The Center for the Study of Muslim Societies and Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy present Dark Water, Burning World: The Island of Lesbos and the Boats of Syria.
With Poetry by Ruth Padel and Artwork by Issam Kourbaj.
Kian Tajbakhsh: Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Fellow, Committee on Global Thought
For more information, please visit the Committee on Global Thought website.
Sponsored by Columbia University Committee on Global Thought
“Over the course of the Gulf Wars, vast caches of records were looted from the institutions of the Iraqi state and the Ba’th Party. The archives were shipped to the United States, in part due to the perceived value as evidence of state violence.
This presentation seeks to explore the ways in which displaced archives are engaged, and in particular archives associated with state brutality.”
Presented by Rebecca Abby Whiting, visiting PhD Candidate, Department of History at the University of Glasgow.
Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Muslim Societies and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy.
This lecture is organized as part of the course, ‘Mapping Maritime Frontiers in the Eastern Mediterranean’, at Columbia University taught by Nora Akawi and Naor Ben Yahoyada. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Studio-X Amman at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Columbia Global Centers | Amman, the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, the European Institute, and the Middle East Institute at Columbia University.
”The ‘permanent crisis’ narrative employed by destination countries in Europe, North America, and Australia, has allowed them to structuralise ‘exceptional’ measures as part of their domestic apparatuses of border control in their war against irregular migration. This is particularly visible at sea, where ‘pull-backs’ by proxy, ‘privatized’ interdiction by merchant vessels, and instances of non-rescue challenge the core principles of international protection. Many have written on the erosion of non-refoulement in extraterritorial contexts, denouncing the difficulties facing ‘boat migrants’ in reaching safe haven. The extra-territoriality of the oceans, removed from the public eye, creates an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ effect favouring the excesses of power characteristic of Operation Sovereign Borders in Australia, the mare clausum approach followed by the EU, and the ‘wet foot / dry foot’ arbitrariness still guiding the US Caribbean interdiction programme. These initiatives have a well-documented negative impact on the rights of ‘boat migrants’ and fail to address the root causes of displacement. Instead, as several studies corroborate, they divert flows towards ever more perilous routes and contribute to the raise of death tolls. They entrench insecurity, fuelling not only the original causes of flight but creating new dangers impeding access to protection – if not denying plain survival. The question hence arises as for whether ‘policies based on deterrence, militarization and extraterritoriality’, denounced by UN Special Rapporteur Agnès Callamard and others, ‘which implicitly or explicitly tolerate [and perpetuate] the risk of migrant deaths as part of an effective control of entry’ are compatible with international law.* What is more, the point is to elucidate whether trapping migrants in a vicious circle of more control, more danger, and more displacement, where they can only rely on facilitators to escape life-threatening perils, does not per se amount to a form of ‘persecution’ in the sense of Article 1(A)2 of the 1951 Refugee Convention. This is the question this paper proposes to explore to determine the limits that international (refugee) law should be understood to impose on consolidating practices of ‘remote’ (yet violent) maritime border control that deter entry by endangering human life, whether purposely or inadvertently. The role of knowledge (rather than intent), the foreseeability of lethal consequences of policy measures, and due diligence obligations to protect physical integrity from irreversible harm will be examined in this framework. The final goal is to (re-)define the contours of what constitutes a legitimate exercise of sovereignty when managing maritime migration flows.
*Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Agnès Callamard, A/72/335 (2018), para 10 (emphasis added).
This lecture is organized as part of the course Mapping Maritime Frontiers in the Eastern Mediterranean at Columbia University, taught by Nora Akawi and Naor Ben-Yehoyada. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Studio-X Amman at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Columbia Global Centers | Amman, the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, the European Institute, and the Middle East Institute at Columbia University.
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All events are free and open to the public.”
A panel discussion celebrating the recent work by Hamid Dabashi.
Sponsored by the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, Office of the Divisional Deans in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Middle East Institute, The Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, as well as the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.
An evening talk with Lelah Khalili, Professor of Middle East Politics SOAS University of London, on the evolution of modern regimes.
Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Institute of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, The Racial Capitalism Working Group, Department of Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies, and the Middle East Institute.
Jasbir Puar, Rutgers University professor, examines the production of mobility obstacles and restrictions in Palestine through the linked frames of disaster and carceral capitalism, highlighting the logistics of border crossings and movement in the West Bank in relation to disability rights frameworks.
Co-sponsored by the Middle East Institute and the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality.
A lecture by Shi’i Studies Research Program visitor, Matthew Melvin-Koushki, with commentary by Assistant Professor A. Tunc Sen on the historical study of Islamicate occult science.
Sponsored by the Middle East Institute and the Center for the Study of Muslim Societies.
In this groundbreaking book, leading Arab and Jewish intellectuals examine how and why the Holocaust and the Nakba are interlinked without blurring fundamental differences between them. While these two foundational tragedies are often discussed separately and in abstraction from the constitutive historical global contexts of nationalism and colonialism, The Holocaust and the Nakba explores the historical, political, and cultural intersections between them. The majority of the contributors argue that these intersections are embedded in cultural imaginations, colonial and asymmetrical power relations, realities, and structures. Focusing on them paves the way for a new political, historical, and moral grammar that enables a joint Arab-Jewish dwelling and supports historical reconciliation in Israel/Palestine.
Gil Anidjar, Columbia University
Alon Confino, UMass Amherst
Amos Goldberg, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Raef Zreik, Tel Aviv University
Gil Hochberg, Columbia University (Panel Chair)
This event is cosponsored by the Department of Religion, the Middle East Institute, and the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies.
Celebrating new books in the Arts & Sciences at Columbia University, the Heyman Center for the Humanities will host a roundtable discussion on Professor Messick’s book, Shari’a Scripts: A Historical Anthropology.
Brinkley Messick, Columbia University
Intisar Rabb, Harvard Law School
Gil Anidjar, Columbia University
Mashal Saif, Clemson University
Guy Burak, New York University
Islam Dayeh, Freie Universitat Berlin
Mahmood Mamdani, Columbia University
Join the Columbia SIPA Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Forum for a Voices and Views Speaking Event: Ta'al Bachir (Come Tomorrow): The Politics of Waiting for Citizenship, TUESDAY DECEMBER 4th, 6:10-7:30pm in Room IAB 1512 with guest speaker Dr. Noora Lori, Assistant Professor of International Relations at Boston University and author of the forthcoming book, Offshore Citizens: Permanent 'Temporary' Status in the Gulf.
Light snacks provided. Moderated by Professor Lisa Anderson.
POST EVENT OPPORTUNITY: Five Columbia University students are invited to attend a post-event intimate dinner conversation with the speaker immediately following the event. The first five students to contact Sarah Stone, MENA Communications Chair (email@example.com) will receive a spot. Please include "12/4 MENA Dinner" as the subject.
TALK | Deliverance from Commitment: al-Ghazali’s Reconfiguration of Rationalism with Visiting Professor Benham Sadeghi
Deliverance from Commitment: al-Ghazali’s Reconfiguration of Rationalism
William Bartley’s The Retreat to Commitment outlines how Euro-American rationalist traditions have repeatedly faced identity crises when realizing that what they took to be knowledge did not live up to their standards of what counts as rational. Such an internal contradiction could be resolved in different ways: by upholding reason but rejecting beliefs/knowledge (rational skepticism), by having beliefs but rejecting reason (irrationalism, relativism, fideism), or — more significantly for rationalism — by upholding reason and the possibility of knowledge but relaxing the criteria of what counts as rational by no longer requiring that every proposition be justified by reason. In Bartley’s terminology, this is a shift from “pan-rationalism” to “critical rationalism.”
Professor Sadeghi argues that al-Ghazali’s Deliverance from Error represents the kind of shift Bartley described, from pan-rationalism to critical rationalism. As a scholar of Ash’ari kalam, al-Ghazali had been an exponent of the pan-rationalist meta-context governing kalam, falsafa, and Batini thought, which insisted that every proposition be justified by a sequence of logical inferences ultimately rooted in firm foundations. He experienced a crisis when he realized that his cherished beliefs could not be justified in this way. True to the pan-rationalist demand to believe only what is rationally justified, he privately gave up all belief. After two miserable months as a skeptic, an epiphany allowed him to have beliefs: namely, he gave up the requirement that all beliefs be justified by reason. Crucially, though, he did not thereby reject reason; rather, he became a critical rationalist. His faith in Islam was restored, and he set out to determine which approach to Islam is correct — kalam, falsafa, Isma’ilism, or Sufism. He argued for Sufism using a mixture of rational argumentation and rationally unjustified beliefs.
Join student organizations at the School of International and Public Affairs on Tuesday, November 27 from 6:10 - 8:00 PM in IAB 1512 for a conversation with three distinguished panelists on the intersection of gender and security policy issues.
Presented by the Institute of African Studies, with guest, Rawia Tawfik from Cairo University and moderated by Abosede George from Columbia University.
After decades of the marginalization of Africa in its foreign policy priorities, Egypt seems to be making a strong comeback to the continent. Active presidential diplomacy under President Sisi has been combined with the restructuring of a number of institutions responsible for implementing Egypt’s Africa policy. This lecture explores whether this rising interest in Africa has been translated into a clear definition of a new Egyptian role in the continent.
For more information, visit ias.columbia.edu/events-upcoming
TALK | NYU Arts & Sciences Presents Sensory Experience within Early Islamic Pilgrimage with Adam Burs
What sights, smells, sounds, and tastes did pilgrims to the Kaʿba, the Dome of the Rock, and other early Islamic sacred spaces experience? Drawing upon literary and material evidence, this paper will attempt to reconstruct some important sensorial—and especially olfactory—components of Islamic pilgrimage of the seventh and eighth centuries CE. Taking account of participants’ physical practices within sacred spaces, I suggest that these sensory experiences played a formative role for Muslims and for the Islamic identities they formed, both during the pilgrimage and afterwards.
Adam Bursi earned his PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University in 2015. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow with the ERC-funded project SENSIS: The Senses of Islam at Utrecht University. His research studies early Islam in dialogue with other late antique religions, focusing on the ways that rituals related to relics, pilgrimage, and healing were tightly interwoven with the formation, self-understanding, and performance of communal membership among early Muslims.
Silsila: Center for Material Histories is an NYU center dedicated to material histories of the Islamicate world. Each semester we hold a thematic series of lectures and workshops, which are open to the public. Details of the Center can be found at:
RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/yyQBlldfpzfkHkrb2
TALK | Cross-cultural encounters in contemporary book art between Baghdad and Beijing: a lecture by Sonja Mejcher-Atassi, American University of Beirut
This talk focuses on the work of the Iraqi artist Rafa Nasiri (1940-2014) and his autobiographical account Rihlati ila Sin (My Journey to China, 2012). It explores cross-cultural encounters between Baghdad and Beijing in the context of geopolitical change after the Bandung Conference of 1955 and the Iraq Revolution of 1958.
EXHIBITION & TALK | The Second-Hand Binding & In the School of Wisdom: Persian Bookbinding, ca. 1575-1890
Gallery talk by guest curator and Columbia University graduate student Matthew Gilman.
Reproduction technologies, from chromolithography to digitization, have long been heralded as boon as to scholarship in the arts of the book. Nevertheless, bookbinding, especially that from the Muslim world, has remained at the fringes of the field. This talk examines the historical circumstances (such early modern libraries, second-hand book markets, and Orientalist scholarship) which create difficulties for the study of the art. They also, however, will offer an opportunity to reconsider the nature of manuscript culture at large.
Hiba Bou Akar in conversation with Faranak Miraftab, Timothy Mitchell, M. Christine Boyer, and Amale Andraos.
For the War Yet to Come examines urban planning in three neighborhoods of Beirut’s southeastern peripheries, revealing how these areas have been developed into frontiers of a continuing sectarian order. Akar argues these neighborhoods are arranged, not in the expectation of a bright future, but according to the logic of “the war yet to come”: urban planning plays on fears and differences, rumors of war, and paramilitary strategies to organize everyday life.
Please join us for a book launch and conversation with Dr. Seth Anziska (University College London) and Professor Rashid Khalidi.
Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo (Princeton University Press, 2018).
Based on newly declassified international sources, Preventing Palestine charts the emergence of the Middle East peace process, including the establishment of a separate track to deal with the issue of Palestine.
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.
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.
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