Lebanese American University


LAU Orient-Institut Beirut

Lebanese American University
School of Arts and Sciences, Humanities Division
Beirut, Lebanon
Orient-Institut Beirut

Call for papers
for the first international-interdisciplinary conference on

Discrimination and Tolerance in the Middle East

Conference schedule (PDF)

The Humanities Division of the Lebanese American University, Beirut, will be hosting an international/interdisciplinary conference on “Discrimination and Tolerance in the Middle East”, May 2–4, 2007.

The “Middle East” in the conference definition includes all peoples living between northern Turkey, Egypt, and Iran; from the Byzantine Empire through the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates via the Ottoman Empire through modern times. Societies of this “Middle East” have seldom attempted to analyze themselves in depth. Information and interpretation of facts about themselves most often came from the West, and these analyses were most often ignored by the societies concerned. The numerous reasons for this lack of local reflection include tense political conflicts, economic survival, and lack of freedom of expression. Lack of debate about identity, culture and history will inevitably lead to more alienation and violence.

Our conference aims at helping to fill this gap by bringing together international scholars in such varied fields as law, literature, sociology, history, anthropology, psychology, media discourse, film studies, women’s studies, business, fine arts as well as NGO representatives to start a process of analysis on the many societies concerned. The principal themes will include race and migration, religious (in)tolerance, gender relations and the status of women in society, as well as cultural differences or convergent traditions. The meanings and implications of the two basic concepts of “tolerance” and “discrimination” will also be addressed. For instance, what is tolerance? Does it mean simply absence of persecution, or positive acceptance of the other’s difference?

Beirut, a cosmopolitan city with a tradition of freedom of expression, and the Lebanese American University, with its multi-religious and multi-national population, are particularly apt settings for such a gathering. The 3-day conference can be extended with an optional one-day touristic visit of beautiful Lebanon, and participants will be treated to the best of the national cuisine and folk entertainment.

Abstracts for 20 minute papers are invited before December 31, 2006. The primary language of the conference is English. However, other languages will be welcomed, provided that the paper is submitted two weeks in advance of the conference schedule for translation purposes. Note that we plan to publish the Proceedings.

If you have any questions, email us on metoldisc@lau.edu.lb.

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