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.

Sep
19
Dr. Robert Vitalis, Professor in Comparative International Relations, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania Dr. Robert Vitalis, Professor in Comparative International Relations, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania will discuss the myth of a special US-Saudi relationship, its origin and why we tend to believe in it. 
6:30pm
Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood NJ,08012-0200
Sep
24
Dr. Seth Anziska, Associate Professor of Jewish-Muslim Relations, University College London Dr. Seth Anziska, Associate Professor of Jewish-Muslim Relations, University College London, will give a talk based on his recent book Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo (2018). In this book based on newly declassified international sources, Dr. Anziska charts the emergence of the peace process and examines how events in the 1970s and 1980s contributed to the persistance of Palestinian statelessness and broader regional upheaval in the Middle East today.   
5:30pm
Arch 108, 3601 Locust Walk, The ARCH Building, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sep
25
Dr. Keren Friedman-Peleg, Visiting Assistant Professor, Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania Dr. Keren Friedman-Peleg, Visiting Assistant Professor, Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, vill address the politics of trauma on the border of Israel and Gaza. Light lunch and refreshments will be served. 
12:00pm
College Hall Rm 209, 3450 Woodland Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sep
25
Hisham Matar Heather Sharkey and Eileen Ryan Hisham Matar, Pulitzer winning Libyan memoirist and novelist will be in conversation with Dr. Heather Sharkey, Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages  and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Eileen Ryan, Associate Professor of History, Temple University.
4:30pm
College Hall 200
Sep
26
Dr. Ahmad Almallah, Lecturer of Arabic and Arabic Literature, University of Pennsylvania Esraa Al-Shammari, Ph.D-Candidate, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania Through finely crafted poems Ahmad Almallah replicates his own verbal and cultural experience of existing between languages and socities There is a sense of displacement to these poems as Almallah recounts the amusing, sad, and perilous moments of day-to-day living in exile. 
6:00pm
Penn Book Center, 130 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Oct
2
Dr. Ian Hartshorn, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Nevada, Reno Based on more than 150 interviews with trade unionists, activists, politicians, and workers in Tunisia and Egypt, Dr. Ian Hartshorn explores how disgruntled workers broke away from their captured unions to create new, revolutionary movements among the working classes. 
5:30pm
Fisher Bennett Hall Rm 201, 3340 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Oct
3
Judith Katzir Dr. Nili Gold, Professor of Modern Hebrew, Language and Literature, University of Pennsylvania The acclaimed Israeli writer Judith Katzir will be in conversation with Dr. Nili Gold, Professor of Modern Hebrew, Language and Literature, University of Pennsylvania.
1:30pm
College Hall 209, 3450 Woodland Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Oct
3
Dr. Huda Fakhreddine, Assistant Professor in Arabic Literature, University of Pennsylvania, Chef Osama Herkal Where do We Go Now ? is a comedy from director Nadine Labaki which explores the lives of Christians and Muslims in a small Lebanese village, as the women conspire to avert sectarian strife through a series of plots. The film will be presented by Dr. Huda Fakhreddine, Assistant Professor in Arabic Literature, University of Pennsylvania. Chef Osama Herkal, a Syrian chef recently resettled in Philadelphia will share stories and food from his native country.
5:30pm
Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood NJ,08012-0200
Oct
10
Dr. Deborah Harrold, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, University of Pennsylvania Since the late 20th century, Algerians have lived through civil war and political uncertainty. While Algeria missed the Arab Uprisings of 2011, waves of demonstrations contributed to the resignation of an ailing president who many believed was a thin front for military rule. Extensive oil and gas resources have enabled Algerian governments to insulate themselves from political pressure, but public focus on the military is high. An educated poulation in contact with the world , an underperforming economy, a diverse civil society - Surely Algeria will be able to make a transition to a more representative and accountable government? These issues will be addressed by Dr. Harrold in her talk.  
6:30pm
Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood NJ,08012-0200
Oct
14
August Thomas Ali Noori, Ph-D.-candidate, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania Join us for a book talk with author August Thomas who will be in conversation with Ali Noori, PhD-candiate in religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania about Liar's Candle (2018): a spy-novel set in Ankara Turkey.     
5:30pm
Penn Book Center, 130 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Oct
17
Dr. Hisham Aidi, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs Dr. Hisham Aidi,Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, will give a talk on race, music and the Global Andalus.
5:30pm
Stephen Levin Building, Rm 111, 425 S. University Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Oct
18
Various Various Join us for a one-day workshop on Assysrian language and culture. Light Syrian fare and refreshments will be served. 
9:30am
English Graduate Student Lounge, Rm 330, Fisher Bennett Hall, 3340, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Oct
22
Dr. Angie Heo, Assistant Professor of the Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, University of Chicago In the wake of the Arab Uprisings and the military coup, Egypt's Copts encounter promises of national unity and perils of sectarian exclusion. Based on fieldwork, this lecture analyzes how religious practices of mediation shape Christian-Muslim belonging under the post-1952 Egyptian state. 
5:30pm
Arch 108, 3601 Locust Walk, The ARCH Building, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Oct
24
Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, Emirati commentator on Arab affairs, founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, a Director's Fellow at MIT Media Lab, UAE-based columnist and Founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, will give a talk addressing the politics of modern Middle Eastern Art.
5:30pm
Annenberg School of Communication Rm 110,3620 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Oct
29
Amy Hawthorne, Deputy Director for Research at Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) Dr. Nada Matta, Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Modern Languages, Drexel University, Ph.D-Candidate Nicholas Foretek, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania Since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power six years ago, he has led the region's most populous country into a new autocratic era. How is al-Sisi's Egypt different from that of Hosni Mubarak, who ruled from 1981 to 2011? What are the major features of politics, economy, and foreign policy? Is Egypt still important to the United States, and what is the U.S. role in its trajectory? These questions will be addressed in this conversation between Amy Hawthorne, Dr. Nada Mattar and Ph.D-Candidate Nicholas Foretek.
5:30pm
Claudia Cohen Hall Rm 402, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Nov
4
John Limbert, Foreign Service Officer in Tehran (1978-1981) and US Deputy Secretary of State for Iran (2009-2010 Dr. John Ghazvinian, Associate Director, Middle East Center John Limbert, Foreign Service Officer in Tehran (1978-1981) and US Deputy Secretary of State for Iran (2009-2010) will be in conversation with Dr. John Ghazvinian, Associate Director, Middle East Center, about the former's experiences as a hostage during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. 
5:30pm
Perry World House,3803 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Nov
7
Dr. John Ghazvinian, Associate Director, Middle East Center, University of Pennsylvania As tensions between the United States and Iran continue to escalate, the controversy about the Iranian nuclear program is frequently cited as a central area of disagreement between the two countries. But is this, in fact, the core of the issue? Historian John Ghazvinian explores the broader story of Iran's nuclear program, and discusses the history of US-Iran relations-situating the nuclear disagreement within the context of 40 years of US-Iran tensions.
6:30pm
Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood NJ,08012-0200
Nov
12
Dr. Ümit Kurt, Polonsky Fellow, Polonsky Academy, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Jerusalem Institute Much of the literature on the destruction of the Ottoman Armenians tells the story of a state captured by a radical party that enforced genocidal measures throughout the land. Scholarship about genocidal activity at the local level, however – what social scientists might call ‘the periphery’ – is still in its infancy. The aim of this talk, therefore, is to examine such activity on the Ottoman periphery, focusing on the district of Aintab (or Anteb) – modern-day Gaziantep. The talk has two parts. Drawing upon primary sources from Ottoman, Armenian, British and French archives, as well as from memoirs and personal papers, the first part examines the persistent efforts of some of Aintab’s most prominent citizens to get the central government to expel the district’s Armenians, demands that seem to have enjoyed locally a considerable level of social support. Yet, for some time these demands encountered resistance from several powerful civil and military figures. The result was that Aintab’s Armenians were deported later than most of their eastern neighbors. The second part of the argument focuses on events after the genocide: the successive British and French occupations of the district; the return to Aintab of Armenians who had managed to survive; their efforts to recover their property; and then a second, and final, expulsion. Those in Aintab now in possession of Armenian property, no longer vulnerable to challenge, used their political power during the republican era to consolidate their hold on these assets. Much of the physical and financial capital of Aintab and its elites were products of the Armenian genocide.
5:30pm
TBD
Dec
12
Kaley Keener, Lecturer in Arabic, University of Pennsylvania The Arabo-Islamic empire is known for its many contributions to diverse fields such as philosophy, medicine, literature, and the sciences, yet the role that women played in these fields, as well as their agency in the greater medieval context, remains largely underrepresented and under-researched. By drawing on three roles occupied by Arago-Islamic women: The Warrior, the Princess, and the Mystic, Kaley Keener will highlight the ways in which women participated in society throughout the medieval period, bearing broader implications for the role of the modern Arago-Islamic woman.
6:30pm
Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood NJ,08012-0200