The symposium is open to the public
Thursday, May 20
Hagstrum Room, University Hall #201, 1897 Sheridan Rd., Evanston
1:00 p.m. - Opening Reception (Hagstrum Room)
(coffee, light refreshments)
2:00 p.m. - Introduction/Opening
(a) Sarah Mangelsdorf, Dean and Professor, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University
(b) Brian Edwards, Northwestern University, English and CLS
Friday, May 21
2:15 – 4:15 p.m. (Hagstrum Room)
(a) Hussein Agrama, University of Chicago, Anthropology, Law
(b) Samah Selim, Rutgers University, Literature
Comments by Elizabeth Hurd, Northwestern University, Political Science
Kaplan Institute for Humanities, Kresge Hall #2-360, 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Breakfast (Kaplan Institute for Humanities)
(Catered food brought in)
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Kaplan Institute for Humanities)
(a) Ilana Feldman, George Washington University, Anthropology, International Affairs
(b) Melani Cammett, Brown University, Political Science
Comments by Wendy Pearlman, Northwestern University, Political Science
12:00-1:00 p.m. – Lunch (Kaplan Institute for Humanities)
(Catered food brought in)
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Kaplan Institute for Humanities)
(a) Li Guo, University of Notre Dame, Classics; Mamluk
(b) Megan Reid, University of Southern California, Religion; Medieval
Comments by Carl Petry, Northwestern University, History
3:00-3:30 p.m. – Break –
3:30-5:30 p.m. (Kaplan Institute for Humanities)
(a) Charles Hirschkind, Univeristy of California - Berkeley, Anthropology
(b) Paul Silverstein, Reed College, Anthropology
Comment by Katherine Hoffman, Northwestern University, Anthropology
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Reception (Kaplan Institute for Humanities)
(Wine & cheese)
||Middle East and North Africa, viewed from outer space (NASA)
On May 20-21, the Middle East and North African Studies Working Group (MENA) will host a two-day symposium entitled “New Directions in Middle East and North African Studies.”
The event, open to the public, features eight scholars working in various disciplines and time periods of Middle East studies, each in his or her own way bringing unique or paradigm shifting approaches to their discipline and the field at large.
“This is an exciting time for Middle East studies at Northwestern. These scholars are among the best and brightest and to have them on campus for an extended conversation is an extraordinary opportunity for Northwestern students and faculty,” says Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, co-Chair of MENA and assistant professor of Political Science.
“Working in fields such as anthropology, political science, literature and religion, these scholars represent the vanguard of Middle East studies,” says Brian Edwards, co-Chair of MENA and associate professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies.
Created in 2007 by Edwards and Hurd, and supported by the Buffett Center, the intellectual goal of the MENA group is to rethink Middle East and North African Studies as an interdisciplinary field after the critique of “Area Studies.” The group is made up of faculty from a number of disciplines drawn from four schools at Northwestern (WCAS, Communication, Music, and Law). The group meets to discuss new work in the field and to consider the development of Middle East and North African studies at Northwestern.
This event represents the first public symposium organized by MENA. Speakers were nominated by members of the working group.
“The opportunity for members of the Northwestern community to interact with these leading scholars represents a wonderful opportunity at a key moment in the development of MENA studies at Northwestern,” Edwards said.
In the past three years, Northwestern has invested heavily in the development of Middle East and North African studies, hiring exceptional new faculty in history, anthropology, political science, and the humanities. Two further faculty searches this academic year, one in late Ottoman/Turkish Republic history and another in modern Middle Eastern literature, are nearing completion. MENA members have advised on directions for developing the field and served on search committees.
“This symposium allows us to pause after an exceptional period of development of MENA Studies at Northwestern, and reflect on new work and new directions in the field at large,” Edwards said.
“The MENA group has brought together scholars from across the university with interests in the region. With this symposium we look forward to bringing this collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to the region to the broader Northwestern community,” said Elizabeth Hurd.
The symposium is co-sponsored by the Center for Global Culture and Communication, an initiative of the School of Communication, and the Buffett Center. Northwestern’s Asian and Middle East Studies Program (AMES) is also providing financial support.