In San Francisco last November, the MES contributed a number of excellent sessions to the AAA Annual Meeting program, including several timely panels on the Arab uprisings, the Egyptian revolution and Afghanistan after decades of war, as well as sessions addressing neoliberalism, migration, property rights and secularism, among other topics. The section also sponsored two special workshops, one focused on teaching the Arab revolts and the other intended to bring graduate students and junior faculty together with senior faculty in a mentoring social. Because the AAA scheduled these two events at the same time, we combined them into a single session.

During the 2012 business meeting, the MES Board thanked outgoing president Farha Ghannam and outgoing board members David McMurray and Ilana Feldman, and welcomed new board members Kirsten Scheid and Moain Sadeq.

Also at the business meeting, MES members in attendance initiated a statement about Gaza that was endorsed the following week in a virtual election by the section membership. That statement was forwarded to the AAA Executive Board and the AAA Section Assembly, and it has been endorsed by the AAA Committee for Human Rights and by the Culture and Agriculture Section. The statement is available on the MES website.

At our 2012 meeting, the MES board instituted a new award for the best ethnography about the region. This award will be given for the first time in 2014, and biennially after that.  Look for the call for submissions in early 2014.  Books published in 2012 and 2013 will be eligible.

The newly formed affiliate of MESA—the Association for Middle East Anthropology (AMEA)—is sponsoring a conference theme on “Anthropology of the Middle East: Rethinking Paradigms” at the 2013 MESA meeting in New Orleans, which will be in October so there will be no overlap.

Our MES program committee for the 2013 AAA Annual Meeting is chaired by Arzoo Osanloo and includes Amahl Bishara and Fadi Bardawil. Thanks in advance to them for the work they are doing to put together another excellent program for the MES in Chicago this November.  At the 2013 business meeting, the section will award both our biennial Distinguished Scholar Award and our annual Student Paper Award.  The MES board looks forward to seeing you all in Chicago!

In the meantime, please visit the newly updated MES website which will carry news, submission deadlines and other important information for members. While the MES does not have a listserve, there is a listserve for Middle East anthropology maintained by the Task Force on Middle East Anthropology that we encourage members to join by going to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aaamideast/.  Student members of MES should also check out the Facebook group “Student Middle East Section of the American Anthropology Association.”

Lara Deeb (Scripps C) is president of the Middle East Section. Contact MES Contributing Editor Rehenuma Asmi at ra2224@columbia.edu. 

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