Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa Conference

Passing along information that I received in my email.

Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa

The upcoming Sixth Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), Appropriately titled Tides of Change: Looking Back and Forging Ahead in the Middle East & Africa, will take place in Washington, D.C. on November 21-23, 2013.

As in years past, the conference is an excellent opportunity for scholars and students to hear from leading thinkers on critical issues affecting the regions. The keynote address will be given by Michael Young, the opinion editor at the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut, and H.E. Mohamed Bin Abdulla Al-Rumaihi, Ambassador of the State of Qatar, has been invited to deliver remarks at the opening reception.

In addition, more than 100 papers will be presented on scholarly topics from Middle Eastern and African studies, and related disciplines.  The conference line-up will also include policy round tables on “Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Region, and Beyond,” “Great Power Involvement in the Arab Upheavals,” and “Revolution, Revolt, and Reform in North Africa” as well as film screenings, book displays of the latest academic titles, and much more.

You can register for the conference or get more information here.  If you have any further questions about ASMEA or the Annual Conference, please do not hesitate to contact the organization at 202-429-8860 or


History Harvest: Community Collectives

New York TimesThe January 2013 issue of the Perspectives on History highlighted a project of the students and faculty of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln called History Harvest.  The article called to me about a way to collect the information that is most often lost- that of the community in which we all live.  Everyone has those personal historical documents tucked away in a closet, attic, or basement that we think about rarely (or sometimes often).  These documents have a personal value, but also a historical value regarding culture and social of our given communities.  It’s a shame to let those documents sit, forgotten, tucked away when they could be digitized for use by historians and students.

The co-directors William G. Thomas and Patrick D. Jones started this project “to create a popular movement to democratize and open American history by utilizing digital technologies to share the experiences and artifacts of everyday people and local historical institutions.”  People from the community are invited to these harvest gatherings with their personal items and histories to have them digitized with photographs and digital stories.  Local organizations, museums, and others are also welcome to bring items to be digitized.

Students are heavily involved, creating, planning, and advertising for their harvest.  Its an excellent hands on experience for the students to learn what history means to people in their community and how everyone can contribute in some way.  It’s a fascinating project that begs for duplication in communities across the United States and the world.

Needless to say, I would be highly interested in starting my own “History Harvest” in my community with students.  If you would be too, you can contact the co-directors via the links on their names above or contacting them through their website at:

New Years Resolution- Early!

Taken from:,r:1,s:100,i:7I’ve been thinking about my New Years resolution (NYR).  Every year I vow to learn some new skill that will ultimately push me farther and make me a better person.  Last year my NYR was to finish grad school.  I’m almost there!  Now I feel like I want to change it up a little bit and learn more about myself and expand my skills through what I can do for others.  There are lots of countdowns to Christmas or New Years going on out there so I’m going to throw this blog into the countdown ring and starting on December 15th, I’ll have my 15 top “charities” or places that do good in the community that accept donations.  Then, be thinking because on December 31st I will be asking you what your NYR are!  So check back later this month and pick one or more charities to donate to, do something good with, or tell me about one that is special to you! 

Organizing my mountain

So after needing to determine what era of history is underrepresented in my book collection (for teaching purposes), I decided it was time to get organized.  I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a program that I could use MS Excel or Access to do.  However, I also didn’t want to take the hours of time to set up a database on Excel or Access either.  I wanted something that I could type in the title or ISBN number and update all the rest from the internet, an attractive frontpage, and the ability to do subcollections.  Off I went to Google!  After about 45 minutes of sporadic searching, I had installed and uninstalled numerous demos and free programs that just did not do what I wanted.  Then the heavens opened and the angels sang.  I ran across myCollections software and fell in love.

The people who created it seem to have a genuine love for their product and the people who use it.  I emailed them asking if it could do what I wanted because I was confusing myself (imagine that!) and within 8 hours they emailed me back with detailed instructions on how to do the subcollections.  It turned out the problem was between the keyboard and the chair and I had downloaded an older version.  The new version is sleek.  Please see my screenshots below and visit their website if you’re looking for a similar program!  The developers are so responsive if you have any questions!

This is the myCollections frontpage.  I’m still in the beginning stages of adding my books but I wanted to throw praise on this program early.  For those of us who are visual, the book covers provide for quick memory recall and organization.  You can also sort by various categories.

This is the “Add Book” page of myCollections.  I am just sitting here looking at my bookshelf typing in the names of the book and clicking “Web Update” and it fills in all the rest of the information as you see above.

This is the genre category list that you can use to categorize your books.  It is completely customizable as you can see from my list.

All in all, so far, it is the best program I have found for a book collection.  You can also add movies, songs, and other collections.  The best part- its completely free and it runs on Windows 7.  I’m happy to answer any questions you have about using this program as I learn to use it myself!  Just ask in the comments or send me a message.

Check it out: myCollections