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Fall 2015


An Evening of East-African Retro-Pop: Alsarah and the Nubatones // Music Performance

Friday, October 16th8:00-10:00 PM // MCC Theater

Sudan-born and Yemen-raised, Alsarah is a singer, songwriter, and ethnomusicologist who gives voice to a narrative of displacement that encompasses her Sudanese musical canon. Based in Brooklyn, The Nubatones blend a selection of Nubian “songs of return” with original material and traditional music of central Sudan, and – with a distinctly urban sensibility – create a musical journey through diaspora and migration. Music: Habibi Taal / Soukura Tickets: $5 UCSB Students and Children Under 12 / $15 General. Buy tickets here.


Salma Arastu: Songs of the Souls // Art Exhibit

Tuesday, October 20th6:00-7:00 PM // MCC Lounge

A native of India, Salma Arastu has been exhibiting her work internationally since 1974. Distinguished by an elegant and continuous lyrical line, her work speaks of human universalities. Born into the Hindu tradition, Arastu later embraced Islam; both world views inform her work. At birth, she was given the challenge of a left hand without fingers; she has transcended barriers of religion, culture, and limiting perceptions of handicaps. Arastu came to the U.S. in 1987 and currently lives in Berkeley. This is an opening reception for our fall exhibition which is already on display. Meet the artist, Salma Arastu! There will be free food.


Joseph A. Kéchichian
(King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies)

‘Iffat al Thunayan:  An Arabian Queen

Monday, October 26 / 5:00 pm / HSSB 4020

‘Iffat Al Thunayan, spouse of the late King Faysal bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al Sa‘ud (r. 1964–1975), was a pillar of the ruling Al Sa‘ud family. Born and raised in Istanbul to an uprooted Sa‘udi family, she returned to the Kingdom in 1932, a few months before the founder ruler, ‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin ‘Abdul Rahman, reinstituted the monarchy. ‘Iffat used her influence to infiltrate many progressive ideas into the Kingdom, including significant strides in education for both boys and girls as well as major advances in health care. An astute observer and a doer par excellence, Queen ‘Iffat left her mark on the contemporary history of the Al Sa‘ud, as she protected and empowered her kin. She raised a formidable family, listened carefully, guided conversations as necessary, spoke with moderation, and recommended policies to her husband and, after he was assassinated, to her brothers-in-law who succeeded him. A politically conscious spouse, Queen ‘Iffat played the leading role in Sa‘udi female society, attended many state functions, and received female state guests. She traveled extensively, especially in Europe and the United States, supported myriad charities, and cajoled many to invest in the Kingdom. Universally respected, many people sought her advice for she shared her ambitions and ideas to benefit the entire country. Based on multiple interviews conducted with members of the al-Faysal family, friends, and acquaintances of the late queen, Joseph A. Kéchichian offers the first political biography of a Sa‘udi monarch’s spouse. This work is an important resource for social scientists and political analysts, and of interest to all who wish to learn about Arab women in general, and Sa‘udi women in particular.

Joseph A Kéchichian is a Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the CEO of Kéchichian & Associates, LLC, a consulting partnership that provides analysis on the Arabian/Persian Gulf region, specializing in the domestic and regional concerns of Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Yemen; and a Senior Writer with the Dubai-based Gulf News, which is the top-ranked English-language news daily in the United Arab Emirates, available online at http://www.gulfnews.com.  He served as the Honorary Consul of the Sultanate of Oman in Los Angeles, California between 2006 and 2011.


Political Theologies of Medieval and Early Modern Islam:
A Workshop

University of California, Santa Barbara
October 30th - 31st, 2015
McCune Conference Room, Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Room 6020

Conference Website and Schedule


Dirty Paki Lingerie // Theatrical Performance & Q+A

Saturday, November 7th8:00-9:30 PM  // MCC Theater

A one-woman theater piece set in post-9/11 America, Dirty Paki Lingerie tells the stories of six Pakistani‐American Muslim women at the chaotic juncture of two different cultures. Written and performed by Aizzah Fatima, the play moves and entertains audiences with a unique and universal appeal that transcends boundaries of culture, religion, and gender; a “must-see” production has played to sold‐out houses across the globe. Q&A session with the performer will follow. Tickets: $5 UCSB Students and Children Under 12 / $15 General. Buy tickets here.


New at CMES


Spring 2015 alumni newsletter available now!

Fall 2015 course list available now!

Summer Intensive Arabic - 2015

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UCSB Islamic Studies Graduate Student Conference

Updates from Former FLTAs

Middle East & Islamic Studies Subject Guide
(Meryle Gaston, UCSB Research Librarian)

The Iranian Studies Initiative, UC Santa Barbara

Middle East Studies Major

Global Studies Majors & Minor

Global & International Studies

The Institute for Social, Behavioral and Economic Research

University of California, Santa Barbara

Ibn Tulun Mosque, Cairo

Ibn Tulun Mosque, Cairo


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