24-25 August – Stockholm University

The second Swedish Middle East and North Africa Network (SWEMENA) Annual Conference will be hosted by Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies. We look forward to this opportunity to solidify the network and meet in person, and to host excellent papers and panels across all fields and disciplines related to Middle Eastern Studies. We therefore invite contributions from all doctoral students and researchers based in Sweden working on topics related to the MENA region (including Turkey and Afghanistan). Master students are welcome to attend. The working language of the conference will be English.   

We invite submissions of abstract of no more than 250 words, on any topic related to Middle Eastern Studies. While submissions are open to all fields and disciplines, we invite you to please attach 3 of the keywords below to your abstract. Accepted proposals entails giving a 15-minute presentation at the conference in a panel organised by either SWEMENA or a group of participants themselves. 

Please note that the call is also open for panel proposals.   

The deadline for abstract – panels or individual presentations – submission is Tuesday, 2 May 2023. We expect to return a decision of acceptance in the middle of May 2023.   

To submit your abstracts and for any questions, please contact Isabella Aslan (


Authoritarianism  Literature & art 
Conflict Media 
Culture Migration 
Decolonization Minorities 
Democracy Nationalism 
Environment/Climate Change Political economy 
Gender Popular culture 
Governance  Protest 
Health Religion 
Human Rights Sectarianism 
Islam  Social Movements 
Language State-Society Relations 

New book on the Muslim Brotherhood in exile

Surviving repression – The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood after the 2013 coup

Author: Lucia Ardovini (UI & Lancaster University)
March, 2022

Manchester University Press


Surviving repression tells the story of the Muslim Brotherhood following the 2013 coup d’état in Egypt. The Brotherhood gained legal recognition and quickly rose to power after the 2011 Arab uprisings, but its subsequent removal from office marked the beginning of the harshest repression of its troubled history. Forced into exile, the Brotherhood and its members are now faced with a monumental task as they rebuild this fragmented organisation.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork and interviews with current and former members of the Brotherhood, the book explores this new era in the movement’s history, emphasising first-hand experiences, perspectives and emotions to better understand how individual responses to repression are affecting the movement as a whole.

Surviving repression offers a unique insight into the main strategic, ideological and organizational debates dividing the Brotherhood.

SIPRI Policy Paper: Governance in Iraq & Lebanon

Reform within the System: Governance in Iraq and Lebanon

Author: Amal Bourhrous, Meray Maddah, Shivan Fazil & Dylan O’Driscoll (SIPRI)

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


The 2019 protests in Iraq and Lebanon revealed a widespread dissatisfaction with political systems based on sectarian and ethnosectarian power-sharing, which many saw as being responsible for a host of governance failures. This has given rise to demands for a wholesale change of the political systems in both countries. However, the dismantlement of identity-based power-sharing systems is a remote prospect—they are deeply entrenched, and change would depend on action from the very political elites that benefit from them.

Continue reading “SIPRI Policy Paper: Governance in Iraq & Lebanon”

SIPRI Policy Brief on the economy and public service provision in Iraq

Fixing the Economy and Public Service Provision in Iraq

Author: Shivan Fazil (SIPRI)
December, 2021

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


Iraq’s ethnosectarian power-sharing system, with its weak institutions and low levels of accountability, has penetrated the economy and hindered the performance of the state and provision of basic services. Lack of access to economic opportunities and quality public services has been a recurring grievance during the protests in Iraq. The state’s failure to fulfil the protestors’ demands is a widely seen as a symptom of its weakness, which has resulted in calls from protestors for the complete overhaul of the political system. This, however, is unlikely in the short term.

Continue reading “SIPRI Policy Brief on the economy and public service provision in Iraq”

Article on the study of islamist movements

10 Years On: New Contextual Factors in the Study of Islamism

Authors: Lucia Ardovini (UI) & Erika Biagini
October, 2021


Although the popular protests that swept across the Middle East and North Africa in 2011 were short-lived, their long-term consequences are still resonating through the region a decade after their outbreak. Islamist movements have been affected in different ways by the drastic change in the political, social and geographical contexts in which they historically operated, highlighting the need for a renewed examination of these changed circumstances. Based on the case study of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, we argue that three key factors need to be accounted for when studying Islamist movements in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings. These are the dimension of exile; the increased role played by women and youth; and the emergence of cross-generational and cross-ideological alliances. The article analyzes these three factors through a comparative study of responses by Muslim Brotherhood and Muslim Sisterhood members to repression across Egypt, Turkey and the UK.

UI Brief on Aid dependency in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: The Problems with Aid Dependency and the Need for a Plan B

Author: Annie Wernersson (UI)
November, 2021

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs


This UI Brief reviews the lessons learned from 20 years of providing aid to Afghanistan. It argues that donors must work harder to establish indigenous ownership and develop plans for when circumstances rapidly change, so that the situation of an escalating humanitarian crisis can be avoided in the future.

Dissertation on everyday politics of forced migration

Everyday Politics of Forced Migration: Refugees, Host Community Members, and the Local Context

Author: Ezgi Irgil (University of Gothenburg)
November, 2021

Department of Political Science, The University of Gothenburg


This dissertation adds to and broadens the literature on forced migration by explaining how everyday politics influence new social dynamics in cities of arrival. Most of the existing research focuses on the Western context and highlights the cultural differences between the host community members and the refugees who arrive from outside of Europe and North America. To analyse whether these findings are applicable in non–Western contexts, Ezgi examine a South–South forced migration context in which both groups share the religion (Islam) but not the language (Turkish vs Arabic) through the case of Çarşamba (a district of the province of Bursa in Turkey).

Continue reading “Dissertation on everyday politics of forced migration”

Article on women’s mobilisation against sexual violence in Egypt

Sustaining motivation: post-revolutionary oppositional consciousness among young Egyptian feminists

Author: Emma Sundkvist (Lund University)
July, 2021

The Journal of North African Studies


Activism against sexual violence was one of the Egyptian Revolution’s most significant mobilising forces, but the country’s return to authoritarian rule has circumvented possibilities for organising and carrying out political resistance, including activism against sexual harassment. This article shows that despite this political oppression, young feminists continue to raise their voices and organise against the continuing problem of sexual violence. To illustrate this, the article draws on interviews considering a recent controversy surrounding allegations of sexual violence within the Egyptian political party Bread and Freedom.

Continue reading “Article on women’s mobilisation against sexual violence in Egypt”

New book on youth identity in the Kurdistan Region

Youth Identity, Politics and Change in Contemporary Kurdistan

Shivan Fazil (SIPRI) & Bahar Baser
September, 2021

Transnational Press London


The contemporary history of the KRI is marked by conflict, war, and ethnic cleansing under Saddam Hussein and the tyranny of the Ba’ath regime, significantly affecting the political situation of the Kurds in the Middle East. Most of the recent academic literature has focused on the broader picture or, in other words, the macro politics of the Kurdish conundrum within Iraq and beyond. There is little scholarship about the Kurdish population and their socio-economic conditions after 2003, and almost none about the younger generation of Kurds who came of age during autonomous Kurdish rule.

Continue reading “New book on youth identity in the Kurdistan Region”