Twelfth Nordic Conference on Middle Eastern Studies,

Reykjavik, Iceland, 22–24 September 2022

The Nordic Society for Middle Eastern Studies (NSMES) (, the University of Iceland and the Middle Eastern Studies Program at the University of Iceland announce the call for papers for the Twelfth Nordic Conference on Middle Eastern Studies. The NSMES conference takes place every third year in one of the Nordic countries, is held in English, and is also open for participants beyond the Nordic countries. This time the theme is “The Middle East in Myth and Reality”. 

The Middle East is a term laden with notions, implications, projections and clich├ęs. Often defined as a “cradle of civilization”, the region it defines has not only been the setting for premodern events and narratives of lasting impact upon the world at large; it has also been mythicized from outside like few other places in the modern era, and remains globally contested both in myth and in reality. Simultaneously desired and detested, a source of inspiration and symbol of otherness, its real-life experiences often seem to clash with past and present expectations and prejudices. Conceptions and perceptions of the region both from within and from neighbouring and distant parts of the world have accumulated over a long span of time, resulting in a plethora of material available for academic study.

Keynote Speakers: 

  • Ragnhild Johnsrud Zorgati (University of Oslo): “Narrating the Middle East in Nineteenth-century Scandinavia: Travelogues, Academic essays, Novels, Paintings, and Photography in-between Myth and Reality."
  • Charles Kurzman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill): “Myth-Making and Reality-Making in Middle East Political Movements.”
  • Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen (University of Copenhagen): “The Prophet Muhammad in Myth and Reality.”

For further information, see

The deadline for submitting proposals has passed.

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