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Winter 2018 Events





Rare Manuscripts of the Moroccan Royal Library:
An Introduction and Overview

Lecture by Dr. Khalid Zahri-Royal Library, Rabat, Morocco


Thursday, February 8th, 6:00pm, HSSB 4080

The Royal Library in Rabat, known also as al-Khizāna al-Hassania is among the oldest libraries in the word. It houses precious documents and rare manuscript volumes acquired by ruling elite of Morocco. This lecture will describe some of the rare holdings of al-Khizāna al-Hassania, discuss issues related to Maghribi paleography, codicology, and art, imagery, and the symbolism and significance of color used in selected manuscripts. The lecture will also offer advice for potential researchers and suggest fruitful avenues for research in manuscripts at the Hassania Library.

Dr. Khalid Zahri is Assistant Director, Curator, and researcher for the manuscript collection of the Hassania Royal Library in Morocco. He travels widely to share his expertise in manuscript preservation and publication of glosses and commentaries. He has presented lectures and facilitated workshops across the Arab world, Southeast Asia, and Western Europe. He is an established expert in Muslim theology (kalām), Sufism, and the methodology of Islamic law (usūl al-fiqh). He has published close to 100 academic works in Arabic and French on a range of topics including "Kalām", "Usūl al-Fiqh", 'Tasawwuf", "Bibliography", "Cataloguing" (Fahrasah) and "Codicological and Philological studies", among them more than 20 books, including Maghribī Ashʿarī Sources (2017); From ʿIlm al-Kalām to Fiqh al-Kalām (2017), The Arabic Manuscript: New Horizons in Codicology, Philology, and Cataloging within the Islamic Manuscript Tradition (2017). He received his Diplome des Études Supérieurs (DES) (1992) and his PhD (2001) from Muhammad V University in Rabat at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He has worked at the Hassania Royal Library from 2002-present, and at the National Library in years prior (1999-2002).


Documenting Multiculturalism in Norman Sicily

Jeremy Johns (University of Oxford)


Tuesday, February 6th
5:00pm, HSSB 4020

If Norman Sicily (circa 1060–1250) is famous for anything it is for the multicultural art and architecture of its rulers, from King Roger (r. 1130–1154) to his grandson Frederick II (r. 1198-1250). Monuments such as the Cappella Palatina– the chapel and audience hall in the chief royal palace in Palermo – deliberately juxtaposed elements imported from Byzantine, Islamic and Latin sources in order to create a unique multicultural art, which eloquently conveyed the political message that the Norman king, in the words of the royal minister and panegyrist Eugenius of Palermo, “harmonised the inharmonious, and mixed together the unmixable … with wise foresight blending and uniting into a single race disparate and incongruent peoples”.

Recent scholarship has largely revised the traditional assumption that royal multiculturalism grew organically out of the island’s past under Byzantine and Muslim rule, and was the spontaneous product of the proximity of Arab, Greek and Latin communities living side-by-side under the beneficent Norman kings. On the contrary, most of the elements used to manufacture royal multiculturalism – Byzantine mosaics and textiles, Arab painting and architecture, Romanesque sculpture – were imported to the island from contemporary sources, and not inherited from Sicily’s Byzantine or Islamic past.

So dazzling is the multicultural art and architecture of the Norman kings that it tends to obscure what may be called “popular multiculturalism” – the product of day-to-day interaction between the heterogeneous subject communities that lived under Norman rule. What is more, the administrative and legal documents that are virtually the only written sources for the administration of the subject communities of Sicily, and for relations between them, are still largely inaccessible and little known even to specialists in the field.

This talk describes a new project — Documenting Multiculturalism — which will publish online all of the documents from Norman Sicily – Arabic, Greek, Judaeo-Arabic and Latin – and use them to generate a series of fundamental research tools that will, for the first time, make it possible to observe the extent and the nature of interaction between the subject communities of Norman Sicily, in order to observe not just royal multiculturalism imposed from above, but also popular multiculturalism that, over two brief centuries, grew up from the soil of Sicily, flourished, and then faded. The talk will be illustrated with copious examples drawn from the documents themselves, and will present new digital images of many documents, including some that remain inedited.

Dr. Jeremy Johns worked as an archaeologist in Libya and Italy before reading History at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1985, he was appointed Lecturer in Early Islamic Archaeology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1990, he returned to Oxford as University Lecturer in Islamic Archaeology. In 2004, he was appointed first director of the Khalili Research Centre for the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East, and in 2006 was made Professor of the Art and Archaeology of the Islamic Mediterranean. He is principally interested in the relationship between Islam and Christianity in the Mediterranean as manifested in material and visual culture. His research focuses upon the transition from late antiquity to early Islam in the Levant and, especially, upon Sicily under Islamic and Norman rule. He has published a monograph on the Arabic Administration in Norman Sicily (Cambridge, 2002), and more than seventy articles on the art, archaeology and history of the Islamic Mediterranean, especially Norman Sicily. Johns is currently writing up a project investigating the early Islamic rock crystal industry and working on his next project – Documenting Multiculturalism: coexistence, law and multiculturalism in the administrative and legal documents of Norman and Hohenstaufen Sicily, c.1060-c.1266.


Fall 2017 Events




This Vast Earth: Ibn 'Arabi's Ecology of Consciousness

Annual Conference of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society


Registration now open for the 2017 annual conference of the Ibn 'Arabi Society at UC Santa Barbara, California, November 10 & 11

Free for UCSB faculty and students (registration required)

For more information and registration please visit: Facebook or Eventbrite






The Two-State Solution for the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict:
Is it Still Viable?

Hamed Qawasmeh 
(Hebron International Resource Network)


Tuesday, October 24th, 5:00pm, HSSB 4080

In the early 1990’s a number of international conditions and events have taken place that formed a suitable environment for the rise of the notion of the two-state solution as the prefered solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that has been raging for decades. As things stand on the ground nowadays, voices have started to question that notion and, instead, started to entertain other possibilities. This presentation looks at the feasibility of this solution in light of the current facts-on-the-ground in the Holy Land.

Hamed Qawasmeh was born in Kuwait where he grew up before moving to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Qawasmeh holds a Master Degree in Political Science from Idaho State University (USA) as well as an International MBA from Bar Ilan University (Israel). Married with 5 kids and the 6th is on the way. He currently works as the director of the grassroots organization, the Hebron International Resources Network (HIRN).




Egypt and the Contradictions of Liberalism:
Illiberal Intelligentsia and the Future of Egyptian Democracy

Daanish Faruqi
(Duke University)


Tuesday, October 17th, 5:00PM, HSSB 4080

In his latest book (alongside Dalia F. Fahmy, Long Island University), Egypt and the Contradictions of Liberalism, Daanish Faruqi investigates the about-face of a critical mass of prominent Egyptian liberal activists and intelligentsia, who despite spending full careers pursuing progressive reform under Mubarak ultimately came to support the counterrevolutionary forces that culminated in the military coup of July 2013. Using an interdisciplinary approach, engaging contributors from a wide array of perspectives and orientations, the editor ultimately argues that the latest failures of Egyptian liberals in the context of 2013 are indicative of a broader set of contradictions inherent in the liberal project in Egypt, from its institutional dimensions and frameworks -- from Egyptian party politics, to the judiciary, to civil society organizations -- to its ideological and philosophical foundations. In his talk, Faruqi will elaborate on these institutional and philosophical contradictions endemic to Egyptian liberalism, and offer potential correctives for rethinking liberalism in a manner that does sufficient justice to Egyptian social and cultural identity, and that overcomes its elitist and authoritarian proclivities. In so doing, he offers a corrective that goes beyond the confines of Egypt, in addressing the putative limitations of liberal political philosophy more broadly. His presentation will be of wide interest for those in Law, Islamic Studies, Middle East Studies, Political Science, History, and students of liberal political thought alike.

Daanish Faruqi is a doctoral candidate in History at Duke University, and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR) at Rutgers University. His work deals with Islamic political thought, and currently focuses on the nexus between Sufi mysticism and political activism. In addition to his work on Egypt, he has research expertises in North Africa (Morocco and Algeria specifically), Israel/Palestine, Syria, and South Asia (Pakistan in particular). Additionally, he has worked extensively on modern Arab political philosophy and intellectual history, and on reformist Islamic thought through the prism of objectives-based legal theory (maqasid al-shari‘ah). A former Fulbright scholar, he has spent several years in the Arab Middle East as a researcher and journalist. In addition to his scholarly work, he regularly writes for the global press, having published in Al Jazeera, Common Dreams, and USC-Annenberg/Religion Dispatches, among other media outlets.



My presentation will analyze how colonialism and colonial urbanism remain a crucial component of contemporary Palestinian and Israeli realities. I seek to illuminate everyday life as well as the broader institutional forces that comprise and enable Israeli urban policy in Jerusalem. What kinds of barriers—physical, legal, and discursive—operate to keep Israeli-occupied Jerusalem a city of immense separation and inequality? I will also address some of the multiple expressions of anti-racism and resistance to colonial and military rule in the city most contested by Palestinians and Israelis since 1948.

Thomas Abowd is an urban anthropologist and historian who received his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University. He teaches in the Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora Program at Tufts as well as American Studies and Anthropology. His book on spatial politics and colonial urbanism in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem is entitled Colonial Jerusalem. He has been involved in activist and scholarly projects related to the Middle East for more than 20 years and is currently writing about neo-liberal urban space, environmental racism, and  in Flint and Detroit.




Spring 2017 Events


Center for Middle East Studies

End of Year Celebration & Recognition Party

Monday, June 5 / 12:00-2:00pm
Student Resources Building, Multi-Purpose Room

Join the Center for Middle East Studies for its annual end of the year celebration!

d Free food and drink!

Middle Eastern Music!

Come give a big cheer to graduating seniors and other accomplished students and faculty, and bid bon voyage to travelers!





Andrew March (Yale University)

"The People is the Source of all Power”: Ambiguities in Modern Islamic Political Theory

Monday, June 5th, 5:00pm, HSSB 4080

It is a standard trope of contemporary Islamic political theory that “the people is the source of all political authority” (al-shaʿb masdar al-sulutāt). This has become such a commonplace in modern Islamist discourse than even Salafi parties that contest elections include this in their manifestos. The ubiquity of the professed commitment to the people being the source of all political authority in modern (Sunni) Islamic political thought thus seems to indicate a potentially profound commitment to democratic self-rule, certainly more profound than more traditional ideas that governance in Islam must incorporate some kind of consultation (shūrā) between the ruler and representatives of the people. However, how deep can any Islamic commitment to fully autonomous popular legislation be? Is a people permitted to authorize any forms of government whatsoever, or are there divinely revealed constraints on both the kinds of law that can be authorized and the kinds of offices or institutions that a people may authorize? If Islam retains its close association with a pre-political, revealed, and commanded law (even if that law is open-ended and subject to interpretation and extension), it seems difficult to imagine how any Muslim community is radically free to create its own legal and political institutions.

ANDREW MARCH is Associate Professor of Political Science at Yale University. During the 2017-8 academic year he will be a Berggruen Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a Law and Social Change Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program. He is the author of Islam and Liberal Citizenship (Oxford University Press, 2009) and articles on religion, liberalism and Islamic law in, amongst others, American Political Science Review, Philosophy & Public Affairs, Journal of Political Philosophy, Cardozo Law Review, and Islamic Law and Society. He is presently working on a book on the problem of sovereignty in modern Islamic thought, tentatively entitled The Caliphate of Man.




The UCSB Middle East Ensemble
Sat., June 3rd, 7:30 pm 
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UCSB
Tickets: AS Ticket Office (805-893-2064), www.music.ucsb.edu, & at the door
Adult: $15; Non-UCSB Students: $10; UCSB students: $5

Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble, as we present our formal Spring concert on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017, in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  The concert will begin at 7:30 pm.

We are excited to present a great variety of music and dance from throughout the Middle East.  UCSB Persian music lecturer, Bahram Osqueezadeh, will perform a solo on the santur (the Persian hammered dulcimer).  Nick Ragheb and Nader Mansi, Cantor at Coptic churches in Simi Valley and Oxnard, will lead the Ensemble in a Coptic hymn for Palm Sunday.  Sarah Salim will perform a song by the Egyptian superstar singer Umm Kulthum (d. 1975).  Maz Kavandish will lead the ensemble in two Persian songs;  Andrea Fishman will perform a Sephardic song from Morocco; and Sam Khattar will perform a song by the Egyptian singer/composer Sayyid Darwish (d.1923) popularized by Syrian singer Sabah Fakhri (b.1933).  

As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, from Egyptian, Greek, and Turkish cultures and an Arab-Latin fusion dance, with choreographies by Cris! BasimahJatila Van der Veen, and Alexandra King.  In a special highlight, Ellen Chang, a long-time member of the Ensemble’s Dance Company, will perform an extended dance solo.  We are also excited to once again present a dance by the UCSB Armenian Student Association’s Yeraz Dance Team.




R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Visiting Scholar

Everett K. Rowson
Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
New York University


Monday, May 15, 2017, 6:00pm
HSSB 4080

It’s Complicated: Sexuality in Premodern Islamic Societies

Views of sexuality in modern and contemporary Islamic societies are in general completely at variance with those held in premodern Islamic societies, largely due to the impact of Western colonialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  This talk will attempt to sketch out some of the complexities of premodern attitudes, noting that our available Arabic textual sources are anything but reticent about questions of gender and sexuality, aspiring to a full and frank taxonomy of variations in both realms, but also exhibiting a range of attitudes that can by no means be reduced to a simple exposition of what “Islam” says about sex.

Everett K. Rowson is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at New York University.  He earned a B.A. in Classics from Princeton and a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Yale.  Before coming to NYU he held positions at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.  His initial specialization was in Islamic philosophy and his first book was on a tenth-century work on the immortality of the soul.  He has subsequently translated historical chronicles, explored aspects of medieval Arabic prose literature, and published a series of articles on gender and sexuality in premodern Islamic societies.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Lecture Series




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



The large-scale picture-poems (mudabbajāt) that the exiled Spanish poet, mystic and physician al-Jilyānī dedicated to Saladin and other Ayyubid princes are remarkable productions both visually and verbally. Al-Jilyānī demonstrated how he made them to the bio-bibliographer Yāqūt, and they have survived in several manuscripts, been described in some detail by nineteenth and twentieth-century cataloguers, and, in 2010, were published in part-facsimile by Kamal Abu Deeb. They remain a well-kept secret, however, and are not mentioned in any history of Arabic literature, even though al-Jilyānī’s “straight” poetry is often quoted by medieval and modern Arab scholars of the Crusades. The picture-poems raise numerous questions, among others: What were they for? What was their original format? What inspired them? Did they influence later poets? This lecture offers an overview of ongoing research and of what has come to light since I began to work on the picture-poems in 2013.

brJulia Bray studied Arabic at Oxford, wrote her DPhil on the tenth-century AD Arabic poetic critic al-Āmidī, edited the records of the British Political Agency in Kuwait as an archivist at the India Office Library & Records, London, published Media Arabic with Edinburgh University Press in 1993, has taught Arabic and classical Arabic Literature at the universities of Manchester, Edinburgh, and St Andrews in the UK and Paris 8-Vincennes—Saint-Denis in France, and since 2012 has been A.S.Al-Babtain-Laudian Professor of Arabic at the Oriental Institute, Oxford, and a fellow of St John’s College, Oxford. She is a member of the editorial board of the Library of Arabic Literature (NYU Press) and series co-editor, with Wen-chin Ouyang, of Edinburgh Studies in Classical Arabic Literature (EUP). She has published on medieval Arabic biography, story-telling, and poetry, and on the family and the relative positions of men, women and slaves as seen through a literary lens, as well as on the social functions of pre-modern Arabic literature, and the literary reception of medicine. Current research interests include the picture-poems of al-Jilyānī and the history of emotions in pre-modern Arabic culture. She is working on a complete edition and translation of the tenth-century story collection Deliverance follows Adversity of al-Tanūkhī for the Library of Arabic Literature.



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



Thinking Palestine Panel, Poster Exhibit, Reception
Felice Blake, Richard Falk, Lisa Hajjar, Sherene Seikaly, Jennifer Tyburczy

Please join us on April 28 from 4-6:30 pm for a panel, poster exhibit, and reception for the event “Thinking Palestine: 1967 and Beyond.” The event will be at Wireframe Studio (Music Library, Music Building 1st floor, Parking Lot 3). June 2017 will mark fifty years of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. The anniversary makes all too evident what activists and scholars have long noted: the Israeli military occupation is not temporary. It is a defining structure of the Israeli and Palestinian political landscape.

Along with UCLA and UCB, UCSB is hosting a day of commemoration that will include a pane, a poster exhibit, and a reception. The panel seeks to build on decades of critical thinking and political organizing around Palestine and justice more broadly. It will engage how legality, legitimacy, and history have intersected over the last half a century.

Panelists: Felice Blake, Richard Falk, Lisa Hajjar, Sherene Seikaly
Discussant: Jennifer Tyburczy


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



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


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


*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.


Winter 2017 Events



Area studies is often simplistically depicted as little more than a Cold War form of knowledge, but its emergence as a component of the postwar American academic scene was in fact propelled and shaped by visions, exigencies and contingencies that were not initially or exclusively about the needs of the national security state. Zachary Lockman’s 2016 book Field Notes: The Making of Middle East Studies in the United States draws on extensive archival research to offer a different perspective on the origins and trajectory of area studies in the United States and to explore how the field of Middle East studies in the United States was actually built. The book’s focus is not on intellectual paradigms or scholarly output but rather on funding decisions and their rationales, efforts to elaborate a distinctive theory and method for area studies, the anxieties these efforts generated for Middle East studies, and the unanticipated consequences of building these new academic fields.

Zachary Lockman has taught modern Middle Eastern history at New York University since 1995. His most recent book is Field Notes: The Making of Middle East Studies in the United States (2016). His other books include Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism (2004/2010); Comrades and Enemies: Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine, 1906-1948 (1996); and (with Joel Beinin) Workers on the Nile: Nationalism, Communism, Islam, and the Egyptian Working Class, 1882-1954 (1987). He is a former president of the Middle East Studies Association, chairs the wing of MESA’s Committee on Academic Freedom that deals with North America, and is a contributing editor of Middle East Report.


The UCSB Middle East Ensemble Winter Concert


Sat., March 11th, 7:30 pm
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UCSB
Tickets: AS Ticket Office (805-893-2064), www.music.ucsb.edu, & at the door
Adult: $15; Non-UCSB Students: $10; UCSB students: $5

Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble, as we present our formal Winter concert on Saturday, March 11th, 2017, in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  The concert will begin at 7:30 pm.

We are excited to present a great variety of music and dance from throughout the Middle East. UCSB Persian music lecturer, Bahram Osqueezadeh, will lead the Ensemble in a Kurdish song and a Persian instrumental composition and Temmo Korisheli will perform two classic Arab songs including in-Nahr al-Khalid by Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab.

We are also excited to present an extended set of Sabah Fakhri songs from Aleppo, Syria; two songs by the Lebanese superstar, Fairuz, featuring vocalist Gabriela Quintana-García; and two songs by the beloved Greek singer Roza Eskenazy, featuring vocalist Melanie Hutton.  We will also feature three instrumental soloists: Gus Novak on drum, Brandon Langford on nay (flute), and Ben Seilhamer on oud (lute).

As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, includingdances from Kuwaiti/Gulf, Lebanese, Persian, and Turkish cultures, with choreographies by Cris! BasimahLaurel Victoria Gray, and Alexandra King.

Scott Marcus, Founder & Director
Sue Rudnicki, Director of the Ensemble’s percussion section
Cris! Basimah, Director of the Ensemble’s Dance Company
and Special Guests
Bahram Osqueezadeh (Director of a Persian/Kurdish set)
Temmo Korisheli, solo vocalist


The Price of Salvation:
The Medieval Islamic Economy as Contested Terrain

Michael Bonner
(University of Michigan)


Tuesday, February 21 / 4:00 pm / HSSB 4020

The unitary Caliphate of the fi rst two or three centuries of Islam is often portrayed as a golden age, including in the economic domain, where its achievements were indeed considerable. At the same time, we can detect plenty of disagreement and confl ict in this area. In modern scholarship we have the convergence of several debates over the emergence of Islamic law, the character of early Arabic historiography, and other things. Meanwhile,
a fresh look at the events and developments of that time (so far as possible) also reveals confl ict and contestation, for instance, between eastern and western Arabia at the time of the rise of Islam, and between patrimonial elites and their adversaries in the early Caliphate.

mMichael Bonner is Professor of Medieval Islamic History in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. He received his PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University in 1987. His publications include Jihad in Islamic History: Doctrines and Practices (Princeton University Press, 2006, 2007), and Poverty and Charity in Middle Eastern Contexts, co-edited with Amy Singer and Mine Ener (SUNY Press, 2003). He has recently completed a translation of Image of the Earth by the tenth-century Arabic geographical writer Ibn Hawqal. He has been a Helmut S. Stern Fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities, and Professeur Invité at the Institut d’Etudes de l’Islam et des Sociétés du Monde Musulman, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, as well as Chaire de l’Institut du Monde Arabe, also in Paris. He was Director of the University of Michigan Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies in 1997-2000 and 2001-2003, and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies in 2007-08 and 2010-14.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies


The Reception of Aristotelian Science in Early Islam:
A Historical Account

Dimitri Gutas
(Yale University)


Monday, February 13th
5:00 pm
HSSB 6020 (McCune)

Hellenic science in late antiquity in its historical, social, and political context. The consolidation of the Aristotelian/(Neo-)Platonic curriculum of higher studies, expressing the scientific outlook on reality of Hellenism in its defense against Christianity. The beginning of translations of parts of the curriculum into Syriac and Middle Persian, culminating with its wholesale translation into Arabic after the appearance of Islam. The social and historical context of the reception of the Aristotelian treatises into Arabic and their role in the formation of classical Islamic civilization, successor to the Hellenic.

Dimitri Gutas, Professor of Arabic and Graeco-Arabic in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University, has devoted a large part of his scholarly career to the edition and study of Greek philosophical texts translated into Arabic and their influence in the Islamic world. In this field he has published Greek Wisdom Literature in Arabic Translation: A Study of the Graeco-Arabic Gnomologia (New Haven 1975), Greek Philosophers in the Arabic Tradition (Aldershot, Hampshire 2000), and has been involved from the beginning as co-editor in Project Theophrastus. He has also been involved in the longstanding project to compile A Greek and Arabic Lexicon. Dr. Gutas is also the author of Greek Thought, Arabic Culture (winner of the 2002 Special Honorary Award for the Study of Civilization, awarded by the Greek Society of Letters), Introduction to Reading Avicenna’s Philosophical Works (Leiden 1988; second, revised and augmented edition, including an inventory of Avicenna’s authentic works, Leiden 2013), and numerous articles.

Image: MS Istanbul, Topkapi Palace Library, Ahmet III 3206, f. 90r., copied and illuminated in mid-13th century. Al-Mubashshir ibn-Fatik, Choice Maxims and Best Sayings (Mukhtar al-hikam wa-mahasin al-kalim), composed in 1048-49.
F. 90r includes the last section on Aristotle’s life and depicts him holding an astrolabe while delivering a lecture to students, one of whom has an open book in front of him written in uncial (capital) Greek letters.

Presented by the Center for Middle East Studies, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, and the Departments of History, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, and Religious Studies at UCSB


Scholars at Risk:
Global Challenges to Academic Freedom


Thursday, February 9, 2017, 3:30-5pm, at Mosher Alumni House

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of institutions and individuals whose mission is to protect scholars and promote academic freedom. UCSB recently became a member of the SAR network. The UCSB panel is entitled "Global Challenges to Academic Freedom.” Pardis Mahdavi (Pomona College) will give information on the SAR network and academic freedom in the Middle East region and Can Aciksoz and Zeynep Korkman will speak on challenges to academic freedom in Turkey. The panel will also be joined by Alison Brysk (UCSB) to discuss academic responses.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the UCSB Faculty Association



Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and U.S.-Middle East Relations in the 1970s

Salim Yaqub (UCSB, History)


Wednesday, January 25th, 5:00 pm, HSSB 6020 (McCune)

Salim Yaqub argues that the 1970s were a pivotal decade in U.S.-Arab relations—a time when Americans and Arabs became an inescapable presence in each other’s lives and perceptions, and when each society came to feel profoundly vulnerable to the political, economic, cultural, and even physical encroachments of the other. Throughout the seventies, these impressions aroused striking antagonism between the United States and the Arab world. Over the same period, however, elements of the U.S. intelligentsia grew more respectful of Arab perspectives, and a newly assertive Arab American community emerged into political life. These patterns left a contradictory legacy of estrangement and accommodation that continued in later decades and remains with us today.

*Books will be available for purchase and signing.

ySalim Yaqub is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Director of UCSB’s Center for Cold War Studies and International History. He is the author of Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East (University of North Carolina, 2004) and of several articles and book chapters on the history of U.S. foreign relations, the international politics of the Middle East, and Arab American political activism. His second book, Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and U.S.-Middle East Relations in the 1970s, was published by Cornell University Press in September 2016.


Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


Fall 2016 Events

Persian Language and Literature at UCSB present: 
Evening of Tea and Culture


Wednesday, September 28th / 5:00 PM / HSSB 6020 (McCune)

If you are thinking of taking a Persian course OR want to know about the Persian language and culture, please join us! Dr. Aazam Feiz, Persian Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB, will give a presentation on the aspects of Persian language and culture and learning the language at UCSB.




Outlaws and Scofflaws:
Pirates and the Making of the Mediterranean

Judith Tucker
(Georgetown University)


Monday, October 10th, 5:00 pm
IHC McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020)

How did the Mediterranean emerge as a coherent and recognizable place in the early modern period? By looking to the semi-licit world of piracy and to the development of its laws and practices in particular, we can trace a convergence of understandings and agreements across Mediterranean space. Ironically enough, these outlaws and scofflaws of the time played major roles in forging the critical connections that drew the shores of the Mediterranean closer in a time of turmoil on the seas. Should we give pirates significant credit for the making of the modern Mediterranean?

Judith E. Tucker (PhD, History and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, 1981) is Professor of History at Georgetown University and former Editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies (2004-2009). She is the author of many publications on the history of women and gender in the Arab world, including Women in 19th Century Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 1985), In the House of the Law: Gender and Islamic Law in Ottoman Syria and Palestine (California University Press, 1998), Women, Family, and Gender in Islamic Law (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and co-author of Women in the Middle East and North Africa: Restoring Women to History (Indiana University Press, 1999). She has authored numerous articles for professional journals, edited volumes, and encyclopedias. Her research interests focus on the Arab world in the Ottoman period, women and gender in Middle East history, Islamic law, women, and gender, and most recently the Arab World, the Mediterranean, and global connections in the eighteenth century.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, the Center for Middle East Studies Endowment, and the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts


Suez at Sixty: Remembering the Suez Crisis and War of 1956

"The Other Side of Suez" 
Film Screening and Discussion

On THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20, at 7:30 PM in HSSB 6020, we will screen the BBC documentary film “The Other Side of Suez,” a riveting reconstruction of the Suez Crisis and War that brings out the perspectives of numerous international actors: Egypt, Israel, Britain, France, the United States, the Soviet Union, and other nations. Following the documentary, which runs for one hour, Professor Joel Gordon of the University of Arkansas will lead a discussion of the issues raised by the film.

Suez at Sixty Conference
On FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, from 1:30 to 5:30 PM in the UNIVERSITY CENTER HARBOR ROOM, we will host a series of insightful academic talks by a diverse array of scholars, from UCSB and elsewhere, each focusing on a different aspect of the Suez Crisis and its legacy. More detailed information can be found here.



Digital Mediation as Rehumanization:
How the “Refugee Crisis” prefigures the politics of representation

Miriyam Aouragh
(University of Westminster)


Thursday, October 27th, 4:00pm
IHC McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020

Exasperating videos of a capsizing boat, alarming images of a shored up toddler, a wrenching snapshot of a child sitting in an ambulance rescued from barrel bombs. These images are haunting us as viewers. However, sometimes their circulations are also taunting us, reminding the general public of an odd complacency, that is when the viral mediation of such visuals disrupts a the common arrangement. There has been a growing fascination about the use of digital technologies by refugees themselves in the meantime. Reporting about the devices refugees use at times eclipsed reporting and documenting their causes and motivations. Through what is undoubtedly one of the most pressing struggles of our time, I aim to uncover how solidarity, revolutionary subjectivity and the politics of de/re-humanisation synchronise. Stripped from their history and politics, these narratives vindicate the universal appeal of liberation-technology and the colonial White Man Burden. We need to reorient analysis of media and communication towards the infrastructures that embed them and are themselves a product inequality. As several thousand people drowned in the Mediterranean Sea we need to contextualise the complex reality that has been given the lazy label “refugee crisis”.

Miriyam Aouragh (PhD, University of Amsterdam) is Senior Lecturer and Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Westminster London. As an anthropologist she specialises in the crossover between online media and Middle East politics. Her previous research concerned the political implications of the internet in Palestine during the Second Intifada, transnational reconnections between Palestinian refugees, political activism and online mobilisation in Lebanon. Since 2011 she embarked on a Leverhulme funded project concerning the (counter-)revolutionary dynamics of the internet in Syria and Morocco and the implications of digital imperialism for ICT infrastructures. Her work is published in several journals (International Journal of Communication Studies, Cinema Journal, Contemporary Levant, Cyber Orient, Arab Studies Journal, Mobilities), as well as her monograph Palestine Online (IB Tauris, 2011). She currently works on her second book about Tangier and specifically the online/offline dialectics in the rise and fall of the 20-February Movement in Morocco.

Hosted by Center for Middle East Studies (CMES), and co-sponsored by Carsey-Wolf Center (CWC) and Center for Information Technology and Society (CITS)




Five Centuries of Mortality:
The Second Plague Pandemic in Comparative Perspective, Egypt, 1347 - 1844 CE

Stuart Borsch
(Assumption College)

dMonday, November 7th, 5:00pm
HSSB 4080

This talk will analyze the impact of the Second plague pandemic in Egypt (1347-1844 CE). The Second plague pandemic refers to the long series of epidemics that struck the Middle East and Europe, starting with the Black Death, 1347-1351 CE. This pandemic generally lasted until the early 1700s in Europe, but longer in the Middle East. The First plague pandemic began with the plague of Justinian in the 500s CE - the Third plague pandemic began at the very end of the 1800s.

The talk will explore the dynamics of this long-term catastrophe by studying the mortality of the urban (Cairo, Alexandria, Qus, Asyut) and rural plague outbreaks in the Mamluk and Ottoman periods and into the modern period, 1347-1844, with a discussion of the viability and meaning of the demographic figures that we have from medieval and later sources. (Some comparative perspectives with Syrian population losses will be examined as well.)

Given the potential scale and scope of the loss, its severity and duration, the talk will also examine reasons why the Second plague pandemic may have been worse in Egypt than elsewhere, with attention to aspects of geography, flea and rat breeding cycles, domestic architectural considerations, and the quantitative study of Nile flood variations. Finally, attention will be directed to the overall impact of this loss on the economic and technological trajectory of Egypt in the long term (1300s to 1800s), and its role in the economic divergence between Europe and the Middle East in the 1700s.

Co-sponsored by the King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies and the Center for Middle East Studies


What Happened to the "Arab Spring"?

Gilbert Achcar
(SOAS, University of London)


Tuesday, November 8th, 5:00pm
HSSB 4020

The Arab Spring of 2011 was but the beginning of a long-term revolutionary process, rendered much more complicated than other revolutionary processes by specific socio-political features -- rentierism and patrimonialism -- of the dominant Arab state system. Another complicating specific feature is the fact that counter-revolution in the Arab region is two-pronged: the revolutionary process confronts not only the established regimes, but also their Islamic fundamentalist contenders. These peculiarities, combined with the intrinsic weakness of progressives in the region, provide the main explanation for the shift from the initial revolutionary phase to the ongoing counter-revolutionary phase that started in 2013. The various dynamics of this shift will be assessed in the light of the particular conditions that prevail in the different key theaters of the 2011 uprising. The region will find no new stability as long as no solution emerges for the explosive socio-economic factors behind the Arab Spring.

Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon, researched and taught in Beirut, Paris and Berlin, and is currently, since 2007, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London). His many books include: The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder, published in 15 languages; Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, coauthored with Noam Chomsky; the critically acclaimed The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives; Marxism, Orientalism, Cosmopolitanism; The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising, and most recently Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies


Crude Imaginations: Capitalism, Space, and the politics of History in Saudi Arabia

Rosie Bsheer
(Yale University)


Thursday, November 10th, 4:30pm
HSSB 4020

The centennial celebration of the 1902 conquest of Riyadh by the founder of the modern Saudi state triggered major, ongoing initiatives to document the country’s nascent history. The attendant multi-billion dollar archives, museums, historical monuments, and urban redevelopment plans were among the many efforts to institutionalize and memorialize an officially sanctioned secular discourse based on Al Saud’s past. This belated turn to secular historiography and commemoration, and the creation of a heritage industry in Riyadh, is all the more paradoxical given the Saudi regime’s active neglect of historical space outside the capital, and specifically, its wholesale destruction of historical and religious sites in Mecca. This talk explores this dissonance through a genealogical reading of the material and spatial politics that have been central to Saudi modernity.

Rosie Bsheer is an assistant professor of modern Middle East history at Yale University. Her teaching and research interests center on Arab intellectual and social movements, petro-capitalism and state formation, and the production of historical knowledge and commemorative spaces. She is currently working on a book manuscript, provisionally entitled, Archive Wars: Spectacle, Speculation, and the Politics of History in Saudi Arabia.Bsheer is also a co-editor of Jadaliyya E-zine, The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of an Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012), and Theorizing the Arabian Peninsula (Tadween Publishing, 2013), and is the Associate Producer of the 2007 Oscar-nominated film on Iraq, My Country, My Country. Bsheer received her Ph.D. in History from Columbia University (2014).

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies




Spring 2016 Events


Heartbreak and Hope:
Refugee Stories from the Island of Lesbos

l l

Thursday, April 14th / 2:00 PM / HSSB 6020 (McCune)

Santa Barbara residents Robin and Robert Jones have lived part of the year on the Greek island of Lesbos for over four decades. Lesbos is a major landing area for desperate refugees from war-torn Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The refugees arrive in rubber rafts, crossing the strait from Turkey under harrowing conditions; many die en route. Robin, an artist and photographer, set up a place where the children can draw pictures based on their experiences-- pictures that are powerful, and tell harrowing, and sometimes hopeful, stories. She has put together a photographic exhibit of the refugees, their arrival and living conditions, and the children’s drawings, and has also developed a presentation of her photographs. She and her husband were intimately involved in providing assistance and support; they now want to tell the refugees’ stories. It is a story that needs to be told, and puts a very human face on what otherwise is, for most people, a five minute clip on the news. It also provides an important counterpoint to the “immigrant as terrorist” narrative that dominates the news these days.

Co-sponsored by the Department of History, the Center for Middle East Studies, and the Argyropoulos Hellenic Studies Endowment


The Just Prince and the Nation: Muslim Patriotism and the Politics of Notables in late Ottoman Egypt, 1860s

Adam Mestyan (Harvard University)

Tuesday, April 19th / 5:00 PM / UCEN Santa Barbara Mission Room

In this presentation I argue that in nineteenth-century Ottoman Egypt the symbolic unification between the Ottoman governor (khedive) and the homeland was based on vocabularies of kingship in the Koran and in Arab-Persian-Ottoman traditions. During this process of constructing patriotism by rural men of distinction, the perceived “justice” of the Muslim prince meant the local elite’s participation in state affairs and in rural capitalist enterprises. Based on archival documents, petitions to the ruler by local village notables, and Arabic political poetry and plays, this presentation also introduces the notion of Muslim patriotism as an ideological tool of legitimating power in khedivial Egypt before and during the British occupation.

mAdam Mestyan is a historian of the modern Middle East, specialized in cultural and social history. He has been undertaking research in various archives, especially in the Egyptian National Archives. At the moment, he is a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. Previously, he taught at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the “Europe in the Middle East – the Middle East in Europe” program of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute of Advanced Studies). He holds a PhD in History from the Central European University and another PhD in Art Theory from the Eotvos Lorand University (both in Budapest). His articles were published in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, the Journal of Semitic Philology, Die Welt des Islams, and Muqarnas. His first book, Arab Patriotism – The Ideology and Culture of Power in Modern Egypt is forthcoming at Princeton University Press.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies


Survivors into Minorities:
Armenians in Post-Genocide Turkey

Lerna Ekmekcioglu (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)


Wednesday, April 20th / 5:00 PM / HSSB 4020

This talk follows the trajectories of the survivors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide who remained inside Turkish borders after the signing of the 1918 Mudros Armistice (and during the Allied occupation years of Istanbul) and after the 1923 establishment of the new country as the Turkish Republic. How did the Kemalist state treat the remaining Armenians? What were Armenians’ responses to the new (but also old) Turkish regime? I will discuss multiple strategies Armenians --including feminist Armenians-- improvised in order to cohabit with unapologetic perpetrators and survive the new Turkey.

eLerna Ekmekcioglu is McMillan-Stewart Associate Professor of History at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she is also affiliated with Women and Gender Studies Program. She specializes on Turkish and Armenian lands in the beginning of the 20th century and the history of Armenian feminism. In 2006 she co-edited a volume in Turkish about the first five Armenian feminists of the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic. Her most recent book, Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey, came out from Stanford University Press in early 2016.



Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


41st annual symposium of the Art History Graduate Student Association (AHGSA)

“Radical Ephemeralities”

r r

Friday, April 22nd, 9:00am-5:00pm
Davidson Library, Room 1312

This year marks the 41st annual symposium of the Art History Graduate Student Association (AHGSA), which will take place on April 22nd on the topic of “Radical Ephemeralities.” The conference will examine concepts related to loss and recuperation across varying time periods and disciplines, with particular emphasis on ephemerality as a site of contestation against dominant cultures and privileged material forms. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Homay King, Associate Professor of Art Hirstory at Bryn Mawr College and editor of the journal Camera Obscura. Her work on contemporary time-based art investigates the tensions between notions of the digital and the analog, and identifies within the virtual a unique generative potential.

The conference aims to facilitate an interdisciplinary discussion on the various ways in which ephemeral media and phenomena may be analyzed within different historical, cultural and political contexts. Topics addressed by speakers range from the methodological challenges posed by the recovery of relatively ephemeral traces produced by subordinate groups in the Ancient Assyrian Empire, to analyses of critical interventions in contemporary urban spaces.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Visiting Scholar

Michael Cook
(Professor of Near Eastern Studies Princeton University)

Was the Rise of Islam a Black Swan Event?
Monday, May 2, 2016, 5:00pm
IHC McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020


A Black Swan Event is by definition a highly improbable happening with a massive impact.  No one questions the impact of the rise of Islam, but just how improbable was it?  Two of its central features look very unlikely against the background of earlier history: the appearance among the Arabs of a new monotheistic religion, and the formation of a powerful state in Arabia.  Does that add up to two Black Swans, or do they cancel out?

Michael Cook is the Class of 1943 University Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He is the author of Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought and A Brief History of the Human Race, among other books, and he is also the general editor of The New Cambridge History of Islam.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Lecture Series


The Muslim American Life:
Crushing Islamophobia with Countercultures of Resistance

Moustafa Bayoumi (Brooklyn College)


Thursday, May 5th at 6:00 PM
MCC Theatre

How should we understand the nature of contemporary Islamophobia? What motivates it? What sustains it? Who gains by it? Moustafa Bayoumi—author of the award-winning books How Does It Feel To Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America and This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror—discusses “War on Terror culture” as way to comprehend today’s Islamophobia. He will examine the ways the media, law, and politics mutually reinforce each other in viewing Muslims as potentially dangerous outsiders. Bayoumi will also address a growing “War on Terror counterculture,” that, by resisting the stereotypes and challenging the prevailing narratives of the “War on Terror,” fights not only for the rights of Muslim Americans but for the civil liberties of all.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies





Sat., May 21st, 7:30 pm 
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UCSB

Tickets: AS Ticket Office (805-893-2064), www.music.ucsb.edu, & at the door

Adult: $15; Non-UCSB Students: $10; UCSB students: $5

Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble, as we present our formal Spring concert on Saturday, May 21st, 2016, in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  The concert will begin at 7:30 pm.

We are excited to present a great variety of music and dance from throughout the Middle East.  We will feature an extended set of Armenian music and dance, including 3 songs by the renowned blind oud player, Udi Hrant (1901-1978) and one by the minstrel Gusan (ashugh) Sheram (1857-1938).  We will also present 2 Jewish Sabbath songs from Baghdad and Yemen, a classical Turkish instrumental composition, famous songs by the superstar singers Fairouz (Lebanese, b.1935) and Umm Kulthum (Egyptian, c.1904-1975), and a Persian song composed and performed by Santa Barbara-based Javid-John Mosadeghi. 

As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, including dances from Armenian, Egyptian, Lebanese, and Nubian cultures.  The director of our dance company, Cris! Basimah, will conclude the performance with a rousing multi-sectional solo dance.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies




Winter 2016 Events


The Patience Stone: From Folktale to War Novel and Film


Film Screening:

Wednesday, January 20 / 6:00 pm
Harold Frank Hall 1104

Lecture: Margaret Mills (Ohio State University, Emeritus)

Friday, January 22 / 12:00 pm
HSSB 6020

Atiq Rahimi’s 2008 novel, which won the Goncourt Prize in 2008, and 2012 film Sang-e Sabour [The Patience Stone], set “Somewhere in Afghanistan, or elsewhere”, powerfully reimagine elements of an international folktale, one formerly well known across the Persian-speaking world, presenting a proverbial magical stone to which a woman can confide her grief over neglect and abuse to the point where the stone, overburdened by transferred grief, explodes, ending her pain. In Rahimi’s story, a woman abandoned in a war zone, in a house alone with her two young children and her comatose husband, turns her formerly brutal husband into her confessional “Patience Stone,” in hopes that his reception of her personal testimony will explosively release him from his silenced state and liberate them both. Themes of silence and voice, resistance, subversion, transgression, redemption and healing, connect a powerful novel and film to the voices of women who have told tales of and for resistance and redemption, real and imagined, from Sheherazade of the 1001 Nights to current women tellers of traditional tales.

mMargaret Mills is Emerita Professor of Persian and Folklore, from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University. She is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society and a member of the Folklore Fellows of the Finnish National Academy. Her book publications include Rhetorics and Politics in Afghan Oral Storytelling (Chicago Folklore Prize winner, 1983), South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia, (2003) which she co-edited with Peter Claus and Sarah Diamond, and the small bilingual English/Tajiki Persian folktale sampler, Conversations with Davlat Kholov, co-authored with Tajik folklorist Ravshan Rahmoni.


Men of Capital: Scarcity and Economy in Mandate Palestine


Please join the History Department and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies on Jan. 22, from 5:00-7:00pm in the McCune Conference Center, HSSB 6020, for a book launching and signing of Sherene Seikaly's, Men of Capital: Scarcity and Economy in Mandate Palestine.


After Tahrir: Egyptian Revolutionary Experiences and Future Visions
#AfterTahrir conference at UCSB. 4 days, 21 sponsors, 28 participants, 18 short films, a critical commemoration of #Jan25


January 22-26, 2016

Pollock Theater, McCune Room, UCSB


This four-day research collaboration workshop will take place at UC Santa Barbara on the five-year anniversary of the Tahrir Square Uprisings in 2011 that toppled Egypt’s long-term dictator Hosni Mubarak. These uprisings in Egypt accelerated waves of anti-crony-capitalist demonstrations, worker organizing, youth revolts, media insurgencies, and police brutality protests that overthrew governments, mobilized populations throughout the Middle East, and inspired the world. These Tahrir uprisings are called the 25 January Revolution in Egypt and the Arab world. It was on that day that millions of protesters first descended on downtown Cairo to reclaim history and power for the people.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


Turkish Culture Night
Tuesday, February 2nd / 8:00pm / SRB MultiPurpose Room




Beyond Hebrew: Zionism and the Politics of Multilingualism in Palestine, 1920-1948

Liora Halperin
(University of Colorado, Boulder)

Wednesday, February 17th / 5:00 PM / HSSB 3041

The promotion of modern Hebrew as a spoken vernacular is often viewed as a central accomplishment of the Zionist movement in Palestine before Israeli statehood. But by viewing twentieth-century history through the lens of language, author Liora Halperin questions the common narrative of a Zionist move away from multilingualism during the years following World War I. She demonstrates how Jews in Palestine remained connected by both preference and necessity to a world of languages outside the boundaries of the pro-Hebrew community even as many of them promoted Hebrew and achieved that language’s dominance.

The story of language encounters in the Jewish community of Palestine is a fascinating tale of shifting power relationships, both locally and globally. Halperin’s absorbing study explores how a young national community was compelled to modify demands for Hebrew exclusivity as it negotiated its relationships with its diverse Jewish population, Palestinian Arabs, the British, and others outside the margins of the national project and ultimately came to terms with the limitations of its influence and power in an interconnected world.

hLiora R. Halperin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Program in Jewish Studies and the holder of the Endowed Professorship in Israel/Palestine Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she has taught since 2013. Her research focuses on Jewish cultural history, Jewish-Arab relations in Ottoman and Mandate Palestine, language ideology and policy, and the politics surrounding nation formation in Palestine in the years leading up to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. She is also a member of the advisory board for CU’s Archive of Post-Holocaust American Judaism, and affiliated faculty in Middle Eastern Studies at the CU Center for Asian Studies.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and Jewish Studies at UCSB


Conversation on Contemporary Middle Eastern Cultures
with Members of the Silk Road Ensemble

Open to the public
Wednesday, February 17, 4:00 – 5:15 pm
UCSB MultiCultural Center Theater

This conversation will explore contemporary Middle Eastern issues and identities through the personal stories of Silk Road Ensemble members. Clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, from Syria, and kamanchech player Kayhan Kalhor, born in Iran, along with violist Nicholas Cords, will use the Silk Road Ensemble and their own narratives to frame a conversation about cultural and international identity, as well as how their work as musicians impacts their work and place in the world. UCSB Assistant Professor of History Sherene Seikaly, and scholars from the UCSB Ethnomusicology program will moderate the conversation.

Co-presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures, the MultiCultural Center, and the Center for Middle East Studies



February 18th and 19th
Santa Barbara Harbor Room University Center


What forms does the teaching of Islamic law take in different teaching environments? Teaching graduate or undergraduate students? Teaching law school or humanities students? And does the subject differ considerably based on whether the focus is Sunni or Shi‘i law? Medieval or modern law? Join the discussion by Professors Sherman Jackson of the University of Southern California, Clark Lombardi of the University of Washington Law School, and Haider Hamoudi of Pittsburgh Law School, hosted by UCSB’s Kathleen Moore and Ahmad Atif Ahmad.

Thursday 2/18
3:00 pm EVC David Marshall Opening Remarks
3:30 pm Session I: Jackson & responses
5:30 pm Session II: Lombardi & responses

Friday 2/19
10:00 am Session III: Hamoudi & responses
2:00 pm Session III: Moore & responses
4:00 pm Session III: Ahmad & responses Santa Barbara Harbor Room University Center

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


“Israelis and Palestinians: A New Paradigm?”

Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB

David Makovsky, Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of Project Middle East Peace Process, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Ghaith Al-Omari, Senior Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Wednesday, February 24 / 5:00 p.m. / Free

UCSB Campbell Hall

Event Description:
As the Mideast chaos has focused elsewhere, the Israeli and Palestinian issue has been largely sidelined. Negotiated peace, the classic paradigm for the last few decades, has been put aside. What will take its place? What new paradigm can offer peace to both sides and put aside this tragic conflict? What can the US do?

David Makovsky, Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is the co-author with Ambassador Dennis Ross of the 2009 Washington Post bestseller, Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East. His 2011 maps on alternative territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were reprinted by the New York Times in the paper's first interactive treatment of an op-ed. He is also an adjunct professor in Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He served as a Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during the Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations (2013-2014). He regularly contributes to The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, and Foreign Policy.

Ghaith Al-Omari, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, previously served as Executive Director at the American Task Force on Palestine. He held various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including Director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and advisor to former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. In these capacities, he provided advice on foreign policy — especially vis-à-vis the United States and Israel — and security. He has extensive experience in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, having been an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the permanent status negotiations (1999–2001). In that capacity, he participated in various negotiating rounds, most notably the Camp David summit and the Taba talks.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


with Special Guests,
Bahram Osqueezadeh, santur
Ali Nouri, tar
Mehrdad Siahcheshman, tombak


Sat., March 5th, 7:30 pm - Note the starting time: 7:30 pm
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UCSB
Tickets available at AS Ticket Office, 805-893-2064www.music.ucsb.edu, and At The DOOR.  
General Admission: $15; UCSB students: $5  

Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble, as we present our formal Winter concert on Saturday, March 5th, 2016, in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  The concert will begin at 7:30 pm.  Please note this starting time. 

We are excited to feature 3 guest artists who will perform a set of Persian classical music: Bahram Osqueezadehsantur (a hammered dulcimer), Ali Nouritar (a lute), and Mehrdad Siahcheshmantombak(drum).  In celebration of Norouz (Persian New Year), the Ensemble will also perform a set of Persian classical music (including a poem by the 13th-century Sufi mystic, Jalal ud-Din Rumi) and a Persian dance.

We will also present 3 Egyptian songs, including ‘Abd al-Halim Hafiz’s “Sawwah” sung by Mohamed Moharram, and two Umm Kulthum songs (“Aruh Li Min” sung by Melanie Hutton and “Lissa Fakir”); a song by the Algerian singer, Warda al-Jaza’iriyya (“Batwannis Bik”) sung by Giselle Garcia; and 2 songs (one Greek, one Sephardic) performed by Andrea Fishman.  Ziyad Marcuswill also present a rousing drum solo.   

As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, from Egypt, Iran, and Turkey, plus a Lebanese/Andalusian fusion dance (featuring Sam Khattar, solo vocalist), with choreographies by Renee Bergan and ‘Atif FaragLaurel Victoria GreyEllen Chang and Alicia Cordero, and Cris! Basimah


• UCSB Music of India Ensemble •
Scott Marcus, Director

Thursday, March 10th, 7:30 pm
Geiringer Hall in the UCSB Music Department
General, $10; UCSB Students FREE;
Tickets at the door, at www.music.ucsb.edu, and at A.S. Ticket Office

The concert will feature performances on sitar-s and tabla: first a performance of rag Bhupali by the 1st-year students and then rag Malkauns by the advanced students.
Ziyad Marcus will provide tabla accompaniment.


Fall 2015 Events

CMES Welcome Back Celebration -- FREE FOOD!!


Monday, October 5 /11:00 am to 1:00 pm

Student Resource Building - Multipurpose Room

Please join us for our annual Welcome Back Celebration Monday, October 5th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Student Resource Building - Multipurpose Room!  We will have free food and beverages (please see attached flyer).   Come meet our new FLTAs and reconnect with returning students and CMES faculty.  Hope to see you there!


Karen Radner (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität-München)

Exploring the Assyrian Empire (9th to 7th centuries BC) in Iraqi Kurdistan

Monday, October 5 / 5:00 pm / HSSB 6020

eThe nascent archaeological research in the Kurdish part of Iraq came to an abrupt end in the 1960s when the region became a war zone between the forces of the Baathist regime and the independence movements. Since 2009, foreign missions have supplemented the work of the newly established Directorate of Antiquities of the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq. Karen Radner has worked in the province of Sulaymaniyah since 2010, focusing her research on the early first millennium BC when the Assyrian Empire controlled the area. She will present the view from the Shahrizor Plain, a province since the 9th century BC and Assyria’s bridge into Iran, and the Peshdar Plain, a heavily militarised border march that guarded passage to the Empire’s heartland.

Karen Radner is Humboldt Professor in the History of the Ancient Near and Middle East at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität-München.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of History


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

i‘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.


Annual Hull Lecture in Women and Social Justice

Jasbir Puar (Rutgers University)
Inhumanist Biopolitics: Prehensive Gendering in Occupation

Wednesday, October 28, 4pm - McCune Conference Room 6020, HSSB

This lecture theorizes oscillating relations between disciplinary, pre-emptive, and increasingly prehensive forms of power that shape human and non-human materialities in Palestine.  Calculation, computing, informational technologies, surveillance, and militarization are all facets of prehensive control.  Further, the saturation of spatial and temporal stratum in Palestine demonstrates the use of technologies of measure to manufacture a “remote control” occupation, one that produces a different version of Israeli “home invasions” through the maiming and stunting of population.  If Gaza, for example, is indeed the world’s largest “open air prison” and an experimental lab for Israeli military apparatuses, infrastructural chaos, and metric manipulation, what kinds of fantasies (about power, about bodies, about resistance, about politics) are driving this project?


Jasbir K. Puar is the author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Duke University Press, 2007), which won the 2007 Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


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.


Contemporary Iraq: Walls and Circuits

Thursday, November 12, 2015
4:00 - 6:30 pm
SSMS Building, Room 2135

Mona Damluji, Stanford University: "Baghdad’s Deep Dilemma: Urban Segregation Under Occupation”

Paulo Hilu Pinto, Fluminense Federal University (Brazil): "Remaking Transnational Shiism in Contemporary Iraq: Economic and Religious Geographies on the Pilgrim's Road to Karbala”

Paul Amar, Global Studies: Moderator

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, the Department of Global Studies, and the Department of Religious Studies, UCSB


Orit Bashkin (University of Chicago)

From Palestinian Village to an Iraqi Transit Camp: 
The Story of Khariya, Sakiya and Kafar Ana

Wednesday, November 18th // 7:00 PM

Humanities and Social Sciences Building (HSSB) 4020

Over 130,000 Iraqi Jews arrived in Israel during the 1950s; they were forced to settle in transit camps where they lived in horrendous poverty. Previous scholarship on this migration focused on the state and its actions towards, and representations of, these newcomers. Later generations of scholars highlighted the resistance of Mizrahi men to the state, in the form of mass demonstrations, urban riots, and the construction of political parties. This talk, in contrast, examines the Iraqi individuals in the camps: how family life took shape when families lived in crowded tents and wooden shacks; how Iraqi women raised children in the most dreadful conditions; and how children struggled to survive cold winters and loss of any sense of security. The focus on daily lives in the transit camps, I argue, changes the ways in which we understand resistance. I focus in particular on Iraqis forced to settle in transit camps built on the ruins of the Palestinian villages, Kafar ‘Ana, Khayriyya and Sakiyya and analyze the relationships between the native population displaced, the Palestinians, and the new population, forced to settle there, the Iraqi Jews.


Orit Bashkin got her Ph.D. from Princeton University (2004) and her BA (1995) and MA (1999) from Tel Aviv University. She is now a professor of modern Arab history in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Her publications include 25 book chapters and articles on the history of Arab-Jews in Iraq, on Iraqi history and on Arabic literature. She has also edited a book Sculpturing Culture in Egypt [le-fasel tarbut be-mitzrayim] with Israel Gershoni and Liat Kozma, which included translations into Hebrew of seminal works by Egyptian intellectuals. She is the author of the following books: The Other Iraq – Pluralism and Culture in Hashemite Iraq (Stanford University Press, 2009 and Paperback, 2010), New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq (Stanford University Press, 2012).

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Cultural Events

The Yalda Night (Iranian Festival Celebration)
Wednesday, November 18th / 5:00-6:00pm / HSSB 5024


Turkish Culture Night
Wednesday, November 18th / 9:00pm / SRB MultiPurpose Room


Kazakh Cultural Event
Friday, November 20th / 12:00pm / SRB MultiPurpose Room


Egyptian Cultural Event
Tuesday, November 24th / 5:00pm / HSSB 4065



with Special Guest Artist,
Grammy-nominated soprano
Isabel Bayrakdarian
Sat., Nov. 21st, 7:30 pm - Note the starting time: 7:30 pm
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UCSB

Tickets available at AS Ticket Office, 805-893-2064 www.music.ucsb.edu, and At The DOOR.   General Admission: $15;
UCSB students: $5 

Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble, as we present our formal Fall concert on Saturday, Nov. 21st, 2015 in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  The concert will begin at 7:30 pm.  Please note this starting time.

We are excited to feature UCSB Voice Lecturer and Grammy-nominated vocalist, Dr. Isabel Bayrakdarian.  Born in Lebanon of Armenian descent, Bayrakdarian is a soprano with an illustrious international career in opera, concert, recitals, as well as film soundtracks and eclectic crossover repertoire.  With the Ensemble, Bayrakdarian will perform a set of Armenian troubadour songs by Sayat Nova, and a set of Arabic songs popularized by Fairouz and Farid al-Atrash
Other concert highlights include a number of Egyptian songs (including an ‘Abd al-Halim Hafiz song sung byMohamed Moharram, a Sayyid Makkawi song sung by Sam Khattar, a song associated with the Muslim pilgrimage sung by Samantha Mchammel, and a famous children’s song).  Gabriela Quintana-Garcia will present a renowned Tunisian song and Andrea Fishman will present a lively Sephardic song from Greece.   
As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, from the Arabian Peninsula (featuring Sunaina Kale, solo vocalist), Egypt, Greece, and Lebanon/Palestine/Syria, with choreographies by Alexandra King and Cris! Basimah


Spring 2015 Events


Wadad Kadi (Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Chicago)

ʿAbd al-Hamīd al-Kātib’s Use of the Qurʾān in His Religious Letters: 
Surprises and Explanations

Monday, April 6, 2015 / 4:00PM / HSSB 4080

It has already been established that the “founder of Arabic prose,” ʿAbd al-Hamīd al-Kātib (d. 132/750), used the Qurʾān extensively in his letters, borrowing from it using numerous techniques. One would expect, thus, that ʿAbd al-Hamīd’s “religious letters” would be saturated, perhaps more than his other letters, with Qurʾānic material in various forms of formulation. A close examination of these letters, however, shows that, surprisingly, this is true only to an extent, and sometimes even not a great one; other sources, strikingly non-religious, influenced their textual choices too: narrative, descriptive, secretarial, and some hadīth-based. This is a rather peculiar phenomenon that calls for explanation, and this is what I intend to do in this lecture. I plan to first identify and group what I call ʿAbd al-Hamīd’s religious letters as those that deal with issues of law and theology, then analyze each one of them, showing Qurʾānic and non-Qurʾānic influences on it. I shall conclude with an attempt at identifying the reasons behind the clear mix of sources with which ʿAbd al-Hamīd was inspired in this particular epistolographic corpus.

Sponsored by the King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UCSB


Abdallah Helmy Shehata (Political Science, American University in Cairo)

The Inside Story of the Egypt Revolution

Thursday, April 9th / 3824 Ellison Hall / 4:00PM

Helmy Shehata was an activist during the events and involved in organizing social protest. He is Vice Chairman, Programs Director, of the Sadat Association for Development and Social Welfare and has been involved in research projects on youth mobilization through social media, Al-Qaeda ideology, and the conflict lines between jihad and crusade. He will offer a unique opportunity to speak with an activist who participated in the events and was present during elite negotiations.

Sponsored by the IHC's Identity RFG, the Center for Middle East Studies, and the Department of Political Science


Daniel Gilman

Really Feeling It: Ambiguity and Sincerity in Egyptian Pop Music & Politics

Wednesday, April 15th / MCC Lounge / 4:00PM

The political music created during and after the 2011 uprising in Egypt is a dichotomy between the music industry's importance of attracting the widest audience possible by generating vague and superficial lyrics; and Egyptian youth's place an importance of sincere emotion as an aesthetic criteria for pop music. This talk will explore the nature of aesthetic conundrums and explain one of the major problems that activists face in trying to gain public support for systemic change. Daniel Gilman's research is based from his time in Cairo in which he was witness to the 2011 uprising.


Abbas Barzegar (Religious Studies, Georgia State University)

Not Quite Conquered: Identity Politics and Free Speech in a Secular Age

Thursday, April 16th, 6pm Discussion/MCC Lounge

From Chick-fil-A to Charlie Hebdo, the boundaries of freedom of speech and religion continue to provoke public debate. Although European social thought and practice divided the worlds of science, philosophy, and political organization over the course of its own Enlightenment experiment, similar efforts were rarely realized in the contact zones of Colonialism. Is it helpful to understand religious identity as an unconquered site of colonial modernity? This talk explores the historical and philosophical underpinnings of contemporary American and European debates on the limits of free speech and religious identity. Abbas Barzegar is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University.


Nancy Khalek (Brown University)

A Fragmentary Faḍā’il work by al-Dāraquṭnī:
Shī‘ī Intrasectarian Interlocutors in a 4th/10th-century Sunnī Polemic

April 17 at 4pm, McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

eThis talk is on a short collection of akhbār by the 4th/10th-century ḥadīth scholar al-Dāraquṭnī entitled Faḍā’il al-ṣaḥāba wa-manāqibuhum wa-qawl ba‘ḍihim fī ba‘ḍ, a work comprised exclusively of sayings of the Companions about the family of the Prophet and vice versa. The extant portion of the eleventh chapter of the text contains approximately eighty reports dedicated solely to the sayings of ‘Alī and a few other members of the Ahl al-Bayt. This talk is an analysis of those reports, with a focus on the early Zaydī and proto-Shī‘ī interlocuters described therein.

Nancy Khalek
is the William A. Dyer Jr. Assistant Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Religious Studies and specializes in Late Antiquity and early Islam. She received her Ph.D. in history from Princeton University in 2006. Her first book is entitled Damascus after the Muslim Conquest: Text and Image in Early Islam (Oxford University Press, 2011), and she has published articles and essays in a number of scholarly journals and venues, including the Journal of the American Oriental Society, Der Islam, Arabica, and Dumbarton Oaks, among others. She is currently working on a second book on hagiography, biography and material culture related to the Companions of Muhammad in the context of claims to orthodoxy and authority in medieval Islam.

Sponsored by the King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies
and co-sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of History


Dr. Samy Ayoub (Visiting Professor - UCSB)

Rethinking Legal Authority and State Power: The Case of Early Modern Islamic Jurisprudence

Friday, May 1st / 4:00pm / HSSB 4080

eAt the intersection of religion, law, and the state lies the opportunity to explore the impact of the state on the legal order. This talk will shed light on such an impact through an examination of authoritative legal works from the 16th –19th  centuries CE, highlighting the understudied late Muslim jurists (al-mutaʾakhkhirūn) in the early modern period. I demonstrate how these late jurists develop their own identities, opinions, and consensus in relation to earlier opinions. This talk will also challenge the status quo of thinking about state power and legal authority in Islamic Studies by showing how late Muslim jurists assign probative value and authority to Ottoman state orders and edicts. This is reflected in the state’s ability to settle juristic disputes, to order specific opinions to be adopted in fatāwā (advisory legal opinions), and to establish its orders as authoritative and final reference points. The incorporation of state orders within authoritative legal commentaries, treatises, and fatāwā collections is made possible by what I identify as a turn in legal culture that embraced the indispensable nature of the state in the law-making process. 


5th Annual Islamic Studies Graduate Student Conference

"Constructing & Contesting Islam in Contemporary Contexts"

May 9th and 10th at the Mosher Alumni House

The Graduate Students in Islamic Studies are pleased to announce the 5th Islamic Studies Graduate Student Conference, which examines the function of contestation of practice, authority, and interpretation in the constitution of competing visions of normative Islam. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Charles Hirschkind, which is entitled "Reflections from Granada on the Place of Islam in Europe."


Katherine Strange Burke (UCLA)

Early Islamic and Crusader Ceramics from Jaffa: Continuity and Change

Friday, May 15 / 12:00 PM / HSSB 4080

The political transition from Egyptian to Frankish rule at the Mediterranean port of Jaffa at the turn of the twelfth century CE was abrupt. But the ceramic record illustrates strong continuity in regional imports with an increase by the end of the century in those from Byzantine-controlled areas. As the Kingdom of Jerusalem became entrenched in the Levant, Jaffa’s trading contacts widened. Even after Acre supplanted Jaffa as the port of Jerusalem in 1192, Jaffa seems to have retained much of its importance as an importer of fine tablewares from around the Mediterranean, and of grain from the Black Sea. 

Dr. Burke has researched, excavated, and traveled in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. As the medievalist for the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project, she has been constructing a ceramic typology for the Early Islamic and Crusader periods, using previously unpublished finds, and supported by grants from the NEH, the Fondation Max van Berchem, and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. Her book, The Sheikh’s House at Quseir al-Qadim: Documenting a Thirteenth-century Red Sea Port is forthcoming from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

Sponsored by Ancient Borderlands Research Focus Group, Center for Middle East Studies, Department of History, Department of Anthropology


Anne K. Rassmussen (College of William and Mary)

(Re)Patriating the Business of Music of Oman:
Examples of the Tangible and Intangible in an Omani Arts Economy

Part of the Lecture Series “Social Media and Technology”
University of California at Santa Barbara

May 20, 2015 / 3:30pm / Multicultural Center Theatre

The Sultanate of Oman is celebrated for its diverse musical styles and for the numerous musical initiatives of its supreme leader – from the Oman Center for Traditional Music (established in the early 1980s) to the Royal Opera House (opened in 2014). Yet most of Oman’s contemporary music, that heard on radio and television, and at its extraordinarily choreographed national celebrations, is facilitated by international, trans-regionalism involving studio musicians and producers from Egypt, Iraq, and other Gulf nations. As a consequence Oman’s mediated music resonates with the musical styles and techniques of non-Omani nationals and their geo-political and musical-cultural life-worlds. This presentation updates ethnographic fieldwork, begun on the eve of Oman’s 40th National Day celebration in November 2010 and continuing through 2011-14, with fresh insight from fieldwork conducted at the beginning of 2015 that highlights some of the productive tension among musicians and people in the business of culture. While a generous state-sponsored arts economy provides a livelihood for musicians who perform in the nation’s numerous military bands and in the Sultan’s orchestras, some of the country’s leading performing artists and producers are frustrated with the policy of outsourcing the work of commercial music production to non-nationals. Gradually, they are demonstrating, by tangible example, that nationalizing the recording industry, with its many actors and stages, is possible, and should be a priority for artists and audiences. At the same time, the effort to claim, as Omani, so-calledintangible aspects of Omani music and dance revolve around the multinational discursive framework and application process established by UNESCO and its commission on “Intangible Cultural Heritage.” I suggest that while both of these trends to repatriate, from the Gulf region, Omani music and music production are tentative and nascent, they point to ideological positions that simultaneously critique and celebrate musical nationalism. This paper contextualizes this dialectic by referring to a broader discussion, within the field of ethnomusicology, of the political economy of musical labor. 

Anne K. Rasmussen is professor of music and ethnomusicology and the Bickers Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the College of William and Mary where she also directs the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble. Her research interests include music of the Arab and Islamicate world, music and multiculturalism in the United States, music patronage and politics, issues of orientalism, nationalism, and gender in music, fieldwork, music performance, and the ethnographic method. Rasmussen received the Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied with A. J. Racy, Timothy Rice, and Nazir Jairazbhoy. Gerard Béhague and Scott Marcus are also among her influential teachers.  
Rasmussen is author of Women, the Recited Qur’an, and Islamic Music in Indonesia (2010); co-editor with David Harnish of Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia (2011), co-editor with Kip Lornell of The Music of Multicultural America (1997, 2015), and editor of a special issue of The World of Music on “The Music of Oman” (2012).  She is author of articles and books chapters in numerous publications and has produced four compact disc recordings. Winner of the Jaap Kunst Prize for best article in published in 2000, she also received the Merriam Prize honorable mention for her 2010 book from the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM). Rasmussen has served that society twice as a board member and was elected SEM president in 2014.


Keith Watenpaugh (UC Davis)

The Form and Content of Suffering: Humanitarian Knowledge and Genocide in the Early 20th Century Middle East

Tuesday, May 26 / 5:00 PM / UCEN State Street Room

Debates about the intertwined nature of humanity, human rights and humanitarianism have brought historians into new fields bridging social, international, legal and colonial history. Keith David Watenpaugh’s book Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (University of California, 2015) contributes to this debate from the unique perspective of the First World War and its aftermath in the Middle East. In this talk, he argues that international and local efforts to address mass violence against the Ottoman Empire’s ethnic minorities gave rise to a new form of conceptualizing and writing about human suffering and human need — humanitarian knowledge. Humanitarian knowledge was not only necessary to the design and implementation of humanitarian programs for rehabilitation and relief, but was a critical element in the process of naming genocide and comprehending its vast, multigenerational consequences for humanity.

Keith David Watenpaugh is a historian and director of the UC Davis Human Rights Initiative. He is author of Being Modern in the Middle East (Princeton, 2006), and his articles have appeared in the American Historical Review, Social History, the Journal of Human Rights, Humanity, as well as Perspectives on History, the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Huffington Post.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, the Department of History, and the Department of Global Studies


World War Free - A New Album by The Narcicyst


On Friday, May 29th, the UCSB MultiCultural Center is proud to present in concert Iraqi-Canadian musician The Narcicyst at 8pm in the MCC Theater where he will premiere his new album World War Free with an exciting multimedia show.  Opening the evening’s event will be Syrian-American hip-hop artist and activist Omar Offendum.  The artists will conduct a Q & A session with the audience immediately following the concert to discuss their music, activism, ongoing projects, etc. 

Come early to support the Arab Student Group and Lebanese Social Club who will be selling Middle Eastern food and drinks!

Artist Bios:

Yassin "The Narcicyst" Alsalman is a leading Arab musician, actor, and multimedia artist who has performed across the world and shared the stage with influential Hip-Hop acts such as Wu-tang Clan, Public Enemy and Mos Def.  Born in Dubai and raised in Canada, Narcy has experienced life in many contexts and has always prided himself on questioning the powers that be in his music or writings.  A graduate in Political Science and Communication Studies, the Narcicyst went on to get a Master’s degree in Media Studies focusing on identity politics in Hip-Hop poetics, specifically encountering and dissecting the Arab-American experience through a thesis project titled Fear of An Arab Planet.  He has since published a book based on the project, penned a series of opinion editorials for CNN and the Huffington Post, and began teaching at Concordia University where he helped develop a course on the history and cultural impact of Hip Hop culture.  With the premiere of his latest album, World War Free, The Narcicyst intends to make the audience see themselves through the proverbial mirror that is the current state of the world and help shape a future made by the will of humanity for peace and prosperity.

Omar Offendum was born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Washington DC, and now resides in Los Angeles where he is a hip-hop artist, poet, and peace activist.   He has been featured on several major news outlets (Aljazeera/PBS /LA Times/Rolling Stone/VICE/NY Times), conducted world concert tours, raised funds for various humanitarian relief organizations, lectured at many prestigious academic institutions, and has been involved in creating several critically-acclaimed songs about the popular democratic uprisings throughout the Middle East & North Africa.

For more information, visit www.thenarcicyst.com and www.offendum.com. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.mcc.ucsb.edu or at the A.S. Ticket Office on campus or call 805.893.2064.


UCSB Middle East Ensemble Spring Concert

Saturday, May 30th / 7:30 PM

Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall
Tickets available at AS Ticket Office, www.music.ucsb.edu, and at the door
FREE for UCSB students


Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble as we present our formal Spring concert on Saturday, May 30th, 2015 in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  The concert will begin at 7:30 pm, a new starting time.
Highlights include two extended sets of Turkish music featuring our baglama saz ensemble (the baglama saz, a long-necked lute, is one of the most popular musical instruments in Turkey): in one set, we will perform Turkish Sufi music featuring songs of Yunus Emre (c.1240 – c.1320) and Sidki Baba (1865-1928); in the second set, we present four famous songs of Turkish folk and popular music.
We will also feature a set of Palestinian music and dance, featuring Sam Khattar, vocal, and Clarissa Bitar`ud.  Dr. Andrea Fishman will present twoSephardic songs, one from the Greek island of Rhodes, the other from Turkey.  We will also feature three Armenian instrumental compositions/dances.
As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, from Cairo, Southern (Upper) Egypt, Lebanon/Palestine, Turkey, and a Latin/Arab fusion with choreographies by Alexandra King, Cris! Basimah, Ellen Chang & Alicia Cordero, and others.  We are also proud to feature a dance by the UCSB Armenian Student Association’s Yeraz Dance Team and duet by the Atamian brothers, David and Alexander.


Center for Middle East Studies

End of Year Celebration & Recognition Party

Monday, June 1 / 2:00-5:00pm
Student Resources Building, Multi-Purpose Room

Join the Center for Middle East Studies for its annual end of the year celebration!

e Free food and drink!

Middle Eastern Music!

Come give a big cheer to graduating seniors and other accomplished students and faculty, and bid bon voyage to travelers!


Winter 2015 Events


Richard Bulliet
(Professor of Middle Eastern History, Columbia University)



Monday, February 2 / 5:00PM / HSSB 4080

From the Bronze Age to the era of petroleum, the Middle East has experienced a succession of energy profiles that helps to explain its political and cultural efflorescences and stagnations. This presentation will discuss the ways in which chariots, camels, and crude oil have shaped the region and distinguished it from the surrounding lands of Europe, India, and Africa.

RICHARD W. BULLIET is Professor of Middle Eastern History at Columbia University where he also directed the Middle East Institute of the School of International and Public Affairs for twelve years. Born in Rockford, Illinois, in 1940, he came to Columbia in 1976 after undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard and eight years as a faculty member at Harvard and Berkeley. He is a specialist on Iran, the social history of the Islamic Middle East, the 20th century resurgence of Islam, and the history of transportation.

His most recent scholarly work is Wheels: A Book about Invention (forthcoming 2015). His earlier books include Cotton, Climate, and Camels in Early Islamic Iran (2009), Hunters, Herders, and Hamburgers (2005), The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization (2004), Islam: The View from the Edge (1994), Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period (1979), The Camel and the Wheel (1975), and The Patricians of Nishapur (1972). He has also written six novels, beginning with Kicked to Death by a Camel (1973) and ending with Chakra (2014), and is co-author of a world history textbook The Earth and Its Peoples (6ed. 2014).

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Lecture Series


Dr. Kathleen Collins (University of Minnesota)

"Understanding the Emergence and Trajectory of Political Islam in Tajikistan, 1973-1997"

Thursday, February 5th / Lane Room - Ellison Hall 3824 / 4:00pm

Kathleen A. Collins is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Clan Politics and Regime Transition in Central Asia (New York: Cambridge University Press, February 2006), which won the Central Eurasia Studies Society Book Award for Social Sciences. She is currently writing two books, tentatively titled: The Rise of Islamist Movements: Islam and State in Central Asia and the Caucasus (under contract, Cambridge University Press), and Muslim Politics: Religion, Politics, and Public Opinion in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. Her work on clan politics, political Islam, democratization, identity politics, regional cooperation, and violence in Central Asia has appeared in journals and edited volumes.


Dr. Zeynep Tufekci (University of North Carolina)

"Networked Protest in the 21st Century: Strenghts, Weaknesses and Protester Desire"

Friday, February 6th / Lane Room - Ellison Hall 3824 / 12:00pm

eEarly predictions about the Internet's impact on social movements were that lower coordination costs afforded by internet technologies would help fuel movements, but that online symbolic acts, derided as slacktivism, would turn out to be of little to no influence. Based on field research and study of in multiple large movements, including those of the so-called Arab Spring, Gezi protests in Turkey, Occupy in the United States, I conclude the opposite. Lower coordination costs allow movements to scale up quickly, and thrusts them into spotlight, at large scale, with little organization or infrastructure. This is convergent with protester desires: not having organization and leaders has been a long-standing feature of (left) leaning movements around the world (and if anything, this desire only seems to be spreading to places without such a tradition). This quick scaling up has not helped movement prepare for next phases of protest activity, resist repression, or undergo tactical shifts. On the other hand, the spread of epistemic action through symbolic acts appears to be one of the features of social media that feeds activism through longer-term survival, especially by changing calculations of pluralistic ignorance and public formation.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


"Petromodernity, Media, and the Middle East"

Friday, February 13th / SSMS 2135/ 9:00am

As the early film industry thrived on the properties of petroleum, oil companies culled the power of cinema to construct geographic imaginaries of oil modernity. This talk will explore the archive of British oil company films from the 1950s, one of the most politically volatile periods in modern Middle East history, to show how the Iraq Petroleum Company shaped the cultural and physical environments of oil and its infrastructure.

eMona Damluji is a media scholar, liberal arts educator, and cultural activist with expertise in the Middle East region. She received her PhD from the University of California Berkeley and is currently the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian & Islamic Art History and Visual Culture at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Her current book project examines the intersecting histories of oil, cinema, and urban transformation in the Middle East during the twentieth century. Her publications and reviews include essays in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East and International Journal of Islamic Architecture.


Dr. Steven Salaita

“Palestine, Academic Freedom, and the Demands of Civility”

Tuesday, February 17th, 4:00-5:30pm McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020

eProfessor Steven Salaita is at the center of an international protest against academic censorship and the silencing of dissent. During the summer of 2014, he tweeted about Israel's assault on Gaza. As a result, he was "de-hired" from his position as tenured professor in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois on the basis of "civility" when wealthy donors objected to his statement. Dr. Salaita's most recent books, The Holy Land in Transit: Colonialism and the Quest for Canaan, analyses the rhetoric and myths of settlement in both North America and Israel and "patterns that connect Indigenous writing in both locations." Other books include - Israel's Dead Soul; Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures & Politics; and Anti-Arab Racism in the USA.



Film Series: “Dreaming Palestine: Occupation, Exile, and Return”

When I Saw You (2012)
7:00 PM, Thursday, February 12
Pollock Theater, UCSB

To be preceded by a video introduction recorded specifically for this occasion by writer-director Annemarie Jacir.

The Time that Remains (2009)
7:00 PM, Wednesday, February 18
Pollock Theater, UCSB

To be followed by a discussion about the film and about the theme of the film series: “what does it mean to dream in Palestine?”

Panelists: Richard Falk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights
              Sherene Seikaly, Assistant Professor of History, UCSB
Moderator: Maryam Griffin, Doctoral Candidate in Sociology, UCSB
My Love Awaits Me by the Sea (2013)
7:00 PM, Thursday, February 26
Pollock Theater, UCSB

Followed by a live discussion and a reception with director Mais Darwazah.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


The Musical Heritage of Moorish Spain
Concert and Symposium, Feb. 21 & 22, 2015

CONCERT: Echoes of the Alhambra: Jewish & Muslim Music from Medieval  
Moorish Spain

  MultiCultural Center Theater
  Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 / 8:00 PM

The concert is free, but seating is limited--ticket reservations are


A unique concert of shared Jewish and Muslim musical traditions from medieval Spain, modern Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Israel, and Yemen, presented by performers and researchers who have learned these repertories from traditional practitioners throughout the modern Middle East. For a PDF of the concert program, click here.

SYMPOSIUM: Intertwined Traditions: The Untold Tale of Jewish-Muslim  
Musical Traditions from Medieval Moorish Spain

Sunday, February 22, 2015 / 3:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

An international panel of scholars and musicians presents lectures on how Jewish and Muslim communities across the Middle East have adopted and shared musical traditions whose origins lie in medieval "Moorish Spain" - known in Arabic as al-Andalus and in Hebrew as Sepharad - (illustrated with videos and recordings).

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, College of Letter & Sciences, Division of Humanities & Fine Arts Division, Department of Music, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, Multicultural Center, and the UC Institute for Research in the Arts.


Zareena Grewal (Yale University)

American Muslims and the Reform of Islam


Tuesday, February 24, 6:00pm
MCC Theatre

This talk is based on ten years of research for Dr. Grewal's book Islam is a Foreign Country, which explores how the question of who defines Islam today is intertwined with American Muslim's identity as a national religious minority and as part of the umma, a global majority.

Zareena A Grewal is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Religious Studies at Yale University and Director for the Center for the Study of American Muslims at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. She is a historical anthropologist and documentary filmmaker and has directed and produced a film about the scrutiny of American Muslims’ patriotism (By the Dawn’s Early Light: Chris Jackson’s Journey to Islam (2004)) featured on the Documentary Channel. She is also the author of Islam is a Foreign Country, a book on the global dimensions of Islam’s “crisis of authority,” specifically on transnational pedagogical networks that connect American mosques to the intellectual centers of the Middle East, based on ethnographic fieldwork in Cairo, Egypt, Damascus, Syria, and Amman, Jordan. She teaches courses on Muslim in America, US cultural and political interests in the Middle East, and ethnographic and documentary film.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


Ambassador Marc Ginsberg and Ghaith al-Omari

"US Foreign Policy and the Chaotic Middle East"

Wednesday, February 25 / 8:00 p.m. / Campbell Hall

This event is free and open to the public. It is presented by the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB.


"An orphan cuts its own umbilical cord":
Notes on Turkic Identity in Central Asia, 16th-19th c.

Ron Sela (Indiana University)

March 2 at 4:00pm, SSMS 2nd Floor Conference Room 2135

UCSB Middle East Ensemble Winter Concert

Saturday, March 7th / 7:30 PM

Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall
Tickets available at AS Ticket Office, www.music.ucsb.edu, and at the door
FREE for UCSB students


Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble as we present our formal Winter concert on Saturday, March 7th, 2015 in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  The concert will begin at 7:30 pm, a new starting time.

Highlights include Bahram Osqueezadeh leading the Ensemble in a set of Persian music, special guest Anne Rasmussen leading a set of songs from Oman (the first time that the Ensemble is performing music from this country), Nick Ragheb leading the Ensemble in a Coptic hymn (another first for the Ensemble), and Mohamed Moharram singing a present-day hit song by the Egyptian singer Hakim. The Ensemble will also perform two Ottoman Turkish art songs by the Armenian composer Tatyos Efendi (1858-1913) led by special guest Serpi lBorazan, and two Andalusian songs from western Algeria/eastern Morocco.

As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, from Egypt, Iran, and Turkey, with choreographies by Tayyar Akdeniz, Ahmet Luleci, Shahrzad Khorsandi, Alexandra King, and Jenaeni Rathor.  We are also proud to feature a dance by the UCSB Armenian Student Association’s Yeraz Dance Team.


Fall 2014 Events



MCC Annual Kickoff Featuring the Music of Atash

Monday, September 29 / 7:30pm

MCC Courtyard


Join the MultiCultural Center for our Annual Kickoff party! Voted Austin’s best world music band for the past six years, Atash (“fire” in Farsi), combines master musicians from around the globe to create a powerful, worldly original sound that inspires people of all ages and from all walks of life to dance and commune in a celebration of life!

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the MultiCultural Center


CMES Welcome Back Celebration -- FREE FOOD!!


Monday, October 13 /11:30 am to 1:30 pm

HSSB 4080

Please join us for our annual Welcome Back Celebration Monday, October 13th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm in HSSB 4080!  We will have free food and beverages (please see attached flyer).   Come meet our new FLTAs and reconnect with returning students and CMES faculty.  Hope to see you there!


Dr. Juan Cole (University of Michigan)

"The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East"

Tuesday, October 14 / 4:00 pm
McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020)


Beginning in January 2011, the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests, riots, and civil wars that comprised what many call “the Arab Spring” shook the world. These upheavals were spearheaded by youth movements, and yet the crucial role they played is relatively unknown. Middle East expert Juan Cole is here to share their stories.

For three decades, Cole has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context. In The New Arabs he outlines the history that led to the dramatic changes in the region, and explores how a new generation of men and women are using innovative notions of personal rights to challenge the authoritarianism, corruption, and stagnation that had afflicted their societies.

Not all big cohorts of teenagers and twenty-somethings necessarily produce movements centered on their identity as youth, with a generational set of organizations, symbols, and demands rooted at least partially in the distinctive problems besetting people of their age. The Arab Millennials did. And, in a provocative and optimistic argument about the future of the Arab world, The New Arabs shows just how they did it.

Juan Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He is author of Engaging the Muslim World and Napoleon’s Egypt. He has been a regular guest on PBS’s News Hour and has also appeared on ABC Nightly News, Nightline, the TODAY show, Charlie Rose, Anderson Cooper 360, Rachel Maddow, the Colbert Report, Democracy Now! Aljazeera America and many others. He has commented extensively on al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Iraq, the politics of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Syria, and Iranian domestic struggles and foreign affairs. He has a regular column on the TruthDig.com. Visit JuanCole.com

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies



MCC Music Performance / MCC Theatre
Saturday, October 18 / 8:00pm


Salar System will take you on a sonic voyage through the ancient traditions of Afghanistan. You are invited to join the celebration of the Mystical, Mahali, Sufi, Kabuli Classical, and Folk traditions that have been forgotten in modern times.

Co-sponsored by the UCSB Ethnomusicology Program & India Association of Santa Barbara


Dr. Bassam Haddad (George Mason University)

"Understanding the Syrian Tragedy:
Where From? Where To?"

Friday, October 24 / 2:00 pm / HSSB 4080


This presentation addresses the structural causes and dynamics of the Syrian Uprising, as well as the more recent developments and their implications for Syria’s future. The speaker builds on his research on Syria’s political economy since 1970 and the social consequences of the neoliberal turn after 2000. He also addresses the causes behind turning the Syrian crisis into a regional and an international affair.

Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East Studies Program and teaches in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, and is Visiting Professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011). Bassam recently published “The Political Economy of Syria: Realities and Challenges,” in Middle East Policy and is currently editing a volume on Teaching the Middle East After the Arab Uprisings, a book manuscript on pedagogical and theoretical approaches. Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal a peer-reviewed research publication and is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of a critically acclaimed film series on Arabs and Terrorism, based on extensive field research/interviews. More recently, he directed a film on Arab/Muslim immigrants in Europe, titled The “Other” Threat. Bassam is the Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute, an umbrella for four organizations dealing with knowledge production on the Middle East.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


Dr. Ceren Budak (Microsoft Research New York)

"Quantifying Pluralism and Solidarity in
Social Movements:
A Case Study of Gezi Park Uprising in Turkey"

Tuesday, November 4 / 4:00pm /
Student Resource Building (SRB) - Multi-Purpose Room


How pluralist are social movements and how do they impact the activists that take part in them? In this talk, I will address these questions in the context of the recent Gezi Park uprising in Turkey.

This project is informed and inspired by ethnographic studies which almost exclusively conclude that the Gezi uprising brought together an “unlikely body of people from all walks of life … for the first time in recent memory”, indicating the existence and importance of pluralism. In addition, the studies suggest that the diverse group of activists not only participated in the movement but also stuck together, forming a sense of solidarity. While ethnographic and other field-based studies can tell us a great deal about the lived experience of the Gezi uprising, they are concerned almost exclusively with the participants of the uprising, and therefore comparisons between participants and non-participants are difficult to make. In addition, because participants are contacted only after the event, before and after comparisons are difficult to make to estimate the true effect of the movement.

In this talk, I will present the findings from our work which is able to overcome the aforementioned difficulties. In this work, we identify a large panel of participants and non-participants of the Gezi uprising with different party affiliations on Twitter and model their behavior before, during, and after the movement to estimate the concepts of pluralism and solidarity.

Ceren Budak is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Microsoft Research New York. She received her PhD in Computer Science from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2012. Her research interests lie in the area of computational social science, a discipline at the intersection of computer science, statistics, and the social sciences. She is particularly interested in applying computational techniques such as machine learning, statistics and data analysis to study social and political problems.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the Department of Computer Science


Dr. Smadar Lavie (UC Berkeley)

"Mizrahi Mothers, Wrapped in the Flag: Ultra-Nationalism,
Apartheid, and the Divinity of Bureaucracy in Israel"

Wednesday, November 12 / 12:00pm / SSMS 3017


Prof. Lavie's new book, Wrapped in the Flag of Israel (Berghahn Books, 2014) posits a model of state bureaucracy that operates by theological  decree. In this system, the categories of religion, gender, and race  become the ironclad rubric used to sort citizens into binaries: Jews  versus Goyim, rich versus poor, Men versus Women, White versus Black.  In so doing, Lavie explores the relationship between social protest  movements in the State of Israel, violence in Gaza, protest movements in the surrounding Islamic World, and the possibility of a third intifada or a nuclear conflict between Israel and Iran.

Wrapped in the Flag of Israel details Smadar Lavie’s life as a welfare mother and her leadership in Ahoti, Israel’s first Feminist of Color movement. It also exposes the structural apartheid between Jews from the Muslim and Arab World, or Mizrahim Israel’s majority citizenry and the State’s European Jewish ruling minority. Through the lens of the 2003 Single Mothers’ March led by welfare mother Vicky Knafo and the Tel Aviv-Tahrir mass demonstrations of 2011, Lavie reveals how bureaucratic entanglements lead directly to pain, or what arguably can be seen as torture. Lavie uncovers the conundrum of loving and staying loyal to a state that uses its bureaucratic system to repeatedly inflict pain on its non-European majority who, despite this pain, is willing to sacrifice their lives for what they conceive of as the state’s security.

Smadar Lavie is a scholar in residence at the Beatrice Bain Research Group, U.C. Berkeley's critical feminist research enter. She is also a visiting professor at the Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century, University College Cork. Lavie spent nine years as tenured Professor of Anthropology at U.C. Davis, before fleeing California for Israel with her son as a result of domestic abuse. Once inside Israel's borders, Lavie became a target of the regime due to her lifelong, outspoken scholarship and activism for gender equity and social justice for both Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli authorities confiscated her passports and issued an eight-year-long stop-exit order that trapped her within the country's borders. Barred from gainful employment due to her politics and skin color, she was forced to rely on state welfare to survive. Even so, she turned her efforts to help establish feminist, anti-racist social  initiatives, including Israel' first Feminist of Color social movement. Lavie is the author of The Poetics of Military Occupation, receiving the Honorable Mention of the Victor Turner Award for Ethnographic Writing,  and co-edited Displacement, Diaspora, and Geographies of Identity. She  is the winner of the American Studies Association's 2009 Gloria Anzald Prize and the recipient of the 2013 Heart at East Honor Plaque for service on behalf of Mizrahi communities in the State of Israel.

Sponsored by the Department of Sociology Colloquium


UCSB Middle East Ensemble Fall Concert

With special guest:

Raman Osman, Kurdish tanbur player/singer 

Saturday, December 6th / 7:30 PM

Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall
Tickets available at AS Ticket Office, www.music.ucsb.edu, and at the door


Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble as we present our formal Fall concert on Saturday, Dec. 6th, 2014 in UCSB's Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  The concert will begin at 7:30 pm, a new starting time.

Two among many highlights:
- Special guest, Raman Osman, a Kurdish tanbur player and singer from eastern Syria, will lead the ensemble in a number of Kurdish songs.
- We will, for the first time, present an extended suite of songs from Aleppo, Syria, as sung by the superstar Sabah Fakhri (b. 1933). Javid John, Sam Khattar, Samantha Mchammel, and Gabriela Quintana-Garcia will lead us in these songs.

More gems:
- Andrea Fishman will perform a Sephardic lullaby.
- Daniel Mogtaderi will present an extended violin solo.
- Mohamed Muharram will sing a beloved song by the Lebanese singer, Wadi' is-Safi.
- Melanie Hutton will present a high-energy 1998 Lebanese song as sung by Diana Haddad.

As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, from Armenian, Persian, Upper Egyptian, and eastern Arab cultures, with choreographies by Cris! Basimah, Alexandra King, and Atina Manvelian.



Spring 2014 Events

Dr. Gilbert Achcar (University of London)

"The Arab Uprising: Social Movements in the Age of Globalization"

Thursday, April 3 / 12:00pm / McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020)

dGilbert Achcar is Professor of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. His books include The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising (California, 2013); Marxism, Orientalism, Cosmopolitanism (Haymarket, 2013); The Arabs and the Holocaust (Metropolitan, 2010); and Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy. Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice, with Noam Chomsky (Paradigm, 2008).


Sponsored by the Department of Sociology Colloquium Series and the Center for Middle East Studies


(Un)Civil Society, Past and Present
The 4th Annual UCSB Islamic Studies Graduate Student Conference

April 4th–6th, 2014
University of California, Santa Barbara

Conference Website


Doris Bittar (California State University, San Marcos)

Art Exhibit - Between the Stripes


Thursday, April 17 /6:30pm / MCC Lounge

Interdisciplinary artist Doris Bittar's paintings, photos, and interactive installations explore the intersection between the decorative arts and history. Marrying seemingly oppositional icons, the paintings probe the concepts of loyalty, identity, nationalism, and power. The installation, Tec Sayings, addresses multiculturalism and heritage, which are continually redefined within the discourse of social anxieties. Bittar has shown in several exhibits in Europe, the Middle East and the United States, and her art is in several public collections. Bittar graduated from the University of California San Diego with a Masters of Fine Arts and participated at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. She is a curator, writer, and teaches at California State University, San Marcos. Exhibit dates: Wednesday, April 9-Friday, June 13.

Co-sponsored by Art, Design & Architecture Museum; the Center for Middle East Studies; and EOP-Middle Eastern Resource Center


Women, Children, and Human Rights in the Middle East

A Conference in Honor of Nancy Gallaher
April 26, 2014 – UCSB Loma Pelona Conference Center


Conference Website


2014 R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Visiting Scholar

Maribel Fierro
Research Professor, Center of Human and Social Sciences
Higher Council for Scientific Research (Spain)



Monday, May 12 / 5:00PM / HSSB 4080


Dr. Rochelle Davis (Georgetown)

"Trajectories of Violence and War in Syria Today"

Monday, May 19 / 5:00pm / HSSB 4080

dIn this talk Professor Davis will discuss contemporary experiences of diaspora and memory emerging from the current uprising and violence in Syria. She will explore how those displaced conceive of their own communal and personal histories within and beyond nation-state identifications. She'll discuss three cases -- Syriac Christians, Palestinians living in Syria, and young men without identity documents -- that highlight the issues they face and that reveal the role that memory plays in displacement and survival.

Rochelle Davis is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Since July 2013, she is also the Academic Director of the MA in Arab Studies Program. Dr. Davis’ research focuses on refugees and conflict. Her most recent research in Jordan and Lebanon has examined both Syrian refugees displaced by the Syrian civil war and Iraqi refugees who fled to Jordan and Syria post 2005. She has authored or co-authored a number of reports on this research. Her book, Palestinian Village Histories: Geographies of the Displaced, (Stanford University Press) was co-winner of the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Book Award to recognize outstanding publishing in Middle East studies.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the Department of Religious Studies


Youssef Bouallag, Natasha Ghafar, and Sema Ozcan

An Interactive Forum With This Year’s FLTAs

youssef natasha sema

Wednesday, May 21 / 4:00 pm / HSSB 4080


Come hear what visiting Middle Eastern Graduate Students have to say about their own cultures, American culture, and how university life here is different from in their homelands!

This year UCSB has been honored to host three Middle Eastern graduate students from Morocco, Turkey, and Pakistan. They have taught languages and taken courses during their stay. Come now and join us in a discussion of their impressions and insights after 8 months in the US.

For students who are interested in the Middle East, thinking of studying or traveling abroad, or studying Global Studies, this is a great opportunity to hear what Middle Eastern students think about OUR culture, as well as about theirs! Join us for an intercultural dialogue!



UCSB Middle East Ensemble Spring Concert

A Special Concert Celebrating the Ensemble's 25th Year

With special guests:

John Bilezikjian, Armenian `ud player/singer
Naser Musa, Palestinian `ud player/singer 

Saturday, May 31/ 8:00 PM

Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall
Tickets available at AS Ticket Office, www.music.ucsb.edu, and at the door


Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble as we conclude the celebration of our 25th year with our formal Spring Quarter concert on Saturday, May 31st, 2014 in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  To help us celebrate, we have invited 2 fabulous guest artists: John Bilezikjian, Armenian ‘ud player/singer, and Naser Musa, Palestinian ‘ud player/singer.  John Bilezikjian, returning after wonderful performances with the Ensemble in 1995 and 2007, will present a number of Armenian and Turkish instrumental and vocal pieces.  Naser Musa, returning after joyous performances with the Ensemble in 2000, 2007, and 2008, will present a variety of songs from the Arabian Peninsula and also one of his own compositions.
The program will feature a number of instrumental performances by ensemble members, including a solo nay (reed flute) improvisation by ethnomusicology grad student, Nicholas Ragheb. We will also feature our youngest members: Sam Robertson, just completing 11th grade, will present an extended accordion solo in the improvisatory baladi style traditionally used to accompany solo dance.  Morgan BenedictTina Javanbakht, and Ari Marcus, all graduating high school seniors, will present a trio performance of the famed Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab composition, ‘Aziza
As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, from the Arabian Peninsula, “Eastern” (mashriqi) Arab, and Turkish cultures, with choreographies by Eva Cernik and Cris! Basimah.  We are also proud to feature a dance by the UCSB Armenian Student Association’s Yeraz Dance Team.
The concert will conclude with a special solo dance by Cris! Basimah, director of the Ensemble’s Dance Company, with vocal and instrumental accompaniment by our special guests, John Bilezikjian and Naser Musa.


Center for Middle East Studies

End of Year Celebration & Recognition Party

Thursday, June 5 / 2:00-4:00pm
Student Resources Building, Multi-Purpose Room

Join the Center for Middle East Studies for its annual end of the year celebration!

d Free food and drink!

Middle Eastern Music!

Come give a big cheer to graduating seniors and other accomplished students and faculty, and bid bon voyage to travelers!



Winter 2014 Events


Announcing the Diaspora and Memory lecture series!


Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini (University of London)

"Islamic Legal Tradition and the Feminist Challenge"

Monday, January 13 / 5:00 pm / HSSB 6020 (McCune)

In this talk Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini will make a case for the engagement of feminism with religion by focusing on the epistemological challenge that the idea of gender equality presents to the Islamic legal tradition - a significant memory site - and the contribution made by new feminist voices and scholarship in Islam.

Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini (www.zibamirhosseini.com) is a legal anthropologist, specializing in Islamic law, gender and development, and a founding member of the Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family (www.musawah.org). Currently a Professorial Research Associate at the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, University of London, she has held numerous research fellowships and visiting professorships, including Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2004-5), and Hauser Global Law Visiting Professor at New York University (2002-8). She has published books on Islamic family law in Iran and Morocco, Iranian clerical discourses on gender, Islamic reformist thinkers, and the revival of zina laws. She has also co-directed two award-winning featurelength documentary films on Iran: Divorce Iranian Style (1998) and Runaway (2001). Her latest book is Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law: Justice and Ethics in the Islamic Legal Tradition, edited with Lena Larsen, Christian Moe and
Kari Vogt (I. B. Tauris, 2013).


Film Screening - Facing Mirrors

Wednesday, February 26 / 6:00PM / MCC Theatre

facing mirrorsSet in contemporary Iran, this is a story of an unlikely and daring friendship that develops despite social norms and religious beliefs. Rana, a traditional wife and mother, picks up the wealthy and rebellious Edi, who is trying to leave the country. Rana attempts to help, but when she realizes that Edi is transgender, a dangerous series of conflicts arise. This is the first Iranian film to star a transgender person. Negar Azarbayjani, 102 min., Iranian with English subtitles, 2011, Iran/Germany.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the EOP-Middle Eastern Resource Center.


Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks in Historical Perspective
Ambassador Dennis Ross & Ghaith Al-Omari

Wednesday, March 5 / 5:00PM / UCSB Campbell Hall / Free

dennis ross_ghaith al-omari

Veteran Middle East peace negotiators, Ambassador Dennis Ross and Ghaith al‑Omari, discuss the framework agreement for a two‑state solution to the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict soon to be unveiled by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Drawing upon decades of experience, they will compare the “Kerry Plan” to previous peace proposals and analyze the likelihood of its adoption.



Dr. Sarah Abrevaya Stein (UCLA)

"Citizens of a Fictional Nation: Ottoman-born Jews in France during the First World War"

Thursday, March 6 / 5:00 pm / HSSB 4080

In the early decades of the twentieth century, citizenship existed on a spectrum for Ottoman Jews facing the irrevocable crumbling of the empire in which they were born.  Among them were some 7,000 Ottoman-born Jews living in wartime France who were legally classified by the Third Republic as ‘Jewish citizens of the Levantine nation.’ The resulting papers allowed thousands of Jewish (as well as Armenian Christian and some Muslim) women, men, and children to avoid surveillance, deportation, or internment as enemy aliens; to travel within their country of residence and abroad; and to acquire the passports, residency permits, and official papers that were ever more indispensable to the modern world.  Using the stories of these extraterritorial Jews to illustrate the multifarious legal ambiguities unleashed by the major conflicts of the early twentieth century, this talk will rethink the First World War as a richly complex legal terrain, and join scholars of North Africa and South Asia in carrying a conversation about legal pluralism from the colonial to the continental setting.

Sarah Abrevaya Stein is Professor of History and Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies at UCLA. Co-winner of the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature with another Stanford PhD, Ken Moss, her award-winning books include Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce (Yale University Press, 2008) and Making Jews Modern: the Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires (Indiana University Press, 2004) as well as the forthcoming Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria (University of Chicago Press, 2014).


UCSB Middle East Ensemble Winter Concert

25th Year Anniversary Celebration

Saturday, March 8 / 8:00 PM

Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble as we continue the celebration of our 25th year with our formal Winter Quarter concert on Saturday, March 8th, 2014 in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  The program will feature a variety of music and dances from throughout the Middle East, including a performance of a portion of the song, Inta `Umri, considered by some to be the most famous Arab song of the 20th century.  The Egyptian superstar singer, Umm Kulthum, premiered the song on Feb. 6th, 1964; thus, the Ensemble’s performance (lead by vocalist Melanie Hutton), celebrates the song’s 50th anniversary. 

The concert will also feature songs by the superstar Egyptian singer, `Abd al-Halim Haifiz (sung by Mohamed Muharram) and the Syrian singer, Farid al-Atrash (sung by Samantha Mchammel).  Bahram Osqueezadeh will lead the Ensemble in the performance of a set of Persian music, including a song sung by Giselle Garcia.  Javid John will perform a famed Azeri song, Andrea Fishman will present a Greek song, and Gabriela Quintana-Garcia will lead the ensemble in a 19th-century Syrian song.

As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will present a wonderful variety of dances including new choreographies for Armenian and Suez Canal-region dances, a Persian dance, and a group Arab cabaret dance (with choreographies by Atina ManvelianSahra SaeedaLaurel Victoria Gray, and Cris! Basimah).  In addition, long-time Ensemble dancer, Elvan, will present an extended solo dance.  We are also proud to feature a dance by the UCSB Armenian Student Association’s Yeraz Dance Team.


Fall 2013 Events


Dr. Stephen J. Ramos (College of Environment and Design, University of Georgia)

"Dubai Amplified: Infrastructure Logics and Emirate-Building"

Tuesday, October 8 / 4:30pm

HSSB 4080

heuserFollowing the British withdrawal in 1971, the Gulf region entered a heady period of political restructuring, awash with oil money that helped fund national aspirations. Infrastructure investment became a central part of the region’s nation-building initiatives and fueled strong competition. Dubai’s rapid series of infrastructural projects culminated in the Jebel Ali Port, Industrial Area, and Free Zone, which marked a defi nitive “before and after” point. The talk will explore Dubai urbanism through cycles of typological borrowing, prototypical replication, and scalar amplification of infrastructure projects.

Stephen J. Ramos is an Assistant Professor in the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. He is author of Dubai Amplified: The Engineering of a Port Geography (Ashgate, 2010) and co-editor of Infrastructure Sustainability and Design (Routledge, 2012). He is a founding editor of New Geographies. He holds a doctoral degree in Urban Planning and Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the Department of History of Art and Architecture


CMES Welcome Back Celebration-- FREE FOOD!!

Wednesday, October 16 /11:30 am to 1:30 pm

HSSB 4080

Please join us for our annual Welcome Back Celebration Wednesday, October 16th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm in HSSB 4080!  We will have free food and beverages (please see attached flyer).   Come meet our new FLTAs and reconnect with returning students and CMES faculty.  Hope to see you there!


The Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB and the Center for Middle East Studies present:

Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer(Public and International Affairs, Princeton University)

"Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict"

Sunday, October 20 / 3:00pm / Free

UCSB Corwin Pavilion


With Palestinian-Israeli peace talks underway, it is more imperative than ever to learn and apply the lessons of past negotiations, so as to create an opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the longstanding Arab-Israeli conflict.  Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, a veteran U.S. diplomat with extensive experience in Arab-Israeliaffairs, will analyze the current negotiations against the backdrop of historical experience and assess the prospects for success.  Kurtzer will look at the changing regional dynamics created by Arab upheavals, examine internal Palestinian and Israeli politics as they relate to the prospects for peace, and dissect the core substantive issues that must be resolved for there to be a lasting peace settlement.  Courtesy of The Book Den, copies of Pathways to Peace will be available for purchase and signing.

Daniel C. Kurtzer is the S. Daniel Abraham Professor of Middle East Policy Studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. During a 29-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Ambassador Kurtzer served as the United States Ambassador to Israel (2001-2005) and as the United States Ambassador to Egypt (1997-2001). He retired in 2005 with the rank of Career Minister.

Since leaving government service, Kurtzer has authored numerous articles on U.S. policy.  He is the co-author of Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East (2008), co-author of The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011 (2013), and editor of Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (2012).  Kurtzer served as an advisor to the Iraq Study Group, and currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University in Cairo, member of the Board of The Middle East Institute; and as a member of the New Jersey-Israel Commission.  He is on the Editorial Board of The Cairo Review of Global Affairs and Israel Studies Review

The Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UC Santa Barbara, a program of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, is cosponsored by UCSB Arts and Lectures, Department of Religious Studies, Congregation B’nai B’rith, Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Hillel.  This event is cosponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies at UCSB.


Professor Salim Yakub (Department of History, UCSB)

"You Say You Want a Resolution? Presidents, Congress, and War in the Middle East"

Friday, November 1/ 4:00pm /
HSSB 4080


Professor Jacob Hamblin (Oregon State University)

"The Nuclearization of Iran in the Seventies"

Thursday, November 7 / 2-3:30pm / HSSB 4020

Professor Hamblin will lead a seminar on his recent DIPLOMATIC HISTORY article, "The Nuclearization of Iran in the Seventies"--a process encouraged at the time by the U.S. government.  Professor Hamblin will make a brief presentation and then lead a discussion based on the article, which seminar attendees are encouraged to read in advance. Click here for a PDF.

Jacob Darwin Hamblin writes about the history and politics of science, technology, and the environment.  He received his Ph.D. in History at UC Santa Barbara and is now associate professor of history at Oregon  State University.  He is the author of OCEANOGRAPHERS AND THE COLD WAR (University of Washington, 2005), POISON IN THE WELL: RADIOACTIVE  WASTE IN THE OCEANS AT THE DAWN OF THE NUCLEAR AGE (Rutgers, 2009), and ARMING MOTHER NATURE: THE BIRTH OF CATASTROPHIC ENVIRONMENTALISM (Oxford, 2013).


Mustafa Akyol (Journalist and Author of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty)

"Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty"

Wednesday, November 20 / 4:30pm

HSSB 4080

maMustafa Akyol will talk about his latest book Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty. From furious reactions to the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad to the suppression of women, news from the Muslim world begs the question: Is Islam incompatible with freedom? With an eye sympathetic to Western Liberalism and Islamic theology, Aykol traces the ideological and historical roots of political Islam. Through his careful reexaminations of the currents of Muslim thought, Akyol discovers a fl ourishing liberalism in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and the unique “Islamo-liberal synthesis” of present-day Turkey. Only by accepting a secular state, he powerfully asserts, can Islamic societies thrive.

Mustafa Akyol is a Turkish political commentator and author based in Istanbul, Turkey. Since 2002, he has been a regular commentator in the Turkish media. He also appears regularly on Turkish TV and on political discussion shows. He has spoken on many platforms, including the Council on Foreign Relations, The Brookings Institution, The Heritage Foundation, The Mont Pelerin Society, the Cato Institute, the Acton Institute, the Discovery Institute, the Mises Institute and many universities around the world. Over the years, Akyol’s articles have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, IslamOnline, and Huffington Post. He has appeared on BBC World, Al Jazeera
, France 24, and other international TV channels.


UCSB Middle East Ensemble Fall Concert

25th Year Anniversary Celebration

Saturday, November 23 / 8:00 PM

Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall


Please join the UCSB Middle East Ensemble as we begin the celebration of our 25th year with our formal Fall Quarter concert on Saturday, Nov. 23rd in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  The program will feature a number of special dances in recognition of the 25th anniversary, including a solo dance by Alexandra King, the retired director of our Dance Company, who we are bringing back for this occasion.  The Dance Company will also present an extended medley of a number of our past dances from Egypt.

The concert will feature songs by the superstar Egyptian singers, Umm Kulthum (sung by Melanie Hutton), and Abd al-Halim Hafiz (sung by Mohamed Muharram and Giselle Garcia).  Javid John will debut his own vocal composition, the Persian song, Tamanay-e Ashiq), Andrea Fishman will present two songs (one Sephardic and one Ottoman Turkish), and Phil Murphy will lead the ensemble in two songs from Morocco (a result of his dissertation fieldwork there).  The Ensemble's chorus will also present two Arabic songs of the muwashshah genre.

As always, the Ensemble's Dance Company will present a wonderful variety of dances: in addition to the medley of Egyptian dances, we will present an Azerbaijani canopy dance, a Greek dance, and an exciting group cabaret finale, including choreographies by Robyn Friend, Alexandra King, Cris! Basimah, Jatila van der Veen, Jenaeni Rathor, Renee Bergan, Atif Farag, and Karim Nagi. We are also proud to feature a dance by the UCSB Armenian Student Association's Yeraz Dance Team, and a rousing Armenian dance duet by the brothers, David and Alexander Atamian.



Spring 2013 Events

Dr. Eric Anton Heuser (Social and Cultural Anthropology, Free University, Berlin)

Male Friendship in Muslim Java

Wednesday, April 3 / noon

HSSB 4041

heuserEric Anton Heuser (Free University, Berlin) examines friendship practices and conceptions within the creolized Islamic culture of contemporary Java (Indonesia), focusing on how friendship is positioned in social discourses and how it intersects with other forms of social organization. This discussion highlights Javanese ideal discourses and shows their relation to cultured forms of ideal behavior that inform the national narrative and help produce Indonesia as a coherent nation.
Eric Anton Heuser is a lecturer and researcher in the Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Free University of Berlin (comparable to Assistant Professor in the United States). He received his BA at Melbourne University, Australia and his MA at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. For his doctoral research at Freiburg University in Germany, Eric carried out anthropological fieldwork for 18 months in Java and Bali. His ethnographic research focuses on how friendship as a social relationship is practiced, conceptualized and appropriated in Javanese postcolonial social discourse in times of advanced globalization and transnationalization.

His research interests include relatedness, religion, sexuality and emotions, and his regional expertise is Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, and the Caribbean / Trinidad. His interdisciplinary and transregional approach focuses on the intersections of relatedness, gender, religion and political discourses in creolized Muslim societies. His latest research project ‘Transoceanic Islams’ was just awarded a $90,000 fellowship by the German Volkswagen Stiftung.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the Department of Religious Studies.


Rachel Beckles Willson (Music, Royal Holloway, University of London)

An American Mission in the Near East 1889-1947: Reconfiguring Palestine Through Song

Wednesday, April 10 / 3:30pm

Music 1145

becklesIn her forthcoming book Orientalism and Musical Mission: Palestine and the West (Cambridge University Press, March 2013), Beckles Willson addresses three types of musical imperialism—religious, state, and neoliberal—through a study of European and American missions to Palestinians since 1840. The book also functions as a reflection on the legacy of Edward W. Said. Her talk will introduce material from a central chapter, exposing the musical work of an American mission in Palestine (active since 1889 and still continuing today). During the war-torn years of 1940-1947, the Quaker Friends Board of Missions supported a network of Palestinian choirs that promoted particular mappings and ethnic-musical visions of “Palestine” and the “Near East.” Today, archived traces of the choirs open a new window on a transitional period in Palestinian history and offer rich material through which to draw music into discussions of post-colonialism.

Rachel Beckles Willson is Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London, and is currently Visiting Scholar at UCLA. Prior to the Palestinian project, she published widely on the politics of Hungarian music (including Ligeti, Kurtág, and Hungarian Music during the Cold War, Cambridge University Press, 2007).

Sponsored by the Department of Music, Distinguished Lecture Series


Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core

Martin E. Marty Lecture on Religion in American Life

Wednesday, April 17 / 8pm

Corwin Pavilion, UCSB

Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, will deliver the Martin E. Marty Lecture on Religion in American Life at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 in the UCSB Corwin Pavilion.  He is the author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, The Struggle for the Soul of a Generation and Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America. 


Talinn Grigor, (Fine Arts, Brandeis University)

The (re)Turn of the Avant-garde to the Streets of Tehran

Thursday, April 18 / 3:30pm

Multicultural Center Theater

grigor imageWhen in August 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran established itself as the sole successor to the Iranian Revolution that had overthrown the monarchy of Mohammad Reza Shah, Ayatollah Khomeini initiated a cultural revolution that would, in due course, aim to Islamize the  sociopolitical as well as the built environment of Iran. Classically trained architects and artists, even those who had participated in the  anti-shah struggle, were shoved to the margins as soon as the Islamic Republic was established. Any former association with Pahlavi culture was detrimental. The avant-garde, itself a subversive act, was to be  shunned. The core of Iranian modern and contemporary art was, thus, amputated, precisely because the representational boundaries between avant-garde art and Pahlavi construct of monarchy and modernity were  indistinguishable.

The IRI marginalized Iran's pre-Islamic cultural production as both an ideological reaction to and a methodological imitation of the royal regime. The pre-Islamic history, along with the Pahlavi era, was portrayed as the :age of ignorance," "time of despotic kings," and "era of plunder." Both historical and modern monuments, for example the royal palace of Persepolis and the mausoleum of Avicenna, were read as reminders of royal excess and class oppression. The fact that these landmarks were a priori placed in the public domain by the Pahlavi kings to shape and control public taste, and the fact that because of their architectural qualities and social meaning they were not removed by the revolutionaries, eventually rendered them sites of  popular resistance during the anti-Pahlavi revolution of 1979 and subsequently to the anti-clerical rebellions of the 1990s and especially of June 2009. The avant-garde had returned to the streets.

Sponsored by the Department of History of Art & Architecture


Amir, New York Times bestselling author (Zahra’s Paradise), documentary filmmaker and human rights activist

Paradise Lost? Zahra’s Paradise and the Future of Politics in Modern Iran

Thursday, April 25 / 6pm

MCC Theater

ParadiseAmir is a human rights activist and documentary filmmaker.  He has studied history at Tufts, the Fletcher School and Harvard University.  He is the author of the NYT bestseller, Zahra's Paradise, a graphic novel about a mother's search for her son, a young protester who disappeared during the 2009 Green Movement protests in Iran.  Zahra's Paradise was nominated for two Eisner awards and has been translated into 16 languages.  Zahra will be running as a virtual candidate for president in Iran's 2013 elections.

Copies of Zahra’s Paradise will be available for purchase in the UCSB bookstore prior to the event.  Amir will be available to sign copies of his graphic novel immediately following his presentation. 

Sponsored by the Iranian Studies Initiative, the Mellichamp Fund for Global Religion, the Department of Religious Studies, and the Persian Student Association (PSA).


The Back Room — Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman

Site Unseen

Monday, April 29 / 5:30pm

Engineering Science Building (ESB) 2001
(2001 is adjacent to main part of building, top of stairs)

Site Unseen: A conversation with the Back Room on remote curatorial practice and contemporary experiments in new media and performance in Iran

How can we employ digital technology to collaboratively develop, enact, and distribute performances? How can we circumvent pervasive censorship laws and travel restrictions that impede many emerging artists living under oppressive regimes? How may new media be used not only to facilitate international exchange but as the material and site for collaboration?

In this session, Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman, co-­directors of the Back Room, will discuss the creative, technical, and political challenges of remote curatorial practice and the development of telepresent artist workshops and collaborations between artists in Iran and the US. Among the case studies to be discussed is a collaboration between Ansari and Andrew Quitmeyer, Subway: an android app which allows participants to re-­stage a dance frame by frame, in public spaces throughout Iran, as well as offer their own positions. While dancing is forbidden in Iran, striking a still pose for a snapshot is possible. Subway subverts an oppressive law, pointing to its capriciousness and absurdity. Ansari and Kleiman will discuss future incarnations of the Subway project and other works in progress.

About the Back Room
The Back Room is a pedagogical and curatorial project developed in collaboration with artists, curators, and writers in Iran and the United States. Founded in 2011, we’ve organized arts workshops, public programs, and exhibitions between the two countries, with hubs in NYC and Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, and Shiraz.

Past projects have included: telepresent arts workshops and public conversations with Wafaa Bilal, Richard Schechner, Shirin Neshat, and Shirana Shahbazi; and A Call, a performance by Wafaa Bilal, enacted between Tehran and NYC. We collaborate with numerous art spaces, including Sazmanab Project, Silk Road Gallery, and Aaran Gallery, in Tehran; and CultureHub, White Box, and Eyebeam, in New York City.

Ava Ansari, co‐director
Ava Ansari is an artist and curator. She has previously worked in curatorial positions at Basement Gallery, Dubai, and Silk Road Gallery, Tehran. She currently works at Aperture. As an artist, she has presented work at Dixon Place, La Mama, Eyebeam, the AC Institute, among others. Her recent work, Subway, a collaboration with programmer Andrew Quitmeyer, is an interactive Android app through which individuals in Iran can document gestures and poses, turning them into a collaborative dance. The piece has been selected from several festivals, including ISEA 2013, the international festival of electronic art and ideas.

Molly Kleiman, co-­director
Molly Kleiman is a writer, editor, and curator. She is a deputy editor of Triple Canopy, an editorial collective and magazine (www.canopycanopycanopy.com). She is also the coordinator of the Writing Program at NYU’s Gallatin School, where she mentors students on art and literary publications, and founded and developed Confluence, an online platform for student writing, art, and research.


George Azar

Beirut Photographer

Friday May 3 / 4pm

Multicultural Center Theater

beirut photographerIn 1981, George Azar traveled from UC Berkeley to Beirut, Lebanon to see the Arab-Israeli conflict first hand. He got a job as a stringer, photographing the Lebanese civil war for the Associated Press and United Press International. He was captured by the Israelis during the 1982 invasion and taken to Israel, where he was released in Jerusalem. He returned to Lebanon and continued photographing the war until 1984. As the thirtieth anniversary of the Sabra and Shatilla massacre approached [in 2012], Azar returned to Beirut to search for the people in some of his most memorable photographs. His story, and the story of his subjects, is explored in the film, “Beirut Photographer.”  Jadaliyya, 11/29/2012

Sponsored by Department of Film and Media Studies, Center for Middle East Studies, and Students for Justice in Palestine.


Nazikbek Kydyrmyshev (Bishkek Humanities University, Kyrgyz Republic)

Sedentarism as Colonial Discourse in Soviet Nomadic Studies

Tuesday, May 14 / 4pm

HSSB 4020  

http://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Sedentarism-copy_WEB.jpgThe concept of Sedentarism is rooted in the “otherizing” of nomadic communities, which has formed a hierarchically structured binary: sedentary (good, progressive, civilized) – nomadic (bad, wild, and bloodthirsty). This mindset originated in and was developed by all sedentary historical traditions regardless of place or culture, and was legitimized through the European understanding of history and Orientalism. Examples of Sedentarism may be found in Russia’s governing of the former nomadic Turkish and Mongolian colonies

Nazikbek Kydyrmyshev is a senior lecturer from Bishkek Humanities University, Kyrgyz Republic and a fellow of Open Society Foundation's program - CARTI (Central Asian Research and Training Initiative) at UCSB.

Sponsored by RFG Identity and Dept. of History, UCSB



The Muslims are Coming!

Wednesday, May 15 /6pm

MCC Theater

muslimsUsing jokes as a way of combating Islamophobia, a group of Muslim-American stand-up comedians go on a comedy tour throughout the United States. The comedians use this tour as a chance to create dialogue, tackling stereotypes and other issues Muslim Americans face today. Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah, English, 2012, USA.


Marianne Kamp (Department of History, University of Wyoming)

Debating Sharia: the 1917 Muslim Women’s Congress in Russia

Thursday, May 16 / 4pm

HSSB 4041

KampIn 1917, a year of revolutionary change in the Russian Empire, Muslim women organized a congress in order to propose and debate resolutions that they hoped would be refl ected in Russia’s new constitution. Transcripts from the April Congress in Kazan provide evidence that participants sharply disagreed over whether polygyny should be permitted, limited, or abrogated, and they used these debates to articulate their own understandings of rights. The core question, which remained unresolved, was one that present-day Muslim theologian Amina Wadud addresses. In 1917, delegates asked whether rights precede Sharia, so that Sharia-approved practices might be rejected if they contradict a woman’s god-given rights.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, Lecture Series on Gender and Sexuality and the Department of History


Dr. Hussein Ibish (Senior Fellow, American Task Force on Palestine)

You Say You Want a Revolution? Transition, Stability, and Chaos in Post-Dictatorship Arab States

Thursday, May 16 / 5pm

HSSB 4080

ibishIn this talk, Hussein Ibish looks at the different ways post-dictatorship transition has unfolded in the three North African Arab states that experienced regime change during the "Arab Spring": Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.  Among the questions he addresses are: What are the new systems emerging in those countries?  To what extent have old governance structures persisted despite the changes?  How have Islamists fared in each of the three states, and what are the prospects for their long-term power?  What about non-Islamist opposition movements and parties?  Are these states on the road to stability or a period of protracted chaos?  And what influence will their experiences have on the broader region and vice versa?  Are we seeing the emergence of the consent of the governed, or the consolidation of power by new and/or old elites?

Hussein Ibish is Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine.  He is a regular contributor on Middle East affairs in numerous publications and a weekly columnist at "Now Media" and "The Daily Beast."  His most recent book is WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE ONE-STATE AGENDA?  Dr. Ibish has a PhD in Comparative Literature from the UMass, Amherst.  And in case you thought he was a one-trick pony, he has a lengthy essay in the current issue of MIT's quarterly THE BAFFLER on the cultural, political and intellectual legacy of the Marquis de Sade.


ROUNDTABLE: Recent Research on Kazakhstan

Monday, May 20 / 4pm

Lane Room, Ellison Hall

http://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/kazakhstan-copy_WEB.jpg"Identity Reproduction of People of Mixed Origin in Kazakhstan"
Saule Ualiyev  - Professor of Sociology, East Kazakhstan State Technical University, Oskemen, Kazakhstan  and is visiting UCSB as a recipient of a Global Faculty Grant, Open Society Foundation, New York, NY

"Life strategies of urban and rural Household in Kazakhstan"
Nazym Shedenova - Professor of Sociology, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan is visiting UC Berkeley as a recipient of a Global Faculty Grant for Development, Open Society Foundation, New York, NY.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Identity Studies RFG


Sohail Daulatzai (Film and Media Studies and African American Studies, UC Irvine)

Black Star, Crescent Moon: Islam and Muslims in the Black Radical Imagination

Tuesday, May 21 / 6pm

MCC Lounge

sohailDespite the “post-racial” euphoria associated with the election of Barack Obama, the specter and threat of Muslims to the U.S. and the larger West persists. As this talk will reveal, there was a pre-history to 9/11 in which Blackness, Islam and the politics of the Muslim Third World found common cause. In resurrecting this past, we will explore the significance of this forgotten history for contemporary politics and arts when Black artists and activists imagined themselves not as national minorities but as part of a global majority. Sohail Daulatzai is Associate Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies and the Program in African American Studies at UC Irvine as well as author of Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom beyond America (2012).


Angelika Neuwirth (Arabic Studies, Free University, Berlin)

The “Discovery of Writing” in the Qur’an: tracing an epistemic revolution in Arab Late Antiquity

Tuesday, May 21 / 4pm

HSSB 4080

neuwirthThe Qur’an—being the first significant non-oral literary text in the Arabic language—induced an epistemic revolution in the Arabic-speaking world of Late Antiquity. This fundamental renewal of the Arab Late Antique world was achieved through the Qur’anic negotiation and re-interpretation not only of the neighboring Jewish and Christian traditions but no less through the re-working of the Ancient Arabic lexicon of concepts. The talk will discuss the emergence of a communal identity based on the newly discovered authority of writing and in particular the understanding of the prophetical proclamation, qur’an, as a “reading” from a celestial text. At the same time, the poetical concept of script as a frustratingly mute and unintelligible sign system (wahy) will be un-demonized: Qur’anic wahy is communication par excellence.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Lecture Series


Stephen Zunes (Politics, University of San Francisco)

The Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East: Civil Insurrections and U.S. Policy

Wednesday, May 29 / 5pm

Multicultural Center Lounge

zunesThe ongoing struggle for freedom and democracy in the Middle East continues to be challenged by autocratic regimes, occupation forces, heavilyarmed militias, and extremist groups, but the largely nonviolent civil insurrections--which have toppled three dictators and have challenged others--continue. What role should the United States, which professes support for democracy but has long been the major foreign backer of repressive governments in the region, play in the face of this ongoing popular struggle?

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, the Political Science Department, the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, the UCSB Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, the History Department, and the Center for Cold War Studies and International History

Center for Middle East Studies

End of Year Celebration & Recognition Party

Tuesday, June 4 / 2:30-4:30pm

Student Resources Building, Multi-Purpose Room

MALJoin the Center for Middle East Studies for its annual end of the year celebration!

Free food and drink!

A performance by the Middle East Ensemble!

Come give a big cheer to graduating seniors and other accomplished students and faculty, and bid bon voyage to travelers!




Tale from the Front Lines: Reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 16 / 8:00 PM / Free
Campbell Hall

filkinsDexter Filkins is one of the most respected combat journalists of his generation.  His 2008 book, The Forever War, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Nonfiction Book and was named a best book of the year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time and the Boston Globe.  As part of a team of New York Times reporters, Filkins won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for dispatches from Pakistan and Afghanistan.  In this lecture, he will retrace the seven years he spent covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, using vivid images by some of the best photojournalists working today.  Filkins’ intimate knowledge of many of the main actors – American, Iraqi and Afghan – in two of the most polarizing wars in American history gives him a unique perspective on these contemporary conflicts.

Filkins has been a member of the staff of The New Yorker since January of 2011.  Before coming to The New Yorker, he was a reporter for the New York Times since 2000, reporting from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.  He has also worked for the Miami Herald and the Los Angeles Times, where he was chief of the paper’s New Delhi bureau. Filkins was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2006-07 and a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 2007-08.

Copies of The Forever War will be available for purchase and signing at the event, courtesy of Chaucer’s Books.

Sponsored by the IHC series Fallout: In the Aftermath of War and the IHC Harry Girvetz Memorial Endowment.

• Learn more about the IHC's Fallout: In the Aftermath of War Series


Saul M. Olyan (Judaic Studies and Religious Studies, Brown University)

Rereading Terminology for Male Homoerotic Relations in Hebrew Scripture

Wednesday, January 23rd / 4pm

HSSB 4080

Any attempt to reconstruct biblical views of consensual male homoerotic sexual relations must contend with three texts: the restrictive laws of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 and David's praise of Jonathan's love for him in 2 Sam 1:26. Though Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are often assumed to proscribe all male homoerotic sexual relations, a reconsideration of their terminology and syntax suggests that their precise meaning is more restricted. Similarly, a contextual analysis of the Hebrew idioms used in David's lament leads to some striking observations.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, Lecture Series on Gender and Sexuality


Terror’s Aftermath: New Developments in America and the Middle East

A panel discussion featuring Juan Campo, Richard Hecht, Kathleen Moore, and Salim Yaqub moderated by Wade Clark Roof

Tuesday, January 29 / 4pm

6020 Humanities & Social Sciences Building, UCSB / Free

This free, public event is cosponsored by the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life and Interdisciplinary Humanities Center.


Simon Shaheen Quintet

Featuring Masterworks of the Middle East Arab Traditional and Contemporary Music

Wednesday, February 6 / 8pm

Campbell Hall / $38 (general)/$19 (student)

“Full of dignified passion… His playing was throaty and sensual.” The New York Times

“A gorgeous tapestry.” Los Angeles Times

Simon Shaheen dazzles his listeners as he deftly leaps from traditional Arabic sounds to jazz and Western classical styles. His soaring technique, melodic ingenuity and unparalleled grace have earned him international acclaim as a virtuoso on the oud and violin. One of the most significant Arab musicians, performers and composers of his generation, Shaheen reflects a legacy of Middle Eastern music in his work, while forging ahead to new frontiers and embracing many different styles in the process. With a quintet of master musicians, he will perform a program of classical Arabic repertoire, including a few of his original compositions.

Available on the World Music series



Dov Waxman (Political Science, CUNY)

The Palestinian Minority in Israel: Between Coexistence and Conflict

Monday, February 11 / 8pm

UCSB Corwin Pavilion

One in five citizens of Israel is Palestinian.  What does this mean for Israel’s future as a Jewish state and for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? This talk tackles these crucial questions and examines the status of Israel’s Palestinian minority and current Jewish-Arab relations in the country.

Waxman specializes in International Relations and Middle East politics. He is the co-author (with Ilan Peleg) of Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within and the author of The Pursuit of Peace and the Crisis of Israeli Identity: Defending/Defining the Nation. His most recent article, “Ties That Bind: Israel’s Fractious Tribes,” appeared in World Politics Review. From 2002-2004, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at Bowdoin College.  He has also been a visiting fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, a visiting scholar at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and a visiting fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Sponsored by Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB, UCSB Arts and Lectures, the Dept. of Religious Studies, Congregation B’nai B’rith, Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Hillel.



Dr. Ashraf Zahedi (Visiting Scholar, Center for Middle East Studies, UCSB)

The Role of Religion in Afghan Women's Organizations

Wednesday, February 20 / 3pm

HSSB 3041

ZahediThe overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001 heralded a new beginning for Afghan women. Encouraged by the ideal of gender equality and financed by international donors, women’s organizations were formed throughout Afghanistan. These organizations draw on Islam as a strategy for mobilization of Afghan women and for legal and cultural protection of their activities. Afghan women’s organizations, however, are not homogenous in their ideology and degree of religiosity; they range from Islamists to secular feminists. These organizations have been facing a balancing act of reconciling gendered Afghan laws with gender-balanced international laws. The departure of the US led international forces from Afghanistan in 2014 and the prospect of losing their sources of funding pose a serious challenge to them. What will happen to these organizations in post 2014 remains to be seen. It depends on a number of socio-political factors as well as the dynamics of action and reaction between Afghan political leaders and traditional forces.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies


Meet the Filmmaker

The Light in Her Eyes

Wednesday, February 20 / 6 pm

MCC Theater

Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, The Light in Her Eyes offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams. Discussion with the directors following the screening. Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix, 87 min., Arabic with English Subtitles, 2011, USA and Syria. Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the Muslim Student Association.


David Makovsky (Washington Institute for Near East Policy) & Ghaith al-Omari (The American Task Force on Palestine)

Israel and Palestine: Achieving a Two-State Solution

Wednesday, February 27 / 5pm

UCSB Campbell Hall

Using specially commissioned interactive maps to display alternative solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, David Makovsky and Ghaith al-Omari argue that a two-state solution based on land-swaps is the only viable one for the future. The core principle of these swaps is to reconcile the Palestinian demand for a return to the pre-1967 lines with Israel’s desire to include as many of the West Bank’s 300,000 settlers in Israel proper aspossible. Any feasible scenario must include Israel’s granting Palestinians arable land from within Israel’s pre-1967 border in exchange for annexed settlement blocs (clusters of settlements). It is essential that, for any land annexed by Israel as part of a deal, Palestinians receive equal amounts of land.

David Makovsky, Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is the author Imagining the Border: Options for Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Territorial Issue and the co-author with Dennis Ross of Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East.

Ghaith al-Omari, Executive Director of the American Task Force on Palestine, previously served in various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including Senior Advisor to former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation. He has extensive experience with the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

This event is made possible through grants from the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation and The Towbes Foundation as well as generous support from Julianna Friedman, Juliane Heyman, Mike and Dale Nissenson, and Lou and Bernice Weider.

The Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UC Santa Barbara, a program of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, is cosponsored by UCSB Arts and Lectures, Department of Religious Studies, Congregation B’nai B’rith, Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Hillel. This event is also cosponsored by Education Abroad Program, UCSB Center for Middle East Studies, and Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies.


Nadine Naber (American Culture, Arab American Studies, Women's Studies, University of Michigan)

Arab America: Gender. Cultural Politics, and Activism

Tuesday, March 5 / 5 pm

MCC Theater

Speaking from a transnational feminist perspective, Naber reveals the complex and at times contradictory cultural and political processes through which Arabness is forged in the contemporary United States. She also explores the apparently intra-communal cultural concepts of religion, family, gender, and sexuality as the battleground on which Arab American young adults and the looming world of America all wrangle. Naber is a professor at the University of Michigan in the departments of American Culture, Arab American Studies, Women's Studies, and adjunct in the Department of Anthropology.


An Evening of Hip Hop with Omar Offendum

Thursday, March 7 / 8 pm

MCC Theater

Syrian American hip hop artist, architect, educator, and activist Omar Offendum has toured the world to promote his ground-breaking music, helped raise thousands of dollars for various humanitarian relief organizations, lectured at prestigious academic institutions, and most recently has been involved in creating several critically-acclaimed songs about the popular democratic uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa. He has been featured on several major news outlets including Aljazeera, PBS, the LA Times, and Rolling Stone. Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the Muslim Students Association.


Reconstituting Female Authority: Women's Participation in the Transmission and Production of Islamic Knowledge

The 3rd Annual University of California, Santa Barbara Islamic Studies Graduate Student Conference

March 8th-10th

Loma Pelona Conference Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara

This conference, by emphasizing women's participation in the transmission and production of Islamic knowledge from pre-modern to contemporary contexts, is an inquiry into the various ways in which the reconstitution of female authority is advancing egalitarian principles within the Islamic tradition and creating a heightened gender consciousness in Islamic discourses.

We are pleased and privileged to announce the participation of our keynote speakers, Drs. Amina Wadud (Professor Emeritus and Visiting Scholar Starr King for the Ministry,Berkeley, CA), Khaled Abou El Fadl (University of California, Los Angeles), and Kathleen Moore (University of California, Santa Barbara).

We are also excited to have as our plenary speaker, Drs. Zainab Alwani, (Howard University School of Divinity), Mirjam Künkler ( Princeton University), and Asma Sayeed (University of California, Los Angeles).

The call for papers and additional information may be found at:



Fall 2012 Middle East Events

Sammilan: A Confluence of Indian Folk and Classical Music Maestro Shashank and Friends

Friday, October 12 / 8 pm

MCC Theater

Maestro Shashank’s reposeful flute combines with the rustic and folksy flavor of traditional Rajasthani Folk music by the Manganiar vocalist Anwar Khan, known for his powerful vocalization of the Krishna geet; the sublime sounds of the sitar by Maestro Purbayan Chatterjee; and two virtuoso percussionists Patri Satish Kumar playing the mridangam and Firoze Khan Manganiar playing the dholak. This concert is unique in its integration of Indian cultures and traditions. Co-sponsored by Raagmala.
Tickets $5 UCSB students and children under 12/$15 general. Contact the A.S Ticket Office at 805-893-2064 or click here for general admission tickets on-line.
Limited seating.


Maggie Anton (Author, Rashi’s Daughters)

Rav Hisda’s Daughter

Wednesday, October 17 / 7:30pm

Santa Barbara Hillel, 781 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista

Maggie Anton, award-winning author of the historical fiction series Rashi’s Daughters, discusses her latest novel, Rav Hisda’s Daughter, which brings to life the world of the Talmud  from a woman’s perspective.  Anton skillfully weaves together Talmudic sources to create a vivid picture of what life might have been like for the daughter of a prominent rabbinic family in Sasanian Babylonia and Roman Palestine during the late third century.  Courtesy of The Book Den, copies of Rav Hisda’s Daughter will be available for purchase and signing at this event.

Sponsored by The Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies, UCSB Arts and Lectures, the Dept. of Religious Studies, Congregation B’nai B’rith, Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Hillel.
For more information please visit: http://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/endowments/taubman/


Vesna Wallace (Religious Studies, UCSB)

Who is a True Mongol?: Debates on Religious and National Identity in Contemporary Mongolia

Thursday, October 18 / 4pm

Lane Room, Ellison Hall

Since the rise of democracy and freedom of religious expression in Mongolia (beginning in the late 1980′s with Mongolia’s separation from Soviet dominion), debates over who is a true Mongol and what makes one a true Mongol have dominated both the public and private sphere. Mongolian national identity has become defined, to varying degrees, in relationship to one’s ethnic group and religious affiliation. In every contemporary discourse on Mongolian national and religious identities, Chinggis Khaan has been evoked as a pivotal figure.

Professor Wallace, Department of Religious Studies UCSB, was the Yehan Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies, and served as the Academic Director, Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies (OCBS) at University of Oxford from 2008 to 2010.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Identity RFG
For more information on the IHC’s Identity RFG: http://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/identity/

• See more events sponsored by the IHC's


Palestinian Poets Ghassan Zaqtan and Fady Joudah

Poetry Reading

Wednesday, Octorber 24 / 4pm / Free

Westmont College, Winter Hall 210

Two prize-winning Palestinian poets read their work.


Ghassan Zaqtan is the author of ten collections of poetry. He is also a novelist, editor, and filmmaker. He was born in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, and has lived inJordan, Beirut, Damascus, and Tunis. He returned to Palestine in 1994 and now lives in Ramallah.




Fady Joudah is the first Arab-American winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets for The Earth in the Attic (2008). He is a practicing physician of internal medicine and an award-winning translator of Mahmoud Darwish, the leading Arab poet of his time. Fady lives in Houston, Texas.

This event is sponsored by Westmont College’s Departments of English and History and the Office of the Provost in conjunction with the UCSB Center for Middle Eastern Studies and The Poetry Foundation.

For rideshare information, please contact: cmes@cmes.ucsb.edu


Ambassador Martin S. Indyk

The Middle East in Turmoil: What does it mean for Israel?

Sunday, November 4 / 3pm / Free

UCSB Corwin Pavilion

Ambassador Martin S. Indyk will analyze the dramatic developments in the Arab world--from revolution to sectarian warfare--and their impact on Iran's bid for dominance in Israel's neighborhood, including through its nuclear weapons program. What does it all mean for Israel's security and its hopes for peace with its Arab neighbors?

Middle East expert and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin S. Indyk is the Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. He has written widely on U.S. policy towards the Arab-Israeli peace process and the complex challenges of the Middle East. Dr. Indyk is the author of Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of America Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East (2009) and co-author of Bending History: Barack Obama's Foreign Policy (2012), Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran (2009), and Restoring the Balance: The Middle East Strategy for the Next President (2008).

The Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UC Santa Barbara, a program of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, is cosponsored by UCSB Arts and Lectures, Department of Religious Studies, Congregation B’nai B’rith, Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Hillel. This event is also cosponsored by UCSB Center for Middle East Studies, and Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies.


The Mosque in Morgantown

Wednesday, November 7 / 6 pm / Free

MCC Theater

This riveting Emmy Award nominated documentary follows one woman’s campaign for change against extremism in her West Virginia mosque, throwing the community into turmoil and raising questions that cut to the heart of American Islam. Discussion following the screening. Brittany Huckabee, 54 min., 2009, USA. Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies.


Dr. Linda G. Jones (PhD, UCSB)

Locating Muslim Masculinities: Gender and Religious Identity in Medieval Andalusia and Maghrebi Texts

Thursday, November 8 / 4pm / Free

HSSB 4020

JonesDespite the omnipresence of sultans, princes, viziers, judges, religious scholars, mystics, and other elite males in pre-modern Muslim chronicles and biographical literature, scholars have seldom interrogated how such texts represent the construction, negotiation, and performance of masculinity. Rather than treat the maleness of these subjects as a given, I propose to analyze sources from 13th- to 15th-century al-Andalus and the Maghreb to explore how religiosity, together with other elements such as space, emotionality, and the body, inform what it meant and what it “took” to be a Muslim male in the pre-modern period. I will conclude with some examples of how Muslim male elites negotiated their masculine identity and status with their peers, superiors, subordinates, and rivals, as well as with women and with non-Muslim men.
Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, Lecture Series on Gender and Sexuality


The Mediterranean Seminar/University of California Multi-Campus Research Project and the Medieval Studies Program Workshop present a 2-day event:

“Excavating the Past”: The UC Mediterranean Studies MRP Fall Workshop

Friday, November 9 / TBD

UC Santa Barbara


“Two Hegemonies, One Island: Cyprus between the Byzantines and the Umayyads (650-850 A.D.)”
Luca Zavagno (Visiting Research Fellow, Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Center,

“Predators and praeda: The Logistics of Piracy in the Twelfth-century Mediterranean”
Nikki Malain (Graduate Student, History, UC Santa Barbara)

“Anxiety of Origins: Shifting Conceptions of the Past in Genoese Historical Chronicles and Civic Architecture of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries”
Karen R. Mathews (Research Assistant Professor, Art & Art History, University of Miami)

Featured Scholar:

Marcus Milwright (Associate Professor of Islamic Art & Archaeology, Director of the Program in Medieval Studies at the University of Victoria)

The workshop will feature three pre-circulated papers and a presentation by our featured
scholar. All interested graduate students and scholars are welcome; pre-registration is required, and attendance is limited so please register soon. UC-affiliated scholars may register immediately, non-UC scholars on or after October 8.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“Digging up a Mediterranean Past? Archaeology and Comparative Material Culture”: A one-day conference sponsored by the UCSB Program in Medieval Studies

Saturday, November 10 / TBD

UC Santa Barbara

The conference will feature a panel of local scholars, including John Lee, Chris Thomas, Claudio Fogu, and Fikret Yegül, discussing the archaeology of the Mediterranean, ranging from ancient Greek work to that of the Italian fascists. In the afternoon, there will be one or more sessions (TBA) with papers on topics such as early Medieval Venice, Venetian fortresses in the Morea, Ottoman pottery in the Levant, and archaeology and myth.

Full program available soon at http://medievalstudies.ucsb.edu/events.html.

To register for the workshop and/or conference and receive the draft papers, please contact Courtney Mahaney (cmahaney@ucsc.edu) at the University of California, Santa Cruz. UC-affiliated faculty and graduate students will be eligible for up to $350 for travel expenses; non-UC participants may apply but support will granted as available (and only after the workshop concludes).

The Mediterranean Seminar is an interdisciplinary scholarly forum the aim of which to promote collaborative research and the development of the field of Mediterranean Studies. The UC Mediterranean Studies Multi-Campus Research Project is funded by the UC Office of the President, and is administered by the Institute for Humanities Research at the University of
California, Santa Cruz.

To join the Mediterranean Seminar, send your name, professional status,
affiliation and fields of interest to mailbox@mediterraneanseminar.org.


Dr. Hans Peter Pökel (Junior Lecturer, Freie Universität Berlin)

Third Genders and the Construction of Masculinities in Classical Arabic Literature: Eunuchs in the Works of al-Jahiz (d.869)

Thursday, November 15 / 4pm / Free

HSSB 4020

PokelLate antique discourses associated public authority with the male body, and this association required a set of body practices to sustain the status of masculinity in public awareness.  It is, however, useful to examine male-bodied but non-masculine figures such as eunuchs who became important representatives and authorities. Due to their specific “gender” which marked them as neither male nor female, but as a third category of gender, the eunuchs formed an integral part of the ruling class. One of the earliest descriptions of eunuchs is found in the works of al-Jahiz (d. 869), which will be analysed and presented in the context of Late Antique epistemology.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, Lecture Series on Gender and Sexuality


Dr. Linda G. Jones

(Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain and Visiting Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies, UCSB)

“Manliness and Religious Identity in Medieval Muslim and Christian Iberia: From Gender Difference to Cross-Cultural Gender Constructions”

Wednesday, November 28 / 4pm

HSSB 4020

The scholarship on gender and religious or ethnic difference in the Middle Ages has been based largely upon readings of western Christian sources. Explorations of textual and visual representations of Byzantine eunuchs and “Oriental” transvestites, cross-dressers, and homosexuals have helped illuminate the instability of gender categories, while the study of western stereotypical representations of “menstruating” Jewish men and hyper-sexed, “monstrous,” or effeminate Saracens has revealed how Latin Christian authors attempted to justify their dominance on the basis of religious and “racial” differentiation. This talk posits that medieval Muslim, Jewish, and Byzantine males will only be inscribed as “other” in the scholarly imagination as long as there are not more concerted efforts to explore the full range of constructions of masculinity from within those cultures and to undertake comparative analyses that transcend the privileging of the sources from Latin western Christendom. Using medieval Almohad, Merinid, and Castilian chronicles, I will undertake a cross-cultural analysis of Muslim and Christian constructions of masculinity and assess the significance of religious difference in the gendered depictions of male rivals and allies in both chronicle traditions.

Sponsored by the Medieval Studies Program


UCSB Middle East Ensemble with Special Guest Artist Karimnagi

Saturday, December 1 / 8pm / $15 General, $7 Students

(In advance at http://www.music.ucsb.edu or at the door)

Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

The UCSB Middle EastEnsemble presents its formal Fall Quarter concert on Saturday, December 1 featuring special guest, Karim Nagi, native Egyptian dancer, singer, and choreographer.  Also a renowned drummer, DJ, and creator of Turbo Tabla, Karim has released four internationally distributed CDs of this unique brand of Arab House/Electronica using acoustic instruments. He promotes and fosters the study of Arab dance in the USA as director of the Arab Dance Seminar. He taught at the New England Conservatory of Music for five years, and has lectured and presented at Harvard, MIT, Yale, Bowdoin, Princeton, Stanford, and around the world. In addition, Karim's Arabiqa program has conducted over 300 school assemblies across America, exposing young audiences to Arab traditional arts.

The concert will feature a number of vocal solos by Karim Nagi (a song by the beloved Egyptiansinger/composer, Sayyid Darwish, d. 1923), Feras Maidaa (the early 1980s pan-Arab hit, Layla Layla, by the Sa`udi singe rMuhammad `Abduh, b. 1949, and a popular dabke dance song from a play and film featuring the Lebanese superstar Fairouz, b. 1935), Melanie Hutton (a Nubian song and a hit dabke dance song by the Lebanese singer Diana Haddad, b. 1976), and by Andrea Fishman (two Moroccan Sephardic wedding songs).

Eric Ederer will lead the Ensemble in performing two Turkish pieces, including a popular song sung by the Ensemble's Giselle Garcia.  The Ensemble's Chorus will also perform three older songs, two from the 19th century and the 1954 song Kulli Dah Kan Leh by the legendary Egyptian singer/composer, Muhammad `Abd al-Wahhab (c.1900-1991).

The Ensemble's Dance Company will present a variety of dances, from Egypt (Karim's choreography), Nubian, Spanish-influenced, and Uzbek cultures, with choreographies by Sahra Saeeda, Laurel Victoria Grey, and Cris Basimah. Also featured will be two dances by the UCSB Armenian Student Association Dance Team, and an exciting solo dance finale by  special guest Karim Nagi.

Visit: http://www.music.ucsb.edu/mee


Spring 2012 Middle East Events

Russians in Central Asia: From the Former Imperial Minority to New Patterns of Integration
Sébastien Peyrouse (School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University)

Fri., April 6, 12:30 PM
Lane Room, Ellison Hall

Flyer (PDF)

Sébastien Peyrouse is a Senior Research Fellow with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a joint center affiliated with Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC, and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm.  He holds a Ph.D. from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Cultures (INALCO), France.  He is author or co-author of The Chinese Question in Central Asia: Domestic Order, Social Change, and The Chinese Factor, Central Asia in an Era of Globalization,  and Turkmenistan: Strategies of Power, Dilemmas of Development,  Histoire de l’Asie Centrale Contemporaine (History of Contemporary Central Asia),  and Les Russes du Kazakhstan: Identités Nationales et Nouveaux Etats dans L’espace Post-Soviétique (Russians in Kazakhstan: National identities and New States in the Post-Soviet Space).    Peyrouse has also co-edited volumes on Central Asia’s relations with India and China, and on political Islam in the former Soviet Union.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, the Dept. of Political Science, the Education Abroad Program, and the Dept. of History, and the IHC’s Identity RFG.


7th Annual Santa Barbara Human Rights Film Festival
Human Rights Films Day 2 

Wed., April 11, 7:00 PM
Pollock Theater 

General Public $10.00
UCSB Students $5.00
Evening Pass good for one or both films

7 PM 
Goodbye Mubarak! 

A revealing portrait of Egypt in the months leading up to the Tahrir Square demonstrations, when a revolution was already simmering under the surface. (Katia Jarjoura, 2011, 72 min.)

9 PM 
Fragments of a Revolution
An anonymous exiled filmmaker mixes online videos, clandestine emails and smuggled footage to tell the story of the street protests that swept Iran in 2009. (Anonymous, 2011, 57 min.)


TALK: Afghan Women and Youth Claiming the Public Spheres
Ashraf Zahedi (
Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women)

Tues., April 17, 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Afghan women and youth have been on the forefront of change and have drawn on all forms of publicity to create a favorable environment for progressive social change. They have drawn on social media to raise public awareness, mobilize people, and influence public policies. While focusing on the public spheres, they have simultaneously shaped the private sphere and generated sympathy for their causes. Whether they can build up on this success and expand their base of support beyond gender and generation remains to be seen and depends on many socio-economic, political, and cultural factors at the national and international levels.

Sponsored by Representing Rights, a research initiative sponsored by the Mellichamp Chairs of Global Studies and the Carsey-Wolf Center, and the IHC’s Public Goods series.


“Women in the Iranian Cinema” 
 Gohar Kheirandish, Actress and Director Based in Iran

Tues. April 23, 12:00 PM
McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020)

**Lecture in Persian with English translation**

Gohar Kheirandish, an award winning actress and director, was born in Iran. Her first movie was named “Rooz haye Entezaar” (The Days of Waiting) that was screened in 1986. She earned her acting and directing degree from the University of Tehran. Her first nationally successful movie was called “Baanoo” (The Lady).

 In 2004, Ms. Kheirandish had received the Best Actress Award at Shanghai International Film Festival. As of July 2009, she has starred in 41 popular movies and many popular television series, including “Vakoneshe Panjom” (The Fifth Reaction) and “Ertefahe Past” (Low Heights).

 Ms. Kheirandish will be making a brief visit to UCSB thanks to the invitation of Iranian Studies Initiative.

 This program was made possible with support from the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Fund for Global Religion and the Iranian Studies Initiative

Flyer (PDF)


Ahmed Rashid: Pakistan on the Brink—The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

Monday, April 30, 8:00 PM

Campbell Hall 
General Public $10.00
FREE for UCSB students

What are the possibilities – and hazards – facing the U.S. as it withdraws from Afghanistan and reviews its engagement in Pakistan? Where is the Taliban now in these two countries? In his engaging new work,Pakistan on the Brink, Pakistan’s preeminent journalist focuses on the long-term problems in the region and explores America’s options in a post-bin Laden era. Rashid is a regular contributor to the Financial Times andThe Washington Post.

Books will be available for purchase and signing

Link: https://artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu/Details.aspx?PerfNum=2337


Race Matters Series: Muslims and Arabs on TV in a Post-Racial America
Dina Ibrahim

Tues., May 15, 6:30 pm

Discussion/MCC Lounge

In a post-racial landscape, cable television comedies are going beyond the portrayals of Muslims as terrorists and are using humor to humanize Muslims and Arabs. This conversation will be a platform to discuss the evolving images of Islam and Arabs and how audiences are reading them. Dina Ibrahim is an Associate Professor in the Broadcasting & Electronic Communication Department at San Francisco State University.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, the Muslim Student Association, the Persian Student Group, and Students for Justice in Palestine.


“Variations on Kazakh-ness: What Internationally Competitive Sports Tell Us about Identity and Nation-Building in Kazakhstan” 
Barbara Junisbai, Assistant Dean of Faculty, Pitzer College 

Thurs., May 24th, 4:00pm 
Ellison Hall, Lane Rm. 

Barbara Junisbai studies the emergence of and variation in political opposition in the post-Soviet autocracies.  Her current study began with a simple question: Under what conditions are people-both ordinary citizens and elites who have amassed great power and wealth-willing to publicly challenge the regime and establish opposition movements, especially when doing so entails significant (and avoidable) risk?  In search of an answer, she is conducting a cross-national study of grassroots and elite-led opposition movements that have formed in the region from the late 1980s to the present.  The data reveal an interesting pattern regarding the role of business owners in opposition politics, one that challenges long-held assumptions about the causal link between privatization and political contestation.  This and other findings shed light on both the practices that undergird autocratic rule and the processes by which entrenched autocrats can be suddenly and unexpectedly toppled. 


Elephants in Late Antique Iran: Symbols of Kingship and Warfare

Touraj Daryaee
Howard C. Baskerville Professor in the History of Iran and the Persianate World
University of California, Irvine

Fri., May 25, 4:00 PM
HSSB 4041

Sponsored by the Ancient Borderlands Research Focus Group and the Ancient Mediterranean Studies Program

Flyer [pdf]


Cup of Culture: Ajami

Wed., May 30, 6 PM

Film Screening/MCC Theater

This film follows five stories about everyday life in Ajami, a religiously mixed community of Muslims and Christians in Tel Aviv, where Arabs, Palestinians, Jews, and Christians try to live together in an atmosphere that is—to say the least—electric.

Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, 124 min., Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles, 2009, Germany and Israel.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and  Santa Barbara Hillel.


Caught Up in Conflict: The Political Struggle of Sri Lanka's Muslims

Andreas Johansson
Lund University

Thurs., May 31, 2012, 12:00 NOON
Orfalea Center Seminar Room: 1005 Robertson Gym

Caught up in the middle of a civil war, the Muslim community of Sri Lanka is also struggling with its identity - the tension between being part of the Muslim Umma while also being 'Sri Lankan'. This presentation will introduce the Muslim community of Sri Lanka and focus on the biggest Muslim political party, the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress (SLMC), which has been
represented in the Sri Lankan parliament since 1989. In recent years scholars have noticed 'the Muslim factor' in Sri Lankan politics; this talk will problematize the issue of how the kinds of politics pursued by a religious minority party are characterized or categorized. Is the conception of the SLMC as being an Islamist party totally wrong?

Presented by The Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies


The UCSB Middle East Ensemble in Concert with guest dancer Sahra Saeeda

Sat., June 2, 8:00 pm
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UCSB
Tickets: at the door

The UCSB Middle East Ensemble presents its formal Spring Quarter concert on Saturday, June 2, with special guest dancer, Sahra Saeeda.  As a performer, Sahra performs Orientale and Egyptian Folkloric dance worldwide.  Los Angeles-based, she moved to Cairo to conduct dance research in 1989, and within the month received a contract with the Meridian-Heliopolis 5-star hotel.  She held a continuous 6-night a week contract there for nearly 6 years and holds the record in Cairo Egypt for the longest running contract of a foreign dancer at a 5-Star Hotel with over 1600 shows in Cairo, Egypt alone.  As a teacher, Sahra has taught (and performed) Egyptian style Orientale and Folkloric dance on five continents.  She continues teaching a full tour schedule 11 months a year.  As a Dance Ethnologist, Sahra has University degrees in Dance Ethnology (M.A., UCLA), Cultural Anthropology and Archeology (B.A., UCSB), and Dance (A.A., Palomar College).  After living, researching and performing in Cairo for 6 years (1989-1995) she returns to research in Egypt annually. 

The concert will feature a special solo on the Persian santur (hammered dulcimer) by UCSB lecturerBahram Osqueezadeh.  Bahram will also lead the ensemble in a set of 3 Persian songs featuring Javid John as solo vocalist.  Additionally, Andrea Fishman and Melanie Hutton will perform a variety of Sephardic songs, Talin Nalbandian will sing an Armenian song, Nour Mrabet (2011-2012 Fulbright Scholar and Arabic instructor) will perform a Tunisian song, Lillie Gordon will lead the ensemble in a song by the famed Egyptian singer and actress, Layla Murad (fl. 1930s-50s), and Javid John will perform an Azerbaijani song.

As always, the Ensembleʼs Dance Company will present a wonderful variety of dances, from Lebanese, Nubian, and Persian cultures. The Nubian dance features a choreography taught to our dance company by guest dancer, Sahra Saeeda.  We are also proud to feature a dance by the UCSB Armenian Student Association Dance Team, and an exciting solo dance by one of our long-time Dance Company members,Shannon Meyer.

For the concert finale, our special guest Sahra Saeeda will present a rousing extended solo dance performed to a composition that she had specially composed for her (featured in her 2011 CD Ashraf Zakaria presents Sahra Saeeda). 



Winter 2012 Middle East Events

Welcoming Reception for Yair Dalal
The Department of Music and the UCSB Middle East Ensemble

Wed., January 18
4 pm
Geiringer Hall

This quarter, the ensemble and chorus has a visiting co-director, Yair Dalal, a world-renowned Israeli violinist, `ud player, singer, and composer.  Of Iraqi-Jewish descent, Yair has numerous videos on YouTube, and six albums and 50 songs available on iTunes. 


“Taking it to the Streets:” Connecting the Arab Spring
Panel Discussion

Tues., January 24
7 pm
MCC Theater

Since the events of January 2011, the clamor for change and opportunity has continued to sweep not only through the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. In the past year, popular uprisings have swept across the United States, too, in the various "occupy" movements, and we’ve seen ordinary citizens stand up to authoritarian systems considered to be unjust. This panel will discuss comparisons, connections, and possible lessons to be learned from global crises and these widespread pro-democracy movements. Panelists include Salam al-Marayati, Executive Director, Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC); Juan Campo, Department of Religious Studies and Center for Middle East Studies; Nour M’rabet, Tunisian Fulbright FLTA, Department of Religious Studies; William I. Robinson, Department of Sociology; and moderator Kathleen M. Moore, professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Religious Studies. Co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the Religious Studies Department.


 "Non-Muslims in the Muslim Army in Early Islam"
Wadad Kadi, Professor Emerita, University of Chicago


January 29-February 2

January 31
5-6 pm
HSSB 4020


Crises in the Horn and the Gulf
Panel Discussion

Thurs., February 9
7 pm
MCC Theater

The Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula are wracked with a number of crises that have made this one of the most volatile parts of the world. Somalia and Yemen have become battlegrounds in the US "war on terror," replete with drone warfare, secret prisons, and proxy enforcers of US security. The revolutionary fervor that has swept the Arab world over the past year has been mercilessly crushed in Bahrain and turned into civil war in Yemen. This panel will address Sudan and geopolitics in the Horn, counter-revolution in the Gulf, and Eritrea's repressive authoritarian regime and the plight of refugees both inside and outside the country. Panelists include Toby C. Jones, assistant professor of History, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences; Khalid Medani, assistant professor of Political Science and Islamic studies at McGill University; and Mahader Tesfai, Living History Project Coordinator, Associated Students, UCSB. Co-sponsored by the A.S. Human Rights Board.


Lecture by Tooran Valimorad, Activist, Journalist and Writer Based in Iran In Persian with English translation

Wed., February 15, 2012
5:00 PM
HSSB 6020 (McCune Conference Room)
Free and Open to the Public

Tooran Valimorad is an activist, journalist, and specialist on women's rights in Iran. She has written extensively about Iranian women’s social and political status. Ms. Valimorad is the elected research director of Jameye Zeinab (Zeinab Society), a group of activist women who have launched several campaigns, in order to overturn some of the discriminatory laws against women. She was also the former producer and spokesperson for the Ordibehesht television series which tackled women’s issues in Iran. She is currently a commentator and researcher for various Iranian Films, including “She was an Angel." Ms. Valimorad has spoken at numerous conferences and written several books and articles on the subject of women’s status in the public and private domain of Iranian society. These include “The Bird of Dawn,” and “Status of Women in the Media.” She is currently one of the active members of Etelafe Islami Zanan (Coalition of Muslim Women) and the director and coordinator of Shabakeye Iran Zanan, which is dedicated to the work of activist Iranian women.

This program was made possible with support from the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Fund for Global Religion and the Iranian Studies Initiative


Islamic Studies Graduate Student Conference

February 17-19, Mosher Alumni House

Details to follow


Johan Elverskog
Author of Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road

Tues., February 21
4-6 pm
Location TBD

The meeting of Buddhism and Islam is often conceived within a single moment, namely, the Turkic destruction of the famous monastery Nalanda, which purportedly ushered in the demise of Buddhism in India. And no doubt one reason this single event has come to symbolize the on-going 1300 year process of Buddhist-Muslim interaction lies in the fact that it readily confirms our preconceived imaginings: Islam is bad and violent, while Buddhism is good and peaceful. Yet clearly it was not so simple. The aim of this talk is therefore to problematize this image by exploring the cultural exchanges that took place between Buddhists and Muslims on the Silk Road.


CONFERENCE: Constitutional Politics in Modern Iran - Looking at the Past and Implications for the Future

March 1-3, 2012
Loma Pelona Center

Flyer Conference Program


UCSB Middle East Ensemble
End-of-Quarter Concert

Sat., March 10
Time TBA
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall


Changing Societies, Changing Party Systems.   Sephardi and Russian Jewish immigration in Israel and African American enfranchisement in the United States. 
Heather Stoll, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, UCSB 

Wed., March 14th
Ellison Hall, Lane Rm. 

Professor Stoll will speak on her forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press, Changing Societies, Changing Party Systems.   The presentation will focus on the two case studies presented in the book, one on Israel (Sephardi and Russian Jewish immigration) and the other on the United States (African American enfranchisement). 

Copies of the manuscript can be downloaded at: 

This book explores how changes in society that increase the heterogeneity of the citizenry, from immigration to expansions in the franchise, shape democratic political competition; the ways in which political institutions and other factors (both systemic and group-specific) condition this process; and the normative implications of the different paths to political representation that new social groups can take. More specifically, it asks (1) whether new social groups are successful at forming their own sectarian political parties and why and (2) whether it matters for democratic representation if they are. Israel (Sephardi and Russian Jewish immigration) and the United States (African American enfranchisement) are the two case studies. 


"Variations on Kazakh-ness: What Internationally Competitive Sports Tell Us about Identity and Nation-Building in Kazakhstan." 
Barbara Junisbai, Assistant Dean of Faculty, Pitzer College 

Thurs., May 24th, 4:00pm 
Ellison Hall, Lane Rm. 

Barbara Junisbai studies the emergence of and variation in political opposition in the post-Soviet autocracies.  Her current study began with a simple question: Under what conditions are people-both ordinary citizens and elites who have amassed great power and wealth-willing to publicly challenge the regime and establish opposition movements, especially when doing so entails significant (and avoidable) risk?  In search of an answer, she is conducting a cross-national study of grassroots and elite-led opposition movements that have formed in the region from the late 1980s to the present.  The data reveal an interesting pattern regarding the role of business owners in opposition politics, one that challenges long-held assumptions about the causal link between privatization and political contestation.  This and other findings shed light on both the practices that undergird autocratic rule and the processes by which entrenched autocrats can be suddenly and unexpectedly toppled. 



Fall 2011 Middle East Events

“Not in the Age of the Pharoahs: Contemporary Art, the Arab Spring, and After”
Bruce Ferguson

Tues., Sept. 27, 2011
5-7 p.m.
Broida Hall

Bruce Ferguson, former Dean of the Arts at Columbia University, is currently Dean of the  Humanities and Social Sciences at the American University in Cairo.


Cup of Culture  
Film Screening
“Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam”

Wed., Oct. 5, 2011
6 pm  
MCC Theater

This film follows Michael and his real-life kindred spirits on their first U.S. tour, where they incite a riot of young hijabi girls at the largest Muslim gathering in North America after Sena takes the stage. The film then travels with them to Pakistan, where members of the first Taqwacore band, The Kominas, bring punk to the streets of Lahore and Michael begins to reconcile his fundamentalist past with the rebel he has now become. Omar Majeed, 80 min., English, 2009, Canada.


“Social Media, Youth and the Jasmine Revolution” (AKA “The Arab Spring”)
Professor Raja Labadi Boussedra
Université de Carthage, Institut Supérieur des Langues de Tunis

Thurs., October 6, 2011
12:00 noon
4063 South Hall

Social media, from blogs to Facebook pages to Twitter feeds and cell phone videotaping, has been instrumental in rallying Tunisian youth, regardless of their differences, to organise an unprecedented protest movement that led to the toppling of Tunisia's autocratic President Ben Ali and rocked the entire region to its very core. As a lead source for breaking news, social media helped to mediate the coverage of demonstrations, sit-ins and violent protests in response to police brutality. In consequence, these actions brought the voices of Tunisian youth not only to the attention of the world but also to those in power forcing them to stay on their toes, and demonstrate that they count with the people. Heralded at first as an instrument of liberation, social media is now becoming, in the hands of some, an influential tool for a game of power relations, which manipulates a socially unaware community, feeds baseless rumors and rioting and complicates an already complex transition. The talk will examine the role of social media in the recent upheaval in Tunisia and in the Arab world and it will consider the reverse effect it is having in the post-revolution era.


Hisham Matar
Author of In the Country ofMen and Anatomy of a Disappearance (2011)

Fri., Oct. 7, 12:00 noon
Founders Room, Kerr Student Center
Westmont College

Hisham Matar was born in New York City to Libyan parents and spent his childhood first in Tripoli and then in Cairo. His first novel, In the Country of Men, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Guardian First Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It won six international literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. It has been translated into twenty-six languages. His second novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, has just been published. Matar lives in London, and serves as an associate professor at Barnard College.


Peace through Prosperity: Jewish – Arab Economic Development in Israel
Helmi Kittani, Executive Director and Eytan Biderman, Director, Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development, Herzliya, Israel

Sun., October 16, 3:00 p.m.
UCSB (Location TBA)

Co-sponsored by the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, and the Center for Middle East Studies.                   


CMES Beginning of the Year Party -- Meet and Greet -- FREE FOOD!!

Monday, October 17, 12 noon to 2 pm, HSSB 4020

Come meet new grad students, new MES Majors, faculty members, this year's Fulbright FLTAs from Tunisia and Turkey!


"Masculinity in the Middle East: Discourses of  'Men in Crisis' in a Time of Revolution"
Workshop with Paul Amar, Associate Professor of Global Studies, UCSB

Monday, Oct 17, noon
IHC Research Seminar Room (6056 HSSB)

How do everyday theories of masculinity and discourses of "men  in crisis" play a role in mis-recognizing and de-politicizing emergent  social forces in the Middle East? How can a new lens for critical  research offer a view into the "disruptions" occurring in the politics  of gender in a time of revolution? During this generative Brown Bag  Lunch Workshop we will read a pre-circulated paper by Professor Paul  Amar (Global Studies).  You may download a copy of the paper at: http://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/newsexualities


The Arab Spring: Where are the Swallows? 

Heather Keaney (graduate of the UCSB History Dept, now Asst Prof of History at Westmont College) and Jim Wright. 

5:30 pm, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011 
University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara Street 
Downtown Santa Barbara  FREE


Militant Femininities, “Enlightened Moderation,” & the Global War on Terror: Pakistan’s Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) Movement 

Dr. Khanum Shaikh 

University of California Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, UCSB Dept. of History 
WHEN: Thursday, October 20, 2011 -- 12:30PM 
WHERE: Orfalea Center Seminar Room, 1005 Robertson Gym

Presented by the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies


Hamid Naficy and Shahla Haeri
Iranian Studies Initiative Lecture

Friday, Oct. 21, 3-5:00 p.m.
McCune Room, HSSB 6th floor

Hamid Naficy is Professor of Radio-Television-Film and the Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Communication at Northwestern Uni- ver­sity, and he is also an affiliate faculty in Art History. He is a leading au­thority in cultural studies of diaspora, exile, and postcolonial cinemas and media and of Iranian and Middle Eastern cinemas. His Latest books are An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking and A Social History of Iranian Cinema, a 4-volume book, whose first two volumes have just been released.

Shahla Haeri is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and the former director of Women’s Studies Program (2001-2010) at Boston Uni­versity. She will be a Visiting Fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for International and Regional Studies in Doha, Qatar for 2011-2012. She is the author of Law of Desire: Temporary Marriage, Mut’a, in Iran (1989, 2006 4th pt.), and No Shame for the Sun: Lives of Professional Pakistani women (2002/2004), and a video documentary, “Mrs. Presi­dent: Women and Political Leadership in Iran, 2002” (www.films.com).

Sponsored by Iranian Studies Initiative, the Center for Middle East Studies, Feminist Studies & Hull Chair, EVC Lucas, Mellichamp Funds, Department of Religious Studies


From Texas to Teheran: An Evening of Modern Classical Persian Music 
with Fared Shafinury and Friends 

Friday, October 21, 8 pm 
Music Performance/MCC Theater 

Iranian-American singer/songwriter Fared Shafinury stands out from his contemporaries both in his powerful voice and radiff influenced compositions. Shafinury has studied under some of Iran's most prominent Masters including Ostad Mozaffari, Ostad Zolghadr, Ostad Shaari, Ostad Soukuti, and Ostad Mohammad Reza Lotfi. In his hands, the setar, Fared's virtuoso specialty, produces a sound that is simultaneously singular in character and universal in appeal. Tickets are $5 students, $15 general admission. Contact the A.S Ticket Office at 805-893-2064 from Monday to Thursday 10 am - 5 pm and Friday, 10 am - 4 pm. No extra charge for telephone orders. Limited seating.


Shirin Ebadi
Hamdani World Harmony Lecture Series 

Sun., October 23, 3:00 p.m.
Campbell Hall

Copies of her new book, The Golden Cage: Three Brothers, Three Choices, One Destiny, will be available for purchase and signing. 

This event is presented by the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at UCSB.


Christophe Picard (Université de Paris I, Sorbonne). 
Abbasid Jihad and Ribat in the Ninth-Century Mediterranean 

Wednesday, October 26
4:00 pm
HSSB 4020 

Christophe Picard is a research professor at the Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and a fellow of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He is a specialist on the history of the Medieval Mediterranean, Muslim maritime history, Mozarabs, and the history of the Ribat. His publications include: Espaces et réseaux en Méditerranée. VIe-XVIe siècle, I, La configuration des réseaux(Paris, 2007); Byzance et ses périphéries (Monde grec, balkanique et musulman). Hommage à Alain Ducellier (Toulouse, 2004) ed., with B. Doumerc; El Océano Atlàntico musulmàn. Navegacion en as costas de al-Andalus y el Magreb occidental (Granada, 2004); Le monde musulman du XIe au XVe siècle (Paris, 2001); L’Occident d’al-Andalus sous domination islamique (Paris, 2000); and ed., La Méditerranée entre pays d'Islam et monde latin (milieu Xe-milieu XIIIe siècle) (Paris, 2000). 

Sponsored by the Medieval Studies Program, CMES, the Department of History, the UC Multi-Campus Research Project, and the IHC.


Identity, Commemoration and Remembrance: Funerary Practice and Contested Identities in Sudanese Nubia During the time of the Kushite Pharaohs (c. 750-650 BCE)

Stuart Tyson Smith (Anthropology, UCSB)

Thursday, November 3
4:00 pm
Lane Room, Ellison Hall

Professor Smith’s research centers on the civilizations of ancient Egypt and Nubia. He is particularly interested in the identification of ethnicity in the archaeological record and the ethnic dynamics of colonial encounters. The origins of the Napatan state, whose rulers conquered Egypt, becoming Pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty, provides the focus of his current archaeological research. He has published on the dynamics of Egyptian imperialism and royal ideology, the use of sealings in administration, death and burial in ancient Egypt and Nubia, and the ethnic, social and economic dynamics of interaction between ancient Egypt and Nubia.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Identity RFG.


After a Decade of “War on Terror” How Have Human Rights and Civil Liberties Fared? 
Ahilan Arulanantham, Asli Ü. Bâli and Lisa Hajjar

Monday, November 7
7:00 pm 
UCSB Multi Cultural Center Theater 

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there have been unprecedented changes in US government policies toward human rights and civil liberties. This panel will highlight the sweeping use of immigration detention and deportations of Muslims, FBI entrapment of Muslims and other activists, the significance of the official authorization of a policy of torture and extra-judicial assassination, and the failure of the country to pursue any modicum of accountability for those responsible for state crimes. Panelists include Ahilan Arulanantham, the ACLU/Southern California deputy legal director; Asli Ü. Bâli, assistant professor of international law at UCLA Law School; Lisa Hajjar, associate professor of Sociology at UCSB.

Co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union-Santa Barbara Chapter; A.S. Human Rights Board; the Center for Middle East Studies; the Center for New Racial Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara; and the Sociology Department.


UCSB students in Armenia: Installing Internet in a remote village and running an educational camp

Tuesday November 8 at 8 pm in the Student Resource Building (SRB)

Come to hear about a team of UCSB students who journeyed across the 
mountains of Armenia to install Internet connectivity and run an 
educational day camp for isolated villagers. 

www.hiddenroadinitiative.com - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV2qC9hOcV0

The presentation will include: 

   1. A live skype interview with students in Armenia.  
   2. A feature short movie filmed by the village students. 
   3. Honorary Guest: Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Dr Michael Young

* Middle Eastern refreshments will be served!*


Arab Spring / American Autumn: Reclaiming the Public Sphere 
Swati Chattopadhyay (History of Art and Architecture, UCSB) , Nuha Khoury (History of Art and Architecture, UCSB) , Alice O'Connor (History, UCSB)

Tuesday, November 15 / 4:00 PM 
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB 

From Beirut to Cairo to Tunis, the Arab Spring has played out in public space in ways that extend to the American Autumn and New York. This panel asks how and why public space, as a physical place of gathering in these varied locations, works to alter public opinion in the digital age. What are the mechanisms of overlap and intersection among them, and between public space and the public sphere?


Informational Meeting for the Model Arab League

Wednesday, 16 November at 4PM in HSSB 3001E

UCSB will represent Saudi Arabia at the 2012 Model Arab League (MAL).  MAL is a debate competition that simulates the workings of the Arab League.  Similar to the Model United Nations program, it offers a forum for university students from across the West Coast to debate international issues from the perspective of particular Arab states.  UCSB’s MAL club meets weekly during Winter Quarter in preparation.  If you’re interested in diplomacy, global politics, the Middle East, Palestine, Arabic, or Islam, MAL is the club for you.  Students from all majors and backgrounds are welcome to participate.  If you cannot make it to the informational meeting but want to be involved, please contact the MAL graduate student advisor: andrew_magnusson@umail.ucsb.edu


Project Nur: “Memoirs of the Egyptian Revolution”

Friday, Nov. 18 7:00 pm
Student Resource Building Multi-Purpose Room

Students share their experiences in Cairo during the Egyptian Revolution. Other panelists include Juan Campo, Stephen Humphreys, and Kathie Moore.



Spring 2011 Middle East Events

"Bravest Woman in  Afghanistan"

Malalai Joya
Friday, April 8 at 12:00pm 
MCC Lounge

Malalai Joya is an activist, writer and a former politician from Afghanistan. She served as a female Parliamentarian in the National Assembly of Afghanistan from 2005 until early 2007. She is an outspoken critic of the first ever democratically elected Karzai administration and its western supporters, particularly the United States.


"How National is Islamic Identity in Central Asia?" 

John Schoeberlein (Harvard University) 
Monday, April 11 at 4:00 PM 
Lane Room, 3rd Floor Ellison Hall 

John Schoberlein is Director of the Program on Central Asia and the  Caucasus at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and  Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University. 

Sponsored by IHC RFG on Identity, Dept.of Political Science, Dept. of  History, Center for Middle East Studies


Women Islamizing the Nation: reformers, militants, and new spaces for women's religious education in pakistan

Dr. Khanum Shaikh
Wednesday April 13th, 2011
4-5 p.m.
HSSB 4041


Cup of Culture

Wednesday, April 20, 6 pm
Film Screening/MCC Theater

Ayed Morrar, an unlikely community organizer, unites Palestinians from all political factions and Israelis to save his village from destruction by Israel's Separation Barrier. Victory seems improbable until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women's contingent that quickly moves to the front lines. Budrus shines a light on people who choose nonviolence to confront a threat yet remain virtually unknown to the world. Julia Bacha, 82 min., English, 2010, USA.


Islamic Finance: The Art of Banking Without Interest

Tuesday, April 26, 2011  8:30 - 10 pm
Student Resource Building Multi-Purpose Room

Speaker Mike Abdelaaty, President and COO of American Finance House  LARIBA and Chief Credit Officer at the Bank of Whittier, will discuss  the art of banking and finance in the United States that complies with  Shariah Law. As a discipline that prohibits the charging of interest,  Islamic Finance emphasizes the social responsibility the banker has  with customers and the prudential rules of low-risk money investments.


Najib Bounahai: Professor of Higher Education, Ibn Tofail University, Morocc

Friday, April 29th 1:00 - 3:00pm
SSMS Building 201
Moroccan pastries and Moroccan tea will be served

The talk is about the interplay between cinema and politics in Morocco over the last ten years. Morocco has initiated several
ambitious and bold reforms as well as actions considered progressive by regional standards. It started with gouvernement
d'alternance in the late nineties; and having parties of the left in government was a major turnaround in the history of
Moroccan politics. This government launched an overhauling of the family code, unanimously approved by state apparatus,
parliament, public authorities and welcomed by liberal and radical groups, but obviously resented by Islamic groups who
could see in such a move a challenge to Islamic doctrine. In its substantially revised version, the new family code significantly empowered women and polarized the Moroccan society. Inconsistent and oftentimes conflicting discourses on women quickly found their way to the screen, inscribing Moroccan cinema as an important agent of political and social change.

Najib Bounahai is a Professor of Higher Education at Ibn Tofail University in Morocco. He received his Ph. D in
Drama from Tufts University in 2001. He received his Diploma in Dramatic Art from Webber Douglas Academy
of Dramatic Art, London in 1990. He received his Masters in Drama from Essex University, Great Britain in 1986


Ground Zero and Anti-Muslim Sentiments

Maher Hathout, Nuha Khoury, and Edward Linenthal
Thursday, May 5, 7:30 pm
Panel Discussion/MCC Theater

The battle over plans to build a Muslim religious center near ground zero has thrown into sharp relief anti-Muslim rhetoric that contradicts American values of religious tolerance. This panel will explore the origin of these sentiments in the context of ground zero as an emotionally-charged memorial space, and the exploitation of this history for political and ideological purposes. Maher Hathout is a Senior Advisor at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Los Angeles;  Nuha Khoury, is a professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at UCSB; and Edward Linenthal is professor of History at the University of Indiana. Co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies; the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center's Geographies of Place series; the Muslim Student Association; and the Walter Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life.


Dialogues for Peace: A Conversation Between American and Iraqi University Students with filmmaker Mark Manning ("Road to Fallujah")

Sunday, May 15, 2011
TIME: 9:00 PM
LOCATION: Community Affairs Board Office, Room 2523 (2nd floor Associated Students above the Mulitcultural Center, next to Corwin Pavilion, UCen)

9:00    Screening Documentary Film, The Road to Fallujah
10:00  Introduction
10:30  Live Satellite Videoconference with students at Islamic University, Baghdad


Winter 2011 Middle East Events


Basem L. Ra’ad
“Hidden Histories:  Naming/Unnaming”

Jan. 12, 5:00 PM 
HSSB 3041

Professor Basem Ra’ad will speak about naming and unnaming as they appear in contemporary practices of historical representation and narration.  The talk is related to Professor Ra’ad’s recent book, Hidden Histories:  Palestine and The Eastern Mediterranean, which has been characterized as “A Study in deep time, wide space … an anthropology of the present” (Gayatri Spivak) and a “brilliant tour de force of recovery, decolonization, re-vision, and inclusivity” (Hilton Obenziger).  Professor Ra’ad offers alternative readings of the history of the ‘Holy Land’ and the ‘cradle of civilization’ in what Naseer Aruri described as “the first corrective history of Palestine, its people, its region, and its culture.”  

 Basem L. Ra’ad is a Professor at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.  Born in Jerusalem, he received his education in Jordan, Lebanon, the U.S. and Canada, earning a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in 1978. He has been an editor and community organizer, and has taught in Canada, Bahrain, Lebanon and Palestine.



Cup of Culture
Film: “Pinjar “

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 6pm, MCC Theater

Based on a novel by Amrita Pritam, Pinjar is a human saga set during the Indo - Pakistani partition. The story reveals many of the types of tragic atrocities committed during this time period, such as incidents of rape that plundered towns along the border.  It illustrates the existence of love and victory during a backdrop of hate and violence.

Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, 187 min., Hindi, 2003, India.



Film Screening and Dialogue with Norwegian Film Director Vibeke Løkkeberg

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, 7:00pm – 9:00pm 
UCSB Campus - Multi-Cultural Theater

Disturbing, powerful, and emotionally devastating, 'Tears of Gaza' is 
less a conventional documentary than a record – presented with minimal 
gloss – of the 2008 to 2009 bombing of Gaza by the Israeli military. 
Photographed by several Palestinian cameramen both during and after 
the offensive, this powerful film by director Vibeke Løkkeberg focuses 
on the impact of the attacks on the civilian population. The film 
shuttles between the actual bombings and the aftermath on the streets 
and in the hospitals. The footage of the bombs landing is indelible 
and horrifying, but it is on par with much of the explicit imagery on 
hand. Years of economic embargo have left the area deprived of 
resources and have strained an already impoverished infrastructure. 
'Tears of Gaza' demands that we examine the costs of war on a civilian 

This film screening is presented by Students for Justice in Palestine and the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies. 



Panel Discussion: “Why Do they Fear Us? Religious and Racial Profiling of Muslims Today”

Thursday, Jan. 27, 6:30 pm 
MCC Lounge

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 resulted in a growing public suspicion and mistrust toward Muslims and Islam. This year, the debate over the proposed site of Park51, or the "Ground Zero mosque" caused an uproar and increase of Islamophobia. Recently, the TSA has tightened airport security measures by installing Advanced Imaging Technology and full-body scanners. Muslims are often stopped and searched when they fly, women wearing head scarves have become a target, and hate crimes against Muslims have spiked. In this panel, Elliott Bazzano and Sohaira Siddiqui, graduate students in the Department of Religious Studies, will discuss their experiences as Muslims in the United States today; Muslims as the new targeted group; racism, discrimination, and religious and racial profiling. Eddy F. Alvarez, graduate student in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and VP, Internal Affairs for the Graduate Students Association; Reginald Archer, graduate student in the Department of Geography; and Lily Anne Y. Welty, graduate student in the History Department and the VP of Academic Affairs for the Graduate Students Association, will share similar experiences of profiling, policing, and criminalization of other historically targeted communities.

The panel will be moderated by Walid Afifi, Professor in the Department of Communication at UCSB.



Middle East Studies Informational Meeting:



We will be providing information about MES resources at UCSB, as well as EAP study opportunities, other study abroad programs, summer intensive language programs, Boren Scholarships, Fulbright fellowships, Fulbright-Hays, Critical Language Fellowships, Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA), ARCE, ARIT, AIMS, CAORC, Peace Corps, Rotary Club scholarships, government career opportunities, applying to graduate school, post-doc fellowships, etc.


The final section of the meeting will talk about the logistics of fellowship application writing, how to ask for letters of recommendation, how to write the right statement of purpose for the right grant, and so forth.

We would particularly appreciate it if students who have been on any of the above programs and fellowships would come and share their knowledge about how the application process and your evaluation of your experiences.



Roundtable discussion: Political Upheaval in the Middle East 

Doors open at 6 pm
Corwin Pavilion

Description forthcoming.



Laila El Haddad

Mon., February 14, 12:00 noon
MCC Lounge

Based in both Gaza and North Carolina, El Haddad for the past three years has been reporting for Aljazeera International on Palestinians in Gaza since the Israeli disengagement from that territory. Her work has also been carried on Pacifica Radio's "Free Speech Radio," and has appeared in the Guardian Unlimited, Le Monde Diplomatique, the New Statesman and several other news sources. She is also the author of Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything In Between.

In addition to her journalism and other writing, El Haddad writes a blog titled "Raising Yousuf." Named for her young son, this blog highlights the experiences of Palestinian mothers as they raise children under conditions of foreign occupation.

El Haddad holds a B.A. from Duke University in Political Science and Comparative Areas Studies (2000) and an M.A. in Policy Studies from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.



Cup of Culture—Meet the Filmmaker
Film:  “City of Borders”

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 6 pm, MCC Theater

In the heart of Jerusalem stands an unusual symbol of unity that defies generations of segregation, violence, and prejudice: a gay bar called Shushan. City of Borders goes inside this underground sanctuary where people of opposing nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations create an island of peace in a land divided by war.

Discussion with the director following the screening.

Yun Suh, 66 min., English, 2009, USA



Fall 2010 Middle East Events:


“Achieving a Two-State Solution” with Moshe Halbertal and Raghida Dergham

Sunday Oct. 17, 3:00 pm, Corwin Pavilion

A dialogue between Moshe Halbertal, noted Israeli philosopher, award-winning author, and Professor of Jewish Thought and Philosophy at Hebrew University, and Raghica Dergham, columnist and senior diplomatic correspondent for the London-based newspaper, Al-Hayat, and political analyst for NBC, MSNBC, and Arab satellite LBC

Co-sponsored by the Taubman Foundation and CMES


“Edward Said's Palestine/Israel: Inclusion Without Domination” with Nubar Hovsepian

Monday Oct. 18, 3:00 pm, SSMS 2nd floor, Conference Room 2135

The talk will situate Said's position in the context of his humanist and worldly concerns such as the World, the Text and the Critic. Professor Hovsepian (Political Science, Chapman University) is completing a book about Edward Said.

Hosted by Middle East Studies, Global Studies, Orfalea Center, UCSB


“ Forget the Turkish in the New Cinema of Turkey” Savas Arslan, Bahcesehir University

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 3-4:30 pm, 2135 SSMS


Roundtable: “Islam and Politics in Turkey Today” with Nancy Gallagher (roundtable convener), Ahmet Temel, Kathie Moore, Garay Menicucci

Wednesday Oct. 20, 5:00-6:30 pm, HSSB 4041

This roundtable will address the rapid growth of Islamist political parties, the expanding Turkish economy and the rise of the "Anatolian Tigers," and new cultural trends in Turkey.

Coffee, tea, and cookies will be served


Film in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps: "Frontrunner: The Afghan Woman Who Surprised the World"

Thursday, Oct. 21, 6:00 pm, UCSB Women's Center

Featuring a special appearance by film's director, and Emmy Award-winning producer, Virginia Williams.

Co-sponsored by CMES and the UCSB Women's Center


"The American Friends of the Middle East: The CIA, Arabism, and Anti-Zionism in Cold War America" with Hugh Wilford

Thursday, Oct. 28, 12:30 pm, McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020)

Hugh Wilford is Professor of U.S. history at California State University, Long Beach. He is the author of several books on Cold War American culture and politics, including The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (Harvard, 2008). He is now writing a book on the American Friends of the Middle East.


"The Manhattan Mosque and Burning Qur'ans: Placing an American Dilemma in Perspective" with Clark Roof (moderator), Juan Campo, Richard Hecht, Kathleen Moore, Salim Yacub

Wednesday, Nov. 3, 4:00 pm, Corwin Pavilion

America's Muslims have become a flashpoint for public debate about freedom of religion, freedom of speech, civil rights, and U.S. relations with Muslim majority countries in the Middle East and Asia. Recently there has been an outcry about the propriety of building an Islamic center (or mosque) near the site of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. There also appears to be a rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric and incidents around the country, including threats to stage burnings of the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an. Four UCSB faculty experts from the departments of Religious Studies and History will discuss and assess these developments with an aim to enhance public understanding of the issues involved and their consequences.


"The Hijabi Monologues" with May Alhassen

Monday, Nov. 8, 7:30 pm, Performance/MCC Theater

The Hijabi Monologues is about the power of storytelling. It is about creating a space for American Muslim women to share experiences; a space to breathe as they are; a space that does not claim to tell every story and speak for every voice.

Co-sponsored by the A.S. Womyn's Commission, the Muslim Student Association, Persian Student Group, and Students for Justice in Palestine.


"Our Summer in Tehran" (Film)

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 7:30 pm, Campbell Hall Tickets: $5 students, $6 general.
Call the A&L ticket office at 805-893-3535.

Our Summer in Tehran transports us into the seldom seen realm of middle class family life in Iran transcending overt politics in favor of subtle, human, and often humorous moments. Discussion with the filmmaker, Justine Shapiro, following the screening.

Co-presented with Arts & Lectures, Muslim Students Association, and Persian Student Group.


"UCSB Middle East Ensemble Concert"

Saturday, Nov. 20, 8:00 pm, Lotte Lehmann Hall
$15/General, $7/Student, tickets at the door


Symposium: "National Identities: The Changing Identities of Central Asia, Russia, and the Caucasus"

Monday, Nov. 22, 1:00-5:00 pm, McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020)

The geography of Eurasia is inhabited by populations whose understanding of identity has been redefined due to the shifting borders of empire and nation. The Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the new states emerging in post-Soviet space have all sought to create new categories for inhabitants' identities. The geographical units have had to adapt to older, deep seated identities rooted in clan, religion, and nomadic vs. sedentary cultures. New national identities compete with older, embedded identities as suggested in the tragic violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan, Andjion in Uzbekistan in which religious issues led to violence, and the emigration out of Kazakhstan by ethnic Russians and into it by ethnic Kazakhs from China. The symposium will include experts on Central Asian identities, Armenian identity and Russian identity.

The symposium is part of the IHC Series on Geographies of Place, sponsored by the IHC Research Focus Group on Identity.


“Bilal’s Stand” (Film)

Monday, Nov. 22, 5:30 pm, UCSB Multicultural Center Theater

Followed by discussion with film’s director, Sultan Sharrief

Co-sponsored by the Black Student Union, UCSB Muslim Students Association and Islamic Relief




Spring 2010 Middle East Events:

Memory and Literacy: the Oral and the Written in Early Islam

Gregor Schoeler

Monday, March 29, 2010
2001 Social Sciences & Media Studies
4-6 pm


The Earliest Accounts of the Hijra of Muhammad

Gregor Schoeler

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
HSSB 3024 (RS Library)
12 noon to 1:30 pm


Elin SuleymanovWestern Energy Security:
The Eurasian East-West Energy Corridor?

Elin Suleymanov
Consul General of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Thursday, April 8, 2010
Orfalea Center seminar room, 1005 Robertson Gym
12 noon

Sponsored by The Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies.



Norman H. GershmanBesa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in WWII

Norman H. Gershman

Sunday, April 11, 2010
3:00 pm
UCSB Campbell Hall

Fine art photographer Norman Gershman spent five years collecting the stories of Albanian Muslims who, at grave risk to themselves and their families, harbored Jewish refugees during WWII as part the Islamic tradition of Besa, or sanctuary. They protected the entire Jewish population of their cities and villages and also saved thousands of Jews from other European countries who were fleeing the Nazis. Gershman’s work is found in the permanent collection of museums around the world. Since 2007, his photographs have been exhibited at Yad Vashem in Israel, at the United Nations’ Headquarters in New York, and at the European Union Headquarters in Strasbourg, France. The stories in his book, Besa, are also the subject of a full-length documentary, God's House. Copies of Besa will be available for purchase and signing at this at this free, public event commemorating Yom HaShoah and inaugurating Holocaust Remembrance Week at UCSB.

Sponsored by The Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UC Santa Barbara, a program of the IHC, and cosponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures, the Dept. of Religious Studies, Congregation B'nai B'rith, the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Hillel, the Center for Middle East Studies, the MultiCultural Center, and the Anti-Defamation League.

Website: www.ihc.ucsb.edu/events/endowed/taubman.html  


FLTA Forum: A discussion with our FLTAs from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Jordan

Thursday, April 15, 2010
2001 Social Sciences & Media Studies
5-7 pm


Vanessa Paloma
Scholar and Performer of Sephardic Music from Morocco

Morning appearance in World Music class
Afternoon appearance in Ethnomusicology Forum (Music Dept)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Time and location to be announced  


The Fourth Annual Israeli-Palestinian Film Festival

Thursday, April 29th, 8pm
"AJAMI" (Nominated Best Foreign Film 2010, Israeli Drama)
UCSB MultiCultural Center Lounge

Friday, April 30th, 8pm
"AMREEKA" (US Comedy)
UCSB Mosher Alumni House

Monday, May 3rd, 8pm
"CITY OF BORDERS" (US, Documentary)
UCSB MultiCultural Center Lounge

Tuesday, May 4th, 8pm
w/ Director Alexander Klein
UCSB MultiCultural Center Theater

Wednesday, May 5th, 8pm
"KIROT" (Israeli Thriller)
UCSB Mosher Alumni House

UCSB Storke Lagoon
7pm Dinner & Sumo Wrestling
8pm Outdoor Screening
"A MATTER OF SIZE" (Israeli Comedy)


Grigor HovhannissianArmenia and the Middle East:
Recent Political Developments in the Region

Grigor Hovannisyan
Consul General of the Republic of Armenia

Thursday, April 29, 2010
McCune Conference Room, HSSB
4:00 - 6:00 pm

In his presentation, Consul General Hovhannissian will touch upon the current state of Armenian-Turkish relations and on the impact of the stalled Armenian-Turkish normalization process on regional dynamics. In this context, the Consul General will particularly focus on the typology and the current state of the "frozen" Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Grigor Hovhannissian has extended professional experience in international affairs. He graduated from the department of Oriental Studies of the Yerevan State University; he holds MA degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (MA). For twelve years Mr. Hovhannissian held various positions with the secretariat of the United Nations in a number of countries, including the Great Lakes of Africa, the Republic of Congo, ex-Zaire, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, etc. From 2006 through 2008 he headed the "Shushi Revival" fund and taught Middle East politics at the Yerevan State University. Prior to his appointment as Armenia's Consul General in Los Angeles, Mr. Hovhannissian served as an advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia.

*Armenian music and refreshments served following talk

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies – UCSB and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center

Click for Event Flyer (pdf)


Iranian Film Series: Featured by Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa

Thursday, May 6, 2010
HSSB, Room 1174
5:00 pm


"Shirin" By Abbas Kiarostami (2008)
A hundred and fourteen famous Iranian theater and cinema actresses and a French star are mute spectators at a theatrical representation of Khosrow and Shirin, a Persian poem from the twelfth century. The development of the text remains invisible to the viewer of the film; the whole story is told by the faces of the women watching the performance. 





"Fireworks" By Asghar Farhadi (2006)
On the last Wednesday before the spring solstice ushers in the Persian New Year, people set off fireworks in an ancient Zoroastrian tradition. Rouhi, spending her first day at a new job, finds herself in the midst of a different kind of fireworks, a domestic dispute between her new boss and his wife. 


Professor Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa is a filmmaker and an associate professor in the Film & Video Department of Columbia College Chicago. She has written and lectured extensively on Iranian cinema. Her publications include Abbas Kiarostami co-authored with Jonathan Rosenbaum. She has also served as the artistic consultant to the Annual Festival of Films from Iran at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago.

This program was made possible with support from the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Fund for Global Religion.

Click for Iranian Film Series Flyer (pdf)  


is proud to invite you to be part of a groundbreaking peace project


A live videoconference with Iraqi university students
to be preceded by a showing of the documentary film:


and a discussion hosted by filmmaker Mark Manning

Sunday, May 9, 2010
9:00 pm
Multi-Cultural Center

In this remarkable event, UCSB students will have an opportunity to talk directly with students of the Islamic University in Baghdad via video conference in the Multi-Cultural Center Theater, Sunday, May 9, at 11 pm, following a showing of the documentary “The Road to Fallujah” at 9 pm and a discussion with filmmaker Mark Manning.

There is a ten-hour time difference between Baghdad and Santa Barbara and the late hour of the event is necessary so that we can connect with the students in Baghdad at 9 am their time. Due to the recent escalation of violence, these students must leave their university campus by midday so that they can pass through numerous checkpoints and reach home before evening curfew starts (a journey that can at any point become life-threatening).

This event is also the launch of a major project by filmmaker Mark Manning’s non-profit organization, Global Access Media, entitled “A Dialogue for Peace: The Iraq Peace and Reconciliation College Tour” which will start at UCSB and will move on to Stanford the following week. Each event will feature direct discussions between American and Iraqi university students and will be filmed for webcast.

For all those who have interests in the Middle East, who care about what Iraqis think of Americans, who want to know something about the hopes, dreams, and opinions of Iraqi young people and who have an interest in forming relationships with Iraqi peers this will be an extraordinary opportunity. Because of the significance of this event, the fact that this is the first event in a nationwide tour, and the extraordinary cost (over $13,000) we need to know that we will have a core group of UCSB and SBCC students who are interested in participating.

We therefore request that students who want to participate in the dialogue sign up for the event by email – please send a message to Dwight Reynolds (Director, CMES): dreynold@religion.ucsb.edu

Non-students are welcome to attend and watch, but the dialogue is meant to be specifically between university students here in Santa Barbara and in Baghdad. For more information on the project see: http://www.globalaccessmedia.org

The film “The Road to Fallujah” will be shown at 9 pm and last about one hour. There will be a discussion of the film led by filmmaker Mark Manning, followed by a short break (light refreshments will be served) and a brief informational meeting before the connection goes live at 11:00pm.

Join us for a "Dialogue for Peace"
between the next generation of leaders of America and Iraq!

Click for event flyer (pdf)


Ian BurumaTALK: The Muslim Scare in Europe –
Hysteria or Threat?

Ian Buruma
(Democracy, Human Rights & Journalism, Bard College)

Tuesday, May 11 / 8:00 PM
UCSB Campbell Hall / Free

Award-winning author and journalist Ian Buruma will discuss the debates about Muslim radicalism, immigration, and the challenge from religion in several European countries where anti-immigrant populism is on the rise and Islam is the main focus. Is the danger posed by Muslim immigrants real? If it is exaggerated, then why the general hysteria? Buruma will address these questions and others raised in his new book Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents. He is also the author of Anglomania, Inventing Japan, and Murder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerance, which won a Los Angeles Times Book Award. Courtesy of Borders, copies of Taming the Gods will be available for purchase and signing at this event.

Sponsored by The Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UC Santa Barbara, a program of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, and cosponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures, the Dept. of Religious Studies, Congregation B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Hillel, and the Center for Middle East Studies.



Nile GreenTALK: Everybody Must Get Stones:
The Iranian Search for Lithographic Technology

Nile Green
(History, UCLA)

Friday, May 14 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room

Around 1818 the first Muslim printing presses were established in Tabriz (Iran), Bulaq (Egypt) and Lucknow (India). These founding typographic presses were the fruit of distinct local interactions with the industrializing marts of Europe that a few years later sowed seeds for the second round of interactions which spread lithography through Asia. Having been invented with drawing and musical notation in mind, the transfer of lithographic techniques for printing handwritten Persian was one of the earliest and most successful examples of the adaptation of a European industrial technology to local demands overseas. Nile Green, author of Indian Sufism Since the Seventeenth Century: Saints, Books, and Empires in the Muslim Deccan, is a historian of the Middle East and South Asia in the eighteenth through twentieth centuries, specializing in religion and colonialism. Recently, his work has focused on exchanges between Europe and Asia and on the history and technologies of the “Islamic” book.

Sponsored by the IHC’s History of Books and Material Texts RFG.



Su'ad KhabeerTALK:  "Islam in Color: Race, Hip Hop, and American Muslim Youth"

Su'ad Khabeer
Dissertation Scholar
Department of Black Studies

Monday, May 24, 2010
UCEN Flying A Room
4:00 pm

Su'ad Abdul Khabeer is a Dissertation Scholar in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Suad is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Princeton University. Her dissertation, "The Fifth Element: Muslim Youth, Identity and Hip Hop in Chicago" focuses on the intersections of race, place, and popular culture in the identity making of young American Muslims. This work is an interdisciplinary endeavor that uses critical studies of race, religion, and popular culture along with ethnographic methods and performance art.

View event flyer (pdf).

Co-sponsored by the Department of Black Studies and the Center for Middle East Studies.


Winter 2010 Middle East Events:


Organization Meeting:
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
5:00 pm
Religious Studies Dept Conference Room
HSSB 3041

The Model Arab League is structured much as the Model United Nations program except that it replicates the Arab League, and therefore only the Arab countries. By participating in MAL you will learn about the Arab Middle East, how to participate in parliamentary-style debate, how to draft resolutions on various issues, and how to negotiate the passage of your resolutions through the appropriate committee and on to a full vote in the General Assembly.

This is a great resume-building activity for anyone considering a career dealing with the Middle East, as well as in Global Studies, Political Science, Development, Law, the Foreign Service and many other careers. It will also look very good to graduate programs if you are planning on continuing on to a Master's and/or a Ph.D.

For further information, please contact the Center for Middle East Studies by email: CMES@isber.ucsb.edu.

Click to download Model Arab League flyer (pdf).



William FiermanLanguage in Post-Soviet Central Asia and Azerbaijan:
Policies and Processes

Professor William Fierman

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Lane Room, Ellison Hall
4:00 pm





The Iranian Presidential Election
and the Emergence of the Green Movement

Mohammad Amjad

Wednesday, February 3 / 5:00 PM
McCune Conference Rm, 6020 HSSB

Mohammad Amjad has just returned from Iran where he was an activist in the protest movement following the Iranian elections. An expert in Iranian nuclear diplomacy and foreign policy, he received his PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside, in 1986.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, the Dept. of History, the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Global Religions and Modernisms, and the IHC.


David LaitinMuslims in Europe:
Do they face higher barriers to mobility?

David Laitin
Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Thursday, February 4, 2010
McCune Conference Room, HSSB
4:00 - 5:30 pm

David D. Laitin is the James T. Watkins IV and Elise V. Watkins Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. Among his many influential books and articles are Nations, States and Violence (2007), Identity in Formation: The Russian-Speaking Populations in the Near Abroad (1998), and Language Repertoires and State Construction in Africa (1992).

Sponsored by the IHC’s Identity Studies RFG, the Dept. of Political Science, the Dept. of History, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies



Ethan BronnerCovering the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in 2010:
A Report from the Ground

Ethan Bronner
Jerusalem Bureau Chief
The New York Times

8:00 p.m.
Monday, February 8
UCSB Campbell Hal

Ethan Bronner, Jerusalem Bureau Chief, The New York Times will combine diplomatic and political analysis with behind-the-scenes stories from his reporting to explore the challenges faced by a journalist covering two distinctly opposing narratives: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2010. He will address such issues of balance, fairness, access and reader expectations.

Ethan Bronner has been Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times for the past two years following four years as the paper’s deputy foreign editor focused largely on the Middle East. This is his third tour in Jerusalem. Bronner served as Middle East bureau chief for The Boston Globe for six years in the 1990s and as deputy Jerusalem bureau chief for Reuters in the mid-1980s. At The Times, he has also been assistant editorial page editor, education editor and national education correspondent. A series of articles that he helped edit after Sept. 11th 2001 won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism. At The Boston Globe, he covered the Supreme Court and legal affairs from Washington. His 1989 book, Battle for Justice: How the Bork Nomination Shook America was named one of the 25 best books of the year by The New York Public Library.

The Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UC Santa Barbara, a program of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, is cosponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures, Department of Religious Studies, Congregation B’nai B’rith, Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Hillel and the Center for Middle East Studies-UCSB.


For additional information contact:
Dr. Leonard Wallock, Associate Director
Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life
3074 Humanities and Social Sciences Building
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3130
Phone: (805) 893-2317
Fax: (805) 893-2059
E-mail: leonard.wallock@cappscenter.ucsb.edu
Web site: http://www.cappscenter.ucsb.edu/


Juan CampoWater, Oil, and the Global Production of Islamic Sacred Space: Mecca in Modernity

Juan Campo (Religious Studies, UCSB)

Wednesday, February 10 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Saudi Arabia plays a leading role in global economy because of its oil resources. It is also home to Islam’s two leading sacred cities--Mecca and Medina. Drawing on his recent research, Campo’s illustrated talk will track the interrelationships of the growth of the Kingdom’s oil revenues, the transformation of these two religious centers, and the annual hajj, or Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. His analysis will include an examination of how water supply and distribution intersects with these developments and place the subject in comparative perspective relative to the rise of Dubai and the development of Muslim sacred spaces in other localities, including Iraq, Iran, India, and Pakistan. Juan Campo teaches in UCSB’s Department of Religious Studies. His most recent book, Encyclopedia of Islam, was published in 2009 by Facts-on-File.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Oil + Water series and the Community Environmental Council.


Fall 2009 Middle East Events:

Paradise NowCup of Culture

"Paradise Now"

Film Screening / MCC Theater

Wednesday, October 7, 6 pm

A 2006 Golden Globe winner for best foreign language film, Paradise Now intensely and powerfully tells the story of two lifelong friends that are tapped by an unidentified Palestinian resistance organization to carry out a suicide bombing together in Tel Aviv.

Hany Abu-Assad, 91 min., Arabic and English, 2005, Palestine.

Sponsored by the Multicultural Center


Race, Lies & StereotypesRace, Lies & Stereotypes: 
Posters on Racism and Anti-Semitism

Thursday, October 8 - Friday, December 11 Exhibition

Thursday, October 8, 4 pm Opening Reception

Art Exhibit/MCC Lounge

Insidiously, from generation to generation, racism and anti-Semitism are perpetuated in Africa and the Middle East, in Europe, and on the streets of Los Angeles. Race, Lies and Stereotypes presents powerful international and domestic graphics that penetrate the experience of discrimination. The exhibition illustrates historical and current events on the world stage and explores efforts to combat stereotypes. By showing the pervasiveness of bigotry and discrimination, this exhibition emphasizes that intolerance can be avoided by the active involvement of individuals to ensure that the past is not repeated. Produced by the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles, California.

Sponsored by the Multicultural Center


Vali NasrVali Nasr

Forces of Fortune:
the Rise of the New Muslim Middle Class
and What it Will Mean for Our World

Sunday, October 11 / 3:00 pm / Free

Victoria Hall, 33 West Victoria Street, Santa Barbara

Click Here for Event Flyer (pdf)

Vali Nasr, Senior advisor to special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, discusses his just-released book, Forces of Fortune: The Rise of the New Muslim Middle Class and What It Will Mean for Our World. Fareed Zakaria described it as “a brilliant guide to the complex landscape of the Middle East.” Nasr is also the author of Democracy in Iran: History and the Quest for Liberty, The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam will Shape the Future, The Islamic Leviathan: Islam and the Making of State Power, and The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution. Courtesy of Borders, copies of Forces of Fortune will be available for purchase and signing at this event.

Presented by the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at UCSB and cosponsored by the UCSB Center for Middle East Studies. www.cappscenter.ucsb.edu

For assistance in accommodating a disability, please call 893-2317.


Afghan StarAfghan Star, cinema

Tuesday, October 13

7:30 pm, Campbell Hall

"Wonderful movie! Takes us someplace few movies have…the film’s hard-won good vibes had the audience cheering!" The Boston Globe

After years of war and Taliban rule, pop culture is beginning to return to Afghanistan as millions tune in to the wildly popular American Idol-style series Afghan Star. Winner of the Directing and Audience Awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, this timely and moving film follows the dramatic stories of four young finalists as they hazard everything to become the nation’s favorite performer. The perfect window into a country’s tenuous, ongoing struggle for modernity, the film observes how what Americans consider frivolous entertainment can become downright revolutionary in this troubled part of the world. (Havana Marking, 2009, 88 min.)  

General public $6.00 / UCSB Students $5.00  
Buy Tickets

Sponsored by the University of California, Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures


The Center for Middle East Studies Welcomes You to a:

Beginning of the Year Reception

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
12:00 noon - 2:00 pm
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

There will be Middle Eastern Music and Light Refreshments will be served.

Please contact Laura Pollick at the Center for Middle East Studies for additional information, 893-4245, cmes@cmes.ucsb.edu

Click here for reception flyer (pdf)


How America Can Bring Arabs and Israelis Together
Towards Peace and Coexistence

Wednesday, October 21 / 8:00 pm / Free
UCSB Campbell Hall

David Makovsky, Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and co-author with Dennis Ross of the just-released book, Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East in conversation with Ghaith al-Omari, previously Advisor to former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and currently Advocacy Director at the American Task Force in Palestine.

Copresented with Santa Barbara Hillel and the Israel on Campus Coalition, Washington, D.C.


The Cultural and Religious Significance of Food in the Middle EastThe Cultural and Religious Significance of Food in the Middle East

Magda Campo

Lecture / Demo - MCC Lounge
Thursday, October 22 / 5:00 pm

Ful Midammis, falafel anyone? Egyptian fast food dishes throughout the Middle East, although simple in their appearance and preparation, are part of Egyptian identity and culture and encompass religious meanings and practices. In her talk, Magda Campo, who teaches Arabic in the Religious Studies Department at UC Santa Barbara, will discuss the significance of these dishes accompanied by a demonstration on how to make them.

Sponsored by the Multicultural Center


The Politics of Marriage in Contemporary IranThe Politics of Marriage in Contemporary Iran

Organized by Janet Afary (UCSB)
and Nayereh Tohidi (CSUN)

Friday, October 23, 2009
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Kerckhoff Grand Salon

Conference in English

•Erika Friedl, Western Michigan University
•Sondra Hale, UCLA
•Mary Hegland, Santa Clara University
•Azadeh Kian, University of Paris VII - Diderot
•Nikki Keddie, UCLA
•Pardis Mahdavi, Pomona College

Cost: Admission is free, Parking can be purchased at Lot 4

How to Park at UCLA

For more information please contact
Amy Bruinooge, Center for Near Eastern Studies
Tel: (310) 825-1181

Sponsor: UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies


Keith David WatenpaughTALK: The Paradox of Humanitarianism:
The League of Nations' Efforts to Rescue Trafficked Women and Children in the Middle East, 1920-1927

Keith David Watenpaugh
(Religious Studies, UC Davis)

Tuesday, November 3 / 4:00 PM
McCune Room, 6020 HSSB

Prof. Watenpaugh examines the League of Nations' efforts on behalf of displaced Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian women and children in the 1920s. The rescuing of trafficked survivors of genocide and civil violence--a seemingly unambiguous good--was at once a constitutive act in drawing the boundaries of the international community, a critical moment in the definition of humanitarianism, and a site of resistance to the colonial presence in the post-Ottoman Eastern Mediterranean. These efforts helped to bind the international community to Armenian communal survival and served as an ex post facto warrant for the World War. They also threatened late-Ottoman ethnic, religious, and gendered hierarchies, and the unalloyed dominance of post-Ottoman society by Turkish and Arabic speaking Sunni Muslims. Keith David Watenpaugh is Associate Professor of Modern Islam, Human Rights, and Peace in the Religious Studies program at the University of California, Davis. He works on the multiple intersections of the modern international human rights regime, Islam, and colonialism in the twentieth-century Arab Middle East. He is the author of Being Modern in the Middle East: Revolution, Nationalism, Colonialism, and the Arab Middle Class, and is now writing a book on international humanitarian efforts and the modern Middle East.

Website: http://www.history.ucsb.edu/projects/ccws/events/

Sponsored by the Center for Cold War Studies and International History, and the Dept. of History.  


For the Benefit of Suicide: Fatawa Literature in the Digital Domain

Nathan French

Wednesday, November 4 / 3:00 pm
Room 3041 HSSB

A Department of Religious Studies Colloguium: www.religion.ucsb.edu/news.html


The Santa Barbara Coalition for Global Dialogue presents:

Afghanistan & Pakistan - Another Vietnam?Afghanistan & Pakistan -
Another Vietnam?

John Arquilla
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey

Richard Falk
Global & International Studies, UCSB

Thursday, November 5 / 11:30 Luncheon
University Club of Santa Barbara
1332 Santa Barbara Street

Admission $25.00 (includes lunch)
Reservations: 805-453-2004 (limited to 60 seats)

Click Here for Event Flyer (pdf)

John Arquilla is Professor and Director of the Information Operations Center, Department of Defense Analysis, at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. His teaching and research interests include conflict in the information-age, the revolution in military affairs, and irregular warfare. Among his publications are Worst Enemy: The Reluctant Transformation of the American Military(2008), Information Strategy and Warfare (2007), The Reagan Imprint: Ideas in American Foreign Policy from the Collapse of Communism to the War on Terror (2006), Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy (NDRI, 2001), and In Athena's Camp: Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age (RAND, 1997)

Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He currently serves as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian occupied territories and previously on the Independent International Commission on Kosovo. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including recently The Costs of War: International Law, the UN, and World Order after Iraq (2007) and The Great Terror War (2003), as well as Religion and Humane Global Governance (2001); On Humane Governance: Toward a New Global Politics (1995); The Promise of World Order (1988). He is coeditor of Crimes of War (2006) and The Vietnam War and International Law (1968). Professor Falk is an honorary vice president of the American Society of International Law and is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

To confirm reservation, mail check to:
Coalition for Global Dialogue, PO Box 41512, Santa Barbara, CA 93140.


Anita DiamantAnita Diamant

An Evening with the Author of The Red Tent
and Day After Night: A Novel

Thursday, November 12 / 8:00 pm / Free
UCSB Campbell Hall

"Diamant succeeds admirably in depicting the lives of women in the age that engendered our civilization and our most enduring values." Publishers Weekly

Anita Diamant's bestselling first novel The Red Tent, based on the Biblical story of Dinah, conjures "a compelling narrator that has timeless resonance" (Christian Science Monitor). Her latest book, Day After Night, returns to the land of The Red Tent to tell stories of women who survived the Holocaust and await the future in a British internment camp in a story of loss, hope and courage set before the founding of the state of Israel. An award-winning journalist and the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life, Diamant will discuss her recent work.

Presented as part of the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB, a program of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, cosponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures, the Department of Religious Studies, Congregation B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Hillel. Books will be available for purchase and signing.


UCSB Middle East EnsembleUCSB Middle East Ensemble

Saturday, December 5, 2009
8:00 pm
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

Admission is $17/general, $9/students
Tickets at the Associated Students Ticket Office, 893-2064

There is a $3 parking fee in the evenings and on the weekends, payable in each lot. For further information, please call 893-7001. Visit our website: http://www.music.ucsb.edu/mee 

The UCSB Middle East Ensemble will present its formal Fall Quarter concert, the start of its 21st season, on Saturday, December 5. The concert will feature a set of Greek songs by the famed rebetiko singer Roza Eskenazy (thank you, Voula Aldrich!), two sets of Persian music directed by Bahram Osqueezadeh, two songs from the Gulf region (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait), and a variety of Arabic songs and instrumental pieces (from Egypt and Lebanon). Melanie Hutton will continue to enchant us with a vocal solo.

As always, the Ensemble’s Dance Troupe will present a wonderful variety of dances, from Persian, Arab, Greek, and Arab-American cultures. For the finale, Ensemble dancer Cris! Basimah will present a rousing solo cabaret-style dance.

Download event flyer (pdf format)



Spring Quarter 2009:

May 2009 Events:

Benjamin F. Soares
African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands

"Rasta" Sufis and Muslim Youth Culture in Mali

Friday, May 1, 2009
11:00 am
4020 HSSB

View Event Flyer for details! (pdf)

Sponsored by the IHC's African Studies RFG, the Center for Middle East Studies, the Department of History, and the Department of Religious Studies



Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at the
University of California Santa Barbara
Progressive Religious Voices: Changing Priorities and Shifting Alliances Lecture Series

Edina LekovicEdina Lekovic
Communications Director, Muslim Political Affairs
Council, Los Angeles and Media Spokeswoman for
the American Muslim Community

"In Our Own Words: A Changing Agenda in
Muslim America"

Sunday, May 3, 2009
3:00 p.m./ Free
Victoria Hall, 33 West Victoria Street, Santa Barbara


At least 40% of America's Muslims are under the age of 40. They rely on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace for their diverse social, political, and popular culture. Across the board, they are voting in record numbers, organizing for change, and striving to create platforms to tell their own stories in their own words. They are defining the future of Islam in America while confronting two complex and related questions: What does our country want from us, and what do we want from our country?

Speaker Profile:

As MPAC's Communications Director, Edina acts as a spokeswoman for the American Muslim community to media outlets, government officials, interfaith leaders, academic institutions, and community groups. Edina has appeared on national media outlets, including CNN, BBC, MSNBC, and the History Channel. Since joining MPAC, Edina's work has also been featured in several leading newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. Edina regularly participates in national and international conferences and interfaith dialogues speaking on a variety of issues related to American Muslims. Edina is a co-founder of Elev8, an arts-based youth leadership program in Los Angeles, and is a founding board member of the American Muslim Civic Leaders Initiative. She will receive her M.A. in Communcation from Pepperdine University in May 2009, and received her B.A. in American Literature & Culture from UCLA.  


Facts-on-File Encyclopedia of Islam
Professor Juan E. Campo

Monday, May 4, 2009
4:00 - 6:00 pm
MultiCultural Center Lounge

All CMES Faculty and graduate students are invited to join in the celebration of the release of the Facts-on-File Encyclopedia of Islam. This book is conceived as a reference work for classroom use and the general public. Professor Juan E. Campo, principle author, with a significant number of contributions written by UCSB faculty and graduate students (and former graduate students. Live music will be provided by Scott Marcus and members of the inimitable Middle East Ensemble. Middle East-style refreshments will also be served. For those interested, paperback copies of the encyclopedia will be available for purchase by check or cash only. 

For additional information contact Prof. Juan Campo, jcampo@religion.ucsb.edu


The Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies presents a lecture and book launch event:

Reza AslanReza Aslan

"How to Win a Cosmic War:
God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror?"

Monday, May 4, 2009
1:00 p.m.
Orfalea Center Seminar Room, 1005 Rob Gym
(office wing at Ocean Road gym entrance, left side)


Dr. Reza Aslan is assistant professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside and a Senior Fellow at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at U.C. Santa Barbara. He is a frequent commentator on CNN, CBS, and NPR, as well as cofounder and creative director of BoomGen Studios, a hub for creative content from and about the Middle East. He has degrees in Religions from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. His articles and interviews have appeared in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Sojourners, Sun Magazine, the Guardian, and many other papers around the world. Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles. His first book, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam was an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen languages.

A cosmic war is a religious war. It is a battle not between armies or nations, but between the forces of good and evil. The ultimate goal of a cosmic war is to vanquish evil itself, which ensures that a cosmic war remains an absolute, eternal, and ultimately unwinnable conflict. Cosmic wars are fought not over land or politics but over identity. There can be no compromise, no negotiation, no settlement, and no surrender in a cosmic war. The Jihadists who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 were fighting a cosmic war. According to Reza Aslan, by adopting the same religiously polarizing rhetoric and cosmic worldview in the so-called War on Terror, the U.S. is also fighting a cosmic war…a war that can’t be won. 

Click to view Event Flyer


The Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies presents:

Amandeep Sandhu
PhD Sociology, Global Studies emphasis, UCSB

"The Globalization of Services and New Global Inequalities"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
12:00, noon
Orfalea Center seminar room, 1005 Robertson Gym
(office wing at Ocean road entrance, left side)


The Shalom/Salaam Conversations

"Peace Initiatives"

Panelists: Nancy Gallagher, Professor, UCSB Department of History
Heather Stoll, Professor, UCSB Department of Political Science

Moderator: Salim Yaqub, Professor, UCSB Department of History

Monday, May 11, 2009
MultiCultural Center

Free pizza and beverages will be served.

Click to download event flyer in pdf format.


Abdullahi An-Na'imA Presentation by Abdullahi An-Na'im
Charles Howard Chandler Professor Law
Emory University Law School

"Re-imagining International Law for a New Politics of Human Rights"

Thursday, May 14, 2009
7:00 PM
MCC Theater

This talk will focus on the present difficulties of implementing human rights due to the conceptual and structural limitations of state-centric traditional international law. Without a re-imagining of international law, we can't even know what to struggle for, let alone have the ability to achieve desired outcomes. A more inclusive view of religious and cultural resources may provide the rationale and motivation for a re-imagining of international law to enact a new people-centric politics of human rights in the 21st century. Dr. An-Na’im incorporates in his discussion the recent International Criminal Court warrant against Sudan’s President Omar El Bashir as an example of this emerging new politics, and examines its religious and cultural rationales.

Sponsored by the University of California Initiative on Human Rights, the Law and Society Program, the Orfalea Center for Global Studies, and the IHC’s Torture and the Future RFG. 

Click to download event flyer in pdf format.


The Department of Film and Media Studies at UCSB Presents a lecture by Egyptian Filmmaker and Scholar:

Viola ShafikViola Shafik

"Rituals of Hegemonic Masculinity: Torture & The Middle East in Film"

Thursday, May 14, 2009
3:30 pm
Isla Vista Theater 1

Viola Shafik is a renowned film scholar and documentary filmmaker. Her historical work Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity (revised edition 2007) is a groundbreaking analysis of genre, political-economy, and film culture. She is also the author of Popular Egyptian Cinema: Gender, Class and Nation (2007). Her own films The Lemon Tree (1993), The Mother of Light and Her Daughters (1999), and The Planting of the Girls (1999) have an international audience. Her newest film is a feature length documentary with a working title of My Name is not Ali. It explores the life of El Hedi Ben Salem, German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder's unlucky North-African lover and lead player of Ali Fear Eats Soul (1973) who reputedly committed suicide. El Hedi Ben Salem, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's unlucky North-African lover, lead player of Ali Fear Eats Soul (1973) has been the subject of a myth: described as a 'cultural miracle' he was said to have terrified film director Fassbinder until he was jilted by him, only to take his own life soon after (sic.).

The real life story of Ben Salem however seems governed not only by misled professional aspirations, congested love and multiple betrayals, but also by the sexualized politics of imagining and possessing the cultural Other.

Click to download event flyer in pdf format.


Mourad Yelles

Musical Traditions and Women Poetry in Algeria

Thursday, May 14, 2009
4:00 pm
HSSB, Room 5024

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies

For additional information contact Laura Pollick, lwpoll@cmes.ucsb.edu


Mourad Yelles

Oral Performance and Written Creation in Maghrebi Literatures

Friday, May 15, 2009
12:00 pm
HSSB, Room 5024

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies

For additional information contact Laura Pollick, lwpoll@cmes.ucsb.edu


Race Matters Series

"Brooklyn Beats to Beirut Streets"
Performance and Discussion

Friday, May 15, 2009
6:00 pm
MCC Lounge

For additional information call the MCC at 805-893-8411


Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara

Rabbi Reuven FirestoneRabbi Reuven Firestone
Professor of Medieval Jewish and Islamic Studies
Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion

"Who Are the /Real /Chosen People? The Meaning of Chosenness in Judaism, Christianity and Islam"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
8:00 p.m. / Free
Santa Barbara Hillel, 781 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista

"The first careful, fair, and thorough comparison of how the concept functions in the three major Abrahamic religions.... Required reading."

~ Harvey Cox, Hollis Professor of Divinity, Harvard University


Who is most beloved by God? Monotheists have often advanced the idea that their relationship with God is unique and superior to all others. Rabbi Reuven Firestone explores the idea of "chosenness" as articulated through the scriptures of the three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Speaker Profile:

Rabbi Firestone is Professor of Medieval Jewish and Islamic Studies, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles and is a senior fellow of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. He is co-director of the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, a joint project of HUC-JIR, USC, and the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Foundation (www.usc.edu/cmje). Prior to joining the HUC-JIR faculty, he taught at Boston University and was Yad Hanadiv Research Fellow at the Hebrew University.

He received a Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) III research fellowship for the Spring 2006 semester for study at the American University of Cairo, funded by the Fulbright Binational Committee in Egypt and the U.S. Department of Education. In 2000 he was awarded a fellowship for independent research from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was chosen to be a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002.

Professor Firestone has written seven books and over seventy scholarly articles on early Islam and its relationship with Jews and Judaism, scriptural interpretation of the Bible and Qur'an, and the phenomenon of holy war. His publications include Journeys in Holy Lands, Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam, Children of Abraham and, most recently, Who Are the Real Chosen People? The Meaning of Chosenness in Judaism. Copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing at this event.  


Middle East EnsembleUCSB Middle East Ensemble
Accompanied by a Troupe of
Middle East Dancers

Saturday, May 30, 2009
8:00 pm
UCSB Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

For tickets, please contact the
Associated Students Ticket Office at (805) 893-2064.



April 2009 Events:

Film Series: "War and Nationalism in Arab Cinema"

Five Wednesdays in April - Click here to view Film Schedule


The Shalom/Salaam Conversations

Monday, April 6, 2009: The Gaza War and Its Aftermath
Walid Afifi, Professor, UCSB Department of Communication
Arthur Gross-Schaefer, Rabbi and Professor, Loyola Marymount University
R. Stephen Humphreys, Professor, UCSB Department of History

Don't miss these next two scheduled dates for the Shalom/Salaam Conversations:

Monday, April 20, 2009: Hamas
Panelists: Lisa Hajjar, Professor, UCSB Law and Society Program
Richard Hecht, Professor, UCSB Department of Religious Studies
Moderator: Randolph Bergstrom, Professor, UCSB Department of History

Monday, May 11, 2009: Peace Initiatives
Panelists: Nancy Gallagher, Professor, UCSB Department of History
Heather Stoll, Professor, UCSB Department of Political Science
Moderator: Salim Yaqub, Professor, UCSB Department of History

All events are at the MultiCultural Center Theater, 5:00 pm.
Free pizza and beverages will be served!
Sponsored by the Office of the Dean, Humanities and Fine Arts and Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Click for Event Flyer in PDF Format.


A Presentation by Abdelwahab Meddeb
Writer & Journalist; University of Paris X)

Abdelwahab Meddeb"Islam and the Clash of Interpretations"

Thursday, April 16, 2009
4:00 pm
UCen, Flying A Studio

Following in the footsteps of his acclaimed work on Islamic fundamentalism, The Malady of Islam (Basic Books, 2003), Meddeb goes back to the Quranic tradition and examines specific passages that instruct believers on how to deal with non-Muslims, focusing on different interpretations (tolerant vs. intolerant, peaceful vs. belligerent) to which these passages have given rise.

Abdelwahab Meddeb, born in Tunisia and living in Paris, is a professor of comparative literature at Paris X University. A major writer, scholar, journalist, and host of the esteemed radio show Cultures d'Islam, Abdelwahab Meddeb is on a tour of American campuses this Spring. His works range from fiction Talismano (1976); Aya dans les villes (1999); to poetry Matière des oiseaux (2002); and essays on Islam and modernity The Malady of Islam (2003); Sortir de la malédiction. L'Islam entre civilisation et barbarie (2008).

Sponsored by the Series in Contemporary Literature and co-sponsored by the Department of French and Italian, the Department of Germanic, Slavic, and Semitic Studies, and the Comparative Literature Program, the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies and the Global and International Studies Program, the College of Creative Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Islamic Studies Endowed Chair, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center and the French Cultural Services.


"The Politics of Public Housing in French-Maghrebi Cinema"

Peter Bloom
Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, UCSB

Thursday, April 23, 2009
12:00 pm
McCune Conference Room (6020 HSSB)

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies.


FILM: "View from a Grain of Sand"

Introduction of film by Director, Meena Nanji

Friday, April 24, 2009
7:30 - 10:00 pm
MultiCultural Center Theater

Nancy Gallagher, Professor of the History Department at UCSB will give a talk and show slides of her experience visiting NGO's in Afghanistan.

For further information, please contact Laura Pollick, cmes@cmes.ucsb.edu.


The Center for Middle East Studies Conference


Friday Evening, April 24
and Saturday, April 25, 2009

There will be a related film viewing and presentation on on Friday evening, April 24 as well as dinner and a Middle Eastern music performance following the conference on Saturday evening.

The purpose of this gathering will be to examine this geographical juncture that has suddenly taken on such a prominent role in the world political situation. Usually this region is treated as the edges or margins of three or even four different "areas": Iran is usually considered the easternmost country of the Middle East, while Afghanistan and Pakistan are usually included in South Asia, and the Former Soviet Republics are treated separately as Central Asia. This division, however, does not allow us to see how these countries are interrelated, a situation which leads to a lack of understanding of one of the volatile and significant areas in the world today. The conference will deal with a variety of topics including identity, the impact of American presence in the region, the role of Islamic fundamentalism, and others.


The two keynote speakers are renowned international scholars:

Olivier RoyOlivier Roy is Research Director at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a lecturer for both the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (IEP). He is a specialist on Afghanistan and Central Asia and this year is a visiting Professor at UC Berkeley.


Janet AfaryJanet Afary will be joining the UCSB faculty next year as the new Mellichamp Endowed Chair in Global Religion and Modernity in the Department of Religious Studies, but this year is a visiting fellow at UCLA.




Winter Quarter 2009 Events:

March 2009:

Middle East Ensemble MusiciansUCSB Middle East Ensemble
Accompanied by a troupe of ME dancers

Saturday, March 7, 2009


February 2009:


Heather Stoll
Assistant Professor, Political Science, UCSB

Monday, February 9, 2009
4:00 pm, McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

What is at stake in the upcoming Israeli elections slated for 10 February?

In this talk, Professor Stoll will discuss how Israeli elections work (the system of government and electoral rules); who the candidates are and what kind of campaigns they have run; the likely outcomes; and, last but not least, the implications for government and policy.

Heather Stoll is an assistant professor of political science at UCSB whose research interests range from comparative politics To political methodology.

Download Event Flyer in PDF Format.

This event is sponsored by the UCSB Center for Middle East Studies, and the UCSB Department of Political Science.

Please contact Laura Pollick with any questions. cmes@cmes.ucsb.edu, 805-893-4245.


The Journal of Middle East Women's Studies Distinguished Lecture


Lila Abu-Lughod
Columbia University

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
4:00 pm, McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

The concept of "Muslim women’s rights" has an extraordinarily active social life these days. It circulates across continents. It travels in and out of classrooms and government policy offices; UN forums in New York and Geneva and local women's organizations in places like Egypt, Malaysia, and Palestine; racy television soap operas and sober mosque study groups; popular novels recognizable by the veiled women stamped on their covers and innovative model marriage contracts developed by Muslim feminists seeking equity within the religious tradition. What do we make of this intense concern with "Muslim women’s rights" and what do we make of its promiscuous travels? "Women's rights" mean different things to women living complicated lives in villages and urban lawyers drawing seamlessly on the authority of CEDAW. What can we learn from tracking "rights talk," as an anthropologist would, into everyday lives?

Lila Abu-Lughod is the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University. She teaches in the Anthropology Department and at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. An anthropologist who has done extensive fieldwork in Egypt on women, gender politics, and expressive culture, including media, she is the author of three award-winning ethnographies: Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society (IUAES Silver Medal; Chicago Folklore Prize, honorable mention); Writing Women’s Worlds (Victor Turner Award); and Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt (American Ethnological Society Book Prize). She has edited or co-edited Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East; Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain and Nakba: Palestine, 1948 and the Claims of Memory. Currently a Carnegie Scholar, she is working on a book that critically examines the international circulation of discourses on women's human rights, and the particular ways that Muslim women’s rights are problematized in this political moment.

Download Event Flyer in PDF Format.

The event is sponsored by the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, the UCSB Center for Middle East Studies, the UCSB Department of Feminist Studies, the UCSB Department of History, the UCSB Divisions of Social Sciences and Humanities, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, the UCLA Department of Women’s Studies, and the UCLA Dean of Social Sciences.

Please contact Laura Pollick with any questions. cmes@cmes.ucsb.edu, 805-893-4245.



Robert S. Wistrich
Director, The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study
of Antisemitism,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Author of "A Lethal Obsession -- Antisemitism, From Antiquity
to the Global Jihad" (forthcoming)

Monday, February 23, 2009
7:30 p.m. / Free
Congregation B'nai B'rith, 1000 San Antonio Creek Road, Santa Barbara



Salata Baladi (An Egyptian Salad)

6 PM Film Screening / MCC Theater
Wed, February 25, 2009

When her young nephew hears a sermon in Cairo encouraging religious war, Nadia Kamel, long-time assistant to the legendary Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, takes it upon herself to acquaint him with the history of his maternal grandmother Maria (Naela). Incorporating footage of visits by Maria and her husband to relatives in Italy, Israel, and Palestine, this documentary tells the story of a remarkable woman who is part Jewish, part Christian, part Muslim, and all at once a feminist, a communist, an Italian, and an Arab. Nadia Kamel, 105 min, Arabic/ Subtitled, 2008, Egypt/ Israel/ Italy/ Palestine.


The Research Focus Group on Citizenship and Democracy and
The Center for New Racial Studies present:


Thursday, February 26, 2009
Alumni Hall, 2nd Floor
Mosher Alumni House

SUNAINA MAIRA, Department of Asian American Studies,
University of California, Davis:
"The Enigma of 'Racial Profiling' of Muslim and Arab Americans"

The "racial profiling" of Arab and Muslim American communities after 9/11 has generated questions about a new racial politics and new alliances. This profiling is not exceptional, however. It can be situated in the longer history of U.S. empire and also linked to U.S.
foreign policy in the Middle East. The analysis of racial formation, nationalisms, multiculturalism, and state repression suggests directions for comparative racial and ethnic studies and for the emergence of Arab American studies that highlight the need to grapple with questions of
late imperialism and Orientalism.

KEITH FELDMAN, Department of English,
University of Washington:
"Tijuana's Rockets: Arab Racialization, Exceptional Comparisons, and the Frontiers of Analogy"

The cultural legitimacy of United States imperialism rests at least in part on the comparative racialization of Arabs, Muslims, and the question of Palestine. The continued reliance on old-school comparative frameworks like Orientalism, "the clash of civilizations," and the supposed unity of "the West," reveals not only the weakness of its analysis but also the weakness of its political position. This talk addresses an archive of contemporary culture work linking the U.S. and the Middle East in radically other ways, revealing a contestatory comparative analytic adequate to our political

Respondents: PAUL AMAR and KATHLEEN MOORE, both of the Law and Society
program, UCSB


January 2009:


Souleymane Bachir Diagne (French and Philosophy, Columbia)

Souleymane Bachir DiagneFriday, January 16, 2009
2:00 PM
UCen Flying A Studio

This lecture will present Islamic philosophy of reform as developed in the nineteenth century by Muslim thinkers such as Jamal ad-Din Al-Afghani (d.1897), Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) and others, focusing more particularly on Indian poet and philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938). The lecture will show, in particular, how Islamic reformist philosophy is founded on a new philosophy of time which Iqbal considers to be the true cosmology of the Quran.

Souleymane Bachir Diagne, is professor of French and Philosophy at Columbia University. His fields of research include history of logic, history of philosophy, Islamic philosophy, and African philosophy and literature.

Sponsored by the Series in Contemporary Literature and co-sponsored by the IHC, the Comparative Literature Program and the Departments of French & Italian, Black Studies, Religious Studies, Philosophy, History, Global Studies and English.




A Panel Discussion with Four Experts

Monday, January 26, 2009
4:00 PM
Multicultural Center Theater


Richard Falk
Visiting Professor, Global and International Studies
UC Santa Barbara and Emeritus Professor, Princeton University UN
Special Rapporteur on Human Rights; Author of Achieving Human Rights (2009);
Costs of War: the UN, International Law and World Order After Iraq (2008).

"Did the UN Fail in Gaza? Yes and No"

Juan Campo
Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, the History of Religions
Dept. of Religious Studies & Global Studies affiliate
Editor and chief author of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Islam (February, Facts on File)

"Hamas, the Arab States, and Popular Reaction"

Salim Yaqub
Associate Professor of History at UCSB
Specializing in U.S. involvement in the Middle East.
Author of Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East (2004).

"The United States, Gaza, and Collective Punishment"

Nancy Gallagher, Moderator
Professor, History Dept., UCSB, Chair Middle Eastern Studies Program
Author of Quakers in the Israel-Palestine Conflict: The Dilemmas of NGO Humanitarian Activism (2007).

"A (Brief) Background to the Conflict"

Sponsored by the UCSB Department of History.

This program is free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact: http://www.history.ucsb.edu, (805) 893-2991.


Translating Israel and Palestine

Peter Cole

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
4:00 pm
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

MacArthur Fellow Peter Cole’s prize-winning translations of the Hebrew Golden Age poets Shmuel HaNagid and Solomon Ibn Gabirol have helped to recreate for contemporary American readers the multifaceted world of medieval Spain, in which Jewish artistic and intellectual communities flourished under Islamic rule. The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 extends that vision further, to cover the entire Muslim and Christian periods. Poet and translator Richard Howard has described Cole’s work as "the finest labor of poetic translation that I have seen in many years" and "an entire revelation: a body of lyric and didactic verse so intense, so intelligent, and so vivid that it appears to identify a whole dimension of historical consciousness previously unavailable to us."The Dream of the Poem is, Howard says, “a crowning achievement.” Aside from his award-winning poetry and translations from Hebrew and Arabic, Peter Cole and his wife edit Ibis Editions in Jerusalem, supporting in a collaborative environment the work of Israeli and Palestinian writers.

Sponsored by the Series in Contemporary Literature, the Department of Global Studies, the Orfalea Center, the College of Creative Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of German, Slavic and Semitic Studies, the Comparative Literature Program, and the IHC.




Something's Brewing in Arabia: A History of Coffee and Coffee Houses

Juan and Magda Campo
Religious Studies, UCSB

Wednesday, January 28
4:00 pm
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Juan and Magda Campo discuss the intriguing beginnings and early history of coffee and coffee houses in the Middle East. From the highlands of Ethiopia and Yemen to Cairo and Istanbul, coffee rapidly became a popular beverage, but not without facing opposition from Muslim religious and political authorities. The talk will examine the controversies stirred by the bean as well as the factors behind its becoming the favorite brewed beverage in the world today. It will include a demonstration of how coffee was and still is made in the Middle East, accompanied by a sampling of Middle Eastern sweets.

Sponsored by the IHC as part of its Food Matters series. 



Fall Quarter 2008 Events:

December 2008:

Global Liberalsim, Local Populism by Guy Ben-PoratGlobalization, Peace and Discontent:
Farewell to the New Middle East?
Guy Ben-Porat
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Thursday, December 4, 2008
12:00 noon

Orfalea Center Seminar Room
1005 Rob Gym
(Office wing at Ocean Road gym entrance, left side)

This lecture is based on a book published in 2006 ("Global Liberalism, Local Populism", Syracuse University Press) that compares the impact of globalization on the peace processes in Israel and Northern Ireland. The lecture explains what happened to the dream of the "New Middle East", what role did economic development play in the process and whether economic development could be part of a renewed peace process.

Guy Ben-Porat is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Public Policy and Administration in Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and currently Richard and Rhoda Goldman Visiting Professor at the University of California, Davis. Born and raised in Israel, he holds a BA from Tel-Aviv University (Political Science and Psychology, 1994) and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University (Political Science and International Relations, 2001). His first book, 'Global Liberalism, Local Populism; Peace and Conflict in Israel/Palestine and Northern Ireland' (Syracuse University Press, 2006) is the winner of the Ernst-Otto Czempiel Award from the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt (2008). He also co-authored 'Israel Since 1980' (Cambridge University Press, 2008), edited 'The Failure of the Middle East Peace Process?' (Palgrave, 2008), and a special Issue of Citizenship Studies (With Bryan Turner) on Israeli citizenship.

Presented by The Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies.


November 2008:

David GrossmanCONVERSATION: An Evening with David Grossman
Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation
Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
7:30 pm, Campbell Hall

Israeli writer David Grossman is the author of some of the most controversial books in his country’s history, including the award-winning The Yellow Wind, observations collected
over three months in the West Bank. Grossman’s acclaimed body of works has been translated into more than 20 languages and often deals with Arab/Jewish relations (Death as a Way of Life) and Holocaust themes. Grossman will read and discuss work from his forthcoming collection of essays on literature and politics Writing in the Dark. Courtesy of Borders, copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing.

Website: http://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/events/endowed/taubman.html

(Sponsored by the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB, a program of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, co-sponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures, the Department of Religious Studies, Congregation B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Hillel. Assistance provided by the Anti-Defamation League.)


The Muslim Students Association talk about Islam and Eid

Thursday, November 6, 2008
6:30 pm
Dinner, Student Resources Bldg Activity Room


Middle East Ensemble
20th Anniversary Signature Event

UCSB Middle East Ensemble - November 8, 2008 EventSaturday, November 8, 2008
8:00 pm, MCC Theater

The UCSB Middle East Ensemble (MEE) performs a wide variety of music reflecting the great diversity of cultures found in the Middle East. They first performed for an MCC audience back in 1989 and return nearly 20 years later to present a special Anniversary concert. They will be joined by live dancers in colorful costume who will perform an assortment of dance styles from the region.

View Event Poster

Tickets $5 for students / $15 general admission.
Contact the A.S. Ticket Office at (805) 893-2064.



Olilvier RoyOlivier Roy
"Religious Fundamentalism:
A Clash of Civilizations or a Convergence of Religiosities?"

Friday, Nov. 14, 2008
12:30 pm
NOTE NEW LOCATION:  Buchanan 1930

Olivier Roy is the Research Director at the French National Center
for Scientific Research (CNRS), and a lecturer for both the School for
Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), and the Institut
d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (IEP). 

Download Event Flyer (pdf) Please note that the event flyer has the old room listed. 
The lecture will be held in Buchanan 1930!

(Sponsored by the IHC's Identity RFP, co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, and the Departments of History and Political Science.)


Mark LevineMark Levine (UC Irvine)
"Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance,
and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam"

Monday, Nov. 17, 2008
4:30 pm
McCune Conference Room, IHC, 6th floor HSSB

An eighteen-year-old Moroccan who loves Black Sabbath.
A twenty-two-year-old rapper from the Gaza Strip. A young
Lebanese singer who quotes Bob Marley’s "Redemption Song."
They are as representative of the world of Islam today as the conservatives and extremists we see every night on the news.
Why, despite governmental attempts to control and censor them, do these musicians and fans keep playing and listening? Partly, of course, for the joy of self-expression, but also because, in this region, everything is political.

In a talk based on his new book, Heavy Metal Islam, Professor Mark LeVine (History, UC Irvine) explores the influence of Western music on the Middle East through interviews with musicians and fans, introducing us to young Muslims struggling to reconcile their religion with a passion for music and a desire for change. Levine takes us on a surprising foray into a historically authoritarian region where music just might be the true democratizing force.

(presented by History, co-sponsored by the Center for
Cold War Studies, and the Center for Middle East Studies)


Nasar Musa and the Middle East Ensemble

Middle East EnsembleSaturday, Nov. 22, 2008
8:00 pm, Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

Scott Marcus directs an "An Evening of Middle Eastern Music & Dance"with North America's largest Middle Eastern Orchestra. Also featured is the Ensemble's Dance Troupe, directed by Alexandra King. 

$17/General admission, $9/Students - UCSB Associated Students Ticket Office


October 2008 Middle East Events at UCSB:

Heavy Metal in Baghdad"Heavy Metal in Baghdad"

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008
6:00 pm
Film screening at the Multicultural Center



Mona Kanwal SheikhMona Kanwal Sheikh
"Militant Islam in Pakistan"

Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008
12:00 noon
Orfalea Center Seminar Room, 1005 Roberston Gym
(presented by the Orfalea Center
for Global & International Studies)




Center for Middle East Studies,
Beginning of the Year Reception!

Thursday, October 16, 2008
12:00 - 2:00 pm
Free Food! Live Music!
HSSB, Room 3041 and at CMES



Helena Cobban
"The Middle East and the Shifting Global Balance"

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008
5:00 - 6:30 pm
HSSB, Room 4020


Palestine Inside Out - An Everyday Occupation by Saree MakdisiDr. Saree Makdisi
University of California, Los Angeles

"Entering the Final Stage of the
Palestinian-Israeli Conflict"

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008
5:00 - 6:30 pm
McCune Conference Room
HSSB, Room 6020

An Everyday Occupation
by Saree Makdisi

What others are saying about "Palestine Inside Out", Makdisi's most recent book:

"A compelling account of the lives of ordinary Palestinians suffering under occupation" (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"Makdisiprovides an exhaustive look at the daily experiences that shape Palestinian life under Israeli occupation" (Institute for Middle East Understanding)

**Co-sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine (funding from Associated Students) and by the Center for Middle East Studies.

Download event flyer in PDF format


Kathleen Moore (UCSB Law & Society)
"The Qur'an and American Politics: the Rivalry of Iconic Texts"

Kathleen MooreWednesday, Oct. 29, 2008
3:00 - 5:00 pm
HSSB, Room 3041




Spring Quarter 2008 Events

CMES 10th Annual Conference
The 10th Annual Center for Middle East Studies Conference
"Constructing Sectarianism in the Middle East
and South Asia"

Saturday, April 19, 2008

9:00 am - 5:00 am, UCSB Mosher Alumni House
This conference is free and open to the public.
Click for details...


Spring Quarter 2007 Events

Thur, April 5
4:00-6:00 pm
HSSB McCune Room
Mary's Well in NazarethMary's Well in Nazareth: Photography, Gendered Space, and Water Law
A Lecture by Susan Slyomovics
Professor of Anthropology at UCLA
Click Here for Info!
Sat, May 5
8:00 pm
Campbell Hall
Al-Jazeera and the New Arab MediaAl-Jazeera and the New Arab Media
9th Annual Middle East Studies Conference
Click Here for Conference
Schedule and Information!
Mon, May 21
3:00 pm
McCune Room, HSSB
Lecture by Intisar Rabb"We the Jurists:
Islamic Constitutionalism in Iraq"
Lecture by Intisar Rabb

Click Here for Info!
Tue, May 29
7:00 pm
Chemistry 1179
Iran Panel Panel on prospects of yet another war with Iran
Click Here for Info!
Wed, May 30
12:00 pm
McCune Room
6th Floor of HSSB
End of the Year Party!Center for Middle East Studies
End of the Year Party!
Click Here for Info!


Winter Quarter 2007 Events

Wed, January 10
7:30 pm
Campbell Hall
"Iraq in Fragments" with James Longley
"… a one-man production of startling audacity and aesthetic provocation." –The Village Voice. Filmmaker James Longley illuminates war-torn Iraq in three acts in his unscripted and breathtaking documentary.  
Thurs, January 18
8:00 pm
Campbell Hall
Mark Danner"Into the Light of Day: Torture, Human Rights, and the War on Terror" with Mark Danner
A long time staff writer at The New Yorker, contributor to the New York Review of Books, and professor of journalism at UC Berkeley, Mark Danner writes about foreign affairs & politics. The LA Times has called his book Torture & Truth, "Essential reading for Americans who want to know how the US has careened into chaos – moral, political and organizational."
More info...
Wed, January 24
6:00 pm
MCC Theater
"Channels of Rage"
A documentary film by Anat Halachmi about two young rap artists: Subliminal, an Israeli Jew, and Tamer Nafar, an Israeli Arab. It focuses on their music, friendship, and their politicization as public figures. The film traces the relationship between Tamer and Subliminal, as the events of the second Palestinian Intifada unfold, and lets the viewer draw conclusions from the souring relations between the two as an individual representation of the polarization process which took place during these years of bloody conflict.
Mon, January 29
8:00 pm
Corwin Pavilion
Prince Moulay Hicham"The Arc of Crisis after Iraq: Confusion and Turmoil from the Mediterranean to the Subcontinent." Lecture by Prince Moulay Hicham of Morocco
A strong and influential spokesman for democratization and human rights, Prince Moulay Hicham has endowed the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia at Princeton; contributed writings on contemporary, international, social and political issues to publications Politique Internationale, and al-Quds; and is an investor and entrepreneur in developing environmentally sustainable energy sources. A member of the Royal Family of Morocco, he demonstrates a markedly independent and progressive political stance. He is a Regents’ Lecturer in the Law & Society Program at UCSB.
More info...
Fri, February 2
1:00-3:00 pm
HSSB 3rd Floor
Religious Studies
Conference Room
The Middle East in CrisisThe Middle East in Crisis
A Panel of Experts from the Middle East Report

More info...  
Wed, February 7
4:00-5:30 pm
HSSB McCune Room
"Contextuality and Intertextuality in Contemporary (Shi'I) Islamic Architecture" with
A Public Lecture by David Simonowitz
More info...
Wed, February 7
6:30 pm
1006 North Hall
"Cup Final" 1992
A political film suffused with humor and wit about an Israeli soldier detained by PLO guerrillas and his shifting relationship with the group's leader, both of whom carry an obsession for the Italian national soccer club. Directed by Eran Riklis.
Wed, February 14
6:30 pm
1006 North Hall
"Goal Dreams" 2006
Following the team as they prepare for the 2006 World Cup, GOAL DREAMS chronicles the suspension of domestic league games after an Israel air strike on Palestine Stadium, while Austrian coach Alfred Riedle makes a heroic effort to mold players from diverse countries such as the USA, Chile, Palestine and Lebanon into a national team unlike any other. Directed by Maya Sanbar & Jeff Saunders.
Wed, February 21
6:30 pm
1006 North Hall
"The Cyclist" 1989
This socially conscious, visually sophisticated film explores the inequities between the rich and the poor, and man’s exploitation of his fellow man. Directed by Moksen Makmalbaf.
Fri, March 2
4:00 pm
Campbell Hall
Tariq Ali"Rights and Needs: Neo-Liberalism, Democracy, and Military Humanism" with Tariq Ali
A writer, journalist, filmmaker and leading figure among cultural-political analysts, Tariq Ali is the author of several important historical novels that examine the relationship between Islam and the Western World, including The Clash of Fundamentalisms and Bush in Babylon.
More info...
Mon, March 5
1:00-3:00 pm
MCC Theater
Adeeb Khalid LectureSilk Road Cultural Encounters
Lecture by Adeeb Khalid
"Between Revolution and Empire: Toward an Alternative History of Muslim Modernity"
More info...
Mon, March 5
4:00-5:30 pm
HSSB 3041
Book Signing with Adeeb KhalidBook Signing with UC Press Author
Adeeb Khalid
"Islam After Communism:
Religion and Politics in Central Asia"

More info...
Sat, March 10
8:00 pm
Lotte Lehmann
Concert Hall
Middle East Ensemble Concert
A joyful night featuring a variety of music and dance from around the Middle East.
Public Lecture by Wadie Said, Law & Society


Fall Quarter 2006 Events:

Sat, September 30 Bringing Jordan and the Middle East into the K-12 Classroom

2:00 - 5:00 pm, HSSB 6th Floor, McCune Room
Click here for more info
Mon, October 9
2:00 - 3:30 pm
CMES Fall Quarter Reception
HSSB 6th Floor, McCune Room
Mon, October 9
4:00 - 6:00 pm
PANEL: Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Beyond:
Perspectives on Conflict in the Middle East

Prof. Juan Campo, Religious Studies
Prof. Richard Falk, Global Studies
Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer, Global Studies
Prof. Gershon Shafir, Sociology, UC San Diego
Prof. Salim Yaqub, History
Co-sponsored with the UCSB Center for Cold War Studies
HSSB 6th Floor. McCune Room  
Wed, November 1
4:00 - 6:00 pm
Lecture by Prof. Robert Vitalis, U of Penn.
on his new book, America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the
Saudi Oil Frontier

Co-sponsored with the UCSB Center for Cold War Studies
HSSB 6th Floor, McCune Room  
Mon, November 20
7:30 pm
The War Tapes, a film by Deborah Scranton
Released in 2006, this is the first movie on the war in Iraq shot
entirely by US soldiers.
UCSB Arts & Lectures
Campbell Hall, $5 students, $6 others  
Mon, November 27
7:30 pm
The Road to Guantanamo
A film by Michael Winterbottom & Mat Whitecros
about three British citizens held at US Guantanamo prison without
UCSB Arts & Lectures
Campbell Hall, $5 students, $6 others  


Award-winning film by James Longley

Iraq in Fragments

Iraq in Fragments

Opens November 11, 2006
Landmark’s Nuart Theater
Santa Monica Blvd. (just a block west of the 405)  


Spring Quarter 2006 Events:

IRAN - the next war?

"IRAN: The Next War?"
Tues, May 16, 7:00 pm
View More Info




Arab Muslims in Chicago: A Photo Essay

"Arab Muslims in Chicago: A Photo Essay"
Presentation by Prof. Louise Cainkar
Wed, May 17, 11:00 am
View More Info




Islam and the public SphereIslam and the Public Sphere
A Roundtable Discussion
Friday, April 21, 2006
4:00 pm, McCune Room, HSSB 6th Floor

View more information


Beshara Doumani Academic Freedom After Sept. 11
Beshara Doumani
Thursday, April 6, 2006
3:00 pm, McCune Room, HSSB 6th Floor

View more information


8th Annual Middle East Studies Conference
8th Annual Middle East Studies Conference
"Resurgence of Shi'i Islam"
Saturday, March 25, 2006
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
McCune Conference Room



Fall Quarter 2005 Events:

Tues. Oct. 4 - 8:00 PM
Kathy Ganon, AP and New Yorker writer who lived in Afghanistan for 18 years.
UCSB Campbell Hall (Free)

Thurs. Oct. 6 - 8:00 PM
Howard Zinn, historian and author of A People’s History of the United States.
His talk will be on "Embracing Humanity: Truth in a Time of War"
UCSB Campbell Hall ($10 Students)

Mon. Oct. 17 - 8:00 PM
Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood will speak on
"Picturing Iran – Memories in Black and White."
UCSB Campbell Hall (Free)

Thurs. Oct. 27 - 2:00 PM
Ilan Pappe, Israeli historian and author of Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1947-1951
and A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples.
HSSB 6th Floor McCune Room (Free)

Fall 2005 Events [PDF Format]


Past Events:

No god but God


Wednesday, May 4, 2005, Noon
Reza Aslan
"Welcome to the Islamic Reformation"

(Click Here for Details)



Wednesday, May 11, 2005, 12:15 pm
Joshua Hoffman
"Saudi Arabia - Reform and Globalization"

(Click Here for Details)


Two Lectures:

Friday, May 13, 2005, 1:00 pm
Salim Tamari
"Withdrawal from Gaza: Prelude to Two States or Paletinian Bantustans"


Beshara Doumani
"NABLUS: Scenes From Daily Life Under Occupation"

(Click Here for Details)




Post-Election Turmoil in the Middle East

Friday, February 18, 2005
1:00 to 4:30 pm
Embarcadero Hall, Isla Vista

Click Here for more info!

Conference: Post-Election Turmoil in the Middle East


Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi
2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
"Islam, Democracy & Human Rights"
May 17, 2004, 8:00 pm, UCSB Campbell Hall


Shirin Ebadi is the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. An Iranian lawyer and human rights activist who served in the 1970s as one of the first female judges in her country, Ebadi won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her tireless work on the behalf of democracy and the rights of women and children in Iran. Her talk will be in Farsi, with English translation.

Co-presented by the UCSB Center for Middle East Studies, the Office of the Chancellor and Direct Relief International.





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