Three Languages - Three Cultures: Narratives from the Middle East

Three Languages - Three Cultures: Narratives from the Middle East Conference - Home

The Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (CAIS) at the Australian National University (ANU) is proud to host the 2018 Conference, ‘Three Languages - Three Cultures: Narratives from the Middle East’, to be held on 22-23 November.

This interdisciplinary conference welcomes academics of all related subject areas and is open to all scholars, students, professionals and members of the public with an interest in the three Middle Eastern languages: Arabic, Persian and Turkish as well as their respective cultures.

Language is a vessel of communication through which humans have defined their worlds and shaped their cultural identities. In fact, every language via the extension of its discourse is engaged in the evolutionary process of the modern world. This conference seeks to provide an insight into the shifting identities of the Middle East, through the lenses of these three widely spoken languages and influential cultures.
The conference will delve into the complexity and the diversity of the region and will investigate both the synchronic and diachronic characteristics of the three languages selected. This will reveal new insights into the various aspects of Art, Culture, Gender, Identity, Language, Literature, Media and Communication, Comparative Studies as well as Language Teaching and Planning.

This conference, the first in Australia to simultaneously cover these three languages, will ignite your imagination and enrich your understanding of the region. It will include renowned keynote speakers who will examine the rich languages and cultural content of the Middle East: the poetry, calligraphy, art and literature.

Speakers include:

Associate Professor Hakeem Kasem, Convenor of Arabic Language and Culture Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University.
Dr Ali Mozaffari, ARC-DECRA Research Fellow, Alfred Deakin Institute, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University
Dr Banu Senay, Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University, Sydney.

The term 'Orient' and the academic field 'Oriental Studies' pertaining to mainstream 19th and 20th-century Western academia have turned respectively into 'Middle East' and 'Middle Eastern Studies'. The inherent orientalism in the naming of the region as the 'east of the west', situating it relative to Europe, has been increasingly questioned, particularly after the publication of Edward Said’s influential book Orientalism. Yet the region is mostly studied and referred to through the prism of the political and economic implications of regional developments, for outsiders, above all for the Western world. Similarly, topics like extremism, sectarianism, autocratic regimes endemic to the region, oil and energy security, rentierism and ethnic conflicts are abundant in the research on the Middle East. The multiplicity of cultures in the area has been easily stereotyped, mostly as an undesirable 'other', in the political and economic fields of research.

This tendency to view the 'Orient' in simplistic and reductionist terms often overlooks the variety of cultures, the wealth of historical interactions amongst the region’s peoples, the nuances in linguistic manners, and the diversity in the arts. In order to transcend this trend, we believe it is both important and valuable to present academic research in the fields of literature, language, culture, gender, identity and the arts.

The Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (CAIS) at the Australian National University has, therefore, invited scholars, artists and practitioners to participate in its upcoming conference 'Three Languages - Three Cultures:  Narratives from the Middle East' on 22-23 November 2018 in Canberra, Australia. Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages and their respective cultural horizons are the focus of the conference. Comparative and interdisciplinary research, as well as research from a particular discipline and speciality subject areas related to Arabic, Persian and Turkish, have also been included.

Important dates

  • Deadline for full papers: 1 November 2018
  • Conference: 22 - 23 November 2018


    A preliminary list of speakers and papers

    Persian language and culture papers                                        

    Parisa Nakhaei  Caught Between the Formal and Informal Economy: Women Home-based Business Entrepreneurs in Iran                                    
    Bahar Davary    Sohrab Sepehri: A Muslim-Zen Eco-Critic                                    
    Hamish McGregor    Reformism and Political Discourse in Iran: looking back at the legacy of president Seyed Mohammad Khatami                                    
    Mahmoud Pargoo    Haram or Culturally Unacceptable? Secularizing Language in Post-Khomeini Iran 
    Elham Naeej    Gender Violence in Contemporary Iranian Romance Novels                                                                       
    Muhammed Ourang and Negar Davari Ardakani A Syllabus for Teaching Persian Grammatical Tenses: From Critique on Existing Resources to Designing Tasks                                    
    Michael King  and Negar Ardakani  The Culture of Love in Hafiz Poetry: A Comparison of the Persian poetry and its English Translation                                     
    Leila Alhagh    A Middle Eastern Manuscript Narrates: A study of text and paintings of Futūḥ al-Ḥaramayn                               
    Dr Heydar Shadi    Noah's Three Sons and Identity Politics in the Modern Middle East                                   
    Dr Yaghoob Foroutan    The Place of Languages in Gender Identity in Iran: Persian, Arabic and English Languages     

    Arabic language and culture papers                                                      

    Charbel El-Khaissi    A Comparative Phonetic Analysis of Native and Non-Native Arabic Speakers at the Australian National University.                          
    Grant Kynaston     Universalizing International Law through Language: The Use of Arabic in United Nations Conventions
    Majdi Faleh    The City in Pre-modern and Modern Arabic Literature Utopian cities of the Gulf and their role in Arabic Literature, Past, and Present
    Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller    Ancient tales and modern machines: publishing Sumerian literary narratives in machine-readable formats
    Luluh Alfurayh and Melanie Burns  Redefining ‘me’: Identity change among female Saudi study abroad students in Australia
    Khoirin Nikmah    Question Words: An Error Analysis of Indonesian Learners  in L2 Arabic 
    Mona AlBluwi    Investigating Learners' Beliefs about Arabic as a Foreign Language
    Zakaryia Mustafa Slameh Almahasees     Holistic Assessment of Google Translate in the Translation of UN Documents from English into Arabic                                    
    Hasan Alalmay    Politeness in Saudi Arabia: An Observational Analysis of Social Interaction Between Hosts, Guests, and Audiences in Television Shows
    Hend Saeed    The fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003; Iraqi Literature new identity                                

    Turkish language and culture papers                                                       

    Aydogan Kars     Commentary Tradition on the Divine Names: Sufi Theology from Andalusia to Ottoman Anatolia 
    Mustafa Can Teziç  Historiographic Metafiction and Identity Construction in Turkish Comic Book Literature 
    Scott Patton    The intersection of identity: Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, and their attempted synergy 
    Adrian Jones    Eyes of beholders: when was a gift a bribe, а tribute, and/or a facilitation: whose, when for whom?                                    
    Tamas Dudlak    House of Kurds in Turkey: the use of security narrative in contemporary politics’                                    


    Registration details:

    Early bird registration (from 1 May to 31 October) $80 or $40 for students.

    From 1 November $100 and $50 for students


    Contact us by email


    Updated:  7 March 2018/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications