Fourth Annual Conference of the Iranian Studies Initiative October 19th-20th, 2018

Slavery and Sexual Labor in the Middle East and North Africa

October 19th-20th, 2018

UC Santa Barbara, California, United States

The Fourth Annual Conference of the Iranian Studies Initiative will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 19th-20th, 2018 at the University California, Santa Barbara. The theme of this year’s conference is Slavery and Sexual Labor in the Middle East and North Africa. Papers will be on a variety of issues dealing with slavery, concubinage, prostitution, indentured servitude or debt slavery, as well as the lives of orphans, divorced women, and widows in Iran, the Ottoman Empire, and the Persian Gulf areas.  Presenters and discussants will be looking at parallels and disjunctures between early modern and contemporary forms of coercive gendered labor practices and sexual servitude in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Participation in the conference is free of charge and includes refreshments. Due to the limited seating available we ask that you kindly RSVP by October 12, 2018

We recommend that you arrive on Thursday evening, as our conference begins on Friday at 9:00 AM. If you wish to stay over Thursday and Friday nights, we suggest that you reserve a room at one of the following hotels:


      Best Western Hotel, 5620 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117, (805) 967-3200,


      Pacifica Suites, 5490 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara, CA 93111,
(805) 683-6722,


      Hyatt Centric, 1111 East Cabrillo Boulevard, Santa Barbara, CA 93103,
(805) 882-1234,


      The Kimpton Goodland, 5650 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117, (877) 480-1465,


Please make your own accommodation arrangements.  

Please visit for additional information about the conference.

To pre-register for the conference, please contact:

Eric Massie, PhD Candidate

Conference Coordinator


With Regards,

Janet Afary,

Mellichamp Chair, Director,  Iranian Studies Initiative, UCSB


Manoutchehr Eskandari-Qajar

Director, Middle East Studies Program, SBCC