Call for Papers | Palestinian Anthropology: Thinking Without a State

Insaniyyat, the recently formed Society of Palestinian Anthropologists, invites participants to submit abstracts, attend roundtables, and participate in the society’s second gathering. Papers and roundtables should address the subject of Palestine and Palestinian communities anywhere as topics of anthropological inquiry. The conference is in collaboration with the PhD program in inter-disciplinary social sciences at Birzeit University. For its three-day conference, Palestinian Anthropology: Thinking Without a State, Insaniyyat invites participants to explore the following questions: How can we cultivate and enrich a Palestinian anthropology? What are the theoretical and/or political, ethnographic contributions of anthropological research on Palestine to the discipline? What are the thematic intersections that do or should command ethnographic attention in a sovereignless Palestine? In what ways might Palestine as an epistemic site offer critical reflections on the modern enterprise of studying the Other that is arguably anthropology? What are the challenges of conducting fieldwork in Palestine and among Palestinian communities in diaspora?

Abstracts can be submitted in either Arabic or English, and should be no longer than 500 words.

Send your abstract to:
NEW Deadline for submission: 25 October, 2018

Call for Applications | Fellowship Program for Emerging Displaced Scholars

Through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Program in Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities, Columbia Global Centers | Amman has established a fellowship program starting on January 1, 2019 that offers 12-month fellowships for emerging displaced scholars interested in the humanities to continue and further develop their scholarly pursuits.

Eligible candidates are PhD students who have had their doctorate disrupted, post-doctoral fellows who were awarded a doctorate in the humanities or humanistic social sciences, or early career scholars who were employed at an accredited institution of higher learning and were forcibly uprooted from their home countries and respective academic institutions for reasons related to the emergence of security concerns and/or armed conflict.

Please direct any inquiries regarding eligibility to Dr. Ahmad Mousa, Programs Manager, T: +962 6 5777955, E:
The deadline for the application is October 16, 2018

IRCPL Open Position for Columbia Student

Columbia University’s Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life (IRCPL) has an open Program and Research Assistant position for a current Columbia Student. Please email Walid Hammam (IRCPL Associate Director) at with your resume for consideration.

Job Description

  1. Assist in supporting programs and events (correspondence, publicity, research publications, speaker arrangements and accommodations).

  2. Support research programs and workshops by preparing meeting notices, making travel arrangements, corresponding with visitors, helping prepare background papers and meeting notes, and providing other logistical support.

  3. Supporting IRCPL programs, including the Rethinking Public Religion and other project.

  4. Provide website, social media, and outreach support.

  5. Assist with running events, including checking in guests, setting up and breaking down the rooms/venue, responding to inquiries from event participants and guests.


Job Requirements

  1. Pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, History, Political Science, or a related field, with high academic credentials (candidates pursuing or a student enrolled in a Master’s degree program are welcome to apply as well).

  2. Related research or program experience.

  3. Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

  4. Strong research, proofreading, and editing skills.

  5. Very strong organizational skills and multitasking skills with a keen attention to detail is essential.

  6. Ability to meet deadlines and work calmly in a fast-paced environment.

  7. Familiarity with any of the following is helpful WordPress; Facebook Page management and analytics; and Twitter and other social media platforms; and the Adobe Creative Suite.  

Call for Papers | Upcoming Conference sponsored by IRCPL & Columbia Global Center in Amman, Jordan

Conference Details

The Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life (IRCPL) at Columbia University in collaboration with the Columbia Global Centers | Amman and co-sponsored by our partners in Europe, are organizing a conference entitled - Untangling Popular Power: Rhetoric, Faith, and Social Order in the Middle East.

The conference will consider various forms of popular power in the Middle East and North Africa by examining how populism is defined, the role of modern populist movements like anti-colonial struggles or popular anti-regime uprisings, how the use of religious identity has shaped these movements, and the relationship between populist ambitions and various media platforms, from print to broadcast to digital.

As “populism” itself becomes a significant force, both rhetorically and politically, across the world and in the region, the need for interdisciplinary scholarship across the MENA region is vital. This forum aims to explore the extent to which recently emerging populisms in the contemporary Middle East are illustrative of a new historical trend, and/or the extent to which they are a continuation of the diverse strategies for the mobilization of peoples that were deployed during international anti-colonial projects and civil rights movements. It will examine the intersection of populist and religious discourses and the relationship of secular and religious activists to political and social power, as well as the implications of the different strains of emerging populism on globalization, liberal institutions, human rights, and the media.

Although “populism” is a contested term, here we use it to characterize political trends in which leaders mobilize social groups for political action through rhetoric(s) that weave together emotionally charged themes into a message of economic uplift, nationalism, the wresting of power from entrenched elites, and the protection of an authentic way of life.

The two-day conference will be held at the Columbia Global Center in Amman and aims to provide a forum for scholars, local experts, advanced doctoral students, activists and practitioners to investigate these themes and track how populism that uses religious discourse is being variously deployed across the MENA region. Following the conference, select participants will be invited to contribute a revised and extended version of their papers to an edited book volume and other online writing fora.

The conference invites contributions from academics, NGO organizations, religious leaders, and civil society members who work in and on the MENA region.

Call for Papers for the following thematic panels:

Language and Meaning: Conceptualizing Popular Politics in the Middle East

  • Meanings and connotations of the term “populism” in the various contexts and languages of the Middle East and North Africa

  • Ways in which populist movements envision community and authenticity and target particular social groups (e.g. religious communities, ethnic groups, and economic classes)

  • Discourses of nationalism, civil rights, equality, religion, secularism, and methods used to promote cleavages of identity in the pursuit of populist objectives

The Past in the Present: Historical Perspectives on Populism

  • Contemporary populist movements in the region as a new phenomenon

  • Populist movements of the past

  • Differences between MENA and European/American populist ideologies

Mobilizing the Faithful: The Role of Religion and Religious Identity in Popular Politics

  • Role of religious leaders and religious communities

  • Use of religion and religious identity by populist leaders and movements to pursue national, economic, and social objectives

  • Politicization of religious tropes through populist lenses activating previously dormant populations of political actors

Media(ted) Populism

  • Contribution of traditional media and social media to contentious politics and social movements, in the past and today

  • Populist rhetoric employed across media platforms - newspapers, television, the web, and others

  • Religious dimensions in media environments

  • Tension between populist figures and media and the question of “illegitimate” or “fake” media.

Bread, Dignity, and Social Justice: The Economics of Populism

  • Divergent framings of welfare and who is mobilized around such claims

  • Role of global and local financial crises in rise of populist movements

  • Negotiation of Islamist economic ideas and global political economy

  • Economic precariousness and inaccessibility of resources correlated with changing views of what constitutes legitimate use of authority in MENA

Guide for Authors

Abstracts should be 250 words maximum in length. They should be titled and have all requisite bibliographic citations. Along with the abstract, please include a detailed, recent Curriculum Vitae/resume (no longer than 3 pages).

Abstracts will be evaluated according to the following categories: originality of theme, clear data and methodology, clarity and relevance of the proposal to the conference theme. To submit your abstract, please send them to with the subject line of the email titled “Populism Middle East Abstract” by Monday, October 22, 2018.

Important Dates

Deadline for abstract: Monday, October 22, 2018

Deadline for final paper submission: Tuesday, January 15, 2019

For any enquiries regarding the conference program, please contact: K. Soraya Batmanghelichi,

For all general enquiries, please contact: Walid Hammam, Associate Director of IRCPL, and Ahmad Mousa,, Columbia Global Centers.

Co-sponsored by:

University of Oslo – IKOS

University of Groningen – Centre for Religion, Conflict, and Globalization

Sciences Po, Centre for International Studies (CERI)

Alliance Program – Columbia University

Now Open | Fall 2018 Language Maintenance Tutorial

Now Open | Fall 2018 Language Maintenance Tutorial

The Language Maintenance Tutorial (LMT) Program can be extremely beneficial for Columbia’s graduate and professional school students. The LMT program is designed to facilitate students of foreign languages who are looking to maintain (and in so doing, improve) their knowledge of the language.

Registration for Fall 2018 is open from now until September 28th. Tutorials will begin within the first few weeks of October, at the latest. We are looking for students interested in taking tutorials, as well as students with native or near-native proficiency to tutor for us.

Professor Ehsan Yarshater (1920-2018)

Joint announcement by the Ehsan Yarshater Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University; the Persian Heritage Foundation; and the Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation.

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Professor Ehsan Yarshater on September 2, 2018 in Fresno, California.

Endowed with a rare combination of a bold and broad scholarly vision, immense erudition, and unfailing determination, Professor Ehsan Yarshater transformed Iranian studies, creating an enduring legacy at Columbia University which advanced the scholarship and understanding of the histories, cultures and accomplishments of Iranian peoples.

Launch | New University in Exile Consortium

Launch | New University in Exile Consortium

September 6, 2018 at 6:00 PM
The Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall
66 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011

The New University in Exile Consortium, (New UIE Consortium), is an initiative created by The New School to confront today’s surging threats to scholars around the world. The New UIE Consortium is a group of like-minded colleges and universities, each of which is committed to hosting at least one endangered scholar. The founding member institutions are: Barnard College, Brown University, Columbia University, Connecticut College, Georgetown University, George Mason University, The New School, Rutgers University - Newark, Trinity College, and Wellesley College.

This event will feature distinguished speakers—witnesses to the dangers of authoritarian governments and wars around the world—in conversation on the protection of scholars and other refugees. It will also feature comments by some of the endangered scholars themselves who will be hosted at New UIE Consortium institutions.

Course | Foundation to Islamic Studies and Muslim Societies

Course | Foundation to Islamic Studies and Muslim Societies

This seminar provides students with an introduction to key concepts, theories and debates in Islamic Studies, broadly conceived. Required for students in the MA Program in Islamic Studies, this course is also suitable for graduate students in other departments who study the Middle East, South Asia & Africa or are interested in Islam as a global phenomenon. Qualified undergraduate may register with the permission of the instructor.

Exhibition | In the School of Wisdom: Persian Bookbinding, ca. 1575-1890

Exhibition | In the School of Wisdom: Persian Bookbinding, ca. 1575-1890

October 22, 2018 - March 1, 2019
Rare Book & Manuscript Library (6th Floor East) - Chang Octagon Exhibition Room
Butler Library, 535 W. 114 St., New York, NY 10027

Following the introduction of lacquer-painting in the 15th century, bookbindings became a rejuvenated site for creative expression in Iran. ‘In the School of Wisdom’ presents over thirty examples, representing the diversity of the art as it developed from the late Safavid to Qajar eras and contextualizing it within a changing landscape of libraries and book culture.

Event Contact Information:
Jane Siegel

Annual Report 2017-2018

Annual Report 2017-2018

The 2017-2018 Annual Report is available here.

This Annual Report includes sections on the institute’s programming initiatives, including our unique Sharī`a Workshop, which completed its third year; research on Islam in Africa, featured in the long-standing Ifriqiyya Colloquium; our Visiting Scholars; the programming of the affiliated Center for Palestine Studies; and the major upgrades to the institute’s federally mandated efforts in outreach to schools and the public.

New Course | Intro to the Middle East

This course, offered at Teachers College, will provide a foundation of frameworks to read, study, teach, and think critically about the Middle East. In today’s Trumpian era, misinformation about the Middle East and Islam is rampant. This course will attempt to de-excpetionalize and de-mystify the study of the Middle East. It will provide a historical overview of the region as well as discuss its most pressing social, historical, and political issues. It will primarily offer content knowledge for pre-and-in-service teachers but will also cover suggestions for age-appropriate readings and pedagogical approaches for teaching grades 7-12 students.