Precarious Radicalism on Shifting Ground: Towards a Politics of Possibility
26-30 July, 2015

The sense of revolutionary times triggered by recent events such as the Greek revolts, the Indignados and Occupy movements, as well as the Arab uprisings and the Idle No More protests in Canada, has been gradually overshadowed by a wave of virulent and violent responses by both state and global powers. Although these and other struggles have captured our imagination, an anxious feeling of being in a permanent state of crisis seems to have taken over as we observe an increase in and normalization of socio-economic and spatial inequalities and political repression against the population. This regression, which takes the form of a rise on authoritarianisms, revanchists' responses, encroachment of fundamental rights, precarity of subsistence, social relations, employment, or the consolidation of populist right wing and fundamentalist movements, is to a large extent eclipsing and undermining the political space and fundamental work of individuals, communities and movements around the world. It certainly is a precarious time for radicalism. This grim landscape inevitably raises crucial questions about the current moment and its prospects. Are we witnessing and experiencing a fundamental historical shift? If so, how are we to interpret this transition? Or can these times be transformed into a moment of political possibility by reconsidering and/or expanding existing paradigms as well as by reconnecting solidarities and struggles?

The aim of the 7th International Conference of Critical Geography (ICCG 2015) was to provide an inclusive venue for the discussion of these and other themes that examine the geographies of critical social theory and progressive political praxis. Despite the significance of the issues at stake, we hoped to have created a fun, engaging and friendly atmosphere that welcomed a wide array of scholars, activists, artists, organizers and others interested in critical socio-spatial praxis.

New Directions in Palestinian Studies
28 February - March 1, 2014
Brown University

Brown Conference

There is now a critical mass of innovative scholars in the US, Europe, and the Middle East who work on Palestine and the Palestinians. The field has grown quantitatively and qualitatively, with new lines of inquiry pushing in several new directions simultaneously. New Directions in Palestinian Studies, a series of annual and thematically organized symposia supported by the Middle East Studies at Brown University in cooperation with other universities and institutes, provides a space for systematic reflection on the fast-paced academic knowledge production on Palestine and the Palestinians. The symposia bring together established and emerging scholars in a low-pressure workshop environment to take stock of research trends, to identify promising new questions and sources, to exchange experiences and insights, and to encourage networking across disciplinary and field boundaries. New Directions in Palestinian Studies, is founded and led by Beshara Doumani.

This conference was co-Sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies.

Unsettlement and Decolonization: New Directions
Friday, February 14, 2014
Time: 8:30AM-5:45PM
Location: Heyman Center, Common Room, Columbia University

Plenary Speakers:

Kevin Bruyneel (Politics, Babson College).

Jodi A. Byrd (English and American Indian Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

Mark Rifkin (English and Women's and Gender Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro).

Dale Turner (Government and Native American Studies, Dartmouth College).

Respondents: Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia University); Audra Simpson (Columbia University).

Presenters: Phanuel Antwi (St Mary's University), Hadeel Assali (Columbia University), Bruno Cornellier (University of Winnipeg), Melissa Forbis (SUNY Stonybrook), Shiri Pasternak (Columbia University), Mezna Qato (Columbia University).

And featuring artist Stephen Paul Jackson (presenting as Stron Softi) and filmmaker Hadeel Assali presenting on their creative work.

This conference is organized by Dr. Michael R. Griffiths

Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University.

Co-Sponsored by: Department of Anthropology, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Center for Palestine Studies, INTERACT Initiative, The Middle East Institute, The Heyman Center for the Humanities.

Arabic Literature: Migration, Diaspora, Exile, Estrangement
Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies,
Columbia University, New York City
November 7-9, 2013

Sponsors: The Department of Middle East, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University, the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, Columbia University Seminars and Brill Academic Publishers.

Organizer: Professor Muhsin al-Musawi

Elizabeth Holt, Bard College
Yasmine Khayyat, Rutgers University
Tarek al-Ariss, University of Texas at Austin

Steering Committee:
Joscelyn Jurich
Wendell Hassan Marsh
Max Shmookler
Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah

Arabic literature's relationship with questions of migration, diaspora and exile date from early Islamic engagements with hijrah or migration, to our own diasporic and exilic present, conveyed in the poetry and prose of migration, war, alienation, estrangement and displacement.

We invite you to consider how Arab experiences of migration, diaspora, exile and estrangement mark and form Arabic literature, with an eye not only to the thematic terms of this encounter, but also its manifestations in debates over genre, publication geography, and literary historiography.

Scholars working in all periods of Arabic literary and theoretical production are warmly invited to submit abstracts.

Topics will include: Poetry of the so-called Arab spring and its increasing diasporas;
Palestinian literature, and the prose and poetics of exile, alienation and diaspora;
Migration of literary and theoretical schools and movements between cities in the Arab world;
Arabic literary engagements with Marxism and socialism;
Arabic literature and world literary schools, such as existentialism, magical realism, modernism, etc.;
Politics and history of literary translation to and from Arabic;
Literary geographies and historiographies of the Nahdah/of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries;
Mahjar literature and poetics, old and new (experiencing America);
The Francophone experience;
Arab-American literary journalism, novels and poetry from the turn of the twentieth century to the present;
Beur literature and film in contemporary France; Dislocation in Arabic travelogues;
Formal and thematic itineraries of alienation in Arabic popular storytelling;
Abbasid poetics of exile; Andalusian diaporas and their contemporary appropriation;
Migration and journey in Arabic poetics.

Full program available here.

Arab Revolts

Rashid Khalidi (Columbia), ‘America and the Arab Revolts’
*Moderated by Bashir Abu-Manneh (Columbia)

First Panel
Gilbert Achcar (SOAS, London) ‘Roots and Dynamics of Arab Revolt’
Asef Bayat (Illinois) ‘Revolution without Movement, Movement without Revolution-Again’
Mona El Ghobashy (Barnard) ‘The Politics of Counter-Revolt in Egypt’
*Moderated by Marwa El Shakry (Columbia)

Second Panel
Jason Brownlee (Texas) ‘Antecedents of the Tunisian Revolt’
Gershon Shafir (UCSD) ‘Tahrir in Tel-Aviv?’
Lisa Wedeen (Chicago) ‘Ideology in the Political Present: Notes from Syria’
*Moderated by Nadia Abu El-Haj (Columbia)

Closing Discussion: The Question of Palestine
Rashid Khalidi & Gilbert Achcar
*Moderated by Bashir Abu Manneh

THE ARAB REVOLTS: Causes, Dynamics, Effects

13 April 2012, 9:30 AM – 6 PM
Columbia University, Schermerhorn Building, Room 501
Enter Gates on 116 and Broadway or Amsterdam

9:30 AM Opening Keynote
Rashid Khalidi (Columbia), ‘America and the Arab Revolts’
*Moderated by Bashir Abu-Manneh (Columbia)

11 AM First Panel
Gilbert Achcar (SOAS, London) ‘Roots and Dynamics of Arab Revolt’
Asef Bayat (Illinois) ‘Revolution without Movement, Movement without Revolution-Again’
Mona El Ghobashy (Barnard) ‘The Politics of Counter-Revolt in Egypt’
*Moderated by Marwa El Shakry (Columbia)

2:15 PM Second Panel
Jason Brownlee (Texas) ‘Antecedents of the Tunisian Revolt’
Gershon Shafir (UCSD) ‘Tahrir in Tel-Aviv?’
Lisa Wedeen (Chicago) ‘Ideology in the Political Present: Notes from Syria’
*Moderated by Nadia Abu El-Haj (Columbia)

430 PM Closing Keynote
Discussion with Rashid Khalidi & Gilbert Achcar on The Question of Palestine
*Moderated by Bashir Abu Manneh(Columbia)

Sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies
Co-sponsored by:
Middle East Institute
Trans-Arab Research Institute (TARI)
Heyman Center
Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies

Locating Tolerance: The Conflict over the Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem

Event Recording: Please click on the images below to load videos:

Introduction & Opening Remarks: Rashid Khalidi


David Theo Goldberg


Saree Makdisi


Eyal Weizman


Wendy Brown


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

A branch of the Los Angeles based Museum of Tolerance is being built in the heart of Jerusalem on part of the site of the city's oldest Muslim cemetery. Legal suits, protests, claims and counter claims have ensued. What does it mean to build a museum borne of the memory of the Holocaust and designed to teach lessons about the importance of "tolerance" over a graveyard in the face of the protests of the descendants of the interred and, moreover, in a country in which it is prohibited to disturb Jewish graves?

On the one hand, the conference will consider questions particular to the case at hand: the nature of the ongoing contest over land and historical rights in Palestine and Israel. More specifically, the lawsuits and the political organizing against locating the Museum of Tolerance over the site of the Mamilla Cemetery puts in stark relief the hurdles Palestinians face in gaining recognition for claims to injury in the face of opponents whose own claim to moral authority derives in significant part from the history of the Holocaust. On the other hand, "tolerance" increasingly has emerged as a way of framing and legitimizing anti-Muslim sentiment and forms of politics. What insights might we gain from thinking through this particular instance of the limits and blind-spots of an ideology of "tolerance?"

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM, Opening Remarks: Rashid Khalidi
12:30 - 1:30 PM, Break: Light refreshments will be served
1:30 - 4:00 PM, Panel Discussion: David Goldberg, Saree Makdisi, & Eyal Weizman
4:30 - 6:00 PM, Closing Remarks: Wendy Brown

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.

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