Center News

Penn Museum on the University of Pennsylvania campus is the only East Coast venue for Secrets of the Silk Road. This family-friendly exhibition showcases recent discoveries from the vast Tarim Basin desert in western China, where a series of rich and culturally diverse burials and spectacularly preserved mummies have been uncovered.

Join area teachers at the Penn Museum for an Educators' Evening on Thursday, November 4, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.

  • Receive 2 Act 48 or NJ Professional Development credit hours
  • Learn the story behind the Secrets of the Silk Road exhibition as the exhibition's curatorial consultant and Penn professor Victor Mair lectures about his discoveries
  • Learn how area educators have integrated Silk Road-related topics into their curriculum
  • Discover other educational resources on Penn campus when you meet representatives from Penn's Centers: African Studies, Middle East, East Asia Studies, South Asia
  • Test exhibition prototypes of interactives, shop at the Penn Museum's store, and more!

To learn more about Educators' Evening and to RSVP, contact Jennifer Reifsteck at 215-898-4016 or

Our former FLAS recipient and Lauder Institute Class '11, Matthew Axelrod, wrote for Foreign Policy on Egypt (1/31/11, here) and appeared on the BBC (2/1/11, here) and on PBS NewsHour (2/8/11, here) discussing the recent uprising in Egypt.

Persian Teachers' Workshop

The Middle East Center, the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and the National Middle East Language Resource Center at Brigham Young University are hosting a workshop for post-secondary teachers of Persian from Friday, February 5th to Sunday, February 7th. The workshop will focus on new pedagogical techniques and the development of new curricula for the Persian language.

This event is by invitation only.

Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Ph.D. student Carolyn Brunelle visited the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr on November 19th to talk about "The Use and Misuse of Arabic in the US Media Today".  She addressed the terms madrasa, Allah, Islam, fatwa and jihad; explaining their linguistic roots, what they mean in Arabic, and the slant the US Media has given them.  Carolyn also addressed some of the many words in English that are of Arabic origin, like coffee, cotton and algebra.

If you are a teacher interested in a similar presentation at your school, please email

CSI Egypt: Teachers' Workshop

The Middle East Center and the Penn Museum are organizing a workshop for teachers on November 3.  All teachers and life-long learners are invited to attend the Penn Museum's first Teacher's Workshop of the season.

Participants will attend interactive lectures on Forensic Anthropology and Arabic language, and have a tour Mesopotamia, Islamic, and Egyptian galleries, including the newly-installed Iraq's Ancient Past.  Also, participants will receive NJ or PA professional development credits.

Our Director Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, Professor of History, has recently published her first novel, Martyrdom Street, set during the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the ensuing Iran-Iraq War of 1980-89. The novel chronicles the lives of three Iranian women, Fatemah, Nasrin, and Yasaman, who tell their intimate stories of love, loss, betrayal, and hope in interwining narratives that unfurl simultaneously in America and Iran.

Professor Ian Lustick (Political Science) appeared on KDKA Newsradio 1020 Pittsburgh with Host Robert Mangino on August 31 to discuss the end of America's combat mission in Iraq.  Click Here to listen to a recording of the segment.

The Middle East Center would like to encourage as many area teachers as possible to attend the Middle East Outreach Council's Annual Teacher's Workshop.  This year the theme will be "Continuity and Change in Iran" and will be held at San Diego State University in California in conjunction with the Middle East Studies Association Annual Conference.  The MEC will be sponsoring two teachers with $500 travel awards.  For more information on the workshop and the awards click here.

Paul M. Cobb (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations) published a new book, co-edited with Antoine Borrut, entitled *Umayyad Legacies: Medieval Memories from Syria to Spain* (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010), a collections of papers on Islam's first dynasty from an international, interdisciplinary conference he organized in Damascus in 2006. To purchase a copy, click here.

Professor Renata Holod, History of Art, has received this year's Provost's Award for Distinguished Ph.D. Teaching and Mentoring. For more information about Prof. Holod, please visit here.