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Year of Europe Kick Off Lecture: AUSTERITY PROFESSIONALS AND SHADOW CITIZENS IN EUROPE

 

"Tell me again about Europe and her pains, 

  Who's tortured by the drought, who by the rains.

  Glut me with floods where only the swine can row" -- William Empson

Europe is in crisis, deep economic and political crisis. With many member-state economies now tottering on zero-growth meltdown, professional politicians and economists persist with austerity drives and devise ideological covers for the continued plundering of public resources. Frack capitalism power-drills into the public realm, extorting value from erstwhile common property. A para-state of technocrats and Euro-bureaucrats, meanwhile, governs, "sending us rain and sunshine from above" (Marx). One big problem such professional representation poses for ordinary Europeans -- for people I shall call amateur shadow citizens -- is PARTICIPATION. Shadow citizens are disenfranchised Euro-citizens who express a citizenship waiting in the wings, a potential solidarity haunting the mainstream, floating across frontiers and through designated checkpoints. This lecture investigates the dialectic between professional austerians and shadow citizens, doing so while attempting to put a fresh spin on Henri Lefebvre's "late" ideal that the right to the city is "nothing less than a new conception of revolutionary citizenship."

Andy Merrifield, Supernumerary Fellow in Human Geography, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge

Andy Merrifield is a writer, social theorist, and urban geographer. He has taught human geography at the University of Southampton, King's College, London, and Clark University in Massachusetts, and has been a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, the University of Manchester (as Leverhulme Visiting Professor), and the City University of New York CUNY). For a number of years, he was a freelance writer living in France, where he wrote biographies of Guy Debord and Henri Lefebvre, as well as a bestselling "existential" travelogue, The Wisdom of Donkeys. He is author of nine books; his articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in the Times, The Nation, Harper's Magazine, New Left Review, Adbusters, Harvard Design Magazine, Radical Philosophy, Monthly Review, and Dissent, amongst others.

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Location:
Recital Hall, Singletary Center
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Concert: Lassatil Abballari heco228
Date:
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Location:
Barker Hall Dance Studio

Religion, Identity and Competing Visions of Islam in Post-Soviet Central Asia

For several decades, studying Islam in Central Asia meant beginning with questions, analytical categories, and conceptual frameworks rooted in Soviet and Russian studies; this approach, combined with a lack of basic understanding of the historical experience of Central Asian Muslims prior to the Soviet era, led to host of misconceptions surrounding the character of Muslim religious life in the Soviet era, the impact of Soviet policies and realities, and trends in the renegotiation of religious identities in the post-Soviet age.  Recent years have brought, in some circles, growing awareness of the need for approaches drawn from Islamic studies and from a  historically-grounded understanding of the history of Muslim religiosity in Central Asia.  This lecture will discuss some of the misconceptions rooted in the ‘Sovietological’ approach to Islam in the region, and the lessons to be drawn from viewing the region through the lens of Islamic studies, with a particular focus on the ways in which religiosity was manifested in Soviet times, and on the ways in which religiosity shaped or interacted with notions of ‘national’ identity.

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Location:
Room 249 of the Student Center

Year of The Middle East Finale: Divahn

Divahn features the Middle Eastern and Sephardic Jewish Music of Galeet Dardashti.

http://www.divahn.com/ 

Iranian-descended singer Galeet Dardashti leads Divahn's edgy all-female power-house ensemble. The group has engendered an international following, performing in venues ranging from international concert halls to the most prestigious clubs in NYC. Infusing traditional and original Middle Eastern Jewish songs with sophisticated harmonies, entrancing improvisations, and funky arrangements, Divahn's thrilling live shows feature lush string arrangements, eclectic Indian, Middle Eastern, and Latin percussion, and vocals spanning Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, Persian, Arabic, and Aramaic. “Divan,” a word common to Hebrew, Persian, and Arabic, means a collection of songs or poetry. Through their music, the group creatively underscores common ground between diverse Middle Eastern cultures and religion.

 

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Location:
Center Theater

"Sleepless Nights/Wasted Time: Seeking Islam in Egypt's Hollywood"

Professor Joel Gordon will explore the depiction of ‘normative’ religious practices and personal expressions of religious identity in recent Egyptian movies with a particular focus is on Egyptian youth.  Whereas in the past signs of piety had been restricted to either ‘traditional’ Egyptians – often in comic fashion – or political extremists, a few recent films have dared to depict ‘normal’ veiled women and bearded men and even a social environment in which questions of piety, morality and proper behavior dominate the discussions, concerns and conflicts between young Egyptians.  These films may point to a growing willingness by film artists to honestly explore social trends that have been taboo, especially as Egypt enters a new political era.

Prof. Joel Gordon: Professor of History and Director of Middle East Studies, University of Arkansas; Specialist in modern Egyptian history and Arab popular culture; Author of Nasser' Blessed Movement, Revolutionary Melodrama, and Nasser: Hero of the Arab Nation

 
Date:
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Location:
UKAA Auditorium @ WT Young Library

“The Arab World and American Democracy”

“Specters of War” examines the influence of post-9/11 American military interventions in the Middle East on the production of both American and Arab literature. Focusing on images of ghosts, spectral illusions, the undead and the undying, the talk attempts to locate zones of inter-textual contact where contemporary American and Arab literary voices move past mutual redactions and engage one another’s respective cultural realities. The goal is to both introduce Arab literary voices into the conversation about America’s presence in the Middle East and to interrogate the haunting presence of the Middle East in contemporary American literature.  Works discussed will include Ali Bader’s The Tobacco Keeper, Hassan Blasim’s The Corpse Experiment and Other Stories of Iraq, Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantanamo Diary, Theo Padnos’s “My Captivity,” Phil Klay’s Redployment, and Ross Ritchell’s The Knife.

Date:
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Location:
The Niles Gallery
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