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News and Events ~ Spring 2020

MENA Lecture - Humanitarian Work with an Arabic Degree

BU Alumnus, Steven Lewis, shares his perspective on human rights
work in Palestine

Thursday, March 26, 2020 @ 5:30 pm

LN 2200 ~ Alpern Room

Steven Lewis, an Arabic Major who graduated in 2018, spent three months (92 Days - from August 2019 to November 2019) living in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.  He worked as part of a team of Palestinians and international observers as part
of a human rights monitoring group. 

MENA Lecture || Transmedial Blackface and Global Public Spheres

Professor Parisa Vaziri (Cornell University)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 @ 4:00 pm

LN (Library North) – 2200 (Alpern Room)

 Light refreshments will be served

 This talk examines two contemporary documentaries on the ancient Persian tradition of blackface comedy (sīyāh bāzī). Together, Maryam Khakipour’s 2004 The Joymakers and her 2008 Shadi form an exemplary site for examining the tradition's proliferating disseminations and translations across time and space. Through engagement with Persian commentary on sīyāh bāzī’s convoluted lineage as it is evoked by Khakipour’s films, this talk suggests that sīyāh bāzī’s tramsmediality reveals a universal familiarity inherent in the practice of blackface comedy that revises our commonplace assumptions about its geographical and historical itinerary.

Sponsored by the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Studies Program at Binghamton University

The Arabic Film Series ~ spring 2020

* Each Film will be followed by discussion and analysis led by the instructor *

Capernaum by Nadine Labaki by (Lebanon, 2018)

Thursday, February 13 @ 7:00 pm - AM 189

Barakah Meets Barakah by Mahmoud Sabbagh (Saudi Arabia, 2016)

Thursday, April 2 @7:00 pm - AM 189

 Bastardo by Nejib Belkadhi (Tunisia, 2013)

Thursday, April 30 @ 6:30 pm - AM 189

fall 2019

 Turkish Foreign Policy towards Syria: The Return of Securitization

Professor Hasan Kösebalaban (Istanbul Şehir University, Turkey)

Monday, November 25, 2019, at 1:30 pm

IASH Room (Library North–1106)

 Light refreshments will be served

 Since 2015, Turkey has been gradually moving towards a more nationalist discourse and direction in its foreign policy. In the Syrian conflict, Turkey has moved away from its initial goal of helping the anti-Assad opposition to a strategy that aims to restrain the territorial gains of separatist Kurdish groups. This transformation of strategic orientation has been a product of emerging security threats as well as changes in domestic politics including Turkey’s new presidential system. This lecture will assert the new orientation rests upon some of the traditional fears of disintegration and culture of insecurity that the JDP governments had attempted to overcome. The Kurdish question has returned to its traditional position as the primary foreign policy challenge and reversing its original reformist agenda, causing major friction in relations with the United States, and leading to a strategic rapprochement with Russia.


Arab Zombie Arts

MENA Lecture by Dr. Samuel England (Associate Professor of Arabic and African Cultural Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison)

Monday, October 28, 2019, at 4 pm

The Alpern Room (Library North 2200)

Binghamton University

Cosponsored by the Departments of Classical and Near Eastern Studies (CNES) and Comparative Literature

 Light refreshments will be served

 Arab Zombie Arts

Arabic drama and narrative literature fixate on the undead. In honor of Halloween, I provide an introduction to these works from the 19th to 20th century. I argue that modern authors need the distant past, to reassure their audiences that the present moment is not spiraling out of control. Arab independence movements claimed to look forward historically, beyond the constraints of old caliphates, Ottomanism, and European colonialism. But the arts of that period assumed a retrospective position far more than our formal studies acknowledge. The centerpiece of my talk is the intelligent-but-lost zombie character, anticipated in Classical works like al-Ma’arri’s Epistle of Forgiveness and brought to the very edge of anxious modernity by al-Muwaylihi in A Period of Time. Why should we listen to resurrected corpses? Why have they returned to the world of the living, and how is it that they became so opinionated while in the grave?


Tuesday ~ September 3, 2019 ~ 4:00 pm
IASH Room ~ LN 1106

Music, food and community. All are welcome!


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Last Updated: 3/10/20