The Fertile Crescent:
Gender, Art, and Society

August 2012 - January 2013

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Program Participants

Haleh Abghari

Fawzia Afzal-Khan

Heather Marie Akou

Ousseina Alidou

Margot Badran

Golbarg Bashi

Abhijit Banerjee and TARANG

Kelly Baum

Alison R. Bernstein

Paula Birnbaum

Rebecca Brown

Pallabi Chakravorty

Sylvia Chan-Malik

Courtyard Dancers Company

Michael Curtis

Cherien Dabis

Annanya Dasgupta

Sylviane Diouf

Jill Dolan

Yasmine El Rashidi

Faridoun Farrokh

Tejaswini Ganti

Rafey Habib

Fakhri Haghani

Laila Halaby

Nathalie Handal

Maysa Hayward

Sarah Islam

Mohja Kahf

Stanley Katz

Füsun Köksal

Deepa Kumar

Nadine Labaki

Robert Labaree

Lucette Lagnado

Kathryn Myers

Shahrnush Parsipur

Andreia Pinto-Correia

Inbal Pinto

Avshalom Pollak

Princeton Symphony Orchestra

Nida Sajid

Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana

Ghada Samman

Mehmet Ali Sanlikol

Marjane Satrapi

Meheli Sen

Betty Shamieh

Jane Sloan

Leora Skolkin-Smith

Gilane Tawadros

Meredeth Turshen

Patricia Sarrafian Ward

Max D. Weiss

Samar Yazbek

Debora Zimmerman

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Haleh Abghari

Singer, actor, and voice-over artist
Performer, Songs of the Fertile Crescent

imageHaleh Abghari is a native of Iran and makes her home in New York City. She has performed as a singer, actor, and voice-over artist in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to critical acclaim. The New York Times hailed her work in Georges Aperghis' "Recitations for Solo Voice" as a "virtuoso and winning performance" and the Washington Post described her voice as "... [a] high, dry, sweet and piercingly pure soprano." She was featured on Ear to Ear on WNYC (New York's Public Radio station) on an entire program dedicated to her work. Abghari is the only woman to have portrayed the title role of Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King. In addition to working with numerous living composers, Abghari has collaborated on a number of projects and site-specific installation-performances with visual and performance artists. With the Peabody Opera Theatre, she appeared in the title role of L'Engant et les sortileges, and as the Old Lady in Candide. Additionally, she served as stage director for a full production of The Telephone with the Peabody Opera Theater. Abghari pursued her studies in music at the University of California at Davis, Peabody conservatory, the Mannes College of Music, and the Banff Center for the Arts in Canada. Her awards include a Fulbright Scholar Grant to work on the vocal music of Gyorgy Kurtag in Budapest, two career development grants from the Peabody Conservatory, and the Presidential Undergraduate Fellowship from the University of California at Davis.

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Fawzia Afzal-Khan

Professor of English and Director of Women's and Gender Studies, Montclair State University
Performer, Scheharezade Goes West and Panelist, Fashioning the Cultural Impact of the Islamic Diaspora

imageFawzia Afzal-Khan has a BA in English, French and Music from Kinnaird College, a Diplome Superieure in French from the Alliance Française, an MA in English from Government College, all three in Lahore; and a PhD in English Literature from Tufts University. She is University Distinguished Scholar, Professor of English and Director of Women and Gender Studies, Montclair State University, New Jersey. She has authored A Critical Stage: The Role of Secular Alternative Theatre in Pakistan, India, and Lahore with Love: Growing Up With Girlfriends, Pakistani-Style: A Memoir. She edited The Pre-Occupation of Postcolonial Studies and Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out. In addition, Afzal-Khan has published over 30 essays and articles since 2001 in journals in the United States and Pakistan. Fourteen of her poems have appeared over the last decade including publication of "Amazing Grace" in The Norton Anthology: Language for a New Century. In 2011, she received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to make a trailer for Bridging Cultures Through Film, a documentary film on Pakistani Women Singers.

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Heather Marie Akou

Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, Indiana University-Bloomington
Speaker,
Fashioning the Cultural Impact of the Islamic Diaspora

imageDr. Akou joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 2004 after receiving a BA in Art from Macalester College plus an MA and PhD from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Akou is a socio-cultural historian of dress with a focus on non-Western cultures and aesthetics, especially African (Somali) and Islamic dress. Her areas of expertise include fashion theory, aesthetics, the formation of ethnic and religious identities, textile design, and qualitative methods. Dr. Akou's research has been published in numerous academic publications including the journals Fashion Theory and Dress. Her first book, The Politics of Dress in Somali Culture, was published by Indiana University Press in 2011.  Currently, Dr. Akou is working on a new book regarding the aesthetic analysis of textiles, dress, and the body.  This research is being generously supported by a grant from New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities. Prof. Akou teaches a variety of undergraduate courses related to fashion and culture, and can also be found at her personal academic website: www.heatherakou.net.

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Ousseina Alidou

Associate Professor, Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures, and Director of the Center for African Studies at Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Moderator,
Fashioning the Cultural Impact of the Islamic Diaspora

imageOusseina Alidou is associate professor, Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures, and director of the Center for African Studies at Rutgers University. Her research focuses on the study of women's discourses and literacy practices in Afro-Islamic societies; African women's agency; African women's literatures; and the politics of cultural production in Francophone Muslim African countries. Her book, Engaging Modernity: Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Postcolonial Niger,a runner-up for The ASA 2007 Women's Caucus Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, explores women's agency through the contributions of women to religious and secular education, public politics and the performing arts. Other publications include Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Africa, and A Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities. In 2006 Professor Alidou was awarded the Rutgers University Board of Trustees Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence "in recognition of her significant contributions in the areas of linguistics, literature and culture and gender studies, particularly her highly innovative interpretations of Islam relating to women and of new individual and collective social practices in Africa."

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Margot Badran

Historian; Specialist in Women's Studies; Senior Scholar, Middle East Studies Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Fertile Crescent catalogue essayist
Presenter, The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art, and Society in the Middle East Diaspora and Lecture, A Conversation on Women and Revolution in Egypt

imageMargot Badran is a historian and a specialist in women's studies who focuses on the Middle East and Islamic world from the late 19th century to the 21st century. She is a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. She has held the Reza and Georgianna Khatib Visiting Chair in Comparative Religion at St. Joseph's College, Brooklyn and was the Edith Kreeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Religion Department at Northwestern University. Her concerns include feminism, gender, modernity, Islam, trans/nationalism, women's networks, and constructions of the secular and the religious. She has taught and lectured before academic and public audiences in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Badran has received numerous awards including a fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2010-2012), a grant from the United States Institute of Peace, several Fulbright fellowships including the Fulbright New Century Scholars award, and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Social Science Research Council of New York, the American Research Center in Egypt, the American Research Institute in Turkey, and the American Institute for Yemeni Studies. She is on the gender team of the Contending Modernities project at the Kroc Institute at Notre Dame University, on the team of the Alliance of Civilizations: Historical Approaches to a Gender Perspective at the University of Barcelona, and on the Advisory Board of the digital archive project, Women and Social Movements International, 1840-Present, at SUNY Binghamton. She is editor of the Brill series on Women and Gender in the Middle East and Islamic World. She has served, and continues to serve, on numerous editorial and advisory boards of publications, including more recently the Journal of Middle East Women's Studies, Hawwa, and Jura Gentium. Her most recent book is Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Convergence. She is editor of Gender and Islam in Africa: Rights, Sexuality, and Law. Other books include Feminism beyond East and West: New Gender Talk and Practice in Global Islam, Opening the Gates: An Anthology of Arab Feminist Writing, Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt, and Harem Years: the Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist.

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Abhijit Banerjee and TARANG

Tabla Player and founder of the touring ensemble TARANG
Performer, The Arts in Contemporary India: A daylong exploration of contemporary art, music, dance, and film in India

Abhijit Banerjee is considered one of the foremost tabla players in the world and is one of the most sought after creative artists in the realm of Indian classical music. He has also left his mark in a diverse field of crossover music both as a performer and composer. Abhijit has accompanied nearly all the top ranking luminaries of Indian classical music. As a tabla soloist he has also made his mark in numerous performances and recordings in India and abroad. His International performances of note include Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Gevant Haus in Germany, Paleis in Brussels, Theatre de la Ville and Radio France in Paris. Abhijit represented India in the Granada Festival of Music in Spain. In addition to a highly successful career in Indian Classical music his crossover work includes collaborations with musicians such as Ry Cooder, Larry Corryell, and Trilok Gurtu. Abhijit founded his own touring ensemble TARANG performing his original compositions and released CDs of the same title. He is also member of the Raga Jazz group and Arohi Ensemble. Abhijit has scored music for Indian television and won the National Award for Documentary Music for the film about Calcutta called The Trail, which was screened in the Munich and Amsterdam film festivals. Abhijit founded and established the Dhwani Academy of Percussion in Los Angeles , New York , Singapore, and Calcutta attracting talented students from around the world. The Academy also works towards the promotion of Indian music and has initiated needy blind children in the art of music.

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Golbarg Bashi

Faculty Member, School of Arts and Sciences, and Rutgers Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Discussant, Women without Men

imageGolbarg Bashi is an Iranian-Swedish feminist scholar. She holds a First Class BA (Honors) in Middle Eastern Studies from Manchester University, a MSc in Women's Studies from Bristol University, and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University. She is a faculty member in the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University and the Rutgers Center for Middle Eastern Studies. In the courses that Dr. Bashi offers, she provides a panoramic perspective of medieval and modern Middle Eastern history in the immediate geographical, political, and cultural contexts of the Arab and Muslim world, viewed through postcolonial theory. She also teaches courses on methodologies in Middle Eastern Studies, various aspects of gender in the Muslim world and representations of race, gender and ethnicity in "Western" media and popular culture (including cinema and art). Selected publications include a chapter in The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future and "Reflections on a Photograph of a Mother and Child," IDÉ: A magazine about ideas. Dr. Bashi is also a visual artist and a member of Professional Women Photographers, Inc. Her photographs have been published in The New York Times, Aljazeera English, CNN, BBC News, Amnesty International, Jadaliyya, and Electronic Intifada, among others.

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Kelly Baum

Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Princeton University Art Museum
Fertile Crescent Catalogue Essayist
Presenter, The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art, and Society in the Middle East Diaspora

imageKelly Baum received a BA in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MA and PhD from the University of Delaware in 2005. She is the Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Princeton University Art Museum. From 2002 - 2007, she was assistant curator of contemporary art at the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin; and from 2008 - 2010, she was the Locks Curatorial Fellow for Contemporary Art at the Princeton University Art Museum. Her exhibitions include Carol Bove, 2006; Jedediah Caesar, 2007; The Sirens' Song, 2007; Transactions, 2007, all at the Blanton Museum; Nobody's Property: Art, Land, Space, 2000-2010, 2010; and Doug Aitken: migration (empire), 2010, both at Princeton University Art Museum. In addition to the essay in this volume, she has also published essays in October, Art Journal, The Drama Review, and Princeton University Art Museum's Record. She manages the Sarah Lee Elson, Class of 1984, International Artist in Residence Program and serves as curatorial advisor to the University's campus art committee. Kelly recently received a Curatorial Research Fellowship from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in support of her 2013 exhibition New Jersey as Nonsite.

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Alison R. Bernstein

Director, Institute for Women's Leadership, and Professor of History at Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Moderator, The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art, and Society in the Middle East Diaspora

imageAlison R. Bernstein received her BA from Vassar College, and received an MA and PhD from Columbia University. She assumed the position of Director of the Institute for Women's Leadership, and Professor in the Department of History at Rutgers University in July 2011. She formerly served as a Vice President for the Ford Foundation's program on Knowledge, Creativity and Free Expression for fourteen years. Bernstein joined the Foundation in 1982 as a program officer and subsequently served as Director of the Education and Culture Program from 1992-1996. A former Associate Dean of Faculty at Princeton University, Bernstein is the author of three books, American Indians and World War II: Towards a New Era in Indian Affairs, The Impersonal Campus and Melting Pots and Rainbow Nations: Conversations about Difference in the United States and South Africa. Bernstein has taught at Princeton University, Teachers' College, Columbia University, Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois, Springfield), and Staten Island Community College (now the College of Staten Island, City University of New York). Bernstein is currently a Trustee of Bates College and serves on the Board of the Samuel Rubin Foundation and the News Literacy Project.

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Paula Birnbaum

Associate Professor and Academic Director, MA in Museum Studies, University of San Francisco
Lecture, Body, Ritual, Text: Reconciling Judaism and Feminism in Contemporary Israeli Art

Paula Birnbaum is the Academic Director of the Museum Studies Master of Arts Program and Associate Professor of Arts History/Arts Management at University of San Francisco. Paula is a specialist in modern and contemporary art and holds a doctorate in Art History from Bryn Mawr College. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and fellow at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University. Paula's research focuses on the impact of gender and ethnicity on modern and contemporary women artists and their self-representation, as well as the role of gender and sexuality in museum exhibitions. She has completed two books: Women Artists in Interwar France: Framing Femininities (Ashgate), and a co-edited anthology with Anna Novakov, Essays on Women's Artistic and Cultural Contributions 1919-1939 (Edwin Mellen). Her articles appear in a variety of journals including the Art Journal, Aurora, Woman's Art Journal, and The Royal Academy of Art Magazine. Other essays appear in the anthologies Diaspora and Modern Visual Culture (Routledge), The Modern Woman Revisited (Rutgers), Reconciling Art and Motherhood (Ashgate).

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Rebecca Brown

Associate Professor, History of Art, Johns Hopkins University
Speaker, The Arts in Contemporary India: A daylong exploration of contemporary art, music, dance, and film in India

imageRebecca M. Brown is a scholar of colonial and post-1947 South Asian art and visual culture at Johns Hopkins University. She has served as a consultant and a curator for modern and contemporary Indian art for the Peabody Essex Museum, the Walters Art Museum, and the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. She chairs the Advanced Academic Program in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins. Her courses are often cross-listed with Political Science, East Asian Studies, Museums and Society, and Women, Gender and Sexuality. She has led seminars in History of Art and Museum Studies at Georgetown and George Washington. She lectures widely, at venues from the Art Seminar Group of Baltimore to the National Museum of Korea. She is currently editor-in-chief of Art Journal.

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Pallabi Chakravorty

Associate Professor, Dance, Swarthmore College
Speaker, Fashioning the Cultural Impact of Islamic Diaspora

imagePallabi Chakravorty teaches Kathak dance and academic courses related to the anthropology of performance in the Department of Music and Dance at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, USA.  Founder and artistic director of the ensemble Courtyard Dancers, she is an anthropologist, dancer, choreographer, and cultural worker.  Pallabi studied Kathak and other classical and folk dance styles in Calcutta under renowned gurus, primarily Bandana Sen.  She received her doctoral degree in Visual Anthropology from Temple University, Philadelphia.  Her areas of interest include South Asia, expressive culture, globalization, political economy, and embodiment.  Her interdisciplinary research has been published in scholarly journals such as Dance Research Journal, Visual Anthropology, South Asia, Dance Chronicle, Sruti, Moving World, and Pulse.  Her book on Kathak dance titled Bells of Change: Kathak Dance, Women, and Modernity in India was published by Seagull in 2008.  She has recently co-edited two books. Performing Ecstasy: The Poetics and Politics of Religion in India has been published by Manohar (2009) and Dance Matters: Performing India has been published by Routledge (2009). Her current research focuses on dance television reality shows and Bollywood dance in the context of the "new" India.  Pallabi has organized several international conferences here and in India and has edited a proceedings titled  Dance in South Asia: New Approaches, Politics, and Aesthetics (published by Swarthmore, Dance Program).

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Sylvia Chan-Malik

Assistant Professor, Department of American Studies, Rutgers University
Panelist, The Middle East: Gender, Art and Politics

imageSylvia Chan-Malik is an Assistant Professor of American and Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University.  Her research examines the intersections of race, religion, gender, and sexuality through critical frameworks of American transnationalism and comparative ethnic studies, with a specific focus on the history of Islam in the United States.  She has published in scholarly journals, edited anthologies, and other mediums, including The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, The Cambridge Companion to American Islam, and the Social Science Research Council's (SSRC) blog The Immanent Frame.  Chan-Malik received her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley in 2009, her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Mills College in 2001, and her B.A. in English and Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998.  Prior to joining the faculty at Rutgers, she was a UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Ford Foundation Diversity Fellow.

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 Courtyard Dancers Company

Performance, Fashioning the Cultural Impact of Islamic Diaspora

imageCourtyard Dancers is a vibrant and diverse group that embodies the idea of multiplicity. We are engineers, doctors, bankers, lawyers, teachers and students who aspire to preserve the core and expand the boundaries of classical Indian dance, especially the North Indian form Kathak. Kathak exemplifies the synthesis of Islam and Hinduism, and signifies to us the act of pluralism practiced every day. For us, dancing is a form of critical social engagement-to connect to the traditional arts of India but within a contemporary framework of aesthetics and progressive politics.

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Michael Curtis

Author and Professor Emeritus in Political Science at Rutgers University
Lecture, Should Israel Exist?

imageMichael Curtis (born 1923, London) received a First Class degree at the London School of Economics, 1951, and his PhD from Cornell in 1956. Distinguished Professor Emeritus in political science at Rutgers University, Curtis is an authority on politics in the Middle East. His book, Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation under Attack by the International Community, was published in 2012. Other books on the Middle East include Israel: Social Structure and Change, Israel in the Third World, and Religion and Politics in the Middle East. His scholarship extends to the fields of political theory, comparative government, and European politics. His analysis of the rise of anti-democratic and antisemitic ideology in France after the Dreyfus affair in a book called Three Against the Third Republic is considered the definitive study of early 20th century French politics. Totalitarianism is a study of 20th century European totalitarian regimes. Antisemitism in the Contemporary World is a collection based on the papers delivered at a conference that Professor Curtis organized in 1986. From 1970 - 1978, he was the president of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East and editor of the Middle East Review. In addition to Rutgers, he has taught at Yale University, Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, and the University of Bologna.

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Annanya Dasgupta

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Case Western Reserve University
Fashioning the Cultural Impact of Islamic Diaspora

imageAnanya Dasgupta's scholarly interests, broadly defined, cover colonialism, nationalism, religion and modernity in South Asia (with special emphasis on Islam), cultural histories of capitalism and popular resistance, and subaltern studies. She specializes in modern South Asian history spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Her teaching interests include modern and pre-modern South Asian history (focusing mainly on India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), approaches in historiography, histories from below, and women's histories in South Asia. She is getting increasingly interested in a developing course on connected histories, which explore various forms of cultural, material, and labor flows between the region of South Asia and other parts of the world.

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Sylviane Diouf

Director, Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery; Curator, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library
Speaker,
Fashioning the Cultural Impact of Islamic Diaspora

imageSylviane A. Diouf is an award-winning historian of the African Diaspora. She is the author of Slavery's Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons and Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas, both with NYU Press. The fifteenth anniversary edition of Servants of Allah-named Outstanding Academic Book in 1999-was released in October 2013. Slavery's Exiles was published in January 2014.

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Jill Dolan

Annan Professor in English, Professor of Theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Director of the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Princeton University
Discussant, Scheherazade Goes West

imageJill Dolan received her BA degree, and her PhD in performance studies from New York University. She is the Annan Professor in English and Theater at Princeton University, where she also directs the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is the author of many books and essays, among them, The Feminist Spectator as Critic, Utopia in Performance, and Theatre & Sexuality. She is the editor of A Menopausal Gentleman: The Solo Performances of Peggy Shaw. She won the 2011 Outstanding Teacher Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and a lifetime achievement award from the Women and Theatre Program, 2011.; Dolan is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre and of the National Theatre Conference in the United States. She writes The Feminist Spectator blog, for which she won the 2010-2011 George Jean Nathan Award for dramatic criticism. Her research addresses feminist, lesbian, and Jewish women's performance, theatre, and film.

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Yasmine El Rashidi

Author and Editor, Hodder Fellow, Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University
Panelist, A Conversation on Women and the Revolution in Egypt

imageYasmine El Rashidi (born in Cairo) lives in Cairo. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and a contributing editor to the Middle East arts and culture journal Bidoun. Her writing has appeared in publications including The Guardian, London Review of Books, Index on Censorship, Aperture, The Wall Street Journal, and the Arabic literary journal Weghat Nazar. A collection of her writings on the Egyptian revolution, The Battle for Egypt, was published by New York Review of Books/Random House in 2011. She was named a Mary MacKall Gwinn Hodder Fellows for the 2012-13 academic year at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University. During her fellowship, El Rashidi worked on a literary nonfiction book, The Successors, a portrait and memoir of Egypt's youth generation.

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Faridoun Farrokh

Translator, Women without Men

imageFaridoun Farrokh (born in Mashhad) was educated in Iran where he began a teaching career, initially in schools and later at the universities in Shiraz and Mashhad, his hometown, after completing graduate studies in the United States. Currently, he is a professor of English at Texas A&M International University, where he has taught since 1986. His academic specialty and research interests are eighteenth-century English literature and contemporary Iranian fiction as well as literary translation. He worked with Shirin Neshat on the film, Women without Men.

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Tejaswini Ganti

Director of Graduate Studies, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, New York University.
Speaker/Performer,
The Arts in Contemporary India: A daylong exploration of contemporary art, music, dance, and film in India

imageTejaswini Ganiti is the Director of Graduate Studies and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at New York University. Ganiti holds a Ph.D. from New York University, a MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA from Northwestern University. Ganiti's research covers anthropology of media, production cultures, political economy, visual culture, cultural policy, nationalism, Indian cinema, and South Asian.

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Rafey Habib

Professor, Department of English, Rutgers University
Discussant, Ornament and Narrative: A Poetry Reading and Discussion of Art by Women of the Middle Eastern Diaspora

imageM. A. R. Habib (Rafey Habib) is an Indian-born Muslim poet and scholar of literature who has also written numerous books of literary criticism. He was born in India, grew up in England and now lives in America.

He is a scholar in the areas of literary criticism, theory and philosophy. He is a Professor of English and the author of seven books, including three histories of literary criticism, a study of T.S. Eliot's philosophical background, and two translations of Urdu poetry. His own volume of poetry, Shades of Islam: Poems for a New Century, appeared in September 2010. His latest book, Literary Criticism: From Plato to the Present: An Introduction, was published in 2011.

His interests also extend to Islamic philosophy and literature, as well as postcolonial studies. He believes that it is a matter of some urgency to foster an improved mutual understanding between the Islamic world and Western cultures. He has given numerous talks on various aspects of Islam, such as Islam and Democracy, and is currently working with colleagues at Rutgers University to establish a cultural diversity of courses, including Islamic literature in English translation.

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Fakhri Haghani

Interdisciplinary Scholar; Faculty Member Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers University
Panelist,
Fashioning the Cultural Impact of the Islamic Diaspora

imageFakhri Haghani holds an advanced degree in Art History from Facolta di Magistero at University of Rome (Sapienza), MA in Women's Studies and a PhD in History from Georgia State University. Haghani has been a faculty member at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University since 2009. She is an interdisciplinary scholar interested in exploring the intersections of gender and women's rights movements, political arts, and social and intellectual history in Iran, Egypt, and in regional and global comparative and transnational context. Her field research in Egypt and Iran has been funded by the American Research Center in Egypt and the Council of American Overseas Research Center date. Samples of her most recent publications/community services include "Women, Gender, and Identity Politics in Iran and Afghanistan," The Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures and the chapter "Shahr Ray (City of Ray) and the Holy Shrine of Shah/Hazrat (King/Holiness) Abdol Azim: History of the Sacred and the Secular in Iran through the Dialectics of Space" in Cities of Pilgrimage, and "The 'New Woman' of the Interwar Period: Gender, Identity, and Performance in Egypt and Iran, Al-Raida," The Journal of the Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World at the Lebanese American University.

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Laila Halaby

Author, Once in a Promised Land

imageLaila Halaby was born in Beirut, Lebanon, to a Jordanian father and an American mother. She speaks four languages, won a Fulbright scholarship to study folklore in Jordan, and holds a master's degree in Arabic literature. Her first novel, West of the Jordan, won the prestigious PEN Beyond Margins Award. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her family.

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 Nathalie Handal

Professor of English and Creative Writing, Columbia Universtiy
Speaker, Middle East Women Writers: Themes, Works, and Live Readings

imageNathalie Handal was raised in Latin America, France and the Arab world, and educated in the United States and United Kingdom. She is the author of the flash collection The Republics, which Patricia Smith lauds as "one of the most inventive books by one of today's most diverse writers" and winner the Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing; the bestselling bilingual collection La estrella invisible / The Invisible Star; the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía; and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which The New York Times says is "a book that trembles with belonging (and longing)." Handal is the editor of the groundbreaking classic The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology, winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, and named one of the top 10 Feminist Books by The Guardian; and co-editor of the W.W. Norton landmark anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond, both Academy of American Poets bestsellers. She has worked on over twenty theatrical productions either as a playwright, director or producer. Author of eight plays, her most recent works have been produced at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Bush Theatre and Westminster Abbey in London. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Ploughshares; and she served in several countries as a lecturer and cultural diplomat for the U.S. State Department. Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, and Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. Based in New York City and Paris, she is a professor at Columbia University and part of the Low-Residency MFA Faculty at Sierra Nevada College.

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Maysa Hayward

Dean of Instructional Outreach, e-Learning, Ocean County College
Speaker, Middle East Women Writers: Themes, Works, and Live Readings

Born and raised in Egypt, Dr. Hayward is Dean of eLearning and Global Outreach at Ocean County College, where she developed a pilot program in Middle Eastern Studies. She has been an active teacher, researcher, presenter and grant writer in the area of international education, with an emphasis on Arabic literature, culture and history. 

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Sarah Islam

Leader, Community Read Discussions - Once in a Promised Land; Women without Men; and Beirut Nightmares

Sarah Islam is currently a doctoral student in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where she pursues research in the area of Islamic family law, gender studies, and women's social movements. She completed her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Texas, and her M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton. She is an Arthur Liman Public Service Law Fellow (Yale Law School/Princeton LAPA). She has published on issues related to Islamic law and gender with Brill, Sage, and Oxford University Presses, and has given presentations on similar issues at UN organizational affiliates, the U.S. Depts of Justice and State, and at NGOs in Europe and the United States. She is fluent in Bengali, Arabic, and English, with reading knowledge of French and German.

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Mohja Kahf

Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, University of Arkansas
Speaker, Middle East Women Writers: Themes, Works, and Live Readings

imagePoet and scholar Mohja Kahf was born in Damascus, Syria. Her family moved to the United States in 1971, and Kahf grew up in the Midwest. She earned a PhD in comparative literature from Rutgers University and is the author of the poetry collection Emails from Scheherazad (2003) and the novel The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (2006).  Kahf's experiences growing up in the United States shaped her perceptions of the differences and similarities between the cultures of her home and adopted countries. Her poetry is an amalgam of both Syrian and American influences; Lisa Suhair Majaj commented in ArteNews that Kahf's work "draws on American colloquialisms and Quranic suras; it is informed not only by American free verse ... but also by a lush energy that draws on the heart of the Arabic oral tradition and Arabic poetry." Kahf sometimes satirizes stereotypes about Muslim women-she has tackled hairstyles, sex, and clothing. In Emails from Scheherazad, she locates Scheherazad in 21st-century Hackensack, New Jersey. Kahf co-writes a column on sexuality for the website Muslim Wake Up. Her nonfiction work includes Western Representation of the Muslim Woman: From Termagant to Odalisque (1999). Kahf is a professor of English at the University of Arkansas.

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Stanley Katz

Director for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
Fertile Crescent liason with Princeton University
Moderator, The Middle East: Gender and Politics

imageStanley Katz (born 1934, Chicago) graduated from Harvard University in 1955, received his PhD from Harvard in 1961 in British and American history, and attended Harvard Law School in 1969-70. He was president of the American Council of Learned Societies from1986 - 1997. Formerly Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor of the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton University, Katz is a specialist on American legal and constitutional history, and on philanthropy and non-profit institutions. His recent research focuses upon the relationship of civil society and constitutionalism to democracy, and upon the relationship of the United States to the international human rights regime. He is a prolific author and scholar. Among recent major projects, he was the editor in chief of the Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History, and the editor of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the United States Supreme Court. He has served as President of the Organization of American Historians and the American Society for Legal History, as Vice President of the Research Division of the American Historical Association, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Newberry Library, and Chair of the American Council of Learned Societies/Social Science Research Council Working Group on Cuba. Katz is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the annual Fellows Award from Phi Beta Kappa in 2010 and the National Humanities Medal (awarded by Pres. Obama) in 2011. He has honorary degrees from several universities. Katz is the Director for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.

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Füsun Köksal

Composer
Performer, Songs of the Fertile Crescent

A native of Turkey, Füsun Köksal studied composition at Bilkent University Faculty of Music and Performing Arts, Ankara-Turkey with Bujor Hoinic. After completing her undergraduate studies she studied composition with Prof. Krzysztof Meyer and theory (Künstlerische Tonsatz) with Prof. Johannes Schild at the Hochschule für Musik Köln.

Köksal holds a PhD in composition with a minor in theory from the University of Chicago, where she studied with Prof. Marta Ptaszynska and Prof. Shulamit Ran. Köksal's awards include third prize at the 6th International Henri Dutilleux Composition Competition (2008), finalist at the 2nd International Composer's Competition, Reggello, Italy (2005), and second prize at the 3rd International German-Polish Composition Prize (1998). She won regional awards of the SCI/ASCAP student composition commission each year from 2006 to 2008. In 2009, she was nominated for the 3rd International Pablo Casals Award in France.

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Deepa Kumar

Associate Professor, Journalism and Media Studies, and Center for Middle East Studies, Rutgers University
Discussant, Caramel

imageDeepa Kumar (born December, 1968, India) BS (St. Joseph's College, 1990, 1991), BS (Bangalore University), MA (Bowling Green State University, 1994) Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh, 2001). Kumar is Associate Professor, Journalism and Media Studies, and Center for Middle East Studies at Rutgers University. Her research concerns are neoliberalism and imperialism. Her first book, Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike is about the power of collective struggle in challenging the priorities of neoliberalism. Her second book titled Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire looks at how the "Muslim enemy" has been historically mobilized to suit the goals of empire. She has written numerous articles in both scholarly journals and alternative media. Recent ones include "Framing Islam: The Resurgence of Orientalism during the Bush II Era, "in the Journal of Communication Inquiry and "Terrorizing Muslims: The Bipartisan Logic of Empire" in The Nation. She has been interviewed by numerous media outlets including BBC, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Al Arabiya News, Variety magazine, The Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. radio program Ring of Fire, China Radio International, etc. Her honors include Leader in Diversity Award, Rutgers University, 2007; Young Scholar Leader Award, National Communication Association, CCS division; Top Paper Award, Race and Ethnicity Division, International Communication Association; and Research Council Grant, Rutgers University, 2010.

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Nadine Labaki

Director and Actress
Director, Caramel

imageNadine Labaki's first feature Caramel revolves around the taboo that women face in the Arab world. In her second feature Where Do We Go Now?, she tackles a subject related to the conflicts in the Arab world. She obtained a degree in audiovisual studies at Saint Joseph University in Beirut (IESAV), directing her graduation film. Her features were awarded in many film festivals around the world such as the Cannes Film Festival (France), San Sebastian Film Festival (Spain), Toronto Film Festival (Canada), Cairo Film Festival (Egypt), Abu Dhabi Film Festival (UAE), Doha Tribecca Film Festival (Qatar), and Namur Film Festival for the French movie (Belgium). In 2008 the French Ministry of Culture and Communication gave Nadine Labaki the insignia of Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters.

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Robert Labaree

Department of History and Musicology, Contemporary Improvisation, Intercultural Institute, New England Conservatory
Performer, Songs of the Fertile Crescent

imageRobert Labaree is an ethnomusicologist and performer specializing in Turkish music. He has been a member of NEC's Music History faculty since 1984, teaching a wide range of western and non-western repertoires, and is director of NEC's Intercultural Institute, which he established in 1993. As a founding member of the EurAsia Ensemble from 1980 to 1995, Labaree performed and taught Turkish classical music across the U.S. His recordings with EurAsia Ensemble include Eski Dünya ile Sohbet (Conversations with the Old World), Istanbul on the Charles, and Boston Sema. His solo CD, Çengnağme (Song of the Harp), appeared in Turkey in 2001 on the Kalan label. He is on the editorial staff of the new online journal Analytical Studies in World Music (first issue, December, 2010), and a co-founder of the Boston-area world music consortium BostonEthno.

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Lucette Lagnado

Author and Senior Special Writer and Investigative Reporter for the Wall Street Journal
Lecturing at the Princeton Public Library

imageLucette Lagnado (born 1956, Cairo) received her BA from Vassar College in 1977. Lagnado resides in New York. She and her family left Egypt as refugees when she was a small child, an experience that helped shape and inform her recent memoirs,The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, for which she was awarded the 2008 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, and The Arrogant Years. She is also the coauthor of Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz, which has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. She is a senior special writer and investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal and has received numerous prizes for her work at the WSJ among them the 2003 New York Press Club award in the Feature Category and the Exceptional Merit Media Award for Exceptional Feature Story; the 2001 New York Press Club Heart of New York Award; The Columbia Journalism Review Laurel, 2003; and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's Mike Berger Award for outstanding reporting on the lives of ordinary citizens, 2002.

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Kathryn Myers

Professor of Painting, Art and Art History Department, University of Connecticut
Speaker, The Arts in Contemporary India: A daylong exploration of contemporary art, music, dance, and film in India

imageKathryn Myers is a painter whose gouache and oil paintings and recent works in video have been significantly inspired and informed by her engagement and research on the art and culture of India.  In addition to her creative work, she has developed a series of video-interviews with contemporary Indian artists and has curated several exhibitions on Indian art. She has exhibited her work widely in the United States and India.  Grants have included Fulbright Fellowships to India in 2002 and 2011, Individual artist grants in painting and new media from the Connecticut Commission on Arts and Culture in 1991 and 2012, and Marie Walsh Sharpe space program grants in 1991 and 1992. Myers received her BA from St. Xavier College in Chicago, an MFA in painting from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and has been teaching painting and drawing at UConn since 1984.

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Shahrnush Parsipur

Author, Women without Men

imageShahrnush Parsipur (born 1946, Tehran) received a bachelor's degree from the University of Tehran in Sociology in 1973. She has written 89 novels, a memoir, hundreds of articles, and has been a radio producer. She started her literary career when she was sixteen. In 1974 she wrote Sag va Zememstaneh Boland (The Dog and the Long Winter) translated into Russian. In the same year, while serving as the producer of Rural Women, a weekly program for National Iranian TV, she resigned in protest against the meaninglessly cruel torture and execution of two journalist-poet activists by SAVAK. She was imprisoned for a few months. When released, she moved to France to study Chinese Philosophy and Language. There, she wrote her second novel, Majerahayeh Sadeh va Kuchake Ruheh Derakht (Plain and Small Adventures of the Spirit of the Tree), published in 1977. Due to the problems associated with the revolution in Iran in 1979, she had to return to Iran. As a result of a misunderstanding, she ended up in the Islamic Republic of Iran's political prison for four years and seven months. As soon as she was released from jail, she published her novel Touba va Maanayeh Shab (Touba and the Meaning, Women without Men). She ended up in jail again on two different occasions.

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 Inbal Pinto

Artistic Director, Choreographer, Costumes designer, Set Designer, Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company
Choreographer, Israeli Dance in the Fertile Crescent

imageInbal began her formal dance training at age 13. She studied graphic arts at The Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, and worked as a graphic designer during her army service. As a dancer, she first joined The BatSheva Ensemble and then was promoted to the senior BatSheva Company. In 1990, she began her career as a choreographer. She was invited to The American Dance Festival to take part in its International Choreographers Program in both 1997 and 1998. In 2000, she was given the Israel's Ministry of Culture Award for Dance and the Tel Aviv Municipal Award for Artistic achievements.

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Andreia Pinto-Correia

Composer
Performer, Songs of the Fertile Crescent and The Alter-Ego of an Arab-American Assimilationalist

imageAndreia Pinto-Correia (born 1971, Lisbon) studied at the Academia de Amadores de Música. She came to the United States to study at the New England Conservatory where she is currently a teaching fellow. Her music includes influences from Iberian folk traditions--particularly Arab-Andalusian poetic forms. Described by The New York Times as an "aural fabric," her music was profiled in the prestigious literary magazine Jornal de Letras, "the music of Andreia Pinto-Correia has been a major contribution to the dissemination of Portugal's culture and language, perhaps a contribution larger than could ever be imagined." Recent performances include the premiere by the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Osmo Vänskä, a work commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, a European premiere with the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, a composer residency with the chamber orchestra Orchestr Utópica at Centro Cultural de Belém, and the premiere of Variações sobre temas populares by the Borromeo String Quartet. She has received numerous commissions including the European Union Presidency,Tanglewood Music Center Festival, and Companhia Ópera do Castelo/ Drumming GP for an Opera with libretto by acclaimed West African writer Ondjaki, as well as honors and awards-the Toru Takemitsu Award, Japan Society; Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship; Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies, Aspen Music Festival Fellowship; MacDowell Colony Residency; and several ASCAPLUS and NEC Merit Awards. She collaborates with her father at the Centro de Tradições Populares Portuguesas, University of Lisbon, on a catalogue of ethnomusicology fieldwork.

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Avshalom Pollak

Artistic Director, Choreographer, Costumes designer, Set designer, Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company
Choreographer, Israeli Dance in the Fertile Crescent

imageAvshalom was trained as a classical actor and graduated from The Nissan Nativ Drama School in Tel-Aviv. He has acted in a large number of films and television programs as well as many theatrical plays at The Habimah National Theater, The Cameri Theater, Gesher Theater and The Haifa Municipal Theater. (Romeo in Romeo and Juliet; Casssio in Othello; Valere in The Miser; Tuzenbach in Three Sisters, Phillip in Orphans and more). Since 1992, Avshalom Pollak has been working with Inbal Pinto, with whom he founded The Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company.

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 Princeton Symphony Orchestra

Performer, Tales of Transformation: Princeton Symphony Orchestra Concert, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade with Susan Babini, cello

image The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) was once known as a community-based small, but respected orchestra. Now, since its founding in 1980, it has become a professional orchestra, receiving awards many years in a row, such as the Citation of Excellence from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Award for Adventurous Programming. The orchestra has also received the designation as Major Arts Institution and through its pops, orchestral, chamber music, events such as lectures, collaborative and children's programming, has become a hub in the Princeton, NJ, cultural community for classical music knowledge and a gateway for connecting those with an enthusiasm for music. PSO has worked on several occasions with the Princeton University Art Museum, the Princeton Public Library, the Arts Council of Princeton and the Institute for Advanced Study. The mission of the PSO as also stated on their website: "is to provide extraordinary musical experiences and to do so as an integral part of the greater Princeton community."

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Nida Sajid

Lecturer/Assistant Professor, Department of African, Middle-Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL), Rutgers University
Panelist,
Fashioning the Cultural Impact of the Islamic Diaspora

imageNida Sajid (born August 29, New Delhi) received a BA in Spanish Language and Literature (2000), an MA/MPhil in Linguistics and English, (2004) at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and her PhD in Comparative Literature from Western University, Canada (2011). She is a Lecturer/Assistant Professor in the Department of African, Middle-Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL) at Rutgers University. She previously taught in the Global Asia Studies program, University of Toronto, Canada. Her areas of research comprise postcolonial theory, gender studies, South Asian history, Hindi and Urdu literatures, and South Asian popular culture including research on minor literary traditions in postcolonial locations to revisionist readings of canonical European texts. She has published in journals like the Feminist Review and The Journal of Hindu Studies. At present, she is editing an anthology on the representations of Zenana fashion in film and literature. This volume traces the historical trajectory of the production, circulation, and consumption of Muslim femininity and fashion from the early-modern period to the era of postnational globalization revealing the heterogeneities of Muslim women's lives and the hegemonic impulses behind the construction of their identity as "invisible" women in patriarchal societies.

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Ibitsam Salh Mara'ana

Fimmaker and Founder of Ibitsam Films
Director, Lady Kul El-Arab

imageIbtisam Salh Mara'ana (born 1975, Faradis) founded Ibtisam Films, a documentary film factory ten years ago. It produces films which explore the borders and boundaries of Palestinian and Israeli society with a focus on women and minorities, exploring gender, class, racism, collective and individual identity, history, the present, and peoples's dreams for the future. Ibtisam Films confronts taboos, examines and deconstructs structures of oppression. The film factory is committed to its workers, to their unique voices, to their progress and to an increasingly equal, free and creative society. Ibtisam grew up in Faradis, a Muslim, Arab, working class village in the north of Israel. Without ever having seen a film in a cinema, at the age of 18 Ibtisam was accepted to film school where she began to create films with the themes Ibtisam Films is still exploring today. Her first commercial release, Paradise Lost, is considered to be the first film to be made from the perspective of a Palestinian woman.

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Ghada Al Samman

Author, Beiruit Nightmares

Ghada Samman (born 1942, al-Shamiya, Syria) spent her childhood in Syria and then moved to Beirut in 1964, where she studied and graduated from the American University of Beirut. She attended the London University for a while, and received a Doctorate from Cairo University. Her first language was French, followed by Arabic and the learning of the Quran. In 1966 she was sentenced to prison for three months for anti-authoritarian expression, and left Syria without the state's permission. Among her many writings, beginning in 1962 with her first collection of short stories, are (titles translated from Arabic) Ainak Qadari (Your eyes are my Destiny), No Sea in Beirut, Night of Strangers, The Other Time of Love, and The Sea Prosecutes a Fish. Beirut 75, Beirut Nightmares, and The Night of the First form a trilogy based on the experience of the civil war in Lebanon, immigration, nationalism, and exile during the Israeli invasion 1982. Her writing focuses on issues concerning Arab women and Arab nationalism. She founded her own publishing company in order to continue to write her opinions uncensored. In her essay Our Constitution - We the Liberated Women, Samman describes a liberated woman as someone who "believes that she is as human as a man," and who recognizes that the difference between a man and a woman is "how, not how much."

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Mehmet Ali Sanlikol

Composer and Performer
Performer, Songs of the Fertile Crescent

imageGrammy nominated composer and JAZZIZ's 2014 Top 10 pick Jazz pianist Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol has been praised by critics all over the world for his unique, pluralist, multicultural and energetic musical voice, as both composer and performer. An active ethnomusicologist, a Harvard research fellow and multi-instrumentalist, Sanlıkol, who hails from Cyprus and Turkey, is currently a faculty member at Emerson College and College of the Holy Cross.

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Marjane Satrapi

Graphic Novelist, Illustrator, Animated Film Director, and Children's Book Author
Author and Director, Persepolis

imageMarjane Satrapi (Persian: مرجان ساتراپی) (born 1969, Rasht) is an Iranian-born French contemporary graphic novelist, illustrator, animated film director, and children's book author. In 1983, at the age of fourteen, Satrapi was sent to Vienna, Austria, by her parents to flee the Iranian regime. There she attended the Lycée Français de Vienne. According to her autobiographical graphic novel, Persepolis, she stayed in Vienna through her high school years, staying in friends' homes, but spent two months living on the streets. After an almost deadly bout of pneumonia, she returned to Iran. She studied visual communication, eventually obtaining a master's degree from Islamic Azad University in Tehran. Satrapi became famous worldwide because of her critically acclaimed autobiographical graphic novels, originally published in French in four parts in 2000-2003 and in English translation in two parts in 2003 and 2004, respectively, as Persepolis and Persepolis 2, which describe her childhood in Iran and her adolescence in Europe. Persepolis won the Angoulême Coup de Coeur Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Her later publication, Embroideries (Broderies) was also nominated for the Angoulême Album of the Year award in 2003, an award which was won by her most recent novel, Chicken with Plums (Poulet aux prunes). Persepolis was adapted into an animated film of the same name which debuted at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival in May 2007 and shared a Special Jury Prize. Co-written and co-directed by Satrapi and director Vincent Paronnaud, the French-language picture stars the voices of Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, and Simon Abkarian. The English version, starring the voices of Gena Rowlands, Sean Penn, and Iggy Pop, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in January 2008.

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 Meheli Sen

Assistant Professor, AMESALL: African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures, Rutgers University
Speaker,
Fashioning the Cultural Impact of Islamic Diaspora

imageMeheli Sen received her Ph.D. from Emory University's Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts in 2008, with a certificate in Film Studies. Prior to this, she received a B.A. in Comparative Literature in 1997 and an M.A. in Film Studies in 1999 at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India.

Sen's primary research area is post-independence commercial Hindi cinema, commonly referred to as Bollywood.  She is especially interested in questions of gender, genre, postcoloniality, and globalization. She is co-editing an anthology titled Figurations in Indian Film, forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan. Her current research engages 'B' genres, particularly horror, in the larger rubric of the Bollywood system, especially the specific conduits of distribution and reception therein. She is also working on a book manuscript on post-independence Hindi cinema titled Discontented Modernities: Gender, Genre and Nation in Post-Independence Hindi Cinema.

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Betty Shamieh

Writer, Playwright, Professor at Marymount Manhattan College
Performer, Songs of the Fertile Crescent and The Alter-Ego of an Arab-American Assimilationalist

imageBetty Shamieh (born San Francisco) identifies herself as an Arab-American writer. Shamieh received her BA in English Literature from Harvard College and her MFA in Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. She was the first Palestinian-American to have a play premiere off-Broadway with the 2004 premiere of Roar, a drama about a Palestinian family, which was selected as a New York Times Critics Pick for four weeks. She has published many works including Chocolate in Heat, The Black Eyed, Again and Against (which had its world premiere at the Playhouse Theatre of Swedenin 2007), The Machine (directed by Marisa Tomei), and Territories. She has received many honors including the Clifton Artist in Residence at Harvard University award, a Playwriting Fellowship at Harvard/Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, a NEA playwriting grant, Theatre Communications Group as a playwright-in-residence at the Magic Theatre, San Francisco, the New Dramatists Van Lier Fellowship Playwriting Grant, UNESCO Young Artist for Intercultural Dialogue, and the United States/Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission award to translate her play, Again and Against. Other awards include New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Grant, a playwriting residency at Sundance Institute Theater Lab, Bellagio Center Residency at the Rockefeller Foundation, and a playwriting residency at Yaddo. Shamieh is a professor at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. She also serves on the Screenwriting/Playwriting Advisory Board for the New York Foundation for the Arts.

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Jane Sloan

Media Librarian, Rutgers University Libraries
Introduction, Caramel and Women without Men

imageJane Sloan holds a B.A. from Loyola University 1969, an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, and, an M.A. in Film Studies, from San Francisco State University 1982. She is the Media Librarian at Rutgers University Libraries. Sloan has published widely in the field of film studies, including the reference works Robert Bresson: A Guide to References and Resources, Alfred Hitchcock: a filmography and bibliography, and is the media editor for The Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World. Her most recent guide to international films about women, Reel Women, includes sections on the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. She is currently working on a project documenting the life and work of Mai Zetterling, who figured in the development of 1960s iconic imagery depicting the response of women to their UNEQUAL status, and the dynamic relationship of the women's movement to peace, war, and the environment. She received awards from the New Media Consortium in 2011, and the American Library Association for Achievement in Women's Studies Librarianship in 2008.

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Leora Skolkin-Smith

Author
Lecture, Israel in Fiction

Author Leora Skolkin Smith speaks about Israel in fiction, in a popular program first presented at the Miami International Book Fair. Born in New York and raised in New York and Israel, Skolkin-Smith is the author of three novels, Edges, The Fragile Mistress, and Hystera. She is a contributing editor to readysteadybook.com, and her essays have been published in The Washington Post, The National Book Critic's Circle's Critical Mass, and other publications.

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Gilane Tawadros

Curator and Writer; Chief Executive, DACS
Speaker, The Fertile Crescent: A New York Public Library Book Event; Laurie Chair in Women's Studies Public Lecture

imageGilane Tawadros is a curator and writer. She served as Director of the contemporary visual arts organisation InIVA (Institute of International Visual Arts), London, from its foundation in 1994 until 2005. Under her direction, InIVA was established as a leading global visual arts agency, working in partnership with individuals and organisations worldwide and realising a groundbreaking programme of exhibitions and publications, education, research and multimedia projects.

Born in Cairo and resident in the UK since 1970, Tawadros studied art history at the University of Sussex and film at the University of Paris IV.

She has written extensively on contemporary art, and has served on the editorial boards of Art History and Third Text. She has curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary art, including the 2006 Brighton Photo Biennale; The Real Me (ICA, 2005); Sutapa Biswas (2004) and Fault Lines: Contemporary African Art and Shifting Landscapes (50th Venice Biennale,2003). She is currently a Board member of the Forum for African Arts and the International Foundation of Manifesta (IFM).

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Max D. Weiss

Associate Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
Panelist, The Middle East: Gender, Art and Politics

imageMax Weiss is an American scholar and translator at Princeton University, specializing in the culture and history of the Middle East. Weiss is the author of In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Law, Shi'ism and the Making of Modern Lebanon (2010).

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Samar Yazbek

Author and Journalist
Speaker, A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution

Samar Yazbek is a Syrian writer and journalist. She was born in Jableh in 1970, and studied Arabic literature at university. She has written in a wide variety of genres - novels, short stories, film scripts, television dramas, film and TV criticism.


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Parastou Forouhar, Friday (Freitag), 2003
Aludobond, 4 panels, each 86 x 170 cm
Image courtesy of the artist and RH Gallery

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