Monday, 4 December 2023 saw the conclusion of the 10th Annual Gulf Studies Forum in Doha. The Forum was divided into two tracks, one dedicated to relations between the Gulf states and China and one dedicated to the cultural policies of the Gulf states. Corresponding with the Forum, the Ostour Symposium was held on the final day, exploring “Historical Writing in the Gulf Countries”.
The Symposium continues the work of a series of historical writing symposiums in the Arab world, discussing trends and trajectories in Gulf history. The event sought to examine the progress and experiences of a group of Gulf historians, in addition to presenting new critical attempts in writing Gulf history. The Symposium was opened with a session in which Chair of Ostour’s editorial board, Abderrahim Benhadda, and Head of the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies Unit, Haider Saeed, welcomed participating researchers and attendees.
Hayat Amamu chaired the first session during which Kuwaiti Researcher Abdulrahman Alebrahim presented “Between Marginalization and Narratives in the History of the Arabian Gulf: Kuwait as a Model”. Assistant Professor at Nizwa University, Nasser bin Saif Al-Saadi followed with his paper “Trends in Historical Writing in Oman: From the Traditional Approach to the Academic”. Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Doha Institute, Amal Ghazal, and Law Faculty member at Qatar University, Abdulrahman Albaker presented the next paper, “How the Left in the Gulf Chronicled its Uprisings: The Case of the 1965 Uprising in Bahrain”, followed by Historian Ulrike Freitag who spoke on “Saudi Historiography: Observations from Writing the History of a City”.
Session Two, on Narrators and Historians, was chaired by ACRPS Researcher, Alanoud Abdulla Al-Khalifa. The first speaker, PhD Researcher, Saleh Abdullah Al Khulaifi presented “Uthman Ibn Sanad: Historian of the Birth of the Arab Emirate on the Gulf Coast”. Gulf History Researcher, Khalid bin Ghanim Al-Maadheed, then spoke on “Collective Memory and its Role in Creating Historical Writing in the Arabian Peninsula: Ibn Bishr as a Model”, with the session concluded by Qatar University Research Assistant, Abdulrahman Al-Marri, with his paper “The Ghutra Pinning Down the Agal: The Limits of Historical Writing about Qatar”.
The third session chaired by ACRPS Researcher Ayat Hamdan featured a presentation by Iraqi historian Hala Fattah of her paper “A Different Paradigm for Arab Gulf Studies” and by Associate Professor at the University of Virginia, Fahad Bishara, of “Writing in the Bazar: The Micro, the Macro, and the Ocean in Gulf History”.