2010 - 2011


Low Library

Questions for Faculty?
Attend the Academic Resources Fair!

The Academic Resources Fair is your opportunity to understand the range of academic resources available to you as a Columbia student. Faculty representatives from every academic department and program will attend. You may ask specific questions, obtain program information and materials, and learn about upcoming academic events.

Some questions to ask at the Academic Resources Fair:

What courses should I take in order to get to know a field of study? When should I take them? Are there prerequisites that I should take in order to declare a certain major in my sophomore year?

At what level should I begin my study of a subject, given my background?

What research opportunities exist in or through a department?

How does advising within the department work? Who can I contact with questions?

Wednesday, August 31st
11:00 a.m. . 1:00 p.m.

The Street is Ours: Representations of Protest in Modern Egyptian Literature


Lecture by Professor Samia Mehrez

Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30

516 Hamilton Hall

Samia Mehrez is professor of Arabic literature at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and is the director of AUC's Center for Translation Studies. She is the author of several books, including Egypt's Culture Wars, Egyptian Writers between History and Fiction, and the recently published The Literary Atlas of Cairo and The Literary Life of Cairo. The event will also include a book-signing by Professor Mehrez of her new books The Literary Atlas of Cairo and The Literary Life of Cairo. Sponsored by The Department of Middle East, South Asia, and African Studies. Co-sponsored by the Middle East Institute and the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society.

Dear MESAAS friends,

This year is the birth centenary of Faiz Ahmed 'Faiz' (1911-84), an Urdu
poet immensely popular in Pakistan and North India (and among the diaspora in New York). We are having our own informal tribute to him this Thursday, from 4:10-6:00 or so, in 208 Knox. Come join us for discussion of Faiziana by Andy McCord, who is writing a biography of the poet, and recitations of favorite Faiz poems by the students in the Readings in Urdu Literature class. Translations will be provided. Also South Asian snacks.

Looking forward to seeing you there,
Fran Pritchett
for the Readings in Urdu Literature class

University Seminars
Thursday, 28th April 2011
Professor Tarek El-Ariss (University of Texas at Austin) will lead a discussion entitled:


kid bangers


Faculty House
Columbia University
400 West 117th Street
New York, NY 10027

Dinner will be at 6:00 P.M., on the second floor of Faculty House.
The talk will begin at 7:00 P.M. Those unable to attend the dinner are
welcome to join the talk at 7:00pm.

We respectfully request that you notify the rapporteur no later than
SATURDAY, 23rd of APRIL to let us know if you will attend and if you
will be having dinner. Members and guests of the Seminar who are not
also members of Columbia's Faculty House may pay for the $24.00 dinner by contacting the rapporteur. She will be collecting the fee, payable by exact change or check, during the dinner.
We look forward to seeing you at the Arabic Studies Seminar.

K. Soraya Batmanghelichi, Rapporteur
MESAAS Department

From Romance to Resistance
Saturday, May 7


Featuring MESAAS Prof. Frances Pritchett

Illuminated page by Samina Quraeshi
courtesy of The Asia Society

An examination of the Urdu tradition in South Asia from the earliest days in the Mughal courts to the role of poets like Muhammad Iqbal in modern Pakistan. With scholars Frances W. Pritchett, Syed Akbar Hyder, and scholar/translator Mahwash Shoaib.

Admission free

BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center . 199 Chambers Street

MENA (Middle East North Africa Workshop)

Spring Events:


Please join us on Monday, May 2nd from 12:00-2:00 in Knox room 208, for our next and final MENA workshop of the semester. Our discussion of "Constructing Boundaries and Negotiating Citizenship: The Nationalization of Shi'i Families and the Ja'fari Shari'a Court in Lebanon, 1926-1943" by Linda Sayed, a doctoral candidate in the MESAAS Department, will begin at 12:30. Professor Najam Haider from the department of Religion will serve as discussant, and begin our conversation. Lunch will be available from 12:00. An excerpt and abstract of Linda's paper is available.

If you plan to attend, please email, and we will forward you Linda's paper as soon as possible.

Elizabeth and Cenk

The Ifriqiyya Seminar at Columbia University

The IFRIQIYYA Colloquium in association with IAS and the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies Presents:

Seminar Series: Spring, 2011
Islamic Education in Postcolonial Africa

A Lecture by Professor Ousmane Kane, Columbia University
Thursday, May 5th, 2011
12:00-2:00, Knox Hall, Room 208

Ousmane Kane is an associate professor of international and public affairs at SIPA at Columbia University since 2002. He received a BA and M.A in Islamic Studies from the Sorbonne Nouvelle University, and an M.Phil and a Ph.D in Political Science from Science Po Paris in 1993. He specializes in comparative politics (Sub-Saharan Africa), Islamic politics, and transnational migration and religion. Prior to joining SIPA, he held academic appointments at the University of Kansas, the University of London and Yale University.

Ousmane Kane

Tuesday, May 3, 7:00.9:00pm
Precarious Lives: Arab Poets since Pre.Islamic TimesPrecarious Lives: Arab Poets since Pre.Islamic Times
A Seminar with Muhsin al.Musawi

Often exiled or sold into slavery in ancient times, Arab.language poets have literally suffered for their art. Noted literary scholar Muhsin al.Musawi explores the dramatic biographies of poets writing in Arabic throughout history.Connecting the re-surfacing of poetry in
current popular revolutions with a poetic of defiance and challenge, sacrifice and love, this lecture will be supported with poetry readings along with music by Amir al-Saffar.

Location: Poets House, 10 River Terrace
Admission: $10, $7 for students and seniors


golden cage

The Golden Cage: A Conversation with Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Prize Winner

Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner, lawyer, judge, and founder of
the Center for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran, will deliver the
latest Gabriel Silver Memorial Lecture at Columbia University?s
School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).
She will discuss her newest book, The Golden Cage.
This lecture is being hosted by SIPA and the Middle East Institute at
Columbia and will be moderated by Professor Hamid Dabashi, the Hagop
Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia.
Date: Wednesday, April 20
Time: 12:30 to 2:00, with reception to follow
Location: Room 1501 International Affairs Building
Registration required:
The Gabriel Silver Memorial Lectures were inaugurated in 1950 at the
School of International Affairs at Columbia University by
then-University President Dwight D. Eisenhower. They were established
by Leo Silver in memory of his father, Gabriel, to foster
international understanding and world peace. Previous Gabriel Silver
Memorial Lecturers include George C. Marshall, J. William Fulbright,
Willy Brandt, Lee Kuan Yew, Rajiv Gandhi, Helmut Schmidt, Teddy
Kollek, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Mary Robinson, Madeleine Albright, and
Kofi Annan.

MENA (Middle East North Africa Workshop):

-- April 18: Kaveh Niazi, MESAAS, will present a selection from his dissertation entitled "Pervian vs. Arabic: Language as a Determinant of Content in the Ikhtiyarat-i Muzaffari" by Kaveh Niazi, a doctoral candidate in the MESAAS Department, will begin at 12:30. Professor Hossein Kamaly will serve as discussant, and begin our conversation. Lunch will be available from 12:00. Abstract: In his discussion of the ascendance of Persian as a language of high culture in his Early Middle Period (c. 1111 - 1274 C. E.) Hodgson notes a process by which the Persian language was able to enter more frequently a realm that had been almost exclusively a domain of the Arabic language: the realm of scholarship. This chapter looks at one such work on theoretical astronomy written in Persian during the second half of the thirteenth century, C. E.: Ikhtiyarat-i Muzaffari, by Qutb al-Din Shirazi (1235-1311 C. E., 634 - 711 A. H.). This work is one member of an unusual collection of three texts on hay'a that the author appears to have written in close succession. The other of Shirazi's works on hay'a were written in Arabic, raising the issue of the author's choice of language for this work. The vast preponderance of Arabic texts on science has led to speculation on the nature of the Ikhtiyarat as a translation (from the Arabic) or as an otherwise secondary work. This paper discusses the significance of the Ikhtiyarat with respect to Shirazi's other two works as well as to other hay'a works of the era and argues for its status as a work of originality and importance.

Cote d'Ivoire:
The Test for Collective Security and Democratic Identity in West Africa

Date: Friday, April 15, 2011
Time: 12:00 pm- 2:00pm
Location: Case Lounge room 701 Jerome Greene Hall, 435 West 116th Street

The panel is organized to expose the multifaceted aspects of the Ivorian crisis and to highlight the political, humanitarian, economic and democratic risks that could lead to a larger conflagration beyond the immediate Mano River Union Countries.

Moderated by Rosa Malango, Chief of Coordinate Africa Response Division, OCHA New York

Panelists: Ambassador Youssoufou Bamba, Ivoirian Ambassador to the United Nations. Arthur Boutellis, Senior Policy Analyst, International Peace Institut. Matt Wells, Head Researcher, Africa Division, Human Rights Watch.


the first undergraduate journal of its kind, is celebrating the launch of its Fall 2010 issue and its new lecture review blog with a LAUNCH EVENT, open to anyone who is interested. Come to Knox Hall, Room 207 on Wednesday, April 13 between 1 and 2 PM for a free copy of the Journal, information about getting involved, and to meet the 2011-2012 editorial board.

Refreshments will be served.

Human Rights: A West African Tradition?

Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Time: 6:15pm
Location: 208 Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street

Can traditions of human rights be found in the West African past? What does Mande orature tell us about individual freedom, freedom of expression or rights of circulation? From the "hunters' Oath' to the "Charter of Kurukan Fuga", this panel discusses oral traditions of human rights grounded in the 13th century Mali empire, their contemporary relevance to philosophical and political debates on non-Western human rights traditions, as well as the politics of their current textualization and canonization in countries like Mali, Senegal or Guinea.

Center for Palestine Studies Conference ~ April 11

Locating Tolerance: The Conflict over the Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem


Monday, 11 April 2011, 11:00 AM ~ 6:00 PM
Room 1501, International Affairs Building, Columbia University
420 West 118th Street, NY, NY 10027

Conference Speakers Include:

Wendy Brown, Heller Professor of Political Science, University of
California, Berkeley

David T Goldberg, Director, University of California Humanities Research Institute & Professor of Comparative Literature, UCI
Rashid Khalidi, Co-Director Center for Palestine Studies & Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia U.
Saree Makdisi, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, UCLA
Eyal Weizman, Director of Centre of Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London

Sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Department of Anthropology, and the Middle East Institute.

For more information, please visit:

"The Religion of Freedom Makes Brothers": Armenians and Early
Twentieth-Century Connected Revolutions

A lecture by Dr. Houri Berberian
Tuesday, March 29 - 6:30pm
516 Hamilton Hall - Morningside Campus
Co-sponsored by the Armenian Center at Columbia University and the
Middle East Institute.
Free and open to the public.

This is the second lecture in the four-part Armenian Studies Spring
Seminar Series, "Between Nations and States: Armenian Nationalism(s) Past and Present."

Houri Berberian is Professor of Middle Eastern History at California
State University, Long Beach, where she also serves as Director of the
Middle Eastern Studies Program. She is the author of a number of
articles and a book, Armenians and the Iranian Constitutional
Revolution of 1905-1911: "The Love for Freedom Has No Fatherland"(2001).

MENA (Middle East North Africa Workshop):

March 28, 12-2pm , 208 Knox

Rehenuma Asmi, Department of Anthropology and Education.

Paper Title: "Qatar's Arabic Catch-22: An Arab Revolution with an English Twist," from her (working-titled) dissertation "In Search of Arabic: Language Ideology and Education Reform in Qatar." Professor Brinkley Messick will serve as discussant, and begin our conversation. Lunch will be served from noon.


Is There A Future For Jerusalem?

This talk will address the actual urban space of the city, as opposed to its metaphorical meaning. It will examine how the claim of Unification of the City has turned out to be the arena of exclusivity, separation and conquest. A series of questions are raised: Is it possible to address the future of the city without addressing the whole constellation of issues surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict? What specificities does Jerusalem have which cannot be treated exclusively in terms of territoriality? Dr. Salim Tamari will discuss the status of one city in the world today, whose recent history (embodying sacred and worldly attributes), carries a model for solving the problems of Jerusalem.

Dr. Salim Tamari is the Arcapita Visiting Professor at the Middle East Institute for Spring 2011 and CPS Affiliate.

This event will be moderated by Professor Rashid Khalidi.

28 March 2011, 7:00 PM
Room 1501, International Affairs Building
420 West 118th Street, NY, NY 10027
Columbia University

MIRAL: Discussion with Director Julian Schnabel & Novelist Rula Jebreal


Moderated by Professors:

HAMID DABASHI, Professor of Iranian Studies & Comparative Literature, Columbia University, HELGA TAWIL-SOURI, Professor of Media, Culture, & Communication, NYU

Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

This event is sponsored by The Center for Palestine Studies. Co-sponsored by the Middle East Institute and Columbia Film Program's Carla Kuhn Series.

To learn more about the Miral, please visit:

30 March 2011, 8:00 PM
417 Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building, Columbia University
420 West 118th Street, NY, NY 10027

Theory Monday: Nadia ABU EL-HAJ on Donna HARAWAY

Monday March 21
IRWAG Seminar Room, 754 Schermerhorn Ext.

Theory Mondays allow graduate students and faculty to read closely the work of key feminist and gender studies theorists in a seminar-style setting, with Columbia/Barnard faculty leading the discussion.

On Monday March 21, Barnard Professor of Anthropology Nadia Abu El-Haj will lead a discussion on Donna Haraway's work. Readings will be available shortly and will be posted here.

New Directions Workshop Series

Ottoman Brothers: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Early Twentieth Century Palestine

Professor Michelle U. Campos,

University of Florida Department of History

March 23, 2011, 12-2 PM, 103 Knox Hall, 606 W 122nd St.


Simranjeet Singh (Religion, 21 March).

Re-Textualizing Sheikh Farid: Anamnetic Authorship in 17th Century Punjab

This paper explores the ways in which oral and written texts have been transmitted across linguistic communities of premodern Punjab. It will focus specifically on the understudied but critically important personage of Sheikh Farid ad-Din Masud Ganj-e Shakkar (d. 1265 CE). Popularly known as Sheikh Farid or Baba Farid, this figure continues to be revered for his contributions to the religious and cultural milieu of South Asia. This paper will look at representations of Sheikh Farid through two closely connected Gurmukhi texts: the Adi Granth, which was compiled in 1604 by the Sikh community, and a hagiography entitled Masle Sheikh Farid Ke, which was composed in the middle of the 17th century by the Mina community. With the help of Christian Novetzke's recent work on Saint Namdev and Christopher Shackle's linguistic analysis of Southwestern Punjabi, this paper aims to explore the transmission of writings ascribed to Sheikh Farid through orality, performance, textualization, and "anamnetic authorship," while also shedding light on three underrepresented entities: Sheikh Farid, the Mina tradition, and Masle Sheikh Farid Ke.


15 March 2011, 7:00 ~ 9:00 PM
Room 417, Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building
420 West 118th Street

Mahmoud Darwish was born on March 13, 1941 in Al Birweh, Palestine. Recognized as the Palestinian national poet and an icon, his work embodies the Palestinian cause.
"Mahmoud Darwish is the Essential Breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging, exquisitely tuned singer of
images that invoke, link, and shine a brilliant light into the world's whole heart. What he speaks has been embraced by readers around the world; his in an utterly necessary voice, unforgettable once discovered." (Naomi Shihab Nye)

Marcel Khalife is a distinguished composer, singer, and oud player that is best known for liberating the oud, an instrument integral to Arabic
culture, from its traditionally strict techniques, expanding its musical
possibilities, and contributing to its artistic and cultural revival. Over the decades, Khalife's music and his own compositions have signified
peace, reconciliation and breaking boundaries. He uses musical influences from both Christian and Muslim traditions to create a sound that is always innovative, inspiring, and beautiful. Many of his recordings utilize traditional instruments mixed with western mainstays depicting a sophisticated musical marriage of classical Arabic and jazz music. As a composer, he demonstrates a deep attachment to and a profound understanding of the power of the written word.

This event is sponsored by the Middle East Institute.

Columbia University Butler Library Dedicates Reading Room in Honor & Memory of Edward W. Said

Columbia University has established the Edward W. Said Reading Room in honor and memory of the late Columbia Professor. The room will be open on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. It will be located in Room 616, on the 6th floor of Butler Library.

said The reading room was formed after Columbia University Libraries acquired Said's papers and personal library. His papers and some of his books will be housed in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, but the majority of his personal collection will be in the reading room.

The creation of the Edward W. Said Reading Room will pay tribute to the scholarly legacy and academic contribution of Professor Edward Said to Columbia University, where he taught for forty years (1963-2003). Through his extensive writings, Said developed a critical dialogue about Palestine in the United States, and he did so from his academic base at Columbia. Edward Said was the author of more than 20 books, including his 1999 autobiography, Out of Place, which won the New Yorker Book Award for nonfiction. His writings have been translated into 26 languages, including his most influential book, Orientalism (1978), a retrospective examination of the way the West perceived the East. Edward Said's legacy continues to draw prominent scholars of Palestine to the university. The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University, launched in October 2010, honors the work of the late Edward Said. Moreover, the University hosts the prestigious annual Edward Said lectures, which bring distinguished international figures to speak on pertinent timely world issues.

The Edward Said Memorial Lecture:

Ahdaf Soueif "Notes from the Egyptian Revolution"

Tuesday, 8 March, 8:30pm, 417 International Affairs Building

The featured speaker, Ahdaf Soueif, has spent much time in Tahrir Square these past couple of weeks, and will therefore be giving the Edward Said Memorial Lecture on "Notes from the Egyptian Revolution." With such a popular topic the event has been moved to a larger venue, and in order to do so, the time has been moved to 8:30pm. Co-sponsored by Middle East Institute, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, & University Libraries.


Presentation by Andrew Ollett (MESAAS):
"Metrics and the History of the Natyashastra"
The Natyashastra is the fundamental text on Indian dramaturgy and related subjects, from aesthetics to dialectology. But the text is often confusing, and its role in literary and intellectual history far from clear, owing to circumstances of its compilation and transmission about which we know relatively little. The two sections of Sanskrit and Prakrit meters, however, provide some important indirect evidence for those circumstances: the form of the definitions, the content of the examples, the sequence of meters, their treatment in the only surviving commentary, and the sources of the text can help us to understand the processes by which this important text took shape.


-- March 7: Mimi Hanaoka, Department of Religion. Paper (working) title: Umma and identity in early Islamic Persia: Dreams as tools of legitimation and prophecy.

The IFRIQIYYA Colloquium:


A Lecture by Professor Ghislaine Lydon
UCLA, History Department

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
12:00 . 2:00, Knox Hall, Room 208

Ghislaine Lydon is an associate professor at UCLA's History Department. She specializes in the legal, cultural and economic history of Muslim Africa. She is the author of a prize winning book about the organization of trans-Saharan camel caravan trade Africa (On Trans-Saharan Trails: Islamic Law, Trade Networks and Cross-Cultural Exchange in Western Africa. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), and an edited a volume on the trans-Saharan book trade (with Graziano Krtli, The Trans-Saharan Book Trade: Arabic Literacy, Manuscript Culture, and Intellectual History in Islamic Africa (Leiden: Brill, 2011). Her articles cover a wide range of topics including economic history, Islamic legal history, Muslim women.s rights, colonial West Africa.

Iran's Green Movement & the Upheaval in the Middle East: A Panel Discussion

February 25 6:00 PM
Columbia University 501 Schermerhorn
Hamid Dabashi Ervand Abrahamian Nader Hashemi Golbarg Bashi Danny Postel

Contributors to The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future

The Green Movement has once again made its presence felt on Iran's streets. What does this reappearance of the movement mean for the future of the Islamic Republic, and how does "Iran.s Resilient Rebellion" relate to the wave of uprisings roiling the Middle East?

MENA (Middle East North Africa Workshop) Spring Events:

-- February 21: 12:00-2:00 in Knox Hall room 208, "On Colonial Textuality and Difference: Musical Encounters with French Colonialism in Nineteenth-Century Algeria" by Kristy Riggs, a doctoral candidate in the Music Department, at 12:30.

SAGSF (South Asia Grad Student Forum):

Monday, 21 February 2011
Presentation by Mohsin Mohi-ud-Din (SIPA):
"Kashmir: The Quiet Fire of South Asia"

Department of Middle East, South Asia, and African Studies at Columbia University Graduate Student Conference

Imaginary Geographies

please click title for schedule

February 17th & 18th, 2011.

Department Colloquium: The Idea of Africa

February 17, 2011: 403 Knox Hall 4:10 pm.

Benjamin Talton, Associate Professor of History, Temple University:

.Hunger is a Weapon.: Human Rights and U.S. Politics in the Horn of Africa

-MENA (Middle East North Africa Workshop):

-- February 7: Maya Mikdashi, Department of Anthropology. Paper title: Sex and Sectarianism: Recognition and the Disarticulation of Maddhab/Sect and Sex/Gender in Lebanon


MESAAS Colloquium Spring 2011

Thursday, Feb. 3: Jinny Prais, W.Virginia University. .When Night Falls in Accra.: African Representations of the Urban Environment and Social Relations. This paper considers the ways the educated urban community of Accra (colonial Ghana) imagined their city within the spaces of their newspapers and dance halls within the confines of the African-owned press of the 1930s.



Thursday January 27th,1-2:30pm
IAB Rm.1501