The Conference, organized by MESAAS students and the fourth of its kind, is sponsored by MESAAS, the Institute of African Studies, the Middle East Institute, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and will focus on the notion of “paradigm,” a frequently used and studied concept in the humanities and social sciences. Conference organizers invite graduate students working on the social and intellectual traditions of the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa to attend the conference in order to share their “successes, challenges and unanswered questions” relating to the employment, reliance upon, and analysis of this paradigm concept.
CDRS started working with MESAAS in November 2012 to create the conference website, which has already enabled the department to start receiving submissions from students all over the world; candidates who are interested in presenting a 20-minute paper should submit a 300-word abstract and one page CV using the online submission system at http://mesaasgradconference.org/ (deadline for abstract submissions has been extended until Monday, January 21, 2013.)
Marianna Reis, conference co-organizer and MESAAS MA Candidate, said of the conference and site launch: “It was very easy to communicate our vision for the website to CDRS, who were a pleasure to correspond with and who taught us how to navigate the submissions system. Last year we received around forty submissions, with twenty-one making the final cut. This year we have been receiving a steady flow of applications, and expect to exceed last year’s final count. We are thrilled to be taking on the challenge of exploring both multiple regions and disciplines in the conference, and effectively showcasing new and thoughtful scholarly work within the frame of this year’s theme.”
For those attending the conference, the benefits will not just be about sharing ideas and exploring theoretical and methodological challenges with researchers from a diverse range of backgrounds, added co-organizer Riksum Kazi. “Students will also be offered first-rate networking opportunities. Mentors and strong faculty at the top of their fields from anthropology to political science will be on site, eager to discuss collaborating with students of all disciplines.”
The keynote speaker for the 2013 conference, Dr. Frederick Cooper, is a historian and professor of history at New York University who specializes in colonization, decolonization, and African history. Cooper focuses on the shifting nature of colonial thinking and practices that went into the processes of interaction and conflict in specific locations.
Rebecca Kennison, CDRS’ Director, said of the collaboration with MESAAS: “It has been a pleasure for our team to work with MESAAS and launch their conference site. We are honored to play a support role in this conference, which will afford students and faculty alike an exciting opportunity to analyze social and intellectual phenomena across diverse traditions and time periods.”
The Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University is a leading center for the study of the culture, history, and politics of the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. The MESAAS faculty include distinguished scholars and outstanding teachers, and represent some of the most innovative and influential figures in their fields. The MESAAS approach to learning stresses a knowledge of languages and intellectual traditions, but the subjects explored cover a range of fields from literature and the history of ideas to contemporary history and politics.
The Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) at Columbia serves the digital research and scholarly communications needs of the faculty, students, and staff of Columbia University and its affiliates. Our mission is to increase the utility and impact of research produced at Columbia by creating, adapting, implementing, supporting, and sustaining innovative digital tools and publishing platforms for content delivery, discovery, analysis, data curation, and preservation. In pursuit of that mission, we also engage in extensive outreach, education, and advocacy to ensure that the scholarly work produced at Columbia University has a global reach and accelerates the pace of research across disciplines. CDRS, led by Rebecca Kennison, is one of six entities that comprise the Digital Programs and Technology Services branch of Columbia University Libraries/Information Services. The Center was created in July 2007 to address the ongoing evolution of researchers’ and scholars’ needs as new technologies, policies, and systems of knowledge support arise.
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 500 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.