2020 Workshop


Call For Applications: 2020 MENA Workshop
“Securitization and Insecurity in the Middle East and North Africa”
May 29 to June 4, 2020 – Rabat, Morocco

We are pleased to announce a Call for Applications from early-career scholars who would like to participate in the 2020 MENA Workshop. This program is an opportunity to network with colleagues from across the Arab MENA region and advance research on the security and international relations of the region. The 7-day workshop will be held in partnership with the faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences-Souissi (FSJES) at Mohammed V University in Rabat. The organizers will cover participation costs (including travel, lodging, and materials) for up to 20 qualified applicants.

The deadline for applications is Saturday, March 14. Please submit your materials online through the Application Form.

Eligible Participants
The workshop is intended for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows who are citizens of countries in the Arab MENA region, especially those who are currently based at universities or research institutes in the region. Non-citizens of Arab MENA countries who are currently based at universities or research institutes in the Arab MENA region may also apply. The program is open to scholars in political science and other social science disciplines undertaking research related to the workshop theme. Scholars should apply with a manuscript or research project in progress that they will present at the workshop. Professional fluency in English is required. Applications from scholars working on topics related to the workshop theme (as described below) are especially encouraged.

Workshop Theme
The 2020 MENA Workshop will be led by Samer Abboud (Villanova University, USA), Zaynab El Bernoussi (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco), Omar Dahi (Hampshire College, USA), and Salim Hmimnat (Mohamed V University, Morocco). Together with selected workshop fellows, the co-leaders aim to engage academic and policy debates about security and international relations of the MENA region and consider alternative understandings of insecurity that focus on the research projects of scholars within the region. The workshop will also explore various methodological approaches in the study of insecurity and address the challenges that researchers from the region face in producing theoretically and conceptually legible research for a mainly English-speaking audience.

Thematically, the workshop will be theoretically grounded in critical approaches to Security Studies and International Relation, with discussions structured around two central themes. Discussions of insecurity will be framed through the question of what makes people insecure, rather than what makes them secure. By inverting the traditional questions of Security Studies that seek to answer how security can be achieved, this question asks fellows to think of the production of insecurity as the key variable to be explained. Discussions of securitization will reflect on how new patterns of securitization are emerging in the region. By widening the agents of securitization beyond the state, this approach highlights how private companies, social movements, political parties, and even municipalities, are implicated in contemporary securitization in the MENA region. We especially welcome submissions exploring topics such as:


  • Identity: How do the politics of identity in the Arab World, instrumentalizations of sectarianism, gender constructions, and different levels of belonging produce different forms of individual and collective insecurity?
  • Inclusion and citizenship: What processes, such as state formation, nationalism, and civil-military relations, shape current experiences of inclusion and exclusion of different people in the MENA region?
  • Technologies of insecurity: How are current technologies, such as drones, different forms of surveillance, and biometrics, producing forms of insecurity?


  • Discourses: How do actors within and outside of the MENA region frame threat, security, and insecurity?
  • Practices of securitization: In what ways do actors within and outside of the MENA region act upon these discourses of securitization?
  • Repression and violence: What forms of violence are enacted on individuals and collectives?

To provide a framework for reflection and investigation, attendees will critically assess the various research designs and methodological choices used to answer these research questions, and their utility in testing hypotheses. The workshop will also include sessions on conducting fieldwork, manuscript preparation and publication, and other professional development topics. Following their participation in the full program, alumni will receive 3 years’ membership to APSA and will be eligible to apply for small research grants.

Application Process
To submit an application for participation in the workshop, follow the web link to the online Application Form. Completed applications, including all necessary supporting documents (in PDF or Word Format), must be submitted by March 14, 2020. Selected fellows will be contacted by the end of March. Applications must be in English and include:

  1. The completed online Application Form.
  2. An updated Curriculum Vitae/resume.
  3. A detailed research statement (2,000 words maximum) describing the work-in-progress you propose to develop and present at the workshop. This statement should outline the focus of the paper, the methods used, the data/fieldwork on which it is based, and how it relates to the workshop theme(s). The research project should not be part of a co-authored project and should not be an excerpt from a work that is already completed or accepted for publication. Submissions may be derived from a dissertation project if also suitable for publication as a journal article.
  4. Two letters of reference on official letterhead and scanned as electronic files. If you are a graduate student, one letter should be from your dissertation supervisor. If you are a researcher or faculty member, letters can come from a former dissertation supervisor, a colleague at your home institution, a university official, or an employer.

Should you have any questions or seek additional information contact menaworkshops@apsanet.org. Please do not contact the workshop leaders directly.