Archive of Past Events
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
“Academic Freedom: A Roundtable Discussion”Panelists: Andrew Ross, Steven Salaita,
and Katherine M. Franke
Campus Center, Multipurpose Room Andrew Ross is a Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. His most recent books include Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal (2014), Nice Work If You Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times (2009), and, as co-editor, The University Against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace (2007). He has also written about academic freedom and overseas campuses of U.S. universities such as NYU Abu Dhabi.
Steven Salaita was “de-hired” from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign because of his tweets about Israel’s assault on Gaza this past summer. Before that, he was an Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech. His books include Israel’s Dead Soul (2011), Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures, and Politics (2007), Anti-Arab Racism in the USA (2006), and The Holy Land in Transit: Colonialism and the Quest for Canaan (2006).
Katherine M. Franke is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and the Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University. Her recent publications include “Dating the State: The Moral Hazards of Winning Gay Rights” (2013), “Public Sex, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Afterlife of Homophobia” (2011), and “Eve Sedgwick, Civil Rights, and Perversion” (2009). She has been at the forefront of the academic boycott against the University of Urbana-Champaign and has been advising Steven Salaita’s lawyers.
Organized and moderated by:
Michiel Bot (Hannah Arendt Center)
Omar Cheta (History and Middle Eastern Studies)
Connor Gadek (Students for Justice in the Middle East)
Monday, November 17, 2014
Insisting on Literature and Politics:Yasmin El-Rifae
The Experience of the Palestine Festival of Literature
RKC 115 Yasmin El-Rifae has worked in journalism and human rights, mostly in Egypt. She is currently writing, and living between Cairo and New York. For the past two years, she has also helped organize the Palestine Festival of Literature. An annual traveling literary festival, PalFest aims to break the siege imposed by the Israeli military occupation on cultural life in Palestine.
Cosponsored by the Literature Program, Human Rights Project and The Translation Initiative
Monday, November 10, 2014
Sanctified Sandals—Polemics and Prophetic Relics in an Era of Technological ReproducibilityBarry Flood, Professor of Humanities, Institute of Fine Arts and College of Arts and Sciences, NYU
Olin, Room 102 Although recent controversies about the historical representation of the Prophet Muhammad have focused on figural paintings, these were relatively rare and circulated in a limited milieu. More commonly, the Prophet was represented metonymically, by depictions of his footprint or sandal, for example. The most famous relic of the Prophet's sandal was kept in Damascus; from the twelfth century onwards, images of this sandal relic were generated by tracing its outline. Such tracings were believed to circulate the blessings (baraka) conferred by this cherished vestige through contact with the body of the Prophet. The copying of the sandal relic continued into modernity, when new print technologies and photography were applied to the reproduction of its image. The deployment of modern technologies of mass (re)production to the circulation of the relic as an image may be related to debates within Islam about the acceptability of relics, shrine veneration and mediation, debates that continue until the present day. However, the ability of mass-produced images to transport and transmit the charisma of the original relic also raises interesting questions about the nature of images, copies and mediation.
Sponsored by Art History, Middle Eastern Studies, and Religion Programs
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Peter Rosenblum"Two Cheers for Corporate Social Responsibility"
Professor of International Law and Human Rights
A Talk in the Social Studies Divisional Colloquium
Olin, Room 102 As “corporate social responsibility” enters the mainstream, itsinitials "CSR" have become a dirty word for a broad segment of the
engaged public. The voluntariness, vagueness, and uncertainty of
enforcement – not to mention blatant propaganda by companies –
overwhelm any positive value, they argue. At the other end of the
spectrum, CSR enthusiasts insist that it is leading to a new paradigm,
even challenging traditional forms of corporate governance. Oft
overlooked in the debate over CSR is the way in which public campaigns
have driven change and, even more importantly, shaped the mechanisms
that emerge. CSR continues to be as much the story of savvy activists
leveraging global networks as it is the monitoring mechanisms and
codes of conduct -- maybe more so. Peter Rosenblum will explore the
current debate, drawing on his recently completed research on Indian
Tea plantations and a soon-to-published chapter addressing advocates
and critics of CSR.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Egypt after the Rabaa MassacreMona El-Ghobashy
Olin, Room 102 In the space of four short years, from 2011 to 2014, Egypt has gone through not one but several major political upheavals. In short order, a mass uprising toppled president-for-life Hosni Mubarak; the military hastily stepped in to steer the country; the first-ever free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections were held; and then a popular military coup toppled the elected president and put a military general in his place. The pivotal event of the coup was the August 2013 mass killing of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi's supporters. This talk will discuss these political developments and reflect on how we should think about them. Is Egypt experiencing a failed democratic transition, an aborted revolution, or something else?
Mona El-Ghobashy is an independent scholar who writes on Egyptian politics. Her work has appeared in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Middle East Report, Boston Review, and edited volumes. Supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, she is writing a book on Egyptian citizens' use of street protests and court petitions to reclaim their rights before and after the 2011 uprising. She was formerly an instructor in the political science department at Columbia University and an assistant professor of political science at Barnard College.Cosponsored by the Human Rights Project &
the Political Studies Program
Thursday, May 1, 2014
TIME CHANGE: Through the Syrian Looking-GlassOptics, Politics and Surveillance in Samar Yazbek's In Her Mirrors and Rosa Yasin Hasan's Rough Draft
Olin, Room 102 Please note: The end time is now 7:30 rather than 9pm
A lecture by special guest Max WEISS (Princeton)
Contemporary Syrian literature bears unmistakable traces of more than four decades of authoritarian Baʿthist rule. This talk explores two recent Arabic novels--In Her Mirrors by Samar Yazbek and Rough Draft by Roza Yassin Hassan--that shed unique light on Syrian cultural politics. In addition to offering a close reading of both texts, I argue that by attending to representations of vision, surveillance and the political in novels—specifically the structure and function of mirrors and screens, eavesdropping and surveillance—literary critics, historians and political scientists may gain important insight into key (albeit under-appreciated) aspects of Syrian culture.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Drafting an Egyptian ConstitutionA talk hosted by BGIA
BGIA (NYC) Mr. Tamer Nagy Mahmoud was a drafter of the Egyptian Constitution of 2014 and will discuss the negotiations, compromises, successes, and failures surrounding the framing of the Constitution.
This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to attend (see link below).
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Sean McMeekinRKC 200 The First World War is still alive in Turkey, in a way it has not been in Europe for decades. To the extent most westerners think about the conflict, they tend to follow what we might call the “European Union” narrative, chalking it up to outmoded militarism (mostly Germanic), which produced a senseless Civil War between European nations who learned to live in peace only after an even more terrible rerun from 1939-1945. By contrast, in Turkey as across the Greater Middle East, World War I is remembered as something like a deliberate western plot to dismember the Ottoman Empire, the last great Islamic power on earth. One does not have to credit the wilder conspiracy theories to see an important grain of truth here. The war in Europe began in 1914: but Turkey had been fighting since Italy invaded Ottoman Tripoli in 1911. In 1912, the Balkan League, egged on by Russian pan-Slavists, piggybacked on this war by invading Turkey’s European provinces. The Balkan Wars lit a fire under Serbian irredentism, which produced the Sarajevo incident of 1914. The Ottoman war did not end in 1918, either, but in 1923, when Turkey won her independence in the Treaty of Lausanne (this treaty, not Versailles, is the one Turks remember).
Russia, Turkey, and the First World War
Viewed through a Turkish lens, the First World War of 1914-1918 begins to look more like “The War of the Ottoman Succession, 1911-1923.” To students of the war who remember trench warfare in Flanders, this might seem far-fetched. But the Ottoman angle, I discovered through years of archival research, helps explain the European conflict as well. The key to the puzzle is Tsarist Russia, and her increasingly desperate aim of preserving access to the Ottoman Straits, which came under mortal threat in 1912, 1913 – and 1914. Only if we appreciate the dire strategic geography of the Eastern Question can we understand how the Sarajevo incident produced the most terrible war the world had ever seen – a war which was building towards a climax in 1917, when Russia, having already conquered much of eastern Turkey, finally launched her long-awaited amphibious assault on Constantinople…
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Meet the Filmmakers! The Guernica Variations and City of SignsOn Art, War, and the Avatars of Filmmaking
Campus Center, Weis Cinema Screening followed by Q&A with the filmmakers.Both films are in Spanish with English subtitles. The Guernica Variations (Guillermo Peydró, 2012, 26 min): Picasso’s Guernica is the image of a disproportionate attack on unarmed civilians to demoralize and subjugate a whole population, it encapsulates a turning point that ushered in today’s use of terror against civilians.This film received the 2013 Best Documentary Award from Uruguay’s International Short Film Festival, among other awards, and has been widely screened at museums, including the Reina Sofia National Museum. City of Signs (Samuel Alarcón, 2009, 62 min): When César Alarcón travels to Pompeii to collect ‘psychophonies’ - electronic voice phenomena - from Vesuvius’s great eruption, he finds that none contain sounds from the year 79 AD. Eloquent voices from the recent past will nonetheless lead him to the exploration of Roberto Rossellini’s mysterious life and film production. This film received the 2011 Román Gubern Essay-Film Award, among other awards.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Film Screening: ArrangedA poignant drama about arranged marriage in traditional Muslim and Jewish families
Campus Center, Weis Cinema A film about a young Orthodox Jewish woman and a young observant Muslim woman who work together at a Brooklyn school and are both in the process of having marriages arranged for them by their families. Discussion to follow led by faculty from Religion, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Chaplaincy.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Screening of "Roadmap to Apartheid"Weis Cinema Students for Justice in the Middle East is screening "Roadmap to Apartheid" in honor of Israeli Apartheid Week.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
"Computational Reading of Classical Arabic Sources: The Case of Biographical Collections"Maxim Romanov
Olin, Room 202 Over the past decade a great number of classical Arabic sources became available as fully searchable texts. The volume of existing digital libraries now exceeds 800 mln. words. Although this makes traditional research more efficient, the volume of this corpus demands for new methods. Using the most recent digital methods of text analysis, the paper presents an analysis of about 29,000 biographies from “The History of Islam” (Taʾrīkh al-islām) compiled by the Damascene historian al-Dhahabī (d. 1348 CE), and offers a glimpse into how the Islamic society was changing during the first 700 years of its history.
Maxim Romanov is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Department of Classics & Perseus Project at Tufts University. He holds a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. His research combines experimental digital humanities methods and the study of classical Arabic sources. http://alraqmiyyat.org/