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Spring 2017


The CMES office is now closed for Spring Break. We can be reached via email at cmes@cmes.ucsb.edu. The office will reopen on April 6th.


*Books available for cash purchase and signing

From 1975 to 1990, Lebanon experienced a long war involving various national and international actors. The peace agreement that followed and officially propelled the country into a "postwar" era did not address many of the root causes of war, nor did it hold main actors accountable. Instead, a politics of "no victor, no vanquished" was promoted, in which the political elite agreed simply to consign the war to the past. However, since then, Lebanon has found itself still entangled in various forms of political violence, from car bombings and assassinations to additional outbreaks of armed combat.

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.

Sami Hermez, PhD, is assistant professor in residence of anthropology at Northwestern University in Qatar.  He obtained his doctorate degree from the Department of Anthropology at Princeton University.  His recently published book with Penn Press, War is Coming: Between Past and Future Violence in Lebanon (2017), focuses on the everyday life of political violence in Lebanon and how people recollect and anticipate this violence.  His broader research concerns include the study of social movements, the state, memory, security, and human rights in the Arab World.   He has held posts as Visiting Scholar in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University, Visiting Professor of Contemporary International Issues at the University of Pittsburgh, Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Mt. Holyoke College, and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Lebanese Studies, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. At Northwestern in Qatar he teaches classes in anthropology that include topics such as violence, gender, and anthropology in the Middle East.


The 2017 Hamdani World Harmony Lecture

kTawakkol Karman
An Evening with the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

7:30 PM


FREE event; no advance tickets required


2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman is the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize. A human rights activist, journalist and politician, she was dubbed the “Mother of the Revolution” for her key role in the Arab Spring, during which she was imprisoned numerous times. She is also the co-founder of Women Journalists Without Chains, an NGO that works toward freedom of expression and democratic rights for women around the world. An advocate for education, social equality and responsible investment as means to counteract poverty and oppression, Karman offers hopeful solutions to uphold the democratic spirit across the globe.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies



This talk locates marriage as a key historical arena where politics and economics intersect. It examines how men and women imagine their nation through marriage and understand their rights and duties in 20th-century and early 21st-century Egypt. It demonstrates how marriage is a lens that reflects and critiques larger socioeconomic and political issues. By focusing on both elite and non-elite men and women, juxtaposing press accounts with court practices, and combining diverse disciplinary approaches, it argues that marriage can be used as a category of analysis for understanding the history of nationalism and revolutions in modern Egypt, rather than just its legal, political, or women’s history. The talk highlights how my empirical and theoretical findings make key analytical, methodological, empirical, and theoretical interventions to various disciplines within and beyond history and Middle East studies. It demonstrates that marriage can be used as a comparative category of analysis to examine not just modern Egypt, but other societies from late nineteenth-century Brazil to mid-twentieth-century Zanzibar to contemporary Japan, to reveal how various peoples during different eras deploy the institution of marriage to talk not only about intimate relationships, but also to understand the nation, its problems, and various socioeconomic and political transformations. As a result, the study of marriage contributes to the recent trend in history and other disciplines to take a transnational approach in analyzing events, discourses, and processes that cannot afford to be considered in isolation from the larger world. The talk concludes with an analysis of Egypt’s most recent marriage crisis on the eve of the 2011 Egyptian ‘revolution’ and how it can help us interpret recent socioeconomic and political events in Egypt.

Hanan Kholoussy is Associate Professor of History at The American University in Cairo. She earned a joint Ph.D. with distinction in history and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies from New York University, and a joint B.S./M.A. with honors in foreign service and Arab studies from Georgetown University. She has published several articles on marriage, gender, Islamic law, and Egyptian history and has been a frequent commentator in the Egyptian and international media about Egypt's contemporary marriage crisis. Her book, For Better, For Worse: The Marriage Crisis That Made Modern Egypt (Stanford University Press, 2010; AUC Press, 2010), explores how the marriage crisis became the lens through which Egyptians critiqued larger socioeconomic and political concerns in early twentieth-century Egypt and imagined a postcolonial nation free of British rule. She most recently co-edited with Kristen Celello Domestic Tensions, National Anxieties: Global Perspectives on Marriage, Crisis, and Nation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), an interdisciplinary collection of articles by scholars examining how diverse individuals have deployed the institution of marriage to talk not only about intimate relationships, but also to understand the nation, its problems, and various socioeconomic and political transformations in twelve different nations.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East, the King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies, the Iranian Studies Institute, and the Department of History at UCSB


lLaila Lalami
Muslims in America: A Secret History

7:30 PM



FREE event; no advance tickets required

Among today’s most influential and articulate voices, author and essayist Laila Lalami delivers salient explorations of timely issues such as injustice and Islamophobia. Born in Morocco and educated in England and the U.S., Lalami is celebrated for her deft interplay between the local and the global, the personal and the collective and the contemporary and the historical. Her most recent novel, The Moor’s Account, received the American Book Award and was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and her cultural commentary regularly appears in publications including the Los Angeles TimesThe Nation and The New York Times.

Books will be available for purchase and signing




For more information please visit: http://www.cmes.ucsb.edu/medievalbestsellers.html


National Geographic Live

aLynsey Addario
A Photographer’s Life of Love and War

3:00 PM


$25 : General Public
$15 : UCSB Students 
(Current student ID required)
$15 : All Students 
(Student ID required for high school age and up)

MacArthur fellow Lynsey Addario is an intrepid and courageous photojournalist who documents humanitarian crises for National GeographicTime magazine and The New York Times. Her recent work includes reportage on the plight of Syrian refugees, the ISIS push into Iraq and maternal mortality in Sierra Leone. Listed among Newsweek’s 150 Fearless Women, Addario has been kidnapped twice – in Iraq in 2004 and Libya in 2011. She relates these and other experiences from her heroic work in her memoir, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War, currently being adapted into a Steven Spielberg film starring Jennifer Lawrence. (Mature content)

Books will be available for purchase and signing


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Fall 2016 alumni newsletter available now!

Spring 2017 course list available now!

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(Meryle Gaston, UCSB Research Librarian)

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Ibn Tulun Mosque, Cairo

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