Middle East Studies activities for the 2012-13 academic year included:
Two Mosaics that allowed MEST students and those in other disciplines to study current, critical issues in depth on campus, and through travel to the region and interact with people on the ground.
The first Mosaic, Morocco: Jewish and Muslim Religion and Culture was led by Professor Shalom Staub, was an opportunity to explore multiple dimensions of religion and culture in the Middle East/North Africa region, the site of Jewish communities for roughly 2,500 years, with distinctive Muslim practice and belief. Students had the opportunity to interact with Moroccan scholars, community leaders and members, educators artists, healers, musicians, and university students in Rabat, Marrakech, Casablanca, Fez, Essaouira and rural Berber villages in the Atlas Mountains.
The second Mosaic, Mediterranean Migration Mosaic, was led by Professors Susan Rose and Marcello Borges. The focus of this Mosaic was migrations between Morocco, France and Spain, and exploring the multiple and interacting identities embodied by individuals, communities, regions, and the nation-state. The creation of transnational communities, ethnic and religious tensions and cooperation, philosophical orientations to diversity, and social policy was examined. The Mediterranean has witnessed the circulation of ideas, people, and goods between Northern Africa and Southern Europe across the centuries.
MEST supported, through the Robert Hindle Fund, the visit of a number of speakers, including:
In October, MEST supported the visit of Gökçenur Çelebioglu from Istanbul for the Semana Poética XI. Çelebioglu is an impressive young poet who is very active in translation projects, bringing together poets from the Balkans and the Middle East in particular, to collaborate. He was a huge hit at the festival and he also spoke to MEST classes and met members of the Middle Eastern Club and Middle East Studies majors.
MEST, with the department of Sociology and the Community Studies Center in February co-sponsored two speakers: Dr. Clayton Childress of the Princeton Center for the Study of Social Organization and Dr. Neda Maghbouleh, Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow at Muhlenberg College. Dr. Childress discussed how publishing houses decide which books to publish, and the shift from "editorial logic" being replaced by "market logic" since the release of BookScan. Dr. Maghbouleh discussed U.S. racial microaggressions between ROTC and heritage learners based on one year of participant-observational research and interviews with enrolled students in a university "critical language" classroom.
In March MEST, with the departments of History, Africana Studies, and French, supported guest speaker from Senegal Fallou Ngom, an Assistant Professor at Boston University. Dr. Ngom's spoke about African language texts written in Arabic (Ajami texts).
In April, Dr. Alec G. Hargreaves, Emeritus Winthrop-King Professor of Transcultural French Studies at Florida State University came to campus to discuss the long-term social, economic and political factors about the ethnic relations in France that has been plagued for decades by ill-tempered debates over the nation's immigrant minorities, as well as more recent developments in anti-semitism and Islamophobia.