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.
Professor Stephen Humphreys (History) publishes on adaptation to Muslim rule in a Syrian Orthodox communityOctober 2, 2020Professor Stephen Humphreys (History) has a new article out about adaptation to Muslim rule in a Syrian Orthodox community. The paper titled "Adapting to Muslim Rule: The Syrian Orthodox Community in Twelfth-Century Northern Syria and the Jazira" is available in the edited volume Syria in Crusader Times: conflict and Coexistence (Edinburgh Univ Press, 2020), pp. 63-85. The editor is Carole Hillenbrand.
September 18, 2020Assistant Professor Laila Shereen Sakr (Film & Media Studies) has had a busy and creative year. February to March, 2020, Laila's solo exhibition at the American University of Cairo’s (AUC) Tahrir Cultural Center, Beit Um Amel /بيت ام امل X", shared a virtual archive of "Pixelated self-portraits, digital archives of social media activity in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and “R-Shief Portal” with visitors that could be experienced and manipulated on wall-mounted iPads. To read the reviews and glimpse some of her imagery see: Michelsen, Leslee “In Cairo, Artists Use Pixels, Cyborgs, and More to Examine Technology and Belief,”...
Paul Amar (Director of the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies) receives two prestigious grantsSeptember 3, 2020Congratulations to Professor Paul Amar (Director of the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies, Professor of Global Studies) and the Orfalea Center for receiving $240,000 from the Ford Foundation and $175,000 from the Carnegie Corp. Read more about these grants and the projects they will fund HERE.
September 2, 2020Professor Elliot Wolfson (Religious Studies) publishes several chapters and articles on Kabbalah (part of Jewish tradition that deals with the essence of God) in 2020. A few highlights are below. “Ṣimṣum, Lichtung, and the Leap of Bestowing Refusal: Kabbalistic and Heideggerian Metaontology in Dialogue.” In Tsimtsum and Modernity: Lurianic Heritage in Modern Philosophy and Theology, edited by A. Bielik-Robson and D. H. Weiss, 129-170. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2020. “Theosemiosis and the Void of Being: Kabbalistic Infinity through a Peircean Lens.” In Signs of Salvation: A Festschrift in Honor of Peter Ochs. Edited by M. R. James and R. Rashkover. Eugene: Cascade Press, 2020. “To...
James White (History) successfully defended his PhD dissertation, “Bows and Spears in Achaemenid Persia”.September 2, 2020James White of the UCSB History Department successfully defended his PhD dissertation, Bows and Spears in Achaemenid Persia, on Friday, 28 August. Combining Greek and Near Eastern textual, visual, and material evidence with insights from archaeological reconstruction of ancient military equipment, this dissertation makes a groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of warfare and culture in the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BC). Dr. White’s committee included John W.I. Lee (chair),Tony Barbieri, and Beth Digeser of the UCSB History Department, and Elspeth Dusinberre, a noted specialist in Achaemenid art & archaeology at the University of Colorado. Congratulations Dr. White!