2016 Undergraduate Research Conference

The King Fahd Center sponsored its second annual Undergraduate Research Conference in Middle East Studies, bringing together students from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Mississippi to present research in culture, history, politics, religion, geography and more.  Curt Rom, Associate Dean for International Education, and Tom Paradise (GEOS), King Fahd Center Director, welcomed students. Students presented in six moderated sessions, and participated in discussion on their topics.


10:30 Conference Welcome and Check-In (RCED Lobby)

11:00 AM Statecraft and International Relations (RCED 111)
Facilitator: Kathleen Doody Ben Ali

  • The Special Relationship: Strategic Needs versus Public Desires – Andrew Czuzak, University of Mississippi
  • No More Nomads; The Marginalization of Nomads and the Rise of the Imperial State in the Ottoman Empire – Matthew Ward, University of Arkansas
  • Constructing the Jordanian Nation: Identity and Implications of the Hashemite Project in Jordan – Elizabeth Frazier, Missouri State University

11:00 AM Language and Concepts of the Sacred (RCED 117)
Facilitator: Dr. Spencer Allen

  • God Who? – Claire Williamson, University of Arkansas
  • Controversy and History Surrounding the Tel Dan Stele – Grace Day, University of Arkansas

12:00 PM Lunch (RCED 103) – Greeting by Dr. Tom Paradise, Director of the King Fahd Center, and Dr. Curt Rom, Associate Dean for International Education

1:00 PM Political Economies of Islam (RCED 111)
Facilitator: Dhia Ben Ali

  • After Morsi: An Evaluation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Impact on Egyptian Islamists – Ryan Smith, University of Arkansas
  • Evolution of Political Islam in the Middle East: 1924-1996 – Nicholas Kahmann, University of Arkansas
  • Chests of Opium and Silver, Tobacco, and Shell-games: The Role of Islam in Trade, Economics, and Financial Systems from Jakarta to Timbuktu – Christopher Cowan, University of Arkansas

1:00 PM Society in Ancient Egypt (RCED 117)
Facilitator: Erika Morey

  • Women in Ancient Egyptian Grave Artifacts – Caitlin Halpin, University of Arkansas
  • Crime and Punishment in Ancient Egypt: The Evolution of Punishment and the Importance of Ma'at – Morgan Moore, University of Arkansas

2:00 PM Syria on the World Stage (RCED 111)
Facilitator: Ikram Bahram

  • The Little Boy of Aleppo: Understanding Current International Relations Through the Syrian Refugee Crisis – Meagan Carmack, Drury University
  • The Blowback of R2P in Syria: A Loss of Legitimacy, Damaged Reputations, and an Increasingly Deadly Civil War – Jonah Gellman, University of Oklahoma
  • An Investigation of the Integration of Education and Mental Health Treatment into the Care of Diabetes in Syrian Refugee Women – Miller Richmond, University of Mississippi

2:00 PM Religion in a Transnational Context (RCED 117)
Facilitator: Mehreen Jamal

  • Journey of Love: Bhakti to Sufi – Amy Lyon, University of Arkansas
  • The Western World's Ignorance of the Islamic Civilizations Influence – Emilee Taber, University of Arkansas

3:00 PM Tales from the Field: The Do’s, Don’ts, and ‘Wish I Would Have Known’s of Undertaking Research (RCED 103)
Moderator: Nani Verzon;  Panelists: Dhia Ben Ali, Erika Morey, Mitra Panahipour