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The Student and Faculty Committee (SFC) of the Centre for West Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University organized a 8th young scholars’ national seminar on the theme Re-reading WANA: Territory, Subjectivity and Politics on March 27-28, 2018. The seminar witnessed participation from young scholars across disciplines from a number of Indian universities and colleges. The inaugural session was addressed by distinguished journalists and academic including Saeed Naqvi, Dr. Wael Awwad, Qamar Agha and Dr. Omair Anas. Over the next two day the seminar had six academic sessions

The first academic session focused on Re-reading the Region: Knowledge and Narratives and had four presentations on A Critical Appraisal of the Discipline of Area Studies in the Construction of the ‘Areas’ of Latin America and West Asia; Virtual Space Amnesia and Knowledge Production: ‘Othering’ Syrian Refugees through State Practices;  Formation(s) of the State: Israel and Aesthetic Forms of Commemoration; and Looking at Regionalism of Muslim countries, Role of Madhab System and anti- Madhhab Movements.

The second academic Session on Contours of Gender Landscape had three presentations on Changing Landscape of Gender Inequalities in the Wake of the Democratic Transition in Islamic Republic of Iran; Pursuit of Gender’s Role and Right in West Asia with Special reference to Saudi Arabia; and Mini Revolution of Libyan Women during Arab Uprising.

The third academic session on Interaction in the Region and Beyond had four presentations on Examining Russia’s role in Israel-Iran conflict in Syria; Soft Power: Redefining India-West Asia Relations; and Role of Chechnya in the Syrian Crisis; Illegal Arms Trafficking in North Africa with special emphasis on Small Arms and Light Weapons; and The evolution of IDF as an organized Army: Contemporary Scenario.

The fourth academic held on 28 March 2018 was devoted to Stirring the Subjectivities: Contemplating the Popular and the Prosaic and it had four presentations on Iran through its Cinema: Critiquing Jafar Panahi and Majid Majidi; Post War Literature in Iraq Region: A Corpus based Study of Iraqi Fiction; Food and National Identity: A Case Study of Israeli-Palestinian/ Arab Culinary Conflict; and Contested Representations of the Arab World’s Armed Groups in the Mainstream Media.  

The fifth academic session was on Relocating Public Agency: Discourses in social Spaces and it had four presentations on Historical Ruptures in Social Spaces after Arab Uprisings: A Comparative Study of Turkey and Tunisia; The Digital Public Sphere in Egypt: Arab Spring and its discontents as ‘Kebab-noir’ in the ‘The Nile Hilton Incident’; A Study of Emergence of Gulen Movement and its Role in Turkish Politics; and Ulama Activism for Social Justice: Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah and empowerment of Shias in Lebanon.

The fifth academic session was on Introspecting the Region: Deliberating the Internal Dynamics and it had five presentations on Hamas’ concept of Hudna: Prospects and Challenges; Humanitarian Crisis in Syria: The Current Situation in Eastern Ghouta; Monarchy to liberalized Autocracy: Legitimacy, Partial Reform and Survival in GCC Countries; The Discourse of Jihad and Analyses of Jihad: Islamist and Non-Islamist; and Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen: A Man-Made Cataclysm.

In the final session, Prof. A. K. Ramakrishnan gave an overview of the contemporary trajectories in the region and expressed his pleasure over the enthusiastic participation from the students and faculty. Dr. Md. Muddassir Quamar, alumni of the centre, delivered the valedictory address and his experiences and encouraged the need to seize the learning opportunities available towards preparing a successful career.


The Eighth Youth Scholars’ seminar was co-sponsored by the Middle East Institute, New Delhi (MEI@ND).

As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats, to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND: P R Kumaraswamy