The Middle East Insitute - Columbia University



The Middle East Institute of Columbia University, founded in 1954, has helped to set the national pace in developing an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the present, with a primary focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. Fostering an inter-regional and multi-disciplinary approach to the region, the Institute focuses on the Arab countries, Armenia, Iran, Israel, Turkey, Central Asia, and Muslim Diaspora communities.

The Institute sponsors approximately 30 lunch-time talks per year on topics ranging from art and literature to current events, hosts conferences, and provides a neutral atmosphere for scholarly and student exchanges of views on issues concerning the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. It offers courses and outreach seminars to teachers and adult education groups, briefs journalists, and generally acts as a clearing-house for requests for information on the region and its peoples by the media, educational professionals, and the interested public, drawing upon the expertise of its own staff and the faculty of the School of International and Public Affairs and Columbia University.

Events – SPRING 2015

  • Wednesday, January 22
    Writing across Borders and Languages
    Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
    Location: East Gallery, Buell Hall

    Writing across Borders and Languages
    A conversation with Italian-Algerian Author Amara Lakhous

    Author joined by Madeleine Dobie, Elizabeth Leake, and Pier Mattia Tommasino

    Born in Algiers in 1970, Amara Lakhous departed for Italy during the violence that ravaged Algeria in the 1990s. His critically acclaimed novels in Arabic and Italian include Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio (2010), Divorce Islamic Style (2012) and Dispute over a Very Italian Piglet (2014). Using humor to explore the encounter of cultures, religions and languages, Lakhous's work explores the experience of exile and the dynamics of migration in the contemporary Mediterranean. His novels have won major literary prizes, including Premio Flaiano per la narrativa in 2006 and Algeria’s most prestigious literary award, the Prix des libraires algériens in 2008. Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio has been adopted by Cornell University as the New Student Reading Project text for 2014.

    He will discuss his novels, the practice of bilingual writing and translation, literary culture in Algeria and Italy, and the social and political framework of contemporary migration, with Columbia Professors Madeleine Dobie (French and Comparative Literature), Elizabeth Leake (Italian) and Pier Mattia Tommasino (Italian).

    Co-sponsored by the Columbia Maison Française, Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Institute of African Studies, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, European Institute, Middle East Institute, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies and Department of Italian

  • 'Islamic' Art: Disrupting Unity and Discerning Ruptures
    A series of lectures to address the historiography of the field “Islamic Art” by scoring the particular moments of ruptures that fractured its foundation

    Organized by Avinoam Shalem, Riggio Professor, Arts of Islam, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University

    For more information visit, click here.

    Sponsored by the Department of Art History and Archaeology in collaboration with the Middle East Institute.

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