Past Events

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Islam in Imagination, Islam in Practice
April 30, 2018

Select students from MEST courses presented their papers at an open Islamic Studies undergraduate paper forum.


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Liberal Islam: Religious Play in Post‐Authoritarian Indonesia
April 23, 2018

Nur Amali Ibrahim, assistant professor of religious studies and international studies at Indiana University, lectured on the many new religious and political actors emerging in Indonesia following the deposal of Indonesian President Suharto's authoritarian regime in 1998 and the subsequent adoption of democratic systems. Focusing on the playful aspects of the liberal Muslim pedagogy, this talk explores the potential and limits of religious critique in politically fluid contexts.

Ibrahim is an anthropologist of religion and politics who teaches in the Department of International Studies and the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University. His book Improvisational Islam: Indonesian Youths in a Time of Possibility, on progressive and conservative Muslim youth in Indonesia, is forthcoming with Cornell University Press. Other articles he has authored appear in journals such as Comparative Studies in Society and History and Anthropological Quarterly. The National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Wenner Gren Foundation have funded his research.

This lecture is presented by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, the Asian Studies Program, and the Department of Anthropology.


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Oilcraft: Folkways of Imperialism and Anti-imperialism in the Twenty First Century
April 19, 2018

Drawing on material for a book project forthcoming from Stanford University Press, Robert Vitalis, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, compared the role of oil as a commodity to other resources once imagined as vital, and examines the reasoning behind the notion of oil‐as‐power on the world diplomatic stage.

Dr. Vitalis has taught political science at the University of Pennsylvania since 1999. The London Guardian named his America's Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier, a book of the year in 2006. His last book, White World Order, Black Power Politics (Cornell University Press, 2015) moved away from the Middle East to explore the unwritten history of racism and imperialism in American disciplinary international relations and the recovery of its critical “Howard School” tradition. He is on sabbatical in 2017‐2018 while working on a new book, Oilcraft: Folkways of Imperialism and Anti-imperialism in the Twenty First Century, forthcoming from Stanford University Press.

This lecture was sponsored by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, the Department of Political Science, and the International Studies Program.

White World Order, Black Power Politics
April 19, 2018

Robert Vitalis, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, explored the racist underpinnings and practices of International Relations as it first emerged in the United States. The discipline was established first and foremost to analyze interracial relations and the sustenance of white supremacy. His lecture will include a discussion of the contributions of a group of extraordinary African American scholars, the Howard School of international relations theory, who challenged the discipline’s racist premises and imperial imperatives between the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth century.

This lecture was sponsored by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, the Department of Political Science, the International Studies Program, and the African and African-American Studies Program.


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From Bactrian Camels to the Belt Road—Historical and Contemporary Ruminations on China's Westward Pivot
April 13, 2018

This interdisciplinary symposium examines the transformation of China's relations with its partners in the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa from the early modern Silk Roads to the current era of OBOR. 

In recent years, the "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) strategy has emerged as a centerpiece of both Chinese foreign policy and Chinese domestic economic strategy. As the initiative is likely to have a profound impact on the regional economic architecture and China's relations with other major powers in the region and beyond, it is imperative for the scholarly community to reflect on the political, social and economic dimensions of China's relations with OBOR countries so as to better understand the opportunities and challenges that the Chinese nation states are likely to face in their renewed engagement with the West. 

Sponsored by the Asian Studies Program, in collaboration with the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies.


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Reading by Laila Lalami
March 14, 2018

Laila Lalami, novelist, essayist and professor of creative writing at University of California at Riverside, read and signed copies of her novel The Moor's Account on March 14 on the University of Arkansas campus. 

The Moor's Account was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It imagines the life of the first black explorer of America: a Moroccan slave whose voice is missing from the history books. In 1527, a Spanish expedition to Florida met with disaster. Four survivors— three Spanish noblemen and a Moroccan slave — lived with Native American tribes for six years before escaping and wandering through what is now Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Years later, the Spaniards wrote and spoke about their ordeal, but the slave — Mustafa al-Zamori, always called Estevanico — was never asked to share his story. Finally, Lalami gives him a voice in The Moor's Account, which Salman Rushdie called "an absorbing story of … a frightening, brutal, and much-falsified history."

Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco, a place whose past and present permeate her writing. A novelist, short story writer, and essayist, Lalami is a unique and confident voice in the conversations about race and immigration that increasingly occupy our national attention. Lalami is a regular contributor to publications such as The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times Magazine, weighing in on contemporary issues in the Arab world and North Africa. With what Junot Díaz calls "spare elegant prose" and Paul Yamazaki terms "carefully-wrought characters," Lalami's fiction confronts the same questions of race, displacement, and national identity that she addresses so eloquently in her essays and criticism.

Lalami's writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times, and The Nation, where she is a monthly columnist. Her writing has been translated into ten languages. A graduate of Université Mohammed-V in Rabat, she also attended University College in London and the University of Southern California, where she earned a PhD in linguistics. Lalami has received a Fulbright Fellowship, a British Council Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.

This reading was sponsored by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, the Indigenous Studies Program, the African and African American Studies Program, and the Program in Creative Writing and Translation. 


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Andalusi and Sefardi Exceptionalism
March 1, 2018

Ross Brann, Milton R. Konvitz Professor of Judeo-Islamic Studies at Cornell University and a Stephen H. Weiss Fellow offered a guest lecture and signed copies of his book, Power in the Portrayal Representations of Jews and Muslims in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Islamic Spain (Princeton University Press 2002).

Al-Andalus — conventionally called "Islamic Spain," "Muslim Spain" or more problematically "Arab Spain" and "Moorish Spain" — is commonly identified by scholars and frequently celebrated in popular culture as the site of an extraordinary, extended moment of complex social interaction, cultural ferment, creativity and transfer among the Muslims, Christians, and Jews of the medieval Iberian Peninsula. This talk explores the origins and significance of this trope during the classical age of Islam.

A professor of Near East, Jewish and Religious Studies, Brann has taught at Cornell University since 1986 and has served four terms as Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania, and in 2007 was named Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow.

Brann is the author of The Compunctious Poet: Cultural Ambiguity and Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991) and Power in the Portrayal: Representations of Muslims and Jews in Islamic Spain (Princeton University Press, 2002), in addition to many essays on the intersection of Jewish and Islamic culture. His current book project, Andalusi Moorings: Al-Andalus and Sefarad as Tropes of Islamic and Jewish Culture, is forthcoming from the University of Pennsylvania Press).


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The State and Its Competitors in the Arab World
February 26, 2018

Lisa Anderson, special lecturer and James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations Emerita at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, gave a special lecture titled "The State and Its Competitors in the Arab World" sponsored by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies and the Department of Political Science.

The European-style state introduced in the Arab world after World War I did not reflect local interests or aspirations but introduced several long-lasting, and deeply dysfunctional, dynamics into modern political life. The new states came with expectations for government that would prove impossible to meet while imposing a system of rule that, far from creating citizens, often reinforced non-state identities and created deep communal resentment and anger. 

The results of this history can be seen today in the weakness of the contemporary states and the strength of alternative political identities and movements across the region, from the Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood to Libya's tribal militias, Iraq's Kurdistan and Yemen's Houthi rebels.

Anderson's scholarly research has included work on state formation in the Middle East and North Africa and on regime change and democratization in developing countries. Anderson has served as both president and provost of the American University in Cairo, as dean of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and has taught at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School and in the Government and Social Studies departments at Harvard University. Among her books are The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830-1980 (1986) and Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century (2003).


Ramy Essam

Performance by Ramy Essam
January 22, 2018

Ramy Essam is known as “the voice of the 2011 Egyptian revolution,” due to his songwriting and performances in Tahrir Square while calling for the resignation of then-ruler Hosni Mubarak. During his time of protest, Essam was beaten, arrested and tortured by the police in an effort to silence him. His songs were banned, and he was forbidden to perform in a public setting.

Essam was offered a “safe haven” in Sweden in 2014, and began releasing new music with a rock influence. He remains a voice for the youth of Egypt and a symbol of progress and social activism.

Essam has been described as “an underground rebel rocker with an east-meets-west sound,” and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine has called him a “rock Bob Dylan of the Middle East.” Essam’s 2017 album, “Resala Ela Magles El Amn,” (“A Letter to the UN Security Council”) was produced by Andreas Unge of Universal Records MENA.

This special performance is part of the Northwest Arkansas Songwriting Forum hosted by The House of Songs Ozarks and is being presented by the Faulkner Center and the university’s King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies.

Faulkner Center to Host Egyptian Rock Star and Activist Ramy Essam, Arkansas Newswire, 01/16/18



The Power of Positivism (Turning Bad Situations for the Best)
November 15, 2017

Farai Gonzo, a Zimbabwean journalist, will serve as the lecturer for this event. Gonzo holds degrees in international relations. She worked for more than 15 years as a journalist in Zimbabwe, but was forced to leave her country after she was tortured and her life was threatened for criticizing the government. She is currently completing a doctoral program in social justice, peace building, and conflict resolution in Canada.

The event is sponsored by the UA Scholars at Risk committee and co-sponsored by the African and African American Studies Program, the Asian and Asian American Studies Program, Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, International Studies Program, Middle East Studies Program, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, and the Department of Journalism.


Farah Siraj

Farah Siraj: Jordan's "Musical Ambassadress"
November 9, 2017

Internationally renowned vocalist Farah Siraj is performing her acclaimed fusion of musical styles at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Faulkner Performing Arts Center. The Faulkner Center is presenting this concert in partnership with the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies. Siraj will be joined by the University of Arkansas Children’s Choir, who will sing in both English and Arabic.

Siraj has been named Jordan’s Musical Ambassadress, with a career that has taken her across the United States, Europe and the Middle East. She has performed at some of the world's most prestigious platforms, including the United Nations, Nobel Prize Hall, World Economic Forum, the John F. Kennedy Center, and the Lincoln Center.

Blending a host of musical styles, her sound has been described as a marriage of traditional Middle Eastern music, jazz, flamenco and pop, along with a myriad of other international musical influences. She was chosen as one of New York's “Summer Stars of Jazz” and currently leads an ethnically diverse quintet, Arabian Flamenco Jazz, with world-class musicians from the Middle East, Europe, the United States and South America.

Sufi Music in an Age of Terror: the Persistence of the Uyghur Muqam as Public Symbol in the PRC
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Both domestically and abroad, Chinese officials use the discourse and practices of the global war on terror to paint the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) as a hotbed of terrorism, and in turn, to enact restrictive policies and social controls on the Uyghurs in that region. The Uyghurs are a Muslim ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia with Turkic origins.  The same Chinese officials are also eradicating minority languages, which have for decades been protected under Chinese law, from public schools in the province. And yet, government organs remain heavily invested in “developing” and promoting aspects of culture, such as Uyghur music.

In her lecture, Anderson will focus on the Uyghur On Ikki Muqami, a genre of music performance that has become a form of official culture in China over the past century, to explore how music with Sufi roots is able to maintain a highly visible public presence and a symbolic profile in a time when Islam is otherwise suspect in the People’s Republic of China. Anderson, a trained vocalist and wind instrumentalist who focuses broadly on the performing arts of the Uyghurs, will incorporate musical performance into her lecture.  

Sponsored by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies and the Asian Studies Program.

Violence in the Name of Honor Symposium: Confronting and Responding to Honor Killings and Forced Marriage in the West
April 13-14, 2017

This international symposium will address the current issues of honor killings, forced marriage, and other honor-based acts of violence (HBV).  We will address the challenges that law enforcement and other professionals face when these crimes occur in Western countries that may be unfamiliar with this type of violence.  The symposium will consider worldwide trends in HBV, how HBV differs from domestic violence, and the challenges of training law enforcement officers and others to respond effectively to HBV.  We will also hear directly from front line officers about their experiences investigating and prosecuting cases of HBV that have taken place in the United States and Canada.

This event will bring together speakers who are confronting honor-based violence from a range of disciplines.  Participants will include activists, academics, law enforcement officers, and others, including:

  • Lisa Avalos, Law Professor, University of Arkansas School of Law
  • Rashid Begum, Lawyer, London Metropolitan Police
  • Ruth Beni, Creator and Producer, Animage Films  (via Skype)
  • Chris Boughey, Detective, Peoria, AZ Police Department
  • Shahin Mehdizadeh, Chief Superintendent, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Diana Nammi, Founder and Executive Director, Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization 

This event is made possible by King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies and the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Screening of FRONTLINE's Exodus
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Students for Refugees and Gamma Theta Upsilon, with the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, will host a special screening of PBS Frontline's 'Exodus' from 7-9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, in Gearhart Hall room 26. This screening is free and open to the public.

This two-hour special draws on camera and smartphone footage filmed by refugees and migrants themselves — from inside a sinking dinghy on a route across the Mediterranean Sea where thousands have died, to the tents and fires inside Calais's notorious "Jungle" camp. Students for Refugees, a registered student organization focusing on refugee resettlement advocacy, and the geography honors society Gamma Theta Upsilon, hope to bring awareness to the hardships experienced by refugees displaced from their homes by violence and disasters.

A talkback session will immediately follow the film screening with Joel Gordon, professor of history and King Fahd Center faculty member.  Gordon regularly hosts foreign film series Nadi Cinema, which introduces viewers to the storytelling and vision of filmmakers across North Africa and the Middle East.

Changing Representations of Muslim Women
Thursday, February 23, 2017

Yasmin Moll, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, screened her documentary film Fashioning Faith as part of her lecture entitled "Changing Representations of Muslim Women.” The film interweaves interviews and verité footage from a diverse array of Muslim women with one goal in common – to express their faith through fashion - taking a look behind the scenes look at the emerging world of Islamic fashion and US-based clothing designers who make it possible. 

Dr. Moll specializes in in the anthropologies of media, religion and the Middle East.  As a documentary filmmaker, she is interested in exploring the practical, representational, and ethical dilemmas of film as a mode of producing and disseminating ethnographic knowledge.  The American Council of Learned Scholars, the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation have funded her research.

This event was sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, and the Center for Multicultural Education and Diversity.

Poetry Readings with Mohja Kahf
January 31 and February 5, 2017

Mohja Kahf, author, poet and professor of English at the University of Arkansas, read from and discussed her new book of poetry Hagar Poems as a guest of the Ozark Poets & Writers Collective at Nightbird Books, and as part of the University of Arkansas Press Author Spotlight series at the Fayetteville Public Library.

Mohja Kahf was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1967 to parents who immigrated to the United States in 1971. She is the author of a poetry book, E-mails from Scheherazad, and a novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf.  Kahf has been a professor at the University of Arkansas since 1995; she teaches courses on Arabic literature, literature of the American religious experience, the Quran, medieval Spain, and Muslim feminist thought.

Fireside Chat with Novelist Hisham Matar
December 5, 2016

Award-winning novelist Hisham Matar spoke to students at a Fireside Chat, reading from a collection of his works and answering questions from the audience. Born in New York City to Libyan parents, Matar spent his childhood in Tripoli and Cairo and has lived most of his adult life in London. Matar is the author of award winning novels In the Country of Men and Anatomy of a Disappearance. His memoir, The Return, was shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious award for creative nonfiction, the Baillie Gifford Prize. The book chronicles Matar’s 2012 return to Libya—after thirty years of political exile—in search of clues related to his father’s disappearance, his family’s past and the future of this nation on the brink of change.

This event was sponsored by the U of A Program in Creative Writing and Translation, the J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences, the Department of English, the Walton Family Foundation, the University of Arkansas Honors College, the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies and the Fayetteville Public Library.

MEST Undergraduate Research Conference
December 2, 2016

The King Fahd Center sponsored its second regional Undergraduate Research Conference in Middle East Studies, bringing together students from Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi and Oklahoma to present research in culture, history, politics, religion, geography and more. The goal of the conference was to provide undergraduate students performing research on topics related to the Middle East and North Africa with a forum in which to present their work and collaborate with peers, and aims to advance undergraduate scholarship at the U of A, as well as to encourage interest in the geopolitical region.

The conference welcomed fifteen presenters and was attended by students and faculty. Curt Rom, Associate Dean for International Education, and Tom Paradise (GEOS), King Fahd Center Director, welcomed students. Students presented in six moderated sessions, and participated in discussion on their topics.

The Quest for Understanding Terrorism: What is Next
November 15, 2016

Dr. Ami Pedahzur, professor of government and the Arnold S. Chaplik Professor in Israel and Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, discussed results from a recent study investigating the degree to which the large body of research on terrorism post-9/11 advanced the understanding of terrorists and their motivations. 

The Poetics of Conversation: Translation, Power, and the New Babel
November 4, 2016

Leonard Schwartz, author and professor at Evergreen State College, discussed his recent publication, The New Babel: Toward a Poetics of the Mid-East Crises (University of Arkansas Press 2016).  The New Babel evokes and investigates—from a Jewish American perspective and in the forms of poetry, essays, and interviews—the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, America’s involvement as both perpetrator and victim of events in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and the multiple ways that poetics can respond to political imperatives.  This event was sponsored by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies and the University of Arkansas Press.

Writing from the Black Side of the Page: A workshop with author Leonard Schwartz
November 4, 2016

Following his lecture, Schwartz offered a writing workshop, with suggestions for students interested in writing a poetry or a prose that negotiates the political, sometimes in covert form. Sponsored by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies and the University of Arkansas Press.

Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab
October 6, 2016

The King Fahd Center and the Asian Studies Program collaborated to welcome Dr. Kristian Petersen, professor of religious studies at the University of Nebraska, to Fayetteville for a guest lecture.  Petersen, a specialist on the development of Islam in China and Sino-Islamic intellectual history, traced the contours of the Sino-Islamic intellectual tradition in his lecture, which also served as an introduction to his book, Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Untold Histories from Latin America's Immigration Boom
September 14, 2016

The King Fahd Center collaborated with the Latin American and Latino Studies Program to host Dr. Lily Balloffet, assistant professor of history at Western Carolina University. Professor Balloffet is a historian of global migration at Western Carolina University. Her work focuses specifically on Latin America and the Middle East, and the flows of people, goods, and ideas that connect these regions’ histories. Her lecture explored circuits of migration within the Global South, with special focus on the connections between Latin America and the Middle East.

Al-Bisat: A Casual Forum for Discussion on the Middle East
Spring 2016

In Bedouin culture al-Bisat, the carpet, serves as a primary setting for socialization whether it be hosting guests, eating and drinking, discussions, or entertainment. Led by Matt Parnell, these meetings offer an opportunity for students and faculty to openly interact outside the classroom, to discuss developments in the region, and to foster a sense of community among those interested in the Middle East and North Africa at the U of A. The second semester of al-Bisat featured discussion topics such as recent developments in Turkey, sectarianism in the Middle East, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and American foreign policy, diplomacy and strategies in the Middle East.

Killing a Daughter in the Name of Honor: the Problem of Honor Killings in North America and Europe
April 28, 2016

Lisa Avalos, Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas Law School, collaborated with the King Fahd Center to present a lecture on the advocacy and legal complexities surrounding honor killings in Europe and North America. Avalos’ research focuses on international human rights with an emphasis on women’s human rights, gender-based violence, and sexual violence. With a background in the sociology of the inequalities of race, class and gender, Avalos works with international nongovernmental organizations to develop policy solutions that address persistent human rights violations such as rape, child marriage, and honor-based violence.

Arabic Speech Contest
April 21, 2016

The King Fahd Center assisted in sponsoring the annual Arabic Speech Contest, part of the Fulbright College Language Festival, held every April. A total of 23 Arabic language students participated across four divisions.

Syria, Revolution and the Islamic State
March 29, 2016

Dr. Sherifa Zuhur, Visiting Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley presented a guest lecture entitled ‘Syria, Revolution and the Islamic State,’ sponsored by the King Fahd Center. Zuhur spoke on the consequences of revolution in Syria, and addressed the influence of ISIS and the political economy of the conflict.

Arabic Calligraphy Workshop
February 12, 2016

Tom Paradise offered a workshop in Arabic Calligraphy, introducing basic forms and penwork common to both eastern and western calligraphy, and the kufic, diwan, and tughra calligraphic styles. Over twenty students participated in the two-hour workshop, practicing their Arabic penmanship and exploring various artistic styles.

Al-Bisat: A Casual Forum for Discussion on the Middle East
Fall 2015

In Bedouin culture al-Bisat, the carpet, serves as a primary setting for socialization whether it be hosting guests, eating and drinking, discussions, or entertainment. Led by Matt Parnell, these meetings offer an opportunity for students and faculty to openly interact outside the classroom, to discuss developments in the region, and to foster a sense of community among those interested in the Middle East and North Africa at the U of A.

MEST Undergraduate Research Conference
December 4, 2015

The King Fahd Center sponsored its first regional Undergraduate Research Conference in Middle East Studies, bringing together students from Arkansas and Missouri to present research in culture, history, politics, religion, geography and more. The goal of the conference was to provide undergraduate students performing research on topics related to the Middle East and North Africa with a forum in which to present their work and collaborate with peers, and aims to advance undergraduate scholarship at the U of A, as well as to encourage interest in the geopolitical region.

The conference welcomed twelve presenters and was attended by over a hundred students and faculty. Lynda Coon, Dean of the Honors College, and Tom Paradise, King Fahd Center Director, welcomed students. Students presented in five moderated sessions, and participated in discussion on their topics.

MESA Zajal Performance
November 21, 2015

In November of 2014, Lebanese Zajal, the sophisticated art of spontaneous verbal dueling, was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In celebration of this great honor, the King Fahd Center sponsored a poetic duel between two of Lebanon’s master poets, Antoine Saade and Elias Khalil, bringing this revered Lebanese oral tradition to the 2015 Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting.

Theater and Diplomacy
November 16, 2015

The King Fahd Center hosted a Meet & Greet with Dr. Riad Ismat, award-winning Syrian playwright and diplomat, for students and faculty. Ismat visited Fayetteville to present a lecture as part of International Education Week, co-sponsored by the Departments of English, Theatre, World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Arkansas Graduate School and International Education, and the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences Area Studies Programs.

The Story of an Arabian Queen: `Iffat Al Thunayan
October 9, 2015

Joseph A. Kéchichian, Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, delivered a lecture on his newly published book ‘Iffat al Thunayan: An Arabian Queen (Sussex Academic Press 2015). Based on interviews conducted with members of the al-Faysal family, friends, and acquaintances of the late queen, ‘Iffat al Thunayan: An Arabian Queen is the first political biography of a Sa‘udi monarch’s spouse.

Celebration of Rumi’s 808th Birthday with Music and Poetry
October 2, 2015

The Iranian Students Association and the King Fahd Center co-sponsored an event honoring Jalal al-Din Rumi, one of the world’s most celebrated poets. The event included a poetry reading, music, and a guest lecture by Franklin Lewis, Associate Professor of Persian Language and Literature and the Chair of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Among his many books are a translation of Rumi’s poetry, Rumi: Swallowing the Sun, and the seminal scholarly work Rumi: Past and Present, East and West, which was awarded Best Book in Middle East Studies published in the UK in 2000 by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies and the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society.

MEST Open House
September 24, 2015

The Middle East Studies Program hosted its first Open House, inviting students, faculty, and interested community members to meet new MEST Director Tom Paradise and staff members Mahfuza Akhtar and Nani Verzon. More than 50 attended to view the newly reorganized Middle East Studies office in Old Main, to sample regional cuisine and talk about upcoming programming sponsored by the King Fahd Center.

Islamic Studies Forum: Belief, Expression, Journey, Debate
April 29, 2015

Select students from Sarwar Alam’s (MEST) courses (MEST 2003 and PLSC 400V) who submitted research papers to regional conferences presented their papers at a second annual Islamic Studies undergraduate paper forum sponsored by the King Fahd Center.

Petra: Lost City of Stone
April 14, 2015

The King Fahd Center co-sponsored a screening of Petra: Lost City of Stone, a NOVA special featuring U of A professor Tom Paradise, with geography honors society Gamma Theta Upsilon and the Department of Geosciences.  The screening was followed by a question and answer segment with Dr. Tom Paradise.

Cultural Heritage Crisis in the Middle East Symposium
March 5-6, 2015

The King Fahd Center hosted Cultural Heritage Crisis in the Middle East, a conference that brought together 10 leading authorities on the archaeological heritage of the region and the threats posted by civil conflict, intrastate warfare, government negligence, urbanization, tourism, and the international market in illegal antiquities. MacGuire Gibson, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Chicago, delivered the keynote address ‘Attempting to Protect Cultural Heritage in the Middle East.’ Gibson is a leading authority on ancient Mesopotamia and one of the most vocal advocates for the protection of cultural heritage in Iraq and the broader Middle East.

Conference presenters included: Jesse Casana (Syria); Michael Danti, Boston University (Syria); Susan Kane, Oberlin College (Libya); Morag Kersel, DePaul University (Jordan/Palestine); Sarah Parcak, University of Alabama-Birmingham (Egypt); Gil Stein, University of Chicago (Afghanistan); Elizabeth Stone, Stony Brook University (Southern Iraq); and Jason Ur, Harvard University (Iraqi Kurdistan). Andrew Vaughn of the American Schools of Oriental Research presented concluding comments and kicked off a lively panel discussion. Papers from the conference were compiled into a special issue of the Near Eastern Archaeology (September 2015).

West Meets East: Classical Music and Culture in Lebanon
March 2, 2015

Visiting performer Annie Balabanian spoke to students about her experience teaching music at the National Higher Conservatory of Music, and the classical music scene in Lebanon.

Piano Recital by Annie Balabanian
February 27, 2015

Award-winning Lebanese maestro Annie Balabanian performed a solo piano recital featuring works by Armenian composers.  Her concert, sponsored by the Fulbright College Piano Performance Program in partnership with the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, included works by Aram Khachaturian, Boghos Gelalian, Edvard Mirzoyan and other notable Armenian composers who adapted local and regional folk tunes and melodies into Western classical composition.

In Through the Out Door: Regionalism and National Politics in Tunisia and Morocco after the Uprisings
January 23, 2015

The King Fahd Center hosted a special guest lecture by Jeffrey VanDenBerg, Professor of Political Science and Director of Middle East studies at Drury University.  Professor VanDenBerg, a specialist in North African politics, investigated the impact of transnational variables and regime strategies on political developments in Morocco and Tunisia since 2011, with a focus on regional and international affairs, in which distinctions between domestic politics and foreign policy are increasingly blurred.

Dirty Paki Lingerie: A comedy play by Aizzah Fatima
November 6, 2014

The King Fahd Center, in conjunction with the Office of International Students and Scholars, welcomed writer and actress Aizzah Fatima for a performance of her critically acclaimed one-woman comedy play Dirty Paki Lingerie.  During her visit, Fatima also held a student workshop entitled 'On the Road with Dirty Paki Lingerie' that furthered the discussion on religious, gender and ethnic stereotypes in America, and the difficulties and opportunities in taking a show like DPL to audiences abroad, and took part in a special Nadi Cinema screening and discussion of director Chris’ Morris 2010 film Four Lions.

The Racial Politics of Ebola
November 3, 2014

The African and African American Studies program hosted a discussion panel examining "The Racial Politics of Ebola" in conjunction with the King Fahd Center for Middle Eastern Studies and International Relations/International Studies programs.  Panelists Caree Banton, Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon, Timothy Landry, Joel Gordon and Calvin White, Jr. investigated, among other issues, sensationalized media coverage of Ebola, generalizations of "Africa" and "African diseases," and misinformation about how the disease is transmitted.

The Empire Strikes Back (Episode 3): ISIS, Iraq, Kurdistan and the U.S.
September 19, 2014

Dr. Romano’s lecture addressed the impact of events in Iraq and Kurdistan, particularly in light of the dramatic emergence of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) during the summer of 2014, the degree to which the political maps of Iraq and Syria have been reshaped, and the potential for increased US military involvement in the region.

Assessing the Worst Summer in the Middle East
August 27, 2014

King Fahd Center faculty members Nikolay Antov, Mounir Farah, Joel Gordon, Adnan Haydar, and Ted Swedenburg discussed the waves of political violence -- civil war, holy war, insurrection, invasion and occupation, the destruction of civil society and failure to conclude elections, and the erasure of traditional borders and alliances -- that swept the Middle East and adjacent regions, from Libya to Afghanistan during the summer months of 2014.

Islamic Studies: Belief, Expression, Journey, Debate
April 30, 2014

Students in MEST2003 Intro to Islam and MEST410V Sufism: Islamic Mystical Traditions who have had paper abstracts accepted for presentation at the 12th Annual Research in Religious Studies Conference at the University of Calgary and the 2014 Eastern International Regional Meeting of American Academy of Religion at Syracuse University presented their papers.

Solving Mysteries in the Valley of the Crescent Moon: Two Decades of research in Petra, Jordan
April 18, 2014

Dr. Tom Paradise discussed the university’s Petra Project using photographs from the site. This 25-year research project is one of the oldest programs in the ruined Jordanian city described as a “rose-red city half as old as time.” Research in the area has focused on identifying and assessing the impact of nature and tourists on the Valley of the Crescent Moon.

Archaeology and the Egyptian Revolution – Politics of Antiquity
April 18, 2014

Dr. Anna Stevens of the British Museum and UA alumna Dr. Gretchen Dabbs discussed the challenges of working in the field of archaeology and antiquity with moderator and historian Dr. Joel Gordon, Director of the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies.

Akhenaton's People: Excavation of the Amarna Cemetery (Ancient Egypt)
April 17, 2014

Dr. Anna Stevens, Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum and Assistant Director for the Amarna Project in Upper Egypt, presented a lecture on the ancient Egyptian city of Tell el-Amarna, the short-lived capital built by the ‘heretic’ Pharaoh Akhenaten and abandoned shortly after his death (c. 1332 BCE).

Zajal Live:  A Poetic Duel in Lebanese Arabic
April 5, 2014

Two of Lebanon’s masters of the art of oral poetry – zajal – Antoine Saadeh and Bassam Harb performed a special poetic duel for UA students and community members, bringing a taste of Lebanon to Northwest Arkansas.  Zajal, a traditional form of oral poetry declaimed in colloquial Arabic dialects, is semi-improvised and semi-sung and is most often performed in the format of a lively duel between as many as 8 poets, who divide into competing jawqas or teams. Duelists engage in verbal play upon a common theme, and dividing by teams into two sides of an issue.  Their word play consists of original rhyme schemes, punning, satire and colorful insults. Zajal poets are complemented by riddadi, musical accompanists who repeat key verses or refrains, often to encourage the poets and heighten the spirit of competition.  Prior to the event, Professor Adnan Haydar explained the ‘rules of engagement’ and, during a short intermission, summarized the opening half of the duel.

April 4, 2014 - Zajal Poetry Brown-Bag with Paula Haydar
As a prelude to the Zajal performance on April 5, Paula Haydar offered an introductory brown-bag session on the history and tradition of zajal poetry, speaking on its

Libya:  Beyond Qaddafi and Benghazi
March 21, 2014

Dr. Ali Ahmida, chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of New England, discussed the current political situation in Libya after the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi in October 2011 and the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in September 2012.  He also spoke to a number of classes on Middle East history and politics, met with graduate students in Middle East Studies, and lead the discussion following a special screening of director Mustapha Akkad’s Lion of the Desert - an epic tale of the resistance against Fascist Italy led by Omar Mukhtar.

In the Presence of the Imam:  Core Beliefs and Ritual Practices in Shi'ite Shrine Architecture
January 31, 2014

Dr. Yasser Tabbaa, Professor of Art History and the Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence at the University of Memphis, presented a lecture based on his book project, entitled In the Presence of the Imam: Architecture, Ritual, and Representation in Shi’i Shrines, examining Shi’i shrines with special emphasis on those in Damascus and Najaf, against normative and widely accepted Shi’i core beliefs and ritual practices.

Muslim Identities: Expressions of Faith and Changing Traditions
December 3, 2013

Undergraduate students in MEST2003 Islam: History and Practice presented research papers with abstracts accepted for presentation at the Southeast and Southwest Regional annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion.

Women in Syria's Civilian Resistance: Two Nonviolent Campaigns
November 8, 2013

Dr. Mohja Kahf, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Arkansas, analyzed two nonviolent protest campaigns in the Syrian uprising (Stop the Killing and Brides of Freedom March), examining them at the intersection of factors of gender, class, religion, and the body, and discussed their significance in the overall context of the Syrian Revolution through its three major phases.

Beiruit Speaks Exhibit
November 7, 2013

"Beirut Speaks" chronicles the contemporary street art scene in Beirut, Lebanon. Taken during field research in Beirut during summer 2013, MA Anthropology student Jamie Holland encountered a small but significant group of street artists that have developed their own unique style of street art, distinguished from Western and European graffiti, and based on Arabic letters and Arabic calligraphy. This style, referred to as calligraffiti, is claimed to be the first of its kind in the world.

The Sea of Galilee Boat: A 2,000 Year Discovery
November 5, 2013

In 1986, the Sea of Galilee Boat was uncovered on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel.  Radiocarbon-dated to roughly 15 B.C., the 2,000-year-old vessel is representative of the large fishing boats common on the ancient lake, and the type of boat used in the Gospels by the disciples of Jesus. It is also the type of boat used by the Jews in the nautical Battle of Migdal in AD 67 against a makeshift Roman fleet.  Dr. Shelley Wachsmann, nautical archaeologist and then-Inspector of Underwater Antiquities for the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums led the team that excavated the Sea of Galilee Boat.  The lecture described the adventure of the boat’s discovery and excavation, and delves into the revealing research about the vessel and its milieu.

Ungovernable Life: Health Care Crises in the Aftermath of War in Iraq
October 28, 2013

Dr. Omar Dewachi is an assistant professor of medical anthropology and public health at the American University of Beirut (AUB), trained as a medical doctor in Iraq during the 1990s and received his PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University in 2008.  Dewachi's work explores what he calls the tensions between the 'necropolitics' of war and the 'biopolitics' of statehood in post-US invasion Iraq. He examines the state of public health, the role of state-sponsored medicine, and the 'toxicity of daily life' in Iraq since the invasion and occupation of 2003, the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the insurgency that followed. His work is based on research undertaken in Iraq with doctors, public health and other government officials, and patients.

On the Ground in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran:  Current Events and Stories from Abroad
October 25, 2013

The King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies continued its monthly round-table series with a discussion on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.  King Fahd Center director Joel Gordon, doctoral student Kaveh Bassiri and undergraduate Khalid Ahmadzai discussed their experiences abroad and field questions from the audience.

American Images of the Middle East: Problems and Prospects
September 19, 2013

Internationally acclaimed author and media critic, Dr. Jack G. Shaheen is a committed internationalist and a devoted humanist. A Pittsburgh native and former CBS news consultant on Middle East Affairs, Shaheen’s lectures and writings illustrate that damaging racial and ethnic stereotypes of Asians, blacks, Native Americans and others injure innocent people. He defines crude caricatures, explains why they persist, and provides workable solutions to help shatter misperceptions.

Classified Memories:  Trying to Try Terror Suspects who were Tortured by the CIA
September 17, 2013

Dr. Lisa Hajjar is a Professor of Sociology at University of California-Santa Barbara.  Her research and writing focus on law and legality, war and conflict, human rights, and torture. She is the author of Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza (University of California Press, 2005) and Torture: A Sociology of Violence and Human Rights (Routledge, 2012). In addition to being a Co-Editor at Jadaliyya, she serves on the editorial committees of Middle East Report and Journal of Palestine Studies. She is currently working on a book about anti-torture lawyering in the United States.

On the Ground in Egypt: Current Events and Stories from Abroad
September 13, 2013

The first of the King Fahd Center's round-table series "On the Ground in the Middle East", Center faculty members Dr. Joel Gordon and Dr. Jerry Rose along with PhD candidates Matthew Parnell and Keith Whitmire discussed their experiences abroad in Egypt during the summer of 2013 before and during the coup d'état that removed President Mohamed Morsi from office.

Classical Andalusian Music
April 19, 2013

Philip Schuyler is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Washington.  A specialist in the music of North Africa and the Middle East, he has carried out extensive research in Morocco and Yemen over the past forty years.  As part of the upcoming Caravanserai residency with the Orchestra of Fes, Dr. Schuyler spoke on Moroccan Andalusian music, putting it in the context of Arab history, east and west; the ecumenical spirit of Andalusia; the interrelationship of the arts, principally music, poetry, and architectural design; and developments of the tradition in North Africa.

They Were Promised the Sea:  Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker Kathy Wazana
April 18, 2013

They Were Promised the Sea is the story of men and women whose identity as Arab Jews challenges the very notion of enemy.  Shot in Morocco and in Israel-Palestine, it is part historical investigation, part poetic and musical essay on loss and longing, on hope and the possibilities of coexistence.  Kathy Wazana is a Casablanca-born, Toronto-based writer, translator, editor, turned documentary filmmaker, whose current work focuses on Jewish-Arab relations in Morocco and in Israel-Palestine.

Distancing Acts: Air Power, Mercenaries, and the Endless War on Terror
April 17, 2013

Jeremy Kuzmarov, the J.P. Walker Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tulsa, discussed the history of US counterinsurgency, including the subcontracting of military operations and mercenaries and the use of drones, in the contest of the 10-year anniversary of the US War in Iraq and the continuing War on Terror.

Caravanserai Artist Residency: Orchestra of Fes
April 14 - 20, 2013

The vibrant, spiritual chamber melodies of the Orchestra of Fes introduced audiences to Morocco's rich musical heritage.  Directed by Mohammed Briouel, Orchestra of Fes has toured the world giving concerts of Andalusian, Arab and Sephardic music.

Can We the People Tolerate Islamic Law? Anti-Sharia Legislation and the U.S. Constitution
April 12, 2013

This symposium will provide a forum to consider underlying legal and social issues driving such legislation and what these statutes mean for Americans, Muslims and non-Muslims.  Moderated by Joel Gordon, Director of the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas.  Discussants included Abed Awad, Attorney and Sharia Expert with Awad & Khoury, LLP; John Eidsmoe, Attorney with the Foundation for Moral Law; Bernard Freamon, Professor at Seton Hall School of Law; Mark Potok, Senior Fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center; Stephen M. Sheppard, William H. Enfield Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas.

Arabic Speech Contest
April 12, 2013

The 2013 Arabic Speech Contest was part of this year’s “Fulbright Language Festival” and included Arabic, Chinese, EASL and Japanese.

Caravanserai Artist Residency:  Hakim Belabbes
February 25-27, 2013

An accomplished independent director, Hakim Belabbes hails from the small town of Boujad in central Morocco and will present two of his celebrated short films.  A Nest in the Heat is a personal and challenging look at issues of separation, independence, and return that chronicles Belabbes' journey from his home in Chicago to visit his family and hometown.  Whispers follows a man's obsessive search for his lost childhood through dark alleyways and desolate cemeteries.  Both pieces provided a framework for thought-provoking screenings and discussions.

Rediscovering the Shared Cultural Heritage of Armenians and Turks through Music
November 13, 2012

A lecture by musicologist Dr. Ayse Taspinar, internationally acclaimed pianist.

A Piano Recital by Dr. Ayse Taspinar
November 11, 2012

A piano recital by guest musician and lecturer Dr. Ayse Taspinar, in partnership with the UA Department of Music

The World According to Adonis: Religion and Gender, Poetry and Psychoanalysis
November 9, 2012

A brown-bag luncheon and essay presentation by Dr. Kenneth Brown, former Professor of Social Anthropology at Manchester University (UK).

In Praise of Delacroix
Philip Schuyler is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Washington.  A specialist in the music of North Africa and the Middle East, he has carried out extensive research in Morocco and Yemen over the past forty years.

  • Entertainment or spiritual experience?, Caravanserai Blog

Caravanserai Artist Residency:  Majid Bekkas Gnawa Ensemble featuring Brahim Fribgane
October 14-20, 2012

Playing his signature guembri, a three-stringed bass lute, and accompanied by a colorful ensemble of dancers and singers jubilantly clapping rhythms with special iron castanets called qarqaba, Majid Bekkas and his Ensemble introduced audiences to gnawa, one of West Africa's oldest musical traditions and a predecessor to American jazz and blues.  They were joined by master oud player Brahim Fribgane, a multi-instrumentalist and percussionist best known for fusing Moroccan folk songs and traditional Arab melodies with contemporary jazz, samba, reggae, and blues techniques.

Road Maps and Road Signs: Navigating the New Middle East
September 20, 2012

A lecture by Meir Shlomo, Ambassador and Consul General of Israel to the US

Arkansas Spring Writers Festival
April 20-21, 2012

Featuring Sinan Antoon, Randa Jarrar, and Shahrnush Parsipur.

After Qadhafi: Libya from Dictatorship to Revolution
April 2, 2012

A lecture by Ali Ahmida, Professor of Political Science at University of New England.

The Arab Spring One Year Later:  What does it mean for the United States?
February 13, 2012

A lecture by Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

Politics and Performance in an Early Modern Empire: Ottoman Imperial Ceremonies under Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566)
November 4, 2011

A guest lecture by I. Kaya Sahin, Assistant Professor of History at Tulane University.

Resisting Democracy:  America and the Egyptian Regime
October 13, 2011

A lecture by Jason Brownlee, Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas, sponsored by the Middle East Studies Graduate Association.

Iranian Contemporary Photography with Malu Halasa
September 1, 2011

Malu Halasa is co-editor of the anthology, Transit Tehran: Young Iran and its Influences.  Her presentation examined the power of the photographic eyewitness in news, art and fashion from Iran.  Sponsored by the Middle East Studies Graduate Association.

Democracy Rising in the Middle East

April 21, 2011

A lecture by Radwan Masmoudi of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, co-sponsored by the Middle East Studies Graduate Association and the King Fahd Center

Out of Cordoba
April 5, 2011

Director Jacob Bender presented and discussed his award-winning documentary. The film challenges presumptions about religious intolerance and violence by exploring the lives of Ibn Rushd and Moses Maimonides, the leading Muslim and Jewish thinkers of medieval Islamic Spain, and their legacies upon contemporary interfaith relations. 

Deterioration of Architecture in Petra Jordan
April 1, 2011

A lecture by Tom Paradise, Professor of Geoscience and Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas.

March 28, 2011

A screening and discussion of the new documentary film produced by Just Vision, about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier.

Middle East in Revolution:  An Update
March 16, 2011

University of Arkansas Faculty provided insights into the ongoing unrest in the Middle East.  This event was co-sponsored by the King Fahd Center and the Sam Walton College of Business.

Tunisia, Egypt... Beyond?  The People versus Leaders-for-Life
February 8, 2011

A round table discussion featuring UA Faculty experts on the Middle East and visiting scholars Kenneth Brown and Peter Sluglett. Participants discussed the escalating surge of popular resistance in the Arab world, prospects for the demonstrations to spread, and international reactions.

The British, the Sunnis and the Shi‘is: Social Hierarchies of Identity Under the British Mandate
February 7, 2011

A lecture by Peter Sluglett co-sponsored by MESGA and the King Fahd Center.  Dr. Sluglett discussed his newest paper soon to be published in a special issue of the International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies.

Asad’s Syria: Continuity and Change in the First Ten Years
January 27-29, 2011

The conference brought together 9 distinguished scholars for a series of panel presentations during which participants were able to workshop papers that organizers intend to compile for publication as an edited volume with a respected academic publishing house.  The conference commenced with a public forum, Middle East Update 2011: Syria and its Neighbors, and topics broached included the regime's status in the region, the state of Syrian/Israeli peace negotiations, the nation's strategic relationship with Iran and Turkey, and Syria's stake in the UN Tribunal's investigation into the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  Co-sponsored by the King Fahd Center and the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

The Pistachio Seller:  A reading by Reem Bassiouney
December 2, 2010

Award-winning author of the Center’s Arabic Translation Award for 2009.  She spoke on campus to a collection of interested students and off campus at Nightbird Books and also gave an interview concerning the novel to KUAF.

Jerusalem Women Speak
November 3, 2010

A project of Partners for Peace and the Council for the National Interest. The program brings together female representatives of varying faiths caught up in the ongoing Israeli Palestinian conflict to share their perspective on the obstacles and prospects for resolution and peace.  The women spoke on campus in Giffels Auditorium, off campus at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and sat down for an interview with Kyle Kellams for Ozarks at large.

How to Think about Class and Status Markers in Morocco
October 28, 2010

A lecture by David McMurray, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Oregon State University

Little Town of Bethlehem
September 30, 2010

A screening and discussion of this new documentary film produced by Ethnographic Media detailing the non-violent protest movement in Palestine organized around the goal of peaceably ending the occupation.

Islam and America: Conflict or Coexistence?
September 19, 2010

A Community Discussion led by UARK Professors Najib Ghadbian and Joel Gordon, and hosted by Former Mayor Dan Coody at the Fayetteville Public Library

Palestinian Film Festival
April 15-16, 2010

The Center co-sponsored (along with the Middle East Studies Graduate Association) a 2-day Film Festival dedicated to documentary works on the Palestine-Israel conflict.  Tuna Kayalci, a PhD student in Anthropology, took the lead in organizing the event.

Can We Bomb Knowledge: The Case of Iraq
March 29, 2010

A lecture by Barbara Nimri Aziz, journalist/author and founder of the Radius of Arab American Writers. Dr Aziz also spoke that same day at Nightbird Books about her experience as an ethnographer in Nepal and Tibet.

Conditioning Participation: the Egyptian State and the Muslm Brotherhood
March 1, 2010

A lecture by Joshua Stacher, Assistant Professor of Politics at Kent State University.

A Little Bit Separate, A Little Bit Equal: Women in the Jordanian Parliament
February 2, 2010

A lecture by Catherine Warrick, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Villanova University.  Professor Warrick also led a brown-bag discussion on informal Sharia courts in the West. The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Educational Reform, the Department of Political Science, and the Law School.

On Being a Native Alien:  The Question of a Writer's Identity
November 5, 2009

Zulficar Ghose, novelist-poet and Emeritus Professor at the University of Texas-Austin.  The event was co-sponsored by the Program in Latin American Studies and the Pakistan Culture Club.

Palestine/Israel After Gaza: Futility or Hope?
October 5, 2009

Guest lecture by Yoram Meital, Director of the Chaim Herzog Center of Middle East Studies and Diplomacy, Ben-Gurion University and Roane Carey, Managing Editor of the Nation Magazine.

A Tale of Two Itineraries:  The Production, Consumption and Circulation of Extra-Virgin Tuscan and Palestinian Olive Oil
March 6, 2009

A presentation by Anne Meneley of the Department of Anthropology at Trent University.

Gaza/Israel: Myths/Realities
January 22, 2009

Forum by Ted Swedenburg (ANTH), Najib Ghadbian (PLSC) and Joel Gordon (HIST)

Iraq:  What’s to be Done?
A regularly held student-faculty forum with MEST core faculty facilitators: Drs. Najib Ghadbian, Joel Gordon, and Ted Swedenburg.

From Housewives & Husbands to Cuckolds and Whores:  Marital-Political Anxieties in Egypt, 1919-1948
April 25, 2008

Guest Lecture by Dr. Lisa Pollard, University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

Berbers and/as Jews:  Masquerade Politics in Southeastern Morocco
April 7, 2008

Guest Lecture by Dr. Paul Silverstein, Reed College.

The Muslim Woman and the Pity Committee:  A Close Reading of the Victim Stereotype
February 5, 2008

Lecture by King Fahd Center faculty Dr. Mohja Kahf, University of Arkansas.

The Iraq Surge One Year On
January 28, 2008

A lecture by Chris Toensing, Editor of the Middle East Report

Israel Among Nations:  Israel’s New Diplomacy with Russia, China, India, Eastern Europe
November 29, 2007

Guest lecture by Dr. Jonathan Adelman, University of Denver.

America's Kingdom:  The Saudi Oil Frontier
October 29, 2007

Guyest lecture by Robert Vitalis, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Geographies of Marginalization, non-Muslim Palestinians
October 26, 2007

Guest lecture by Dr. Ghazi Walid-Falah, University of Akron.

Nefertiti’s City
October 5, 2007

Guest lecture by Dr. Barry Kemp, Cambridge University.

Is Turkey Still Secular?  Explaining the Latest Elections
September 14, 2007

Guest lecture by Dr. David Romano, Professor of International Studies at Rhodes College.

The Unembedded Project
January 29, 2007

Renowned photojournalist Thorne Anderson spoke on his work with the Unembedded Project — a collection of Iraq War photographs currently touring the United States. The Unembedded Project seeks to humanize the Iraqi war from photojournalists’ points of view of the Iraqi people.

Rome Then is America Now
October 12, 2006

Guest lecture and book-signing by Dr. John Dominic Crossan, DePaul University.

Intertwined Histories:  An Unconventional Guide to Israeli-Iranian Relations
October 6, 2006

Guest lecture by Haggai Ram, senior lecturer at Ben Gurion University in Israel.

The Crucifixion as Parodic Exaltation
September, 2006

Guest Lecture by Dr. Joel Marcus, Duke University.

Baghdad to Beirut: Birth pangs of a New Middle East?
August, 2006

Iraq:  What’s to be Done?
Spring 2005

A regularly held student-faculty forum with MEST core faculty facilitators: Najib Ghadbian, Joel Gordon, and Ted Swedenburg.

Bonds Across Borders
May 3, 2006

Jordanian pianist/songwriter Aziz Maraka and friends.  The concert is co-sponsored by the University of Arkansas, King Fahd Center for Middle East & Islamic Studies and the UA Department of Music.

Serena, the Mad Turk: intrigue in Byzantine Venice and Istanbul
Guest lecture by Dr. Danielle Culpepper, University of Mary Washington

Projecting Female Muslim Role Models: Gender in Arab Films on the Life of the Prophet Muhammad
Guest lecture by Dr. Ruth Roded, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Poetry Reading and Lecture
Marvin X, Poet and shaper of the Black Arts Movement, gave a lecture and read from his poetry.

Love & the Figure of Jacob in Sufi Commentaries on Surat Yusus of the Qur'an
Guest lecture by Dr. Annabel Keeler, Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Middle East Ancient Urban Landscapes
Guest lecture by archaeologist Dr. Tony James Wilkinson, University of Edinburgh

Second Annual Arkansas Arabic and Japanese Language Speech Competition
April 19, 2003

Concert by Marcel Khalife
April 25, 2002

Marcel Khalife, Arabic classical composer and popular singer, performed at the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall.

Arkansas Arabic and Japanese Language Speech Competition
April 19, 2002

La Condition Féminine en Tunisie
March 6, 2002

Guest lecture by Guest lecture by Dr. Jamil Chaker, Counselor to the Minister of Higher Education in Tunisia.

Introduction à la Renaissance Française: L’Exemple de François Rabelais
March 5, 2002

Guest lecture by Guest lecture by Dr. Jamil Chaker, Counselor to the Minister of Higher Education in Tunisia.

Goths in the Land of the Blacks
November 14, 2001

Guest lecture by Albrect Hofheinz, Visiting Professor at Northwestern University, on new Arabic manuscript finds from Timbuktu and their significance for the historiography of the Niger Bend.

How to Cope with Suffering and Evil
November 11-12, 2001

Nationally known ethicists and religious scholars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam discussed religion and violence as well as ways of coping with suffering and evil during Town Meetings.  Participants included: Alon Goshen Gottstein, Director of the Elijah School for the Study of Wisdom in World Religions in Jerusalem; Michael Sells, the Emily Baugh and John Gest Professor of Comparative Religions at Haverford College; Shabbir Mansuri, Director of the Council on Islamic Education; Tobias Winright, instructor in religion and philosophy at Simpson College; and Sulayman Nyang, Professor of African Studies at Howard University.

Tough Love from Critical Saints: Reformist Sufis in Morocco and Beyond
April 20, 2001

Guest lecture by Scott Kugle, Swarthmore College.

Lurid Crime and Criminality in Medieval Cairo: Sensational Soap Opera or Veiled Dissent?
April 13, 2001

Guest lecture by Dr. Carl Petry, Professor of History, Northwestern University.

Praising Satan from the Pulpit: Beyond the Stereotypes of Islamic Esoterism

April 6, 2001

Guest lecture by Dr. Omid Safi, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Colgate University.

Poetry Reading by Fuad Rifka
March 8, 2001

Israel and the Palestinians: A Leap of Faith
February 20, 2001

Guest lecture by Dr. Sabi H. Shabtai.

The Middle East in the 21st Century: A New Vision
February 20, 2001

Guest lecture by Dr. Sabi H. Shabtai.

Middle East Challenges for the Bush Administration

February 8, 2001

Ambassador David L. Mack, Vice President of the Middle East Institute and a specialist in U.S foreign policy in the Arab world, spoke on issues like Gulf security and the Arab-Israeli peace process that the Bush administration would face in the Middle East.

Readings by Naomi Shihab Nye
January 30-31, 2001

Naomi Shihab Nye acclaimed and widely published author, offered two public readings and participated in a poetry workshop for creative writers.

Media & Policy in the Middle East
October 27, 2000

Lecture by Najib Ghadbian as part of the Center for the Study of Representation's Brown Bag Lecture Series.

Of East and West: The Universal Teachings of Ibn "Arabi"
October 19, 2000

Guest lecture by Stephen Hirtenstein, Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society, Oxford'