Courtesy of Laura Rostad

NEWS & EVENTS

The Middle East Center at Penn sponsors and supports programs and initiatives across the disciplines and professional schools, and runs a dynamic outreach program in the Delaware Valley. Faculty and students at Penn are also active and prominent in the field of Middle East studies, making significant and highly regarded contributions to scholarly output in their areas of interest. We will continue to update news of the Center's activities and highlight the achievements of our faculty and students here.

Apr
29
Dr. Michael Boyle, Assistant Professor Political Science, LaSalle University The Iraq Wars: American Policy from Saddam Hussein to ISIS Michael Boyle, PH.D, Assistant Professor Political Science, LaSalle University, will discuss, why is President Obama the fourth consecutive American president to use military force in Iraq? Why does the U.S. never seem to be able to extricate itself from a conflict that began twenty years ago? This lecture will examine the factors – geopolitical, economic and moral - that have drawn successive Presidents into the Iraq’s conflicts over the last twenty years. It argues that American policy in Iraq has been beset by a recurring series of misconceptions – about the nature of the Iraqi state, about the political, sectarian and class-based divisions that animate the society, and ultimately about their ability to produce social change in that country – and by a mismatch between goals and resources, both of which have deepened Iraq’s crisis rather than alleviate it. As a result, the U.S. is now a protagonist in another war against ISIS in Iraq which may lead to the disintegration of the state and the emergence of a new order in the Middle East. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators.  
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Apr
22
Dr. Larry P. Goodson, Professor of Middle East Studies U.S. Policy and Strategy Toward Afghanistan and Pakistan Larry Goodson, Professor of Middle East Studies, Department of National Security and Strategy, will discuss how as the Afghan War enters its 13th year with no end in sight, Afghanistan’s neighbors continue to display divergent interests and a willingness to meddle in Afghanistan. In particular, Pakistan still sees its interests served by supporting the Taliban that stand in opposition to the Afghanistan government, despite the connection between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan’s domestic terrorist groups that threaten its internal stability. Meanwhile, the United States and its NATO partners want to conclude the Afghanistan mission, but cannot quite do so with the region still so unsettled. What should U.S. policy and strategy be going forward? Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Apr
15
Dr. Mehmet Darakcioglu, Associate Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Middle East Center Changing Lanes: Turkey and the Crisis in the Middle East Mehmet Darakcioglu, Associate Director of the University of Penn’s Middle East Center, will discuss how the Republic of Turkey, founded after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, adopted a cautious approach in its foreign policy to steer clear of regional or global conflicts. Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, summarized this policy in his famous quote as: “peace at home, peace in the world.” Though one can debate how successful Turkey was in living up to this ideal, it has adopted a non-interventionist foreign policy with some exceptions and aligned with the Western world as a NATO member since the beginning of the Cold War. Turkey began to follow a more proactive foreign policy under the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) in the past decade and took a keen interest in the affairs of the Arab Middle East. Though Turkey’s projection of soft power initially yielded successful results the country finds itself embroiled in serious regional problems related to Syria and to the rise of ISIS. This talk will analyze how Turkish foreign policy continues to evolve in the face of the continuing crisis in the Middle East. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Apr
1
Paul Cruickshank, CNN Terrorism Analyst The Evolving Terrorist Threat Paul Cruickshank, CNN’s Terrorism Analyst, documentary film producer, and investigative reporter specializing in Al Qaeda, ISIS and Jihadist terrorists will explain how the resurgence of these groups poses a threat to the American homeland. Cruickshank is the co-author of the 2014 spy thriller Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda, a five volume collection of key scholarly research on the terrorist network. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Mar
25
Ambassador William Luers, Director of The Iran Project and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University US Policy and Diplomacy in the Middle East Ambassador William Luers, Director of The Iran Project and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, has worked on backchannel diplomacy with Iran for nearly a decade. He has engaged with the US and Iranian negotiation teams at the highest levels, and written numerous articles, op-eds and reports on the diplomatic strategy with Iran and US policy implications. In this new and uncertain time in US-Iran relations, Ambassador Luers provides unique insight into regional and US national security implications of a nuclear agreement. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Mar
4
Dr. Jamal J. Elias, University of Pennsylvania Islam in the World Today Jamal J. Elias, Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies and of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss how Islam is one of the world’s largest religions and one of the most influential global forces of our time. Yet religions – as sets of beliefs or as social practices – are not monolithic and static, nor does a religion exist independent of its expression in human life. This lecture will introduce Islam as it is lived and practiced today, paying special attention to the ways in which Muslims attempt to negotiate their lives as a combination of constant change and the desire to remain faithful to notions of piety and virtue located in an idealized past. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Jan
30
Dr. Beth Baron, Dr. Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, Dr. Leslie Peirce, Dr. Elizabeth F. Thompson Please join us for a roundtable discussion on Gender Studies in the field of Middle East Studies.  This event brings together four leading scholars whose research covers issues pertaining to gender within Middle East Studies.  Discussants will include Beth Baron (City University of New York- Graduate Center), Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet (University of Pennsylvania), Leslie Peirce (New York University) and Elizabeth F. Thompson (University of Virginia).  Beth Baron is Professor in the Department of History, Director of the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center, and Director, MA in Middle Eastern Studies at the City University of New York- Graduate Center.  She is the author of Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics (University of California Press, 2005).  Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet is the Robert I. Williams Term Professor of History and Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is the author of Conceiving Citizens: Women and the Politics of Motherhood in Iran (Oxford University Press, 2011).  Leslie Peirce is Professor of History, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Silver Professor at New York University.  She is the author of Morality Tales: Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab (University of California Press, 2003).  Elizabeth F. Thompson is a Professor in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia.  She is the author of Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege, and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000).
12:30pm
Claudia Cohen Hall- 402
Jan
23
National Resources Center at UPENN For those thinking about studying abroad this summer. Come to the FLAS (Foregin Language & Area Studies) fellowship information session on Jan. 23, at 12 noon - Claudia Cohen Hall, Room 402. Representatives from each National Resource Center (Middle East Center, Africa Center, and South Asia Center) will be on hand to answer questions you may have. For information on this program and how to apply go to: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/flas/ Applications for Summer 2015 fellowships are due on February 27, 2015.  Applications for Academic Year 2015-16 fellowships are due on February 27, 2015. 
12:00pm
Claudia Cohen Hall, Room 402
Jan
22
Dr. Sahar Khamis (University of Maryland) Social media played a crucial role in the instigation and orchestration of the wave of political change that has been sweeping the Arab world since 2011. In this presentation, Dr. Sahar Khamis focuses on a particular type of social media, namely political blogs, which played a valuable role in paving the road for socio-political transformation in the Arab world, through providing important venues for the exchange of ideas and the formulation of collective public opinion, as well as the documentation of significant events. Thus, encouraging civic engagement and public participation, on one hand, while providing platforms for citizen journalism, on the other hand. Focusing on the case of Egypt, in particular, Dr. Khamis presents the findings of a textual analysis of the dominant discourses in five of the most popular Egyptian political blogs, and how they paved the way for the eruption of the 2011 revolution by widely sharing an anti-governmental discourse which exposed corruption and violations of human rights, on the political front, while tackling taboo issues, such as sexual harassment, on the social front. In doing so, she sheds light on why and how the role of cyberactivists, in general, and political bloggers, in particular, has been changing and how this is related to the ongoing political developments in Egypt. Space is limited, please RSVP here.    Co-Sponsored by the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania
12:00pm
Annenberg School for Communication | Room 300
Dec
15
Omar Al-Ghazzi   This paper interrogates the contentious Arab-Muslim collective memory of Al-Andalus, the name of Muslim-ruled Spain from the 8th to the 15th centuries. Omar Al-Ghazzi is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. His research interests include global communication, journalism, and digital media and collective action. His work has appeared in Communication Theory, Media, Culture and Society, Popular Communication, and International Journal of Communication. A former Fulbright fellow, Omar holds a Master’s degree in International Communication from American University in Washington DC and a BA in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Omar comes from a journalism and media analysis professional background and has previously worked for the BBC and Al-Hayat Arabic daily. Please click to view the flyer for more details.
5:00pm
Room 222 Fisher-Bennett Hall
Dec
2
Ciruce Movahadi-Lankarani Ciruce Movahadi-Lankarani is a PhD student in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania. Ciruce is interested in Iranian understandings of the modern world and how those notions were shaped by encounters with scientific knowledge and technological objects. Toward that end he not only studies the society and culture of modern Iran but also the global contexts of modernizations, development, and the production of scientific knowledge. 
3:30pm
Fisher-Bennett 016