Islamic Studies Research Network Spring Events

Posted on February 01, 2018

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We at the Islamic Studies Research Network are very excited to present to you our schedule of events this semester. We hope you can attend and look forward to seeing you at one (or all) of these programs!


Thursday, Feb. 22, 6:30-7:30 pm, Weatherspoon Art Museum Auditorium

Panel discussion organized by the Weatherspoon Art Museum:

“Building Community: Immigrants + Refugees in the Triad”

News clips and statistics overshadow the realities of rebuilding one’s life in a new country. Join us as we hear from individuals who have resettled in the Triad and others who are supporting their efforts, and learn ways the community can get involved.

Participants include Tawanna Maryland, Volunteer Coordinator, Center for New North Carolinians; Natacha Nikokeza, refugee from Burundi, E. Africa and Glen Haven & Legacy Crossing Community Center Program Coordinator, Center for New North Carolinians; Jeremy RinkerAssistant Professor, Department of Peace & Conflict Studies, UNCG; and Megan Shepard, Site Director, Church World Service Greensboro.

Moderated by Suja Sawafta, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, and lecturer of Arabic language and literature, UNCG and PhD candidate in Modern Arabic Literature at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford.

A reception of Syrian food by Zekiye Bilal, a Syrian refugee in Chapel Hill, hosted by the UNCG Islamic Studies Research Network, follows. 

This evening’s program is supported by ArtsGreensboro and the Weatherspoon Art Museum in conjunction with the exhibition Baggage Claims on view January 27-April 22, 2018.

Wednesday, March 21, 5:30-6:30 pm, EUC Maple Room

Asa Eger, Department of History, UNCG

“Life on the First Muslim-Christian Border”

The retreat of the Byzantine army from Syria in around 650 CE, in advance of the approaching Arab armies, is one that has resounded emphatically in the works of both Islamic and Christian writers, and created an enduring motif: that of the Islamic-Byzantine frontier. For centuries, Byzantine and Islamic scholars have evocatively sketched a contested border: the annual raids between the two, the line of fortresses defending Islamic lands, the no-man’s land in between and the birth of jihad. In early representations of a Muslim-Christian encounter, accounts of the Islamic-Byzantine frontier are charged with significance for a future ‘clash of civilizations’ that often envisions a polarized world. In this lecture, Eger examines the physical and ideological aspects of this frontier. By highlighting the archaeological study of the real and material frontier, as well as acknowledging its ideological military and religious implications, he offers a more complex vision of this dividing line than has been traditionally disseminated and challenges prevailing notions of jihad.

Asa Eger is Associate Professor in the Department of History at UNCG. He teaches courses in Byzantine and Islamic history and archaeology and excavates in Turkey, Israel, and Cyprus. His last book, The Islamic-Byzantine Frontier: Interaction and Exchange Among Muslim and Christian Communities, won the American School of Oriental Research (ASOR) G. Ernest Wright Book Award in 2015.

Professor Eger’s talk is co-sponsored by the Humanities Network and Consortium (HNAC), the Program in Archaeology, the Department of History, the Department of Religious Studies, the Lloyd International Honors College, and the Muslim Student Association, with support from the International Program Center Kohler Fund.

Thursday, April 19, 5:30-6:30 pm, Faculty Center

Selim Kuru, NELC, University of Washington 

“City of Men: A Masculine Topography of Pre-Modern Istanbul”

In this presentation, Dr. Kuru explores the development of a masculine topography along the densely populated northern littoral of Istanbul concentrated around the environs of the Topkapi Palace, barracks of the Janissaries, universities, mosques, marketplaces, and coffeehouses. The various forms of masculinity experienced in Istanbul were defined not only by ethnicity, religion and class but also the formation of a vibrant urban center. This talk is an attempt to connect gender and urban space in a manner that is generally missing in current work on pre-modern gender studies, which most of the time neglect spatiality and temporality; and historical studies, which rarely pay attention to gender relations beyond the male/female binary.

Selim Kuru is Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington, where he also directs the Turkish and Ottoman Studies program. He is the author of many articles, including “Şehrengiz: Urban Rituals and Deviant Sufi Mysticism in Ottoman İstanbul,” “Producing Desire: Changing Sexual Discourses in the Ottoman Middle East 1500–1900,” and “Sex in the Text: Deli Birader’s Dâfi’ü ‘l-gumûm ve Râfi’ü ‘l-humûm and the Ottoman Literary Canon.”

Professor Kuru’s talk is co-sponsored by the Humanities Network and Consortium (HNAC), the Department of Religious Studies, the Lloyd International Honors College, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, with support from the International Program Center Kohler Fund.


*All talks are open to the public

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