Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Society


Welcome to SERMEISS - the Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Society - a professional society for specialist or non-specialist educators and other individuals whose professional activities actively engage the Middle East and Islam. The organization was founded in 1977 to provide scholars in the southeastern United States with an opportunity to meet regularly with colleagues to share research findings and teaching concerns. SERMEISS is an affiliated organization of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA).

The SERMEISS 10-state region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.


Membership is open to specialist or non-specialist educators, including graduate students, and other individuals whose professional activities actively engage the Middle East and Islam and who live in the southeast region. Dues are $25.00 per calendar year.

Institutional membership dues are $200.00 per calendar year. Includes membership and free conference registration fees for up to 6 individuals from the same institution.


SERMEISS sponsors an annual fall meeting every October in Valle Crucis, North Carolina near Boone, and a spring meeting at a host university every other year.

Spring meetings and alternate fall meetings feature the Bodman Memorial Lecture.


SERMEISS – Fall Conference

October 14-16, 2022

Call for Papers:

The Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Society (SERMEISS) is excited to announce that it will hold its fall meeting on October 14—16, 2022.

SERMEISS will be returning to the Valle Crucis Conference Center for its traditional in-person meeting for the first time since 2019.

SERMEISS welcomes proposals for papers to be presented at its fall 2022 conference.

Proposals for individual papers should include the paper title; a detailed abstract regarding your topic, thesis, and plan of presentation; and contact information (including department and institutional affiliation) for the presenter. SERMEISS is an inter-disciplinary organization and papers may address any issue pertaining to the Middle East and/or Islamic world.

To submit proposals, please send all materials in a single file to Curtis Ryan ( by July 15, 2022.

This is a juried conference, and proposals will be vetted by a conference committee. Applicants will be contacted regarding the decisions of the committee by August 5th.

Even if you are not submitting a paper for presentation, please mark the date and plan to join us in October in the mountains for our fall 2022 meeting of SERMEISS.

SERMEISS Names New Executive Director

The Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Society (SERMEISS) names Buket Oztas, Ph.D. new Executive Director.

Following an open, advertised search and after reviewing the applications received, the SERMEISS Executive Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Buket Oztas, Ph.D. as the new Executive Director of the Society.

The Executive Director is the Chief Administrative Officer of SERMEISS and is appointed by and serves at the discretion of the Executive Board, consisting of a president and members at large who are elected by Society members.

Dr. Oztas is a tenure-track assistant professor of politics and international affairs at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. She has been an active member of SERMEISS for several years and has participated actively in SERMEISS events, including presenting her research at the annual fall conference. Her research examines Islamist parties, non-state actors, and regime change in predominantly Muslim countries.

At Furman, Dr. Oztas has developed and taught courses on the Politics of the Middle East, Islam and Politics, and the Capstone Seminar in Middle East and Islamic Studies. She also serves as the co-chair of the Middle East and Islamic Studies minor, oversees the program’s course offerings and study-away programs, and serves on numerous university committees.

Originally from Izmir, Turkey, Dr. Oztas received her B.A. and B.S. degrees (2010) from Bilkent University (Turkey) and Binghamton University (New York), and her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Florida (2016).

In appointing Dr. Oztas, the SERMEISS Executive Board noted her impressive record of academic service and leadership and the commitment she has already shown to SERMEISS. The Board is excited to work with her to advance SERMEISS’s mission.

Dr. Oztas’ appointment officially begins on April 19, 2022. She takes over the Executive Directorship from Calvin H. Allen, Jr., Ph.D. Dr. Allen served in that role for nearly four years following decades of service to SERMEISS from the time of its founding in 1977. He retired in 2016 as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of History at Shenandoah University.

On behalf of the Executive Board, I extend my sincerest thanks to Dr. Allen for his work and dedication to SERMEISS, and welcome Dr. Oztas to her new role.

Annie Tracy Samuel, Ph.D.



Save the Date for the Fall 2022 Meeting!

October 14-16, 2022

Looking forward to returning to our Fall home in Valle Crucis, NC


Virtual Research Workshops

In an effort better to serve our academic community across the region, SERMEISS is announcing a new initiative to host Virtual Research Workshops. The goal of these workshops is to help scholars prepare manuscripts for submission to a peer-reviewed journal (or other publication outlet). For more information and to apply to participate, please click here.