2015 Undergraduate Research Conference

The first regional Undergraduate Research Conference in Middle East Studies, sponsored by the King Fahd Center, brought together students from Arkansas and Missouri to present research in culture, history, politics, religion, geography and more. The conference welcomed twelve presenters and was attended by over a hundred students and faculty. Lynda Coon, Dean of the Honors College, and Tom Paradise, King Fahd Center Director, welcomed students. Students presented in five moderated sessions, and participated in discussion on their topics.


Noon – Welcome and Conference Opening (ARKU509)
Tom Paradise, director of the King Fahd Center; Lynda Coon, dean of the Honors College

12:30 p.m. – Lunch (ARKU510)

1-3 p.m. – Israel/Palestine Project (ARKU 509)
Facilitator: Sanket Desai, History

1-2 p.m. – Gender and Sexuality in Islam and Christianity (ARKU511)
Facilitator: Sarwar Alam, Middle East Studies

  • For the Love of Allah: Comparing Gender and Sexuality in Islam and Christianity (Kayla Cahill, University of Arkansas)
  • "Women, Oh Women! When Will You Learn Your Places?" (Claire Williamson, University of Arkansas)

2-3 p.m. – Religion in the Middle East (ARKU511)
Facilitator:  Spencer Allen, Middle East Studies

  • My Blood, My Brother, My Rival, My Ruin:  Brotherhood in Christianity and Islam (Meagan Mosier, University of Arkansas)
  • A Walk in the Fires of Love: Show Love to All, Love Only One (Jacob McCrary, University of Arkansas)
  • Karnak & Luxor Temples and the Procession of the Opet Festival (Christopher Bryant, University of Arkansas)

3-4 p.m. – Geopolitics of Afghanistan (ARKU509)
Facilitator:  Sanket Desai, History

  • Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan (Nicholas Kahmann, University of Arkansas)
  • The New Great Game (Christopher Cowan, University of Arkansas)

3-4 p.m. – Media and Imperialism in the Middle East (ARKU511)
Facilitator: Matt Parnell, History

  • Judging a Country by its Cover (Story): Examining the Framing of the Syrian Conflict in Middle Eastern and US Media Coverage (Ghada ElHaffar, Drury University)
  • Paper, Ink and Blood: How the Sykes-Picot Agreement Shaped the Middle East (Meg Austin, University of Arkansas)
  • ISIS Gaining Support from Central Asia?  An Analysis of Geopolitical Power Struggle Increasingly Becoming Borderless (Joseph Largent, University of Arkansas)

4-5 p.m. – Youth, Revolt and the Arab Spring (ARKU509)
Facilitator:  Dan Brown, Political Science

  • The Young and the Restless: Egyptian Youth and the January 25th Revolution (Abigail Witty, University of Arkansas)
  • Students and Eslahaat in Modern Iran: A Comparative Analysis of Student Activism during the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the 2009 Green Movement (Meghan Shrewsbury, University of Arkansas)
  • What Sparked the Arab Spring: Unearthing Egyptians' Motivations (Christina Faoro, Drury University)