The North East Middle East Politics Working Group (NEMEPWG) settled into the Hamilton College campus for a weekend of peer discussion and review on April 12 to 14.
The aim of NEMEPWG, which consists of academics who specialize in topics based in the Middle East and Northern Africa, is to provide a space where scholars with similar backgrounds and knowledge can help one another with their studies and writings. Over a dozen professors residing in the northeastern region of the United States, a few graduate students, and several Hamilton College students participated in the conference.
The weekend began with a discussion titled "Politics and Conflict in the Middle East: a Roundtable of Experts," which featured Jillian Schwedler (CUNY), Nadya Hajj (Wellesley College), Daniel Neep (Georgetown University), and moderator David Siddhartha Patel (Brandeis University).
Assistant Professor of Government Kira Jumet helped host the conference and briefly introduced the panelists. Then Schwedler, Hajj, and Neep answered questions posed by Patel, leading them to cover topics such as Netanyahu's reelection, the current degrees of stability in specific Arab states, and the scholars' own fieldwork. At the end the audience was invited to ask questions to the experts.
Throughout the weekend, the attendees primarily reviewed one another's work, which each participant read prior to attending the conference. Focuses included subjects such as nationalism in the United Arab Emirates, authoritarianism in Egypt, and regional intervention in Middle Eastern/North African civil wars. Between reviews, the visiting academics got to know the college, further discussed works, and caught with one another up since the last time they had attended a NEMEPWG conference.
This conference was sponsored by the Middle East and Islamic World Studies Program, the Government Department, and NEMEPWG.