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.
Sherene Seikaly has been appointed as Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Seikaly is Associate Professor of History and the author of Men of Capital: Scarcity and Economy in Mandate Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2016). Her forthcoming book is titled, From Baltimore to Beirut: On the Question of Palestine. She is co-editor of Journal of Palestine Studies and Jadaliyya.
Heather Badamo has been appointed as Vice-Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Badamo is Assistant Professor of the History of Art & Architecture. Her forthcoming book is titled, St. George in the Eastern Mediterranean: Images of an Interfaith Hero in the Global Middle Ages (Pennsylvania State University Press).
Shiva Balaghi joined the University of California, Santa Barbara in August 2021 as Academic Coordinator of Area Global Initiative, East Asia Center, Latin American and Iberian Studies Program, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She is a cultural historian, whose books include Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East (co-edited); Picturing Iran: Art, Society, and Revolution (co-edited); and Saddam Hussein: a Biography.