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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.

Sep
26
Join the Middle East Center for a lunch workshop on internship and career opportunities in Washington, D.C that utilize a major or minor in Modern Middle East studies (MMES).  Guest Speakers Include: Abigail Denburg, Penn Alum, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Abigail Denburg currently serves as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller, handling a variety of portfolios, including political-military affairs, the Middle East and Africa.  Prior to this position, Abigail served as Staff Assistant to the Under Secretary.  Abigail graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, where she double majored in Diplomatic History and Modern Middle Eastern Studies. Abigail will talk how she utilized her MMES major to get the most out of her time at Penn and how she used it to further a political career. Dr. Martinez, Director of Penn in Washington Dr. Martinez is the executive director of the Penn in Washington program, which offers a semester and a summer program in Washington DC. PIW also hosts events on campus during the academic year that introduce students to alumni working in Washington, and Dr. Martinez is a year-round resource to students interested in internships and careers in Washington. Dr. Martinez teaches the core course in the PIW Semester program. More information can be found at https://piw.sas.upenn.edu/.  Lunch will be provided. 
12:00pm
311 Griski Room, Houston Hall, 3417 Spruce St.
Oct
18
Dr. Evren Savcı (San Francisco University) and Dr. Sa’ed Atshan (Swarthmore College) Join us for a dynamic discussion with special guest, Dr. Evren Savcı (San Francisco University), facilitated by Dr. Sa’ed Atshan (Swarthmore College), on queerness in the Middle East and how LGBT politics manifest under neoliberal Islamic regimes.   Dr. Evren Savcı is Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Middle East and Islamic Studies at San Francisco University. Her ongoing book project, Queer in Translation: Sexual Politics under Neoliberal Islam, traces the travel and translation of Western concepts that surround discourses on non-normative genders and sexualities in contemporary Turkey.   Dr. Sa’ed Atshan is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College. He previously served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in International Studies at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University and specializes in topics related to Israel/Palestine. 
5:30pm
LGBT Center, 3907 Spruce St, Philadelphia PA
Oct
26
Dr. Hocine Fetni and representatives from the Modern Middle East Studies and International Relations program Assistant Dean for Advising, Dr. Hocine Fetni, and representatives from the Modern Middle East Studies and International Relations program will attend to meet with students over dinner. RSVP by: 5PM, Friday, October 21, 2016 RSVP by visiting: https://sasupenn.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_b2A1InhIK1qT2cZ For questions, please contact, Assistant Dean, Rebecca Poyourow at poyourow@sas.upenn.edu. 
6:00pm
Mayer Seminar Room, Mayer Residence Hall, Stouffer College House
Nov
2
James Ryan is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Penn History Department This talk will explore the deepening of ideological divides and the circulation of racist and anti-racist discourse in Turkey in the later years of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's rule through the end of World War II. During this period of Turkey's political history, we can witness the hardening of official positions on Turkish ethnicity and state ideology through the articulation of the "six arrows" of Kemalism, the Turkish History Thesis and the Sun Language Theory, and various policies aimed at marginalizing and oppressing non-Turkish and non-Muslim identities across the country. Historical scholarship on Kemalism has already deeply explored the creation and application of these policies, but this presentation will focus on the reaction of opponents of the Kemalist regime to this increasingly ethno-nationalist stance. It investigates racist critics of Kemalism who were informed and sponsored by Nazi Germany, conservative modernists who embraced identities that were more pious and more openly occidentalist than the regime, as well as left-wing communists and socialists who began to layer an anti-racist mission onto their critiques of capitalism, imperialism and authoritarian rule both in Turkey and across Europe. In doing so, we can grasp a more holistic understanding of ideology and race in Turkish politics during a period of sharp disagreement amongst the political and intellectual classes.  James Ryan is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Penn History Department. His dissertation, "The Republic of Others: Opponents of Kemalism in Turkey's Single Party Era, 1919-1950" examines the history of opposition movements in Turkey from the fall of the Ottoman Empire to the beginning of multiparty politics in 1950. 
12:00pm
Fisher - Bennett Hall Room 322, 3340 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
Jan
26
Dr. Sabine Schmidtke (Princeton) The Zaydī community is a branch of Shīʿī Islam that has flourished mainly in two regions, namely the mountainous Northern Highlands of Yemen and the Caspian regions of Northern Iran. The two Zaydī states that were established in Yemen and Northern Iran constituted separate political and cultural entities. During the 10th and 11th centuries the Zaydīs of Yemen became increasingly isolated from their coreligionists in Iran as a result of their geographical remoteness and political isolation . The situation changed radically in the early 12th century, when a rapprochement between the two Zaydī communities began that eventually resulted in their political unification which was accompanied by a transfer of knowledge from Northern Iran to Yemen that comprised nearly the entire literary and religious legacy of Caspian Zaydism. Most of this legacy is preserved until today in the private and public libraries of Yemen as well as in the various European collections of manuscripts of Yemeni provenance. During the reign of al-Manṣūr, the knowledge transfer to Yemen reached its peak. The Imam founded a library in Ẓafār, his town of residence, for which he had a wealth of books copied by a team of scholars and scribes. In 1929 the rich holdings of his library, which continued to grow under his successors, were transferred from Ẓafār to the newly founded al-Khizāna al-Mutawakkiliyya in Ṣanʿāʾ. The library, which is housed even today in the complex of the Great Mosque of Ṣanʿāʾ, is also known as al-Maktaba al-Sharqiyya (since 1984: Maktabat al-Awqāf). The presentation will discuss some of the codicological features of the manuscripts that were produced for the library of Imam al-Mansur. Dr. Sabine Schmidtke (D.Phil. University of Oxford) is Professor of Islamic Intellectual History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. She has published extensively on Islamic and Jewish intellectual history. Her works include Theologie, Philosophie und Mystik im zwölferschiitischen Islam des 9./15. Jahrhunderts. Die Gedankenwelt des Ibn Abī Jumhūr al-Aḥsāʾī (um 838/1434-35 - nach 906/1501) (Leiden 2000), and, together with Reza Pourjavady, A Jewish Philosopher of Baghdad. ʿIzz al-Dawla Ibn Kammūna and his Writings (Leiden 2006).
5:30pm
TBA