Fall 2021 AMECYS Graduate Student Discussion Series

The Association of Middle East Children and Youth Studies (AMECYS) welcomes you to listen and engage with graduate students who will present on their research on young people in the Middle East and North Africa, and its diasporic communities.  The format of the sessions is thirty minutes of presentation by the speaker followed by thirty minutes of discussion and Q&A with the audience.  The AMECYS Graduate Student Discussion Series is intended to be a space for graduate students to share their cutting-edge research as well as workshop their dissertation material. 

Please RSVP to Dylan Baun to attend (djb0035@uah.edu) and receive the zoom links.

Friday November 5th, 11 am CST

Reda Rafei, PhD candidate, Texas Tech University

Al-haz al-awfar wa al-ghibta al-rajiha: parents and the wellbeing of children in the second half of the eighteenth-century Ottoman Tripoli through the sijillat of the Islamic sharia court.  

This presentation is part of a dissertation exploring gender and family history in the Ottoman provincial city of Tripoli-in modern day Lebanon- in the second half of the eighteenth-century based on the sijillat, the registers of the Ottoman Islamic Sharia court. I started my research looking for women, but I kept bumping into children. In my quest for wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, or property owners and waqf endowers, the children and youth kept peeking their heads through the pages, boys more than girls, depending on the type of cases. In this presentation, I argue that parents cared for their children and acted accordingly to ensure their wellbeing and secure their financial future. In his work on Ottoman Tripoli, Beshara Doumani indicates that “the coastal cities [like Tripoli], it is presumed, were characterized by a modern nuclear family structure that put a premium on affective ties between husband/wife and parents/children.” In this nuclear family, I try to show that women and children are pieces of the same puzzle; the study of one group informs our understanding of the history of the other group. I focus on cases related to personal disputes (divorce, custody, guardianship, and alimony), employment in waqf establishments, and iltizam contracts.  

Friday December 10th, 11 am CST  

Melis Sulos, PhD candidate, Graduate Center – CUNY

Power, Architecture, and Childhood in Turkey: The case of Children’s Palace

This paper focuses on an innovative architectural structure, Cocuk Sarayi (Children’s Palace), in Ankara in the 1930s. It attempts to locate the transformation of children’s spaces within the politics of social hygiene and modernity in the 1930s. How, for instance, did the Children’s Palace serve the medicalization of the childrearing practices in post-war Turkey? And, how did it act as a performative and symbolic space shaping the imagery and the iconography of the nation state? Putting together visuals and pamphlets, I try to discuss the influence of architectural and spatial reorganization on the history of childhood in early republican Turkey. 

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