Freedom and Democracy in the Middle East?
June 12-13, 2012 the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and University of Western Sydney (UWS)
CALL FOR PAPERS
Since early 2010, the Middle East and North Africa have been rocked by mass protests and upheaval, as millions of people have participated in demonstrations and revolted against the status quo. In what has become known as the ‘Arab Spring’, demonstrators have been demanding change - yet what change means for each country and for each protestor varies significantly. While some are looking for “freedom and democracy”, others are protesting for social justice, and demanding religious, ethnic or civil rights. Consequently, while there are many similarities, there are also significant differences within and between each of these protests.
In this two-day conference, we will be exploring these recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa from two broad perspectives.
On the first day we will be looking at the motivations and desires of the protesters across the region, and ask how Western notions of “freedom” and ‘democracy” apply both within individual nations, and across borders. We ask how much, and what sort of change is possible in these places of protest: What can women hope for in terms of change? Will the rights of minorities be supported? Will freedom of expression emerge and be protected? Are civil and human rights possible in these countries at this time?
We also invite papers that analyse the dynamics of the protest movements, including the importance of youth as a common denominator: What role has social networking played? Is there generational unity? Is youth a linking factor across borders? How can those living in exile fight for change in their countries of origin? Do (and should) they have a voice?
On the second day of the conference we will focus on literature. The aim of these sessions will be to provide an opportunity for authors from Middle-eastern backgrounds to participate in discussion about developing a literary forum for the 2013 Middle-East Australia literary forum.
Proposals should include a title, a 250 word abstract, a one-paragraph biographical note on the speaker and full contact details. They should be addressed no later than 29th of February 2012 to
This conference will be in English, however submissions in Arabic are accepted too.
University of Western Sydney
University of Western Sydney
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