The Majlis at the ANU


The Majlis at the ANU

A cross-disciplinary roundtable on historical and contemporary issues across North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia

An Overview

In both Arabic and Persian, the term majlis can describe a regular gathering of like-minded individuals. It is regularly used in the Arabian Peninsula as a forum for friends and colleagues to meet and discuss political and social developments, to engage in debate, to share views and research, and to network. The Majlis at ANU provides a space for scholars and the public to meet and share their thoughts on contemporary events across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It also provides an opportunity for individuals to present their original research and receive feedback from their peers.

The Majlis will be virtual on zoom until further notice. We have enjoyed the participation of graduate students across the Australian National University and other Canberra-based research institutions, but all are welcome. Each event will publicise its zoom login details

The Detail

Most weeks will focus on either a topic that is central to media coverage at that time or more enduring thematic issues. For example, we have previously discussed Russian involvement in Syria’s civil war and have considered the theoretical approaches to the study of Islam. Prior to each Friday meeting, we will share several short articles (of newspaper or journalistic depth) with participants to get the conversation started.

Any participant in the Majlis is welcome to recommend a topic that is of interest to them, and we will do our best to accommodate it. The preference is for subjects that can be linked to contemporary events, but the only requirement is that they be useful to members, and interesting! One of the purposes of the Majlis is to build connections and awareness of research across the ANU, so we look forward to hearing what you’ve been working on, and what you’d like to learn more about.

We also arrange expert speakers where possible, including those based in the region who will speak via Skype or video chat. If you have a recommendation for an expert speaker, please let us know and we will work them into the schedule.

How to join

The Majlis is free and open to the public, but we welcome any prior indication of attendance for logistical purposes. Please email us to receive information and updates about the Majlis meetings.

Upcoming events

September Majlis: The Contribution of Australian Think Tanks to Public Understanding and National Policy on International Relations

11am–12pm 30 Sep 2021

The Contribution of Australian Think Tanks to Public Understanding and National Policy on International Relations: A Middle East Perspective In his...

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November Majlis: Of Tacky Geopolitical Tropes: The Image of Remoteness Along Afghan Kyrgyz Migration Routes

5–6pm 11 Nov 2021

On the edge of Central and South Asia, the Afghan Pamirs conjure up the impression of an extraordinarily ‘remote’ borderland. Perhaps the lasting outcome of...

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Past events

August Majlis: Palestinian Women and Popular Resistance

20 Aug 2021

Palestinian Women and Popular Resistance: Perceptions, Attitudes and Strategies Palestinian women have a long history of involvement in national resistance,...

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A Conversation Around Reciprocal Methodologies in Iranian Studies

18 Jun 2021

This joint talk is a review of eighteen months of ethnographical research and reciprocal collaboration between an Iranian socio-cultural anthropologist and one...

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Saudi Arabia: an assessment of recent developments and future challenges

28 May 2021

Five years into Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has accelerated its domestic transformation. Notwithstanding the reforms undertaken to date, many challenges remain....

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How is China and its Belt and Road Initiative playing out in Kazakhstan? Findings from a university survey

30 Apr 2021

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been a polarizing issue throughout the world, as some (usually international relations realists) view it as China’s...

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Between the past and the future: Architecture and the making of heritage in developing countries

26 Mar 2021

Development is a globalizing project that prompts shifts in historical consciousness. In developmental contexts, those shifts result in the conscious...

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Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: Mapping its digital / tech future

5 Feb 2021

The pandemic has had a far-reaching effect on the world. Nowhere is this more visible than in China's relations with the world, where the pandemic has become a...

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Knowing Terrorism: Perceptions of terrorist groups in Yemen and Iraq

23 Oct 2020

The international community spends billions of dollars each year on counterterrorism  interventions in conflict-affected states, to reduce the threat posed by...

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Walter Benjamin goes to Karbala: the proliferation of religious art and the degradation of the image’s power

25 Sep 2020

Walter Benjamin argued that in an age of mass technology the increased reproducibility of art objects would degrade their ‘authenticity’ and ‘aura’.  ...

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Polarized and Demobilized: Legacies of Authoritarianism in Palestine 

17 Sep 2020

After the 1994 Oslo Accords, Palestinians were hopeful that an end to the Israeli occupation was within reach, and that a state would be theirs by 1999. With...

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At the Pole of Inaccessibility: Khorgos, SREB and Visions for Kazakh-Chinese Connectivity

7 Aug 2020

Kazakhstan has been closely linked to China’s Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) since President Xi Jinping first announced the initiative in Astana in 2013.  In...

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Updated:  26 May 2021/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications