News & Events
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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.

Dr. Salam al-Kuntar and Mr. Nimrod Ben-Zeev Dr. Salam Al-Kuntar, Dr. Anna Viden, and Nimrod Ben-Zeev will present lectures on migration in Iraq, Syria and Israel. The presentations will focus on both the present-day situation, as well as the history of migration in these regions. Dr. Salam Al-Kuntar is a Penn Museum Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology. Her research interests include forced migration, near eastern archaeology, and human mobility and cultural boundaries. She will provide an insightful lecture entitled, “Displacement and Forced Migration of Syrians and Iraqis: Cultural Impacts in the Middle East and Beyond”. Nimrod Ben-Zeev is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania. His research is focused on the ways in which inequalities are produced through the intersections of construction, the built environment and the body. He will present a lecture titled, “Mizrahi Jews in Israel: History, Struggle and Identity”. Anna Viden is the Program Coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East Center. Her research deals with US foreign policy in the Middle East in a historic and contemporary context with a specific focus on US-Saudi and US-Egypt relations. She will present a lecture entitled, “A comparison between Swedish and American Immigration and Refugee Policies".
Camden Community College
The University of Pennsylvania’s National Resource Centers present the Global Summer Institute 2017. This year’s Summer Institute, which is titled Legendary Empires: Power, People and Politics, will take place July 17-21, 9:30 am–4:00 pm at the Carriage House (LGBT Center) University of Pennsylvania, 3907 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19104. The Global Summer Institute is a five-day K-12 teacher training organized by the University of Pennsylvania’s National Resource Centers focusing on global education. This year’s theme will focus on creative interpretations of “empire,” exploring fabled kings and queens, dynasties that reshaped landscapes, colonial rulers and modern empires. The Summer Institute is a five-days teacher training program jointly organized by Penn National Resource, Penn Museum, and Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture. A full itinerary of the Summer Institute will be made available to participants, but the topics and themes that will be covered during the each day of the Institute is as follows: The program for Monday, July 17th will feature lectures by Brian Spooner, Professor in Anthropology at University of Pennsylvania, and Tuna Artun who is an Assistant Professor in History at Rutgers University. Professor Spooner will give an overview of Middle Eastern Empires focusing on the Achaemenians, Parthians, Sasanians, and the Persianate administrations of the eastern Islamic world from the Taherids in Nishapur (starting in 821) to the Ottomans, Mughals and Qajars in the late medieval and early modern periods. Professor Spooner will also provide an account how the Colonial Empires affected the Middle East and the consequences in modern time. Professor Artun will give a presentation on the Ottoman Empire as world history. Monday, July 17th will also feature lectures and performances by Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture. Tuesday, July 18, will feature Ellen Owens and Hitomi Yoshida, from the Penn Museum. They will lead a tour of newest exhibition at the Penn Museum, Cultures in the Crossfire, as well as provide an activity teaching about visual literary through Egyptian Empires. Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, will provide an interactive lecture. The entire day will take place at Penn Muesum.  Wednesday, July 19, will feature a tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art’s new South Asia Gallery as well as lectures by Devan Patel, Associate Professor of South Asia Studies, Megan Robb, Assistant Professor of South Asian Religions, and speakers from the Center of Africana Studies. Professor Patel’s lecture will focus on Hindu and Buddhist Empires, while Professor Robb’s lecture will address Muslim Empires in South Asia. Thursday, July 20, will feature lectures by Dr. Mitch Fraas, Curator of Special Collections, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, David Dettman, Associate Director of the Center for East Asian Studies, Daud Ali, Associate Professor of South Asia Studies and speakers from the Center of Africana Studies. Dr. Fraas’ lecture will demonstrate how primary sources can be used to teach Empire in India, while David Dettman’s lecture will focus on empires in Korea and Mongolia. Professor Ali’s lecture will focus on colonialism in South Asia. Thursday, July 20, will also feature a Teacher Reflection and Talk Back led by Sarah Sharp. Friday, July 21, the final day of the workshop will provide particpants the opportunity to present their lesson plans and share ideas.  Registration is free: Participants receive ACT 48 credit and a $ 100 stipend for attendance and completion of all workshops. Apply at  Application deadline: Wednesday, May 31, 2017  For more information, please click here.  We hope to see you there!
University of Pennsylvania, Carriage House, Penn Museem
Announcement and Call for Applications: Iran Graduate Student Workshop To build bridges across Persian and Iranian Studies programs, scholars from New York University’s Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department and the Gallatin School (ISI-NYU), Princeton University’s Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East Center announce the Iran Graduate Student Workshop (IGSW). The workshop will provide a valuable venue for academic exchange and production, giving distinguished young scholars of the field an unrivalled opportunity to present and promote their research. On May 4-5, 2018, the University of Pennsylvania will host the second gathering of this joint workshop, to be followed by similar meetings at the other campuses every two years. This second workshop in 2018 will consist of PhD students that are near ABD status and preparing their dissertation proposals (i.e., typically in their 2nd or 3rd year of graduate work). In addition, the first cohort will participate again, as discussants, in the 2018 workshop, as they approach the end of their graduate work. Applicants for the second round, in 2018, must focus on modern Iran (roughly 18th-20th centuries), other countries of the Persianate world, or diasporas, or conduct relational histories and comparative work; and will be drawn from disciplines and programs in the humanities and social sciences, including anthropology, art history, economics, history, literature, politics, sociology, and related fields.   IGSW Purpose: To provide graduate students with intellectual feedback on their research, encompassing both area studies and disciplinary critiques, twice in their graduate student careers. To ensure that graduate students of Iran are aware of, and make their work accessible to, scholars from other parts of “their” area (i.e., the Middle East broadly defined) as well as from 
their own discipline, whether it be history, literature, or the social sciences. To use the above points to make sure that graduating scholars who focus on modern Iran will continue to be placed, if not more frequently placed, in both area studies and disciplinary departments. To help doctoral students improve skills in scholarship and teaching.   To apply, please email the application materials to by August 15, 2017:  One letter of recommendation from an advisor or committee member supporting the research project and attesting to the student's good standing in their program of study. Curriculum vitae Research proposal of 1,000 words on argument, methods, and evidence to be used in 
Decisions on applications will be sent out by September 30, 2017. If selected by the IGSW committee, participants will be expected to attend workshops in years 2018 and 2020. Travel and accommodation for accepted applicants will be provided by the IGSW. This event is co-organized by New York University’s Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department and the Gallatin School (ISI-NYU), Princeton University’s Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East Center.