Call for Papers | America’s Game in the Middle East: The 2027 Qatar Basketball World Cup

Friends playing basketball

The Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) at Georgetown University in Qatar, in partnership with Professor Danyel Reiche, invites scholars from around the world to submit an abstract to study U.S. engagement in the Middle East through the lens of basketball and the development of the American Game in the region. This project will adopt a multidisciplinary approach and explore a wide range of cultural, economic, political, and social issues. Themes will include, but are not limited to: the origins of the game in the Middle East and the role America played in this process; basketball and its role in Middle Eastern societies; the importance of the Middle East as a market for the American professional basketball league, the NBA, and for the global growth of basketball; Middle Eastern ownerships and sponsorships in American basketball; how American basketball shapes Middle Eastern cultures (language, clothes, etc.); naturalized American basketball players in Middle Eastern national teams; Middle Eastern basketball players in the NBA and U.S. College sports; women’s basketball development in the Middle East, such as the lifting of the discriminatory Hijab ban in FIBA in 2017; the role of basketball in major migrant communities in the Middle East; the motives of Qatar as a small state to host the 2027 FIBA men’s World Cup; amongst other potential topics.

It is expected that the edited volume/special issue emerging from this project will be of great interest to scholars working on American relations with the Middle East, the globalization of basketball and sport in the Middle East, as well as the general public.

For more information and background on the project, click here.


The abstract and supporting materials can be submitted as separate files or one file at the form linked here.

After the second workshop in May 2025, the final papers will be due in the following weeks. The papers will go through an internal editing process before being submitted to a publisher/journal. Depending on their publishing schedule, it can take up to 2 years for the publication to come out. The aim is to have the book/journal issue published no later than summer 2027, in order to be out in before the 2027 Basketball World Cup takes place.

Must participate in-person.

No. All submissions should be original work and not be published in part or whole anywhere else. Please contact if you need any clarification.

There is no funding available for research related to this project. However, travel expenses to participate in both workshops will be paid by CIRS.

The call for papers is open to all scholars and academics, regardless of academic rank or institutional affiliation. The project leads encourage a diverse range of applicants including independent, junior, and senior scholars.

This project will benefit from two workshops in which contributors’ original research questions and draft papers will be discussed. This process results in significantly stronger papers to submit to a top-tier university publisher or academic journal. CIRS has relationships with several top-tier university presses and academic journals and has over a decade of experience polishing and supporting manuscripts through the editorial and publication process. Another goal of the project is to build a community of scholars around the topic. Participants will make productive connections with peers.

While Arabic submissions are welcome, the working groups will be conducted in English.

Please submit a Word document or PDF file.

Please email with any questions about the call or project.