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.

May
1
Dr. Idris Stovall Eager to incorporate activities that make math relevant to your students in real world contexts? Dr. Idris Stovall, who regularly collaborates with Egyptian colleagues to build K-12/Higher Ed partnerships around mathematics, will reflect on his experiences and showcase activities and curricula designed to make the 'M' in STEM relevant to students and teachers alike. Presented by the University of Pennsylvania's Africa and Middle East Centers. ACT 48 Credits available for PA teachers. Free! Registration information: http://www.philasciencefestival.org/event/201-mathematics-in-k-12-higher...
4:30pm
Fisher- Bennett Hall Room 138, 3340 Walnut Street Philadelphia
Apr
24
Dr. Ron Eglash This event aims to promote discussion of issues of global prominence. This year's speaker, Dr. Ron Eglash, will speak on alternative pedagogical tools for the study of science. Dr. Eglash (PhD History of Consciousness, UCSC) works at the intersection of culture, technology, and science, researching tools that tap into culture to teach math and science as well as the appropriation of science and technology by under-served groups. Eglash was the recipient of the American Anthropological Association's "Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship" award (2009). He was also a TED Talk speaker, presenting a talk titled "The Fractals at the Heart of African Design." With additional support from Penn's School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Departments of Anthropology, History & Sociology of Science, Physics & Astronomy and the Franklin Institute's Science Festival.   FREE! RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/global-distinguished-lecture-with-ron-eglash-tickets-11025498563 Event contact Raili Roy railiroy@sas.upenn.edu.
6:00pm
Berger Auditorium, Skirkanich Hall (School of Engineering) 200 S. 33rd Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
Apr
24
Dr. Shelley Deane Dr. Shelley Deane, an expert in international conflict and the Middle East, will be engaging in a series of talks on "Syria's Next Generation: The Future of Higher Education.”  Her presentation will provide a 7-10 minute documentary on the situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon followed by a discussion of the education and security scenarios likely as the increasingly protracted conflict in Syria persists and the conflict contagion in neighboring states takes its toll. Dr. Deane has worked with UNDP, UNHCR, UNESCO, IIE and all the local service providers. Her talk will present insights from the region and share thoughts on how best to raise awareness and support for the "missing middle" students with capacities and capabilities that are vital for harnessing the human capital of the region.
12:00pm
Claire M. Fagin Hall room 118, 418 Curie Boulevard Philadelphia, PA, 19104
Apr
23
Fathy Salma Join us for a lecture with on Egyptian Music with Fathy Salama, a Grammy-Award winner musician. Please note that there two envents attached to the flyer below, a lecture and a concert. The lectures is FREE and open to public. It will take place at Penn Museum (Lower Egypt Gallery) on April 23rd at 6 pm.  
6:00pm
Penn Museum-Lower Egypt Gallery
Apr
17
Melani Cammett, Associate Professor of Political Science, Brown University Ram Cnaan (Discussant), Penn School of Social Policy and Practice This talk is a part of Social Rights and Citizenship Faculty Workshop Series organized by Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship and Constitutionalism. Excerpt from the Paper that will be disscussed during the workshop: "Social rights, or the right to a modicum standard of living within a given social context, are often understood to include access to basic services such as health care and education. The public sector may or may not actually provide these services, but at a minimum the concept of social rights implies that states guarantee social rights by ensuring relatively equitable access for citizens, and sometimes also for non-citizen residents, within the national territory. When state capacity to provide and regulate social welfare is weak and non-state providers (NSPs) predominate, the concept and reality of social rights can be tenuous at best. The underdevelopment of formal welfare programs increases the importance of informal mechanisms for assuring social protection. A large proportion of populations in Middle Eastern countries works in the informal sector - in some cases, over 50 percent of the workforce is employed informally - and families and kinship networks are integral to welfare systems. Remittances, informal credit channels, and agricultural portfolios of crops, livestock and family farm reserves are also vital. Religious organizations and charitable contributions and, increasingly, NGOs are also important providers and financiers of social welfare in MENA countries."
12:00pm
Silverstein Forum, Stitler Hall First Floor
Apr
10
Ali Karjoo-Ravary, University of Pennsylvania Middle East Center Graduate Student Colloquium 13-14 Kadi Burhaneddin (1345 - 1398) was the Sultan of Sivas in Anatolia right before the dawn of the Ottoman Empire. Though celebrated as a poet and legal scholar, recent research shows that he was also an accomplished Sufi theoretician of the school of Ibn al-Arabi. This paper reevaluates his life in light of this while considering the broader influence of Ibn al-Arabi’s teachings on the political elite of the Persianate world.
4:30pm
David Rittenhouse Laboratory (209 South 33rd Street) Room:3C4
Apr
9
Jacquelyn Campbell Anna D. Wolf Chair and Professor of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University National Program Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars Program Global efforts to prevent violence have tended to focus on violence between men. Yet it is gender-based violence, largely directed at women and girls, that inflicts the highest costs on a society's health and well-being. Jacqueline Campbell, an international authority on violence against women, discusses this global problem and highlights some of the new community-based strategies that are being used successfully to combat it. Hailed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the 20 most influential researchers in disease prevention over the last two decades, Jacquelyn Campbell has published well over 200 articles and seven books on intimate partner violence, violence against women, and adolescent exposure to violence. She has been principal investigator on numerous major federal research grants and served as co-chair of the Steering Committee for the WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women.  She currently co-chairs the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Global Violence Prevention. An elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Nursing, Dr. Campbell served on the congressionally appointed U.S. Department of Defense Domestic Violence Task Force, as well as on the board of directors for five battered women shelters, including the House of Ruth. She is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for Futures without Violence.
5:00pm
Rainey Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street
Apr
9
Dr. Amel Mili
12:00pm
639 Williams Hall
Apr
8
5:30pm
Shotel Dubin Auditorium Steinhardt Hall 215 S. 39th Street Philadelphia, PA
Apr
7
Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project Penn Law’s Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) advocates for and provides legal assistance to refugees across the world seeking safety in the United States. Join us for a discussion of IRAP’s work from this year, such as representing Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who assisted the U.S. military, advocacy to spur systemic change in U.S. refugee laws, and working with local law firms to help refugees navigate the resettlement process. Volunteers who traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan on IRAP’s service trip will share their experiences and lessons learned from refugee interviews and a number of NGO briefings. Come learn how you can get involved and make a difference! 
7:30pm
Penn Law School, Silverman 240A
Apr
3
Sarah Sharp Dr. Sarah Sharp will share insights regarding contemporary society, culture and politics drawn from her travels to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. As a high school social studies teacher, Sarah’s primary interest is in developing ways to bring this material to the high school audience, especially as these curricular directions generate global understanding regarding Middle Eastern populations and this region as “the other,” or “the enemy.” 
7:00pm
Forum, Connector Building, Camden County College, Blackwood NJ
Apr
1
Dr. Marwan Muasher           Are you confused about all the events happening in the Middle East? Do you want to get a better understanding of the challenges facing Middle Eastern societies at the moment?            If so, then please join the Penn Arab Student Society and Wharton MENA for their first speaker event of the year with Dr. Marwan Muasher- vice president for studies at Carnegie and former foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Jordan. Dr. Muasher will be explaining the causes of unrest in the Arab region, a topic he addresses in his latest publication. He traces this unrest back to the first Arab Awakening and emphasizes the important role of the new generation and its commitment to tolerance, diversity, the peaceful rotation of power, and inclusive economic growth. He calls on the West to rethink political Islam and the Arab Israeli conflict, and he underscores the importance of efforts to strengthen education and expand traditional definitions of Arab citizenship for the long-term process of democratic transition.
7:00pm
Hunstman Hall, 3730 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
Mar
28
Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania The Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce this year’s essay contest for undergraduates, for a first place prize of $500 awarded by the Center. The competition is open to all current Penn undergraduates. Essays may deal with any topic within the context of the modern Middle East, broadly defined geographically. Papers addressing any aspect of Middle Eastern history since the late eighteenth century will be considered for the prize. All entries should be the student’s original work and previously not published elsewhere. Please submit entries to mehmetd@sas.upenn.edu with the subject “Undergraduate Essay Contest” no later than March 28th, 2014 at 5pm. Essays should range from 4000 to 8000 words, not including notes, charts, appendices and bibliography. Please use MLA citation when submitting papers.
5:00pm
Mar
20
Negar Razavi, University of Pennsylvania Middle East Center Graduate Student Colloquium 13-14 In this paper, Negar examines the dislocated experiences of lower middle class urban men in Iran as they navigate between their growing aspirations for socioeconomic mobility and the harsh realities of economic and social exclusion in an increasingly fragile economic landscape. Drawing on nearly five months of ethnographic fieldwork and research in southern and eastern Tehran and Shahr-e Rey, this paper will explore questions of class, masculinity, economic liberalization, and the impact of international sanctions on Iran".
4:30pm
David Rittenhouse Laboratory (209 South 33rd Street) Room 3C4
Mar
20
Begum Adalet, University of Pennsylvania Middle East Center Graduate Student Colloquium 13-14 This paper chronicles the efforts to develop a tourism industry in Turkey during the early phases of the Cold War, with a focus on the design and construction of the Istanbul Hilton Hotel. The hotel was financed by the Turkish Pension Funds and the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) of the US government.  The actors involved in the implementation of the hotel alternately framed it as a safeguard against the perilous march of Communism, a turning point in the consolidation of the tourism industry or the signifier of a hospitable mindset, believed to be a necessary corollary to modernization. Rather than surfacing as a medium for the top-down imposition of an Americanized modernity or the material expression of the politico-ideological concerns of its builders, however, the history of the Hilton was marked by contention from the outset, in terms of its style, funding, and site, as well as the various meanings it was expected to communicate. While the hotel and attendant conceptions of hospitality were predicated upon openness to foreign aid and expertise, their implementation was offset by disruptions in the flows and allocation of capital, the hesitations of traveling experts, and misunderstandings between the various participants of the tourism initiative.
4:30pm
David Rittenhouse Laboratory (209 South 33rd Street) Room:3C4
Mar
6
Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania Anita Amirrezvani, Marjan Kamali, Persis Karim, Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet & Porochista Khakpour
6:00pm
Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk. Philadelphia, PA
Mar
5
Join us for a discussion on the diverse nature of women's experiences in war, peace, nation-building. Musical performance by the Anna Crusis Women's Choir Refreshments will be served
6:00pm
International House Philadelphia, South America Room (3701 Chestnut Street)
Feb
26
Doga Kerestecioglu, University of Pennsylvania Middle East Center Graduate Student Colloquium 13-14 This paper proposes a new sociological theory of secularism by studying the rise of secular societies in cases transitioning to a secular state through revolution. For long, scholars assumed that modern revolutions result in secular states regardless of becoming democracies. This may not always be the case as revealed by current events. Secularization happens through political and cultural struggles. This research aims to explain the factors that lead to the emergence of a secular state and the dynamics that affects its stability. Through a comparative and historical study of how institutions, ideology, networks, leadership and gender plays a role following the French Revolution in 19th Century, Turkish Secular Revolution after WWI (1919-1938), and in the second half of the Mexican Revolution (1920-1935); this dissertation aims to shed light on the struggles that shape the secularization process.
4:30pm
David Rittenhouse Laboratory (209 South 33rd Street) Room:2C6
Feb
26
Marcia Inhorn, Yale University In her talk, Dr. Inhorn will discuss changing expectations of manhood across the region, including men’s desires for love, conjugal commitment, and fatherhood. Dr. Inhorn will highlight the high rates of male infertility across the region, and men’s desires for the latest fertility technologies and treatments. Lunch will be provided
12:00pm
Penn Museum, Classroom 345
Feb
25
Stephen Sheehi, University of South Carolina As the story goes, the famous Ottoman-Armenian photographers Abdullah Frères impressed Sultan ‘Abd al-‘Aziz with their skill by producing a flattering portrait after the Potentate’s first experience with a European photographer ended miserably. At the same time, Disdéri’s carte de visite portrait of Napoleon started “cartomania," the world’s first global phenomenon in visual culture.  Istanbul studios Abdullah Frères, Vassilki Kargopoulo, and Sébah  were followed by native owned studios in the Arab provincial capitals, most notably Jurji Sabunji, Kova Frères, and Garabed Krikorian. Like photography itself, studio portrait was rapidly acculturated into cultural and political life of the Empire, seamlessly interpellated by the ideology of al-nahdah al-‘arabiyah and the Tanzimat, the two intertwined juggernauts that  naturalized the tectonic social, political, and economic changes underwa  as a result of the region’s immersion into the world economy. “The Motive Behind This Portrait” discusses how the carte de visite  not only performed the national, class, and gender ideals of new “social groups” in Ottoman Egypt, Palestine, and Syro-Lebanon. On a materialist level, the portrait mediated and stabilized social relations between functionaries, emerging elites, organic intellectuals, and burgeoning citizens  through new circuits of political and economic sociability. As a copula where the juridical subject meets the new  nationalized, class, and gendered subject of biopower, the carte de visite was a stabilizing materialist object and semiotic text that instantiated the ideology of the era against a torrent of social and economic change.
5:00pm
Stiteler Hall, Room B21, 37th Street between Walnut St. & Locust Walk
Feb
19
Learn about Al Jazeera and its relations with U.S. Central Command and other U.S. media that covered the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Speaking through different genres and cultural contexts, women filmmakers explore the consequences of today's wars at home and abroad. Film and feminist theory scholar Karen Beckman, who directs this year's Penn Humanities Forum on Violence, will introduce each screening and host informal audience discussions. Don't miss this rare chance to see how women film the war on terror. Films are free and open to the public. No pre-registration is necessary. Control Roomdir. Jehane Noujaim, USA, 2004, digital, Arabic and English, 84 min. Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim (Startup.com) directs Control Room, a documentary investigating the ethics of media-managed wars. This film particularly focuses on the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Noujaim and her film crew travel to the headquarters of Al-Jazeera, the media leader in the Arab world, to find out what the news looks like in Iraq. She interviews several journalists and producers involved in war reporting for Al-Jazeera, including senior producer Sameer Khader, journalist Hassan Ibrahim, and producer Deema Khatib. Noujaim also interviews American correspondents David Shuster from NBC and Tom Mintier from CNN. For more information: http://ihousephilly.org/calendar/women-film-the-war-on-terror-control-room
7:00pm
International House Philadelphia