From Mark T. Clark
I am happy to report that the inaugural conference for the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (AMESA) on April 25-26, 2008 went extremely well. The title of the conference was “Evolution of Islamic Politics, Philosophy and Culture in the Middle East and Africa: From Traditional Limits to Modern Extremes.” In six months’ time, ASMEA has grown to about 500 scholars from 40 countries representing 230 colleges and universities from 35 academic disciplines. Nearly 250 people attended the first conference.
Six panels and two roundtables covered such subjects as Islamic philosophy, religious obligation, current case studies in the Middle East and Africa, and more. The chair of the Academic Council of ASMEA, Bernard Lewis, gave the keynote speech on the subject of “Studying the Other: Different Ways of Looking at the Middle East and Africa.” In his speech, Lewis demonstrated that no civilization in history has made the study of “the Other” for its own sake important, except for Western civilization (for which the West is nevertheless disparaged in many a Middle Eastern studies program). Watch Lewis’ speech at the bottom of this post. Media reports on the conference can be found here and here.
I invite you to consider joining ASMEA to help us build a strong academic society dedicated to defending free inquiry into the important regions of the Middle East and Africa.
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