SOAS University of London

Graduate Winter School program at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies

11 August 2020

The second annual Graduate Winter School program at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies will be held 3-13 January, 2021, and is open to advanced graduate students (ABD) and early career researchers in the social sciences and humanities. Candidates must at least an MA, be enrolled in a PhD program or be 3 years out, and with an active academic affiliation. Prospective applicants have until 30 September 2020 to apply.

Information on the program and application process can be found here:

This is a 10 day program, open to advanced graduate students/early career researchers in the social sciences and humanities in the US, UK, Canada, and Europe. The objective of the winter school/program is to provide an in-depth and critical look at specifically selected topics in the broader study of the Middle East. For participating scholars, it provides an opportunity to network with regional academics, gain substantive content unavailable in their home institutions and countries, and receive feedback from respected scholars. For the Arab Center, the winter school will be in line with the research department’s yearly objectives and suggested topics, so that researchers from the center can participate as lecturers during the program as well as benefit from the discussion and exposure to new research. We believe the first year was a success, as we had 26 participants representing 15 countries from all over the global south. According to a survey we conducted with participants following the program, the average rating for the workshop in general was a 4.8 out of 5 (5 being “very beneficial”).

For the 2021 program, we are proposing the theme of “The State in Flux.” This theme was chosen to reflect emerging research trends in a variety of social science disciplines, and also reflects the current challenge facing states with the Covid-19 pandemic, and its impact on their legitimacy and sovereignty as well as serving as a test of their capacity. Finally, this theme will be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective, which will enrich the winter school and participant perspectives. Possible topics include: changing conceptions of citizenship; threats to sovereignty using contemporary examples; nationalism; state theory and state formation; historical development of the nation state in comparative perspective; divided societies; the role of international organizations and entities (such as multinational corporations) and their impact on sovereignty; and more.

The program would be held January 2021 at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, in Qatar. This gives our participants the opportunity to engage with our faculty, researchers, and students. In the first week, experts from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds on those common topics discuss their research and methodological approaches. In the second week, students present their work, and benefit from feedback from the relevant experts. Given the current crisis, we might have to hold the entire program online, but we have some experience in this as most of our programming has now moved online.

Sofia Hnezla