2018-2019 Annual Lecture Series

The Legacy of Medieval Muslim Spain

Dr. Christina Civantos

Thu, 4 October 2018, 6:30 PM
SFU Harbour Centre Campus Vancouver, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3
Segal Centre Room 1420

Dr. Civantos is an Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Miami College of Arts and & Sciences. With a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley, her research interests include 19th- and 20th- Spanish American and Arabic literature and cultures, migration and diaspora, post-colonial studies, gender studies, and translation.

For her lecture on October 4, 2018, Dr. Civantos will examine the contemporary presence of medieval Muslim Iberia in Arab and Hispanic cultures and in global understandings of tolerance. During the European Middle Ages, the cities of present-day Spain, ruled by Muslims but also inhabited by Christians and Jews, flourished as centres of intellectual inquiry and artistic production. Today, around the globe concerns about interfaith relations have led to efforts to find earlier models in Muslim Iberia, known in Arabic as al-Andalus. Indeed, al-Andalus has lessons to offer, but not in the ways typically expected. 20th and 21st-century drama, television, and film from the Arab world and its diaspora, Spain, and Argentina demonstrate that al-Andalus is a key element in narratives of religious, national, ethnic, and linguistic identities. While some writers and filmmakers invoke al-Andalus to reiterate exclusionary identities, others use it to critique 20th and 21st-century socio-political issues and to rewrite foundational myths tied to al-Andalus. The insights that these counter-narratives offer regarding identity help us to move toward lasting and equitable tolerance.

The "Muslim World": The Invention of a Geopolitical Idea

Dr. Cemil Aydin

Thu, 29 November 2018, 6:30 PM
SFU Harbour Centre Campus Vancouver, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3
Segal Centre Room 1420

Dr. Aydin completed his PhD at Harvard University and is currently a professor at the University of Northern Carolina with the Department of History. His interests focus on both Modern Middle Eastern History and Modern Asian history, with an emphasis on the international and intellectual histories of the Ottoman and Japanese Empires. He is particularly interested in historical processes that shape transnational racial and civilizational identities, such as Muslim, Asian, African. His research and publications offer new ways to understand the historical roots of the contemporary world order by describing the process of imperial era conflicts and decolonization, especially from the perspective of non-Western actors of the Muslim world and East Asia. Other research and teaching interests deal with questions of internationalism and orientalism, and modern world history.

This lecture will discuss how our assumptions about a united Muslim World emerged in the second half of the 19th century, and why it is still so widespread in today’s world. By looking at the evolution of the narratives about the Pan-Islamic Muslim solidarity from the 1880s to the 1980s, the lecture will clarify changing content of the idea of Muslim solidarity over three generations of Muslim intellectuals and politicians. Although historical actors invent a narrative of continuity of Muslim unity and connectivity, Pan-Islamism itself was a product of the contradictions of the age of racialized empires, and it went through radical meaning shifts, political instrumentalization, and reinventions over a century. Attention to each period, identified with Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid, Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal, and Iran’s Ayatullah Khomeini, can teach us about the story of Pan-nationalism, Muslim international and racial thinking on Muslim societies in modern intellectual and international history.

Racism: Perspectives from South Asian Islamic Thought and Practice

Dr. Humeira Iqtidar

Thu, February 21, 2019, 6:30 PM
SFU Wosk Centre, 580 Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 1W6
Strategy Room 420

Modern politics is profoundly implicated with race. Yet there is little attention paid to how racism is understood, practiced or contested within Islamic thought and practice. What role does racism play in contemporary Islamic thought? How have Islamic thinkers conceptualized race, and addressed racialized politics? What role does race play in predominantly Muslim polities today? Building on oral histories collected from refugees and migrants from the Tribal Areas within Pakistan, and a critical engagement with the thought of two influential Islamic thinkers, the paper will argue that contemporary racism forces a reassessment of fundamental assumptions about modernity and democratic politics. Islamic thought and practice offer some creative, if complicated, opportunities for that reassessment.

Dr Humeira Iqtidar joined King's College London in 2011. She has studied at the University of Cambridge (UK), McGill University (Canada) and Quaid-e-Azam University (Pakistan). Before joining King's, Humeira was based at the University of Cambridge as a fellow of King’s College and the Centre of South Asian Studies. She is a co-convenor of the London Comparative Political Theory Workshop.

Environment in Turkey under Authoritarian Populism & Neoliberal Development

Fikret Adaman

Thu, March 14, 2019, 6:30 PM
SFU Wosk Centre, 580 Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 1W6
Strategy Room 320

The talk will discuss how Justice and Development Party’s policies have since 2002 had a detrimental impact on the environment, sustainability, and the long-term health of the Turkish economy, claiming that environmental conflicts in Turkey are not merely about the environment but intersect with contemporary politics of religion, ethnicity, gender, and class.

Fikret Adaman holds a BA and MA in Economics from Boğaziçi University and a PhD in Economics from Manchester University. He is currently professor of economics at Boğaziçi University. He has been lecturing on political economy, ecological economics, and history of economic thought. His work appeared in, among others, Journal of Economic Issues, New Left Review, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Economy and Society, Environment and Planning C, Ecological Economics, Development and Change, The European Journal of History of Economic Thought, Energy Policy and Review of Political Economy as well as in edited volumes. His edited book (with Murat Arsel), Environmentalism in Turkey (Ashgate, 2005) unpacks the political economy of the environment for Turkey. He is currently acting (with Burcay Erus) as an expert on social inclusion to the European Commission.