The Majlis at the ANU


The Majlis at the ANU

A roundtable on contemporary issues in Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and North African politics

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.

Past events

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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Armenians: Ethnic and Religious Minorities in Iran

10 Jul 2020

Iran is a country composed of different ethnic and religious minorities. Among them are the Armenian Christians who, although less than one per cent of the...

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Fieldwork Reflections: Internationalisation in Uzbekistan’s higher education development

19 Jun 2020

Uzbekistan has undergone significant reforms over the last three years. The education sector is one area experiencing change. The government of Uzbekistan...

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Covid-19 in the Middle East & Central Asia; the Knowns and Unknowns

22 May 2020

Are authoritarian regimes better at offering public goods in time of crisis and can we really know what is going on in these countries? The Majlis at The...

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Afghanistan's Intersecting Challenges

15 May 2020

Abstract  Afghanistan currently faces the problem of multiple intersecting challenges. Three in particular are dominating the current political environment....

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Qatar: Small State, Big Ambitions and a Rapidly-Growing Role in the Middle East

17 Apr 2020

 A Virtual Majlis  The first Majlis for this year will now be virtual one.  We invite CAIS staff and students to join us online via Zoom.  Qatar: Small State...

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The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria - presented by ANU Majlis

11 Oct 2019

In this Majlis, Dara Conduit will discuss her new book The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, (Cambridge University Press, August 2019). The book examines the...

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Updated:  4 May 2020/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications