Call for Papers (English)

West Asia in the Center: decolonizing orientalist narratives of the past and present 

#decolonizeyourmind | @WAintheCenter

West Asia in the Center is an open and inclusive digital meeting with the aim of breaking existing ideas and patterns of various forms of colonialism (including Orientalism) related to the past and present of West Asia. We welcome researchers, scholars, students, heritage experts, activists and anyone with an active interest in dismantling colonialist and orientalist narratives and practices in the past and present of West Asia. We particularly encourage people from the broader area of West Asia to participate either through presentations or with their attendance 

The meeting will take place over three days on the 17th, 18th, and 19th of June 2022 and will be hosted exclusively online, with the hope that it will make it more accessible and inclusive for participants.

The Colonialisms in the Studies of the ‘Oriental’ Past will include three main themes: 

  • Orientalism in the Disciplines of the Past: For this section we invite scholars (archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, linguists etc.) who deal with the past and present of West Asia to examine and reflect on the patterns of Orientalism that have shaped the disciplines of the past: 
  • Orientalism in Heritage Spaces: For this section we invite heritage experts (museologists, heritage managers, policy makers, stakeholders etc.) to reflect on how Orientalism has been communicated from research to a wider audience.. 
  • Orientalism and Media: In the last section we examine how modern media uses historical and archaeological tropes that perpetuate popular narratives about Orientalism. Ranging from film and literature (movies, documentaries etc.) to video games and comics, we invite media scholars, artists and creators to reflect and discuss orientalist tropes in popular media. 

Potential topics, questions, or ideas for presentation include (but are not limited to): 

  • Orientalist practices  in the archaeological field
  • Decolonizing research practices
  • Orientalist narratives in research
  • Decolonizing heritage
  • “Authentic” pasts in western narratives
  • Orientalism in the public sphere
  • How actively counteract colonialist narratives in popular media

We are looking for papers that fit any of these themes and topics, but would also like to encourage potential speakers to send their abstracts even if their topic is not covered by any of the themes but is still relevant for the meeting. 

Please submit a 250 words abstract in In the abstract please include: 

  • a working title; author name(s); 
  • affiliation(s); 
  • suggested theme (optional); 
  • preference for presentation mode (pre-recorded or live). 

The deadline for abstract submission is 20th January 2022.

The extended deadline for abstract submissions is the 21st February 2022.

The abstract, language of communication, and presentation should be in English, but we are open to alternatives as well (e.g. English subtitles on video presentations), so please don’t hesitate to contact us. The format of the presentations will be either pre-recorded lectures or live presentations, although we would encourage pre-recorded lectures. Participants will be given instructions for both options prior to the conference and once their participation has been confirmed. 

Selected papers from the meeting will also form an edited volume publication. 

For questions please contact us on

The organizers: 

Bärbel Morstadt, Sebastian Hageneuer, Aris Politopoulos, Aydin Abar