The tenth round of the annual Gulf Studies Forum will be held on 2-3 December 2023. The forum will discuss the topics “Relations between the Gulf States and China” and “Cultural Policies of the Arab Gulf States”.
The first topic explores the nature of the Gulf states’ relationship with China, and whether it is possible to speak of “Gulf-China relations” or of individual Gulf states’ relations with China. The forum’s concept note poses the following questions: could the development in some Gulf states’ ties with China be a mere response to the faltering relations with the US, or does it have a firm economic basis that transcends the logic of reaction? To what extent might economics and oil generate strategic/political relations, and are there cultural or social dimensions to the relationship between the Gulf states and China, apart from politics and economics?
The second topic considers the difficulties facing the Gulf states in dealing with the issue of culture and administering the cultural sphere, such as the extent to which the culture of Gulf states resembles other cultures that have much in common with each other, the limits of their particularity and divergence from other cultures, and thus, the symbolic (and political) expressions they employ to distinguish themselves – not to mention the distinctively Gulf character of societies that have become home to a large, multicultural migration movement. This topic also encompasses Gulf society’s openness to globalization, some states’ having reclaimed the symbols of nomadic life as a form of cultural capital that reflects their “authenticity” in the face of globalization, as well as national identity and its cultural expressions. The concept note also broaches the policies that Gulf countries have adopted to address these difficulties.
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