As the Syrian Civil War enters its eighth year, images of refugees continue to flood the media. While diaspora, displacement and migration increasingly define the human experience they remain difficult subjects to engage with and teach. President Trump’s initiatives - to cancel DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Migrants), build a wall on the US/Mexico border, limit refugee resettlement programs, and ban travel from Muslim majority countries - make discussions about displacement and migration in the classroom imperative. In addition to a lack of comprehensive and accessible instructional materials on these subjects, there is also the need to advise educators on how they can hold space for discussions that might be difficult for students.
This intensive two-day course will cover: historical and contemporary cases of displacement and migration and how to create space in classrooms for difficult conversations and divergent opinions. The first day offers an examination of legal categories such as 'citizen,' 'displaced person,' and 'refugee,' the movement of people around the world and the related geopolitical conflicts and social concerns that charge these topics. The second day focuses on the tools needed to plan and execute lessons based on the content from day one. Led by specialists from Teachers College at Columbia University, participants will learn how to translate content and implement strategies to create open, welcoming and supportive learning environments for students in order to discuss topics that may be highly emotional and politically charged.
For many years, Iraq has been the scene of heart-rending destruction. As part of their mission to help war-torn communities conserve their treasured sites, World Monuments Fund has worked at Babylon since 2007, and included the al-Hadba’ Minaret, destroyed by ISIS in 2017, on their 2010 and 2018 World Monuments Watch. Now, together with Google Arts & Culture, they present Preserving Iraq’s Heritage, an online platform documenting iconic Iraqi sites. On the heels of an announcement by UNESCO and the United Arab Emirates to rebuild the Great Mosque of al-Nuri and al-Hadba’ Minaret, this panel brings us together to remember the devastation and consider what the future may hold for the cradle of civilization.
Helen Malko, Anthropological Archaeologist at Columbia University
Salam Al Kuntar, Assistant Professor at the Department of Classics of Rutgers University and a Consulting Scholar at the Penn Museum of the University of Pennsylvania
Chance Coughenour, Program Manager at Google Arts & Culture
The panel will be moderated by Arwa Damon, multiaward-winning Senior International Correspondent for CNN, with opening remarks by Laurent Gaveau, Head of Lab, Google Arts & Culture.
The Middle East Institute is proud to be a co-sponsor of the annual New York Forum of Amazigh Film (NYFAF), a showcase of contemporary feature, documentary, and short films by and about the Amazigh people of North Africa and in the diaspora. NYFAF's mission is to create a space where the filmmakers, artists, and scholars of indigenous Amazigh identity and culture can gather yearly to share their knowledge and enthusiasm while fostering dialogue with a diverse audience of students and thinkers gathered from across New York City and the world. Through pre- and post-screening Q & As, live performances, and exhibitions of art and artifacts, the New York Forum of Amazigh Film seeks to disseminate Amazigh cinema and promote an understanding of the unique history, culture, and language of Amazigh peoples in North Africa and in the diaspora.
Raed Charafeddine, First Vice Governor, Bank of Lebanon
Moderated by Patricia Mosser, Columbia SIPA
With comments by Guillermo Calvo, Professor of International and Public Affairs
Please register here.
Tools for Engaging Students in Learning
مؤتمر فصل الربيع الدراسي : أدوات لضمان استمالة الطلاب و جذب أهتمامهم عند التدريس
Sherene Seikaly, University of California, Santa Barbara
In conversation with Timothy Mitchell, Columbia University
Moderated by Brinkley Messick, Columbia University
Sherene Seikaly is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the editor of Arab Studies Journal, co-editor at the Journal of Palestine Studies, and founding co-editor of Jadaliyya. Her first book, Men of Capital: Scarcity and Economy in Mandate Palestine (2016) explores how Palestinian "men of capital" and British colonial officials in the Thirties and Forties forged ideas of economy, property and accumulation in relation to broader currents in modern Arab thought, and in response to wartime austerity. Professor Seikaly's work draws on diverse sources to illustrate how this under-studied group of thinkers sought to shape concepts of frugality, scarcity, law, the home and the body, territory and region, ultimately constituting modern notions of "social man" in Palestine.
Day 1 - April 9: On The Palestine Exception (with some thoughts concerning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Zionism in the academy) - RSVP here
Jasbir Puar (Rutgers), Joseph Massad (Columbia), and Gil Hochberg (UCLA/Columbia)
Monday, 9 April 2018 @ 7pm, Northwest Corner Building 501, Columbia University
Day 2 - April 10: White Supremacy in Academia (Teaching and learning in a racist country) - RSVP here
Johnny Eric Williams (Trinity College), Dorothy Kim (Vassar College), Jessie Daniels (CUNY) and Ted Thornhill (Florida Gulf Coast University)
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 @6pm, Lehman Auditorium, 202 Altschul Hall at Barnard College
Day 3 - April 11: Academic Antifascism (Self-defense strategies in response to the Alt-Right) - RSVP here
George Ciccariello-Maher (Hemispheric Institute), Dana Cloud (Syracuse), Kayum Ahmed (Columbia) and Ozzie Monge (San Diego State)
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 @7pm, Location: 301 Pupin Hall, Columbia University
This day-long event is the third of a three-piece series that focuses on the movement of people across and along the Mediterranean and the emergence, re-signification, and use of sites of memory. It is organized by Seth Kimmel and Naor Ben-Yehoyada. Bringing together a mix of panelists from the humanities and social sciences, the day will include work by the following scholars: Avi Astor (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Nina Zhiri (UC San Diego), Isolina Ballesteros (CUNY), Eric Calderwood (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), and Charles Hirschkind (UC Berkeley).
Please note that this event has required registration. Please visit the Eventbrite page here to register, and to look at the full schedule: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sites-of-religious-memory-in-an-age-of-exodus-western-mediterranean-tickets-44486264615
Islamic Legal Canons as Interpretive Precedent: The Curious Case of Bughaybigha, 661-882
Intisar A. Rabb is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program. She also holds an appointment as a Professor of History at Harvard University and as Susan S. And Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Film screening and Q&A with Avi Mograbi, director, and Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Profesor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literatures.
Introduction by Brinkley Messick, director of the Middle East Institute.
Avi Mograbi and Chen Alon meet African asylum-seekers in a detention facility in the middle of the Negev desert where they are confined by the state of Israel. What leads African refugees to leave everything behind and go towards the unknown? Why does Israel refuse to take into consideration the situation of the exiled, thrown onto the road by war, genocide and persecution? Can the Israelis working with the asylum seekers put themselves in the refugees' shoes?
You can watch the Q&A session here.
Ghost Hunting. A film by Raed Andoni.
Screening and Q&A with the director and Professor James Schamus.
Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room, Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University
Director Raed Andoni places a newspaper advertisement in Ramallah. He is looking for former inmates of the Moskobiya interrogation centre in Jerusalem. In his ad he asks that the men should also have experience as craftsmen, architects or actors. After a casting process that almost feels like role play, he arranges for a replica of the centre’s interrogation rooms and cells to be built to scale inside a hall – under close supervision from the former inmates and based on their memories. In this realistic setting the men subsequently re-enact their interrogations, discuss details about the prison, and express the humiliation they experienced during their detention. Using techniques that are reminiscent of the so-called ‘theatre of the oppressed’ they work together to dramatise their real-life experiences. Their reconstruction brings long repressed emotions and undealt with trauma to the fore. Working on the film takes its toll on the men – both physically and mentally. The director also appears in front of the camera; not only is he creating a stage for his protagonists, he is also coming to terms with his own fragmented memories of imprisonment in Moskobiya thirty years previously.
Views and Voices: The Contemporary Middle East and North Africa
In collaboration with Columbia Global Centers
Join SIPA's MENA Forum for a conversation with Salam Fayyad, economist and former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, on regional developments and the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Moderator: Safwan Masri, Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University.
Tuesday, March 27th @4:30PM
Food will be provided
Seven- years after the Arab uprisings seemingly shook the Arab nation-state order that was left behind in the wake of the end of formal British and French imperial presence in the region, the content and the form of that order has been both entrenched and reconfigured. In view of this, this discussion asks two interrelated questions that pertain to an understanding of these realities as they have come to impact Arab societies: first, what would a sociology of colonial critique as emanating from the Arab world entail today, and what would its relevance be to an understanding of the changed colonial and neocolonial realities of the region? Second, what would such a critique provide by way of a contemporary sociology of the Arab world and the Global South more broadly?
Anaheed Al-Hardan is the Arcapita Visiting Professor of Arab Studies at the Middle East Institute and an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the American University of Beirut. She is the author of Palestinians in Syria: Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities (Columbia University Press, 2016).
Stathis Gourgouris from Columbia University will serve as interlocutor
This Professional Develeopment workshop will examine the regions of South Asia and the Indian Ocean and the impact of European trading companies in these regions between 1600- 1900. It will explore how trade and politics intersected to create forms of global capitalism still seen today, and how these historical evolutions help us understand current debates about corporations and states, money and politics.
Participants must be K-12 teachers, two- or four-year college instructors or students enrolled in graduate education degree programs. If you would like to register for either workshop, or have questions, please contact William Carrick at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants may register for one or both days.
Jerusalem Lives was the title of the inaugural exhibition (opened August 2017) at the new Palestinian Museum in Birzeit. We are pleased to bring to Columbia Reem Fadda, the internationally recognized curator of Jerusalem Lives, Emily Jacir, a leading Palestinian artist whose work was featured, and Professor Beshara Doumani, Brown University, an historian who was instrumental in setting the course for the Palestinian Museum. They will explore the challenges to current politics of this innovative and hard-hitting exhibit that brought together artists, scholars, and community groups inside and outside of the museum.
The Buyid Period, Fada'il Literature and the Transitional 4th/10th Century
Islamic History Workshop with Nancy Khalek, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University
The event of the Islamic millennium at the end of the sixteenth century was accompanied by widespread speculation about the end of an Arab dispensation and the beginning of a new era of Persian rule. As the rulers of Safavid Iran and Mughal India sought out ancient apocalyptic texts from the Zoroastrian subjects of their empires, new groups of freethinkers and occultists claiming to revive the ancient religious practices of the Persians arose across the eastern Islamic world. Focusing on the messianic thinker Āẕar Kayvān (1533–1618 CE), who moved from Safavid Iran to Mughal India with his followers in the 1570s, this talk examines the hermeneutics of the new ideas about religious difference and universalism that emerged during this period.
This day-long event is the second of a three-piece series that focuses on the movement of people across and along the Mediterranean and the emergence, re-signification, and use of sites of memory.
Norman Finkelstein displays academic courage to speak the truth when no one else is out there to support him... I would say that his place in the whole history of writing history is assured, and that those who in the end are proven right triumph, and he will be among those who will have triumphed, albeit, it so seems, at great cost.” (Raul Hilberg)
"Finkelstein has a most impressive track record in exposing spurious American-Jewish scholarship on the Arab-Israeli conflict." He praised Finkelstein for "all the sterling qualities for which he has become famous: erudition, originality, spark, meticulous attention to detail, intellectual integrity, courage, and formidable forensic skills.” (Avi Shlaim)
Please join us for the inaugural session of MENA Forum's new lecture series, "Views and Voices: The Contemporary Middle East and North Africa."
The Oil Curse Revisited: Reflections on Rentier States in the Arab World
Speaker: Ishac Diwan, Visiting Professor of International and Public Affairs at SIPA
Moderator: Lisa Anderson, James T. Shotwell Professor Emerita of International Relations
Ottoman Venality, or Tax Farming of Judicial Offices in the Ottoman Empire, c. 1700-1839
Jun Akiba specializes in Ottoman history during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a focus on the judiciary, judicial administration and related educational institutions. His current projects include a book on Ottoman sharia courts and, with Cemal Kafadar, a study of Ottoman self-narratives. Forthcoming articles treat girls schools and female teachers in pre-Tanzimat Istanbul and sharia judges in the nizamiye system.