeasurable Loss: Honoring Assassinated Iraqi Academics in Shadow & Light

    Event Highlight | Immeasurable Loss: Honoring Assassinated Iraqi Academics in Shadow & Light

    On Tuesday, May 11th, poet and activist Beau Beausoleil joined Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies Mona Damluji, Middle Eastern Studies librarian Heather Hughes, and Ph.D. candidate Rachel Winter for a conversation about the virtual exhibition Shadow and Light: Honoring Iraqi Academics, hosted by the UCSB Library. Shadow and Light memorializes Iraqi academics assassinated in Iraq between 2003 and 2012, a period roughly correlating to the US invasion of Iraq. Project participants selected a name from a list of academics, each accompanied by a varying amount of biographical information, wrote a brief reflection, and captured a photograph without people...
  • Graduate student Rachel Winter presented at the Getty Graduate Symposium and received a grant from the Center for Craft.

    Graduate student Rachel Winter presented at the Getty Graduate Symposium and received a grant from the Center for Craft.

    Rachel Winter (Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art and Architecture) presented her paper titled, “Exhibiting British Society at the 1976 World of Islam Festival,” at the Getty Graduate Symposium in February 2021. The third annual symposium showcased the work of many promising art history scholars. Rachel also received a Craft Research Fund Project Grant from the Center for Craft, which will support research for her dissertation: “A Spectacle of Inclusion: The Rise of Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey in the United States and England, 1970-2020.” Rachel argues that contemporary Arab artists in diaspora emerged in opposition to...
  • Event Highlight | Central Asian Pilgrims and the Late Ottoman Hajj

    Event Highlight | Central Asian Pilgrims and the Late Ottoman Hajj

    On Thursday, March 4th, Historian Lale Can gave a talk on her masterful new book Spiritual Subjects which looks at Central Asian pilgrims and the Hajj during the late Ottoman period and the entangled trajectories, negotiations, and contestations that mediated how this group of hajjis interacted with and shaped Ottoman governance. Spiritual Subjects follows these pilgrims as they navigated shifting legal, social, and political regimes through different imperial realms—from Russian and Chinese empires to Central and South Asian emirates and khanates—as they sought to perform a sacred journey during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when material transformations also...
  • Event Highlight | The Transnational Impact of the Syrian Mahjar

    Event Highlight | The Transnational Impact of the Syrian Mahjar

    Inaugurating the 2020-21 CMES speaker series, Dr. Stacy Farenthold virtually visited UC Santa Barbara in October to discuss her award-winning book Between the Ottomans and Entente: The First World War in the Syrian and Lebanese Diaspora, 1908-1925. The lecture focused on the transnational nodes and micro historical accounts of Syrian migration to the western hemisphere during the early twentieth century. Farenthold opened by describing how the mahjar (diaspora) participated or defied the seminal events and intellectual environment of the 1908 Young Turk Revolution in Latin America to underscore the broad reach of these revolutionary ideas and its diverse iterations across...
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