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April 22, 2019


1957 E Street NW Room 211

The creative, entertaining and sometimes zany English instruction programs, produced by the Israeli Educational Television in the 1970s, abandoned the respectability associated with “Shakespeare” in favor of the plots and images of American popular culture. In doing so, they captured some of the broader cultural and historical shifts that reshaped Israel after 1967.   

Eitan Bar-Yosef is a literary scholar and cultural historian and the outgoing editor of "Teoria U-vikoret" ("Theory and Criticism", published by the Van-Leer Institute, Jerusalem), Israel’s leading critical theory journal. Bar-Yosef is specializing in postcolonial studies, Victorian studies and Israel studies. He is the author of The Holy Land in English Culture, 1799-1917: Palestine and the Question of Orientalism, which examined British Imperial culture, with an emphasis on Britain's colonial interests in Palestine, and A Villa in the Jungle (in Hebrew) which examined representation of Africa in Israeli literature, theater and high and pop culture. This lecture is part of his new research project, examining Israeli culture after 1967 through the unique prism offered by the productions of the now deceased Israeli Educational Television.

February 21, 2019


Room 505

1957 E St NW

Washington, DC 20052

For the past six years, the world has watched in horror as Syria, Iraq, and Yemen have endured some of the worst human and heritage violence since World War II. In this talk, Stephennie will argue that the dominant universalist model of archaeological heritage preservation, wherein heritage is envisioned as a property-based model belonging “to all humankind”, has in fact been an important motivation for the destruction of heritage in wartime and the alienation of local communities from their heritage following reconstruction. Archaeologists, as researchers on the past who can assist in shaping the narratives of the present, should instead work to understand local models of heritage and support communities traumatized by war to rebuild in ways that serve local needs first. Often, post-war reconstruction has only multiplied the trauma of people in the aftermath of conflict. However, if sites damaged by war are rebuilt in an inclusive manner, reconstruction has the potential to be a genuinely healing act of resistance to the violence perpetrated during wartime. 

Stephennie Mulder is Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a specialist in Islamic art, architectural history, and archaeology. She worked for over ten years as the head ceramicist at Balis, a medieval Islamic city in Syria, and has also conducted archaeological and art historical fieldwork throughout Syria, Egypt, Turkey, and elsewhere in the region. 

Her research interests include the art and architecture of Shi’ism, the intersections between art, spatiality, and sectarian relationships in Islam, anthropological theories of art, material culture studies, theories of ornament and mimesis, and place and landscape studies. Dr. Mulder also writes on the contemporary aesthetics of the art of resistance in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

March 7, 2019


GW Textile Museum

701 21st Street, NW

Washington, DC 20052

This event is cosponsored by the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom and the GW Textile Museum.

In March 1996, Mahmoud Abdul Rauf (formerly Chris Jackson), an all-star guard for the Denver Nuggets and an African American Muslim convert, was suspended by the NBA for not standing for the national anthem. Until then, Abdul Rauf had earned national headlines only for his record-setting free-throw shooting game and overcoming Tourrette Syndrome. The sudden NBA suspension and the media interest that immediately followed sparked a national debate about race, politics, religion, and freedom of speech with Abdul Rauf at center-stage. The media controversy pivoted on the question of what it means to be American and un-American, particularly for Muslims, and reveals how so many contemporary political anxieties about patriotism, racism, political correctness, freedom of speech, and Islamophobia have histories deeper than 9/11 and the War on Terror. Tracing his evolution from a media darling and icon of the American dream to an "un-American foreigner," this timely film documents the history of anti-Muslim racism and xenophobia through a simple, poignant story of one man's spiritual journey turned public trial.

Zareena Grewal is a historical anthropologist and a documentary filmmaker whose research focuses on race, gender, religion, nationalism, and transnationalism across a wide spectrum of American Muslim communities. Her first book, Islam is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority (NYU 2013), is an ethnography of transnational Muslim networks that link US mosques to Islamic movements in the post-colonial Middle East through debates about the reform of Islam. Her forthcoming book, titled “Is the Quran a Good Book?”, combines ethnographic and cultural studies analyses with historical research to trace the place of the Islamic scripture in the American imagination, particularly in relation to national debates about tolerance. She has received awards for her writing and research grants from the Fulbright, Wenner-Gren and Luce Foundations. 

A full lesson plan for middle school and high school teachers will be available at the event.

April 4, 2019


Room 505

1957 E St NW

Washington, DC 20052

Beirut is a city divided. Following the Green Line of the civil war, dividing the Christian east and the Muslim west, today hundreds of such lines dissect the city. For the residents of Beirut, urban planning could hold promise: a new spatial order could bring a peaceful future. But with unclear state structures and outsourced public processes, urban planning has instead become a contest between religious-political organizations and profit-seeking developers. Neighborhoods reproduce poverty, displacement, and urban violence.

For the War Yet to Come examines urban planning in three neighborhoods of Beirut's southeastern peripheries, revealing how these areas have been developed into frontiers of a continuing sectarian order. Hiba Bou Akar argues these neighborhoods are arranged, not in the expectation of a bright future, but according to the logic of "the war yet to come": urban planning plays on fears and differences, rumors of war, and paramilitary strategies to organize everyday life. As she shows, war in times of peace is not fought with tanks, artillery, and rifles, but involves a more mundane territorial contest for land and apartment sales, zoning and planning regulations, and infrastructure projects. 

About the Author 

Hiba Bou Akar is Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. She has also worked as an architect and urban planner in Beirut.

March 21, 2019


1957 E St NW

Room 505

Washington, DC 20052

Iraq's healthcare has been on the edge of collapse since the 1990s. Once the leading hub of scientific and medical training in the Middle East, Iraq's political and medical infrastructure has been undermined by decades of U.S.-led sanctions and invasions. Since the British Mandate, Iraqi governments had invested in cultivating Iraq's medical doctors as agents of statecraft and fostered connections to scientists abroad. In recent years, this has been reversed as thousands of Iraqi doctors have left the country in search of security and careers abroad. Ungovernable Life presents the untold story of the rise and fall of Iraqi "mandatory medicine"—and of the destruction of Iraq itself.

Trained as a doctor in Baghdad, Omar Dewachi writes a medical history of Iraq, offering readers a compelling exploration of state-making and dissolution in the Middle East. His work illustrates how imperial modes of governance, from the British Mandate to the U.S. interventions, have been contested, maintained, and unraveled through medicine and healthcare. In tracing the role of doctors as agents of state-making, he challenges common accounts of Iraq's alleged political unruliness and ungovernability, bringing forth a deeper understanding of how medicine and power shape life and how decades of war and sanctions dismember projects of state-making. 

About the Author

Omar Dewachi is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Social Medicine, and Global Health and Co-Director of the Conflict Medicine Program at the American University of Beirut.

January 17, 2019


Lindner Family Commons (Room 602)

1957 E St NW

Washington, DC 20052

Meet the director

Asma is an award winning film and documentary director who's been in the field since 2007. In 2008 she was enrolled in the documentary fellowship program at George Washington University. She also received a training from the USC (University of Southern California).

Her film "I am Gaza" which was shot during the 2008 war was the Opening Film at Amal Film Festival (Spain) and the Arab Film Festival (Algiers) in 2010. This film received 4 production awards.

In 2012 Asma received her Masters Degree from El Instituto de Cine de Madrid in Directing for Cinema and TV.

Asma has worked for TV broadcasters like ARTE, France 24, MBC Group, Al Jazeera, Arabi TV. She also worked with NGOs like: The United Nations, MercyCorps, CARE International.

Her feature documentary "Aisha" which was released in 2016 received The Best Film Award at Malmo Film Festival in Sweden, amongst 5 production awards.


Watch the trailer here:

January 31, 2019


1957 E St NW Room 505

Washington, DC

Partition—the physical division of territory along ethno-religious lines into separate nation-states—is often presented as a successful political "solution" to ethnic conflict. In the twentieth century, at least three new political entities—the Irish Free State, the Dominions (later Republics) of India and Pakistan, and the State of Israel—emerged as results of partition. This volume offers the first collective history of the concept of partition, tracing its emergence in the aftermath of the First World War and locating its genealogy in the politics of twentieth-century empire and decolonization.

Making use of the transnational framework of the British Empire, which presided over the three major partitions of the twentieth century, contributors draw out concrete connections among the cases of Ireland, Pakistan, and Israel—the mutual influences, shared personnel, economic justifications, and material interests that propelled the idea of partition forward and resulted in the violent creation of new post-colonial political spaces. In so doing, the volume seeks to move beyond the nationalist frameworks that served in the first instance to promote partition as a natural phenomenon.

About the authors

Arie M. Dubnov is Associate Professor of History and the Max Ticktin Chair of Israel Studies at George Washington University.

Laura Robson is Associate Professor of History at Portland State University.

December 13, 2018


Room 505

1957 E St NW

Washington, DC 20052

For seventy years Israel has existed as a state, and for forty years it has honored a peace treaty with Egypt that is widely viewed as a triumph of U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East. Yet the Palestinians—the would-be beneficiaries of a vision for a comprehensive regional settlement that led to the Camp David Accords in 1978—remain stateless to this day. How and why Palestinian statelessness persists are the central questions of Seth Anziska’s groundbreaking book, which explores the complex legacy of the agreement brokered by President Jimmy Carter.

Based on newly declassified international sources, Preventing Palestine charts the emergence of the Middle East peace process, including the establishment of a separate track to deal with the issue of Palestine. At the very start of this process, Anziska argues, Egyptian-Israeli peace came at the expense of the sovereignty of the Palestinians, whose aspirations for a homeland alongside Israel faced crippling challenges. With the introduction of the idea of restrictive autonomy, Israeli settlement expansion, and Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the chances for Palestinian statehood narrowed even further. The first Intifada in 1987 and the end of the Cold War brought new opportunities for a Palestinian state, but many players, refusing to see Palestinians as a nation or a people, continued to steer international diplomacy away from their cause.

Combining astute political analysis, extensive original research, and interviews with diplomats, military veterans, and communal leaders, Preventing Palestine offers a bold new interpretation of a highly charged struggle for self-determination.

Seth Anziska is the Mohamed S. Farsi-Polonsky Lecturer in Jewish-Muslim Relations at University College London and a visiting fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Haaretz. He lives in London.


November 27, 2018


Jack Morton Auditorium

805 21st Street NW

Washington, DC 20052

General Ticket: $20.00
GW Student Discount: $16.00

Use discount code IMESHOME to reduce price to $18

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation & GWU’s Institute of Middle East Studies invite you to delve into the intricacies of Arab American identity through the individual experiences of some of today’s most celebrated literary voices. Join notable Buzzfeed reporter Hannah Allam as she sits down with Osama Alomar (The Teeth of the Comb & Other Stories), Susan Darraj (A Curious Land: Stories from Home; The Inheritance of Exile) and others to discuss what “Finding Home” looks like for an Arab American, especially in today’s political climate. These award-winning authors will also read from their work in what will be a fascinating and engaging evening.

Osama Alomar

Born in Damascus, Syria in 1968 and now living in Pittsburgh, Osama Alomar is the author of three collections of short stories and a volume of poetry in Arabic, and performs as a musician. His short stories have been published by Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Words Without Borders, The Southern Review,, The Paris Review Daily,, Guernica Daily, The Outlet (the blog of Electric Literature), Noon, The Coffin Factory, Painted Bride Quarterly, Gigantic, The Literary Review, and Dissent. New Directions published FULLBLOOD ARABIAN, a pamphlet-sized collection in 2014, and the story collection THE TEETH OF THE COMB in 2017.

Susan Muaddi Darraj

Susan Muaddi Darraj's short story collection, A Curious Land: Stories from Home, was named the winner of the AWP Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, judged by Jaime Manrique. The book was published in December 2015 by the University of Massachusetts Press. It also won the 2016 Arab American Book Award, a 2016 American Book Award, and was shortlisted for a Palestine Book Award. In 2018, she was named a Ford Fellow by United States Artists.

Laila Halaby

Laila Halaby is the author of two novels, Once in a Promised Land (a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Authors selection; named by the Washington Post as one of the best 100 novels of 2007) and West of the Jordan (winner of a PEN/Beyond Margins Award), as well as a collection of poetry my name on his tongue (Syracuse University Press, Spring 2012). Halaby was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship for study of folklore in Jordan and holds two Masters’ degrees in Literature and in Counseling.

Laila has always been interested in the power of the creative voice and its role in healing from impossible-seeming traumas. What started out as a lark – listening to Palestinian refugee kids recount folktales – has turned into a lifelong obsession with stories and creativity as an antidote to suffering and she has found ways to incorporate storytelling in all of her social service jobs, including her work with people trying to quit smoking, with homeless youth, and with therapy patients. She currently works as a counselor with cancer patients, as a program coordinator in an expressive arts program for refugee survivors of torture and trauma, and as a museum educator. She also designed a series of programs at the VA hospital as well as teaching creative writing in the Polytrauma Unit there for a few years.

Moderated by: Hannah Allam

Hannah Allam is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News, covering U.S. Muslim life. She previously spent a decade as a foreign correspondent at McClatchy, serving as Baghdad bureau chief during the Iraq War and Cairo bureau chief during the Arab Spring uprisings. She has also reported extensively on national security and race/demographics. Her reporting on Muslims adapting to the Trump era won national religion reporting prizes in 2018. Allam was part of McClatchy teams that won a Polk Award for Syria reporting and an Overseas Press Club award for exposing death squads in Iraq. Allam is on the board of the International Women’s Media Foundation and was a 2009 Nieman Fellow at Harvard. She lives in Washington.

November 29, 2018


Chung-wen Shih Conference Room

Suite 503

1957 E St NW

Washington, DC 20052

In Mughal Occidentalism, Mika Natif elucidates the meaningful and complex ways in which Mughal artists engaged with European art and techniques from the 1580s-1630s. Using visual and textual sources, this book argues that artists repurposed Christian and Renaissance visual idioms to embody themes from classical Persian literature and represent Mughal policy, ideology and dynastic history. A reevaluation of illustrated manuscripts and album paintings incorporating landscape scenery, portraiture, and European objects demonstrates that the appropriation of European elements was highly motivated by Mughal concerns. This book aims to establish a better understanding of cross-cultural exchange from the Mughal perspective by emphasizing the agency of local artists active in the workshops of Emperors Akbar and Jahangir.