Middle East Studies: Engineering Heterotopia

New paper by Shehab Fakhry Ismail

Ismail, S. F.  (2015). ‘Engineering Heterotopia’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 47 (3) 566-569.


My starting point is the present—certainly a critical and loaded moment for scholars of the modern Middle East. It is incumbent upon us to take a step back and to rethink how to create new concepts, new narratives, new explanatory schemes, new historicities, and new visions of the future. An engagement with science studies, understood broadly, is one possible way to begin such critical rethinking. It is an exercise that could also be mutually illuminating, as scholars of science studies have been debating the global nature of science and technology for the last decade, undoubtedly in reaction to the once European-dominated narrative of the history of science. The field of science studies has moved well beyond “diffusion” and “core-periphery” models toward more eclectic examinations of various processes of epistemic encounters, translations, mediations, and conflicts that shaped societies. These processes also shaped science and technology. Here, I would like to provide a brief outline of one mutual engagement inspired by the injunction to follow scientists, doctors, and engineers and to probe what was at stake in the knowledge they produced and how they “made society.”


23 October 2015