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Northwestern University Unveils New Book On Mideast

NU-Qatar publication “On the Ground” casts new light on Middle Eastern Studies

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University in Qatar and Northwestern’s Program in Middle East and North African Studies will unveil a new publication of perspectives on a transforming Middle East with a book launch on the Evanston campus Thursday, Feb. 6.

“On the Ground—New Directions in Middle East and North African Studies” is a joint effort by NU-Q and the Program in Middle East and North African Studies (MENA), and the publication features the work of 10 scholars: two NU-Q faculty and eight from the Evanston campus. The collection is introduced and edited by Brian Edwards, associate professor of English and comparative literary studies and director of the MENA program at Northwestern. 

NU-Q CEO and Dean Everette E. Dennis and Edwards, will premier the publication at a book launch event at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Great Room in Seabury Hall at 610 Haven Street on the Evanston campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Two years into Arab Awakening and the onset of massive power shifts in the Middle East, a symposium was held in Doha, Qatar, highlighting new scholarship and the changed context within which the Middle East and North Africa might be understood. From that meeting came this pioneering monograph that marks the first collaboration between NU-Q and MENA. It is published by Northwestern University in Qatar in Doha, Qatar.

The ten perspectives in the book represent ‘working papers’ that summarize manuscripts in progress. The works critically cut into issues ranging from emotional impacts of the Arab uprisings to youth-generated media to religious freedom in Syria. 

“This is the first collaboration of its kind produced by NU-Q and a solid first step in our publication history,” Dennis said. “The work offers fresh insights by emerging social scientists who are eager to cast a new light on old controversies in a region that demands deeper reflection.

“While some of its content offers perspective on recent upheavals in the region, the work shows due regard to its rich history and how that figures into the complexity of pressing regional issues today,” he observed.

In addition to the launch event Feb. 6 on the Evanston Campus, NU-Q will be holding its own launch event later in the month, featuring highlights from the Evanston event and in-person commentary in Doha from contributing faculty and others. 

“This publication allows us to show off the work of eight of the 22 Evanston-based faculty affiliated with the MENA program,” Edwards said. “It also marks a first of what we hope will be several collaborative enterprises between MENA and NU-Q, which would seem a natural partnership and one that can benefit our students and faculties in the future.

"The MENA Program on the Evanston campus is itself new,” Edwards added. “After several years of building, 2013-14 marks our first year with a full-fledged undergraduate major, minor and a Ph.D. certificate program and graduate cluster.”

About Northwestern University in Qatar

Northwestern University in Qatar draws from its parent organization, Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), a distinguished history, famous programs and an exceptional faculty. Founded in partnership with Qatar Foundation, NU-Q provides a framework through which students explore the world and, ultimately, shape its future through its distinguished schools of communication, journalism, and liberal arts. To learn more about Northwestern University in Qatar, visit Northwestern University in Qatar.  

About the Program in Middle East and North African Studies at Northwestern University

The Middle East and North African Studies Program (MENA) in Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences offers students and the community at large an in-depth understanding of the region that stretches from Morocco to the Gulf States and Iran, and from the Mediterranean into the Sahara and beyond. The award-winning faculty is drawn from the disciplines of anthropology, art history, comparative literature, history, political science, religion, film and media studies, among others.  They embrace comparative approaches to the region. To learn more about Northwestern’s MENA program, visit Middle East & North African Studies

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