The genealogy of the idea of the ‘Middle East’ and its Orientalist and Cold War origins are by now well-rehearsed. Yet there are material conditions and affective impulses that make it a meaningful object of analysis. A current of felt belonging, along with an array of policies, institutions and other infrastructures of regionality give the floating signifier of the Middle East its transactional coherence. Some questions that might serve as a starting point include:
- How do media production practices and distribution systems recreate and transform the region?
- Where and when are the tensions of the regional overshadowed or buttressed by other frameworks, such as the global, local, national, or ethnoreligious?
- How do other globalizations, counter and contra-flows, and South-South formations or affinities shape the contemporary moment?
- How might feminist and queer approaches grapple with the limitations of methodological nationalism and regionalism?
- How do the technological affordances of digital platforms and mobile devices rework public spaces, and public debates?
- How do moral panics and protest movements undo or reassert the boundaries of propriety and political solidarity?
- How do states exercise sovereignty in the era of transnational conglomerates and platforms?
- How are social media regional?
- How do particular inflections of the Middle Eastern come into view in inter and intraregional moments of translation, adaptation, and performance?
- What does it mean, for both industries and audiences, for media to feel Middle Eastern, Turkish, Arab, Iranian, North African, national, or local?
- How is regionality constituted in industry practices, genres, and everyday life? How are the politics of memory and archival practices shaping the region?
Extended abstracts of 400 words, excluding a representative list of references, should be submitted for initial consideration by 15 August 2021. Decisions on abstracts will be returned by end of September. Papers of 5,000-7,000 words will then be due by 31 December 2021 for peer review with MEJCC. The special issue is slated for publication in 2023, but articles will be released online as soon as they are ready.