Join us for the last event of the semester in the Persica Forum. Friday, December 22nd at 6:00PM in 208 Knox Hall.
Working for the government in Early Islamic Jurisprudence
Rob Gleave is Professor of Arabic Studies and Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam (CSI), IAIS, University of Exeter. Gleave is currently Principal Investigator of 2 major projects: Understanding Shari’a: Past Present Imperfect Present (www.usppip.eu) and Law and Learning in Imami Shi’ite Islam (LAWALISI). We will discuss his precirculated paper. To receive a copy, contact email@example.com.
The presentation highlights the actual role played by Mayy Ziyādah, not only as a salonniere, but also as an intellectual in her own right with a significant role in the Nahḍah in twentieth century Egypt. As her name is most often associated with the salon, Professor Khaldi will demonstrate the intellectual climate of that salon, its capacity to bring together different factions and to emerge thereby as a microcosm of the Nahḍah, in its complexity and hybrid nature. With these goals in mind, she will draw on an extensive amount of material, supported by a theoretical framework that helps in envisioning the salon as a public sphere
Boutheina Khaldi is Associate professor of Arabic and comparative literature at the American University of Sharjah. She has published a monograph in English: Egypt Awakening in the Early Twentieth Century: Mayy Ziyᾱdah’s Intellectual Circles (Palgrave, 2012), a book in Arabic: Al-Muḍmar fῑ al-Tarassul al-Niswῑ al-‘Arabῑ (2015) (The Implicit in Arab Women’s Epistolary Writing), in addition to a number of peer-reviewed articles, and co-edited three textbooks: Al-Adab al-‘Arabῑ al-Ḥadῑth: Mukhtᾱrᾱt, Al-Wafῑ fῑ Turᾱth al-‘Arab al-Thaqᾱfῑ, and Turᾱth al-'Arab al-Ma'rifi
The Qur'an was an object of scholarly attention in the eighteenth century, when, in the wake of Lodovico Marracci's philological Latin achievement of 1698, a number of writers attempted a literary translation of the holy book of Islam. In the same period, the Qur'an also served as a multivalent symbol--of revealed religion, of literature, and of law. This paper first examines the scholarly achievements of the period's European translators from Arabic, and then compares them to the Qur'an's reception in the Enlightenment to reveal both the connections and the differences between philological and "philosophical" reception in this formative era of Western intellectual culture.
Contrary to the generally accepted conceptualization of the Brotherhood as an ‘Islamist movement’, we will understand the Brotherhood as a modern political organization. We will focus on the various internal political and personality clashes that have characterized the Brotherhood’s life as an organization, how these conflicts have contributed to the Brotherhood’s downfall in 2013, and how internal politics continues to shape the Brotherhood’s political behavior today.
Safwan M. Masri, Executive Vice President of Global Centers and Global Development will discuss his new book, Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly. Welcome by SIPA Dean Merit E. Janow; Moderated by Lisa Anderson Dean Emerita, SIPA & James T. Shotwell Professor Emerita. Books will be available for sale and signing.
This talk aims to move beyond simplistic and often celebratory accounts of Kurdish women fighters resisting ISIS in Syria and Iraq by exploring underlying ideological and political underpinnings. We illustrate the dialectical relationship between the writings of the political leader (Öcalan), and the resistance to male hegemony within the movement on behalf of Kurdish women activists. We interrogate the long-term prospect of radical gender equality and justice in a context of escalating conflict, militarization and the prevalence of conservative gender norms and relations, particularly pertaining to sexuality.
Join the Center for Palestine Studies for a night of staged readings about Israel-Palestine. Attendance is free. To reserve your seat RSVP at palestine.mei.columbia.edu.
Marnia Lazreg discusses her new book in conversation with Joseph Massad.
Foucault’s Orient: The Conundrum of Cultural Difference, From Tunisia to Japan
Foucault lived in Tunisia for two years and travelled to Japan and Iran more than once. Yet throughout his critical scholarship, he insisted that the cultures of the “Orient” constitute the “limit” of Western rationality. Using archival research supplemented by interviews with key scholars in Tunisia, Japan and France, this book examines the philosophical sources, evolution as well as contradictions of Foucault’s experience with non-Western cultures. Beyond tracing Foucault’s journey into the world of otherness, the book reveals the personal, political as well as methodological effects of a radical conception of cultural difference that extolled the local over the cosmopolitan.
Marnia Lazreg is professor of sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her latest publications include Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad (Princeton, 2008); and Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women (Princeton, 2009).
Joseph Massad is Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University. He is the author most recently of Islam in Liberalism (University of Chicago Press, 2015).
Sami Hermez, PhD, is assistant professor in residence of anthropology at Northwestern University in Qatar.
Introduced by Nadia Abu El-Haj, Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and Co-Director of the Center for Palestine Studies.
In War Is Coming, Sami Hermez argues that the country’s political leaders have enabled the continuation of violence and examines how people live between these periods of conflict. What do everyday conversations, practices, and experiences look like during these moments? How do people attempt to find a measure of certainty or stability in such times? Hermez’s ethnographic study of everyday life in Lebanon between the volatile years of 2006 and 2009 tackles these questions and reveals how people engage in practices of recollecting past war while anticipating future turmoil. Hermez demonstrates just how social interactions and political relationships with the state unfold and critically engages our understanding of memory and violence, seeing in people’s recollections living and spontaneous memories that refuse to forget the past. With an attention to the details of everyday life, War Is Coming shows how even a conversation over lunch, or among friends, may turn into a discussion about both past and future unrest. Shedding light on the impact of protracted conflict on people’s everyday experiences and the way people anticipate political violence, Hermez highlights an urgency for alternative paths to sustaining political and social life in Lebanon.
The times in which we live are rife with interventions - humanitarian, financial, and political - into the inner affairs of sovereign states. Deep incisions into the body politic, they injure even as they seek to heal, upturning conventional understandings of the state as an autonomous entity by inserting foreign elements beneath its skin. This paper sketches out a genealogy for these practices, tracing them back to the nineteenth-century Mediterranean and the particular sovereign arrangements born of the Ottoman empire’s unhappy encounter with Britain and France. From the 1830s onwards, it argues, these two states devised novel ways of organising population, territory, and debt and new understandings of sovereignty.
In Tunis, the first collections of antiquities were established in the 18th - 19th centuries. European Consuls, foreign scholars, and international traders acquired most of the archaeological remains then available from the ancient city of Carthage. Whether growing out of their personal taste, commercial considerations, or a desire for cultural distinction, they enriched the collections of major European museums. This collecting practice was not limited to foreigners, but also touched the local ruling class.
In writings about Islam, women and modernity in the Middle East, family and religion are frequently invoked but rarely historicized. Based on a wide range of local sources spanning two centuries (1660-1860), Beshara Doumani argues that there is no such thing as a typical Muslim or Arab family type that is so central to Orientalist, nationalist, and Islamist political imaginations. Rather, one finds dramatic regional differences, even within the same cultural zone, in the ways that family was understood, organized, and reproduced. In his comparative examination of the property devolution strategies and gender regimes in the context of local political economies, Doumani offers a groundbreaking examination of the stories and priorities of ordinary people and how they shaped the making of the modern Middle East.
Family Life in the Ottoman Mediterranean: A Social History
Beshara Doumani is a Professor of History and Director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. His research focuses on groups, places, and time periods marginalized by mainstream scholarship on the early modern and modern Middle East. He also writes on the topics of displacement, academic freedom, politics of knowledge production, and the Palestinian condition. His books include Family Life in the Ottoman Mediterranean: A Social History, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900, Academic Freedom After September 11 (editor), and Family History in the Middle East: Household, Property and Gender (editor). He is the editor of a book series, New Directions in Palestinian Studies, with the University of California Press.
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies and History, will introduce Doumani. Commentary by Baber Johansen, Professor of Islamic Religious Studies, Harvard Divinity School, and Brinkley Messick, Professor of Anthropology and MESAAS and Director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia, will follow the talk.
Arab Patriotism: The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017) challenges the received narrative that Arabism in general and Egyptian territorial nationalism in particular emerged in opposition to the Ottoman and British Empires and primarily from below. The author argues instead that early Arabic nationalist culture was produced in dialogue with the localized Ottoman power by educated Arabs who integrated Muslim and European cultural forms in their search for political inclusion and patronage.
Gil Hochberg will be speaking this Monday October 9th, 6:00-7:30 pm in 754 Schermerhon Ext: "Minor Archives: Memory, Narrative and Counter-Narrative”.
Simone Brioni's paper analyses to what extent Deleuze and Guattari’s definition of the three main features of ‘minor literature’ – namely ‘the deterritorialization of language, the connection of the individual to a political immediacy, and the collective assemblage of enunciation’ – are relevant in analyzing literature by authors of Somali origins in Italian.
Because of Deleuze and Guattari’s abstract reference to gender and race issues and their vague concern for the geographical, linguistic and cultural specificities of literatures by minor authors, she will argue that ‘minor literature’ should not be seen as a rigid framework to be applied in interpreting a specific case study, although its theoretical flexibility might be useful when investigating a literature that strongly refuse categorization. In particular, Deleuze and Guattari’s reference to ‘minor’ ‘literature as a literature ‘in becoming’ helps to identify the position of Somali Italian literature in a transnational context, proposing some changes in how 'Italian' literature has been conceptualized so far.
The film Looted and Hidden focuses on a number of groundbreaking institutions that were plundered: The Palestine Research Center, the Palestinian Cinema Institution (PCI) and the Cultural Arts Center (CAS) of the PLO. These bodies were among the first to document Palestinian existence and to preserve, research and chart the visual and written Palestinian history from the late 1960s onward. Looted and Hidden , the first film devoted to the subject, follows pioneering, bold, and idealistic creators and directors and the archives they built, focusing mainly on the cinematic enterprise created by the CAS and PCI. Tracing their pillaging, administration and control by Israel - looting, censorship, denial of access, and erasure - the film raises questions about archival institutions in areas of conflict and points, as in detective work, to the need to dig into the invisible and hidden in order to reveal what has been erased or rewritten.
Welcome back to the new academic year and the MESAAS Departmental Colloquium, which will next take place on Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 4:10pm in 208 Knox Hall.
In The Mediterranean Incarnate, anthropologist Naor Ben-Yehoyada takes us aboard the Naumachos for a thirty-seven-day voyage in the fishing grounds between Sicily and Tunisia. He also takes us on a historical exploration of the past eighty years to show how the Mediterranean has reemerged as a modern transnational region. From Sicilian poaching in North African territory to the construction of the TransMediterranean gas pipeline, Ben-Yehoyada examines the transformation of political action, imaginaries, and relations in the central Mediterranean while detailing the remarkable bonds that have formed between the Sicilians and Tunisians who live on its waters.
An investigative journey into Arab children’s literature, exploring the manners through which Arab ‘grown ups’ exported\translated their own tragic sense of collective ‘defeats’ into a literary form directed to the Arab children as a reading public.