Spring 2013 Colloquium Series

Click here to download the Spring 2013 Colloquium Series poster.

Dr. Amir Mirfakhraie (Kwantlen Polytechnic)

“Constructions of Phobias, Fractured Selves, Stigmatized Selves, and the Ideal Citizen in Iranian School Textbooks”

Thursday, January 24, 2013, 6:00 pm

Location: SFU Harbour Centre, Room 7000, 515 West Hastings Vancouver

To RSVP for the colloquium, please email sminachi@sfu.ca

Abstract

In this lecture, Dr. Mirfakhraie examines the ways through which Iranian students are discursively positioned in hierarchical relations to other dominant and oppressed groups around the world, resulting in the production of various forms of fractured-selves. He will explore how present/non-present discursive/textual phobias about women, ethnic “minorities”, non-Muslims, and non-Iranians are configured in Iranian school textbooks.

Biography

Dr. Amir Mirfakhraie teaches sociology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University where he is the co-chair of the Centre for Global and Multicentric Education. His research focuses on Iranian textbook studies, racialization, identity politics, globalization, neo-liberalism, Whiteness, and curriculum studies.

Dr. Brandon Marriot (Oxford)

"Looking Towards Ottoman Muslims: Cross-Religious Fusion in the Beliefs of a Seventeenth-Century Dutch Protestant" 

Thursday, January 31, 2013, 6:00 pm

Location: SFU Harbour Centre, Room 7000, 515 West Hastings Vancouver

To RSVP for the colloquium, please email sminachi@sfu.ca

Abstract

In this lecture, Dr. Brandon Marriott examines how the Christian theologian, Peter Serrarius became an avid follower of Sabbatai Sevi in 1666 CE, the most popular Jewish messiah since Jesus.  When Sevi apostatized to Islam in Adrianople at the height of his popularity, Serrarius maintained his faith in the messiah. Serrarius’ beliefs point to a paradox central to this presentation: in an era of heightened confessionalization, why was a Christian in the Dutch Republic exhibiting such loyalty to a Jewish convert to Islam in the Ottoman Empire?  Following two streams of information that flowed westward across the Mediterranean world, this lecture traces the transnational and cross-religious influence on the development of Serrarius’ ideas.

Biography

Dr. Brandon Marriott is a long-time student at SFU (BA Criminology, BA History, MA History), and completed his PhD at the University of Oxford before returning to SFU where he is currently employed as a sessional instructor.

Dr. Hossein Houshmand (CCSMSC, SFU)

"Can Political Liberalism be Exported to Muslim Societies?”

Thursday, February 14, 2013, 6:00 pm

Location: SFU Harbour Centre, Room 7000, 515 West Hastings Vancouver

To RSVP for the colloquium, please email sminachi@sfu.ca

Abstract

In this colloquium, Dr. Hossein Houshmand will explore two different types of liberalism: comprehensive and political. Addressing John Rawls’s critique of the former, Dr. Houshmand will argue that the latter is superior as a basis for political consensus in the emerging morally pluralistic societies in the Islamic world. Rejecting the alleged incompatibility between Islam and liberalism, Houshmand suggests that Muslims might draw attention to neglected values such as basic equality and fairness dormant in their religious doctrine if they build a serious engagement with Rawls’s political liberalism.

Biography

Dr. Hossein Houshmand has studied Islamic theology and philosophy of religion at Tehran and Concordia Universities, where he completed his PhD in comparative religion and ethics with a thesis on "Islam and Human Rights: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus." His research interests include Islamic thought, philosophy of religion, and contemporary political philosophy. His current research is focused on the idea of the priority of democracy to secularism in the context of Muslim societies.

Dr. Sedi Minachi (CCSMSC, SFU)

"The Conflict between Clericalism and Secularism in Iran since the 19th Century from the Perspective of Gender Relations"

Thursday, February 28, 2013, 5:30 pm

Location: SFU Harbour Centre, Room 7000, 515 West Hastings Vancouver

To RSVP for the colloquium, please email sminachi@sfu.ca

Abstract

Since the beginning of modernization in Iran, especially from the time of Reza Shah Pahlavi (1925-1941), there has been a clash between secular and clerical views of the state and society.  This conflict was particularly salient between the proponents of civil laws versus religious laws (the Shari'a), and had a particular impact on the perception, practice, and regulation of gender relationships in Iran. This paper focuses on the foundations and development of this clash and its implications on gender relationships from 1925 to today.

Biography

Dr. Sedi Minachi is a Research Associate with the Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures. Her PhD dissertation at UBC focused on the narratives of peace educators in the context of Israeli and Palestinian conflict.  Her background in sociology, education, women's studies, political science, and history has given her an interdisciplinary perspective on the impact of political Islam in the Middle East.

Dr. Amyn Sajoo (CCSMSC, SFU)

“Minority Citizenship and the Shari’a: Lessons from the Arab Spring”

Thursday, March 7, 2013, 6:00 pm

Location: SFU Harbour Centre, Room 7000, 515 West Hastings Vancouver

To RSVP for the colloquium, please email sminachi@sfu.ca

Abstract

The Islamist ascendancy in the unfolding “Arab Spring” lends fresh saliency to the status of ethno-religious minorities. Sectarian conflict in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Syria is coupled with the marginalization of Egypt’s Coptic Christians, and of Sufi Muslims in the Maghreb. Iraq’s Shi’a-Sunni rift has widened, with similar trends in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indonesia. Public support for “shari’a values” is generally tied to failed civil accountability, and to identity politics amid globalization.  Incursions into minority rights are frequently articulated in terms of upholding the shari’a, though ideological and socio-economic realities tend to drive them.  Yet neither the current discourse of liberal reform nor of political Islam recognizes the centrality of minority equity.  Challenging the orthodoxies —secular and religious — which enable resistance to pluralist citizenship is imperative, to counter weak legacies of civil society and constitutionalism.

Biography

Amyn B. Sajoo is Scholar-in-Residence at the CCSMSC, and the editor of the Muslim Heritage Series.  He gave the Distinguished Lecture in Islam at the University of Victoria, the Augustana Lectures on Religion in Public Life at the University of Alberta — and served as Visiting Academic in the Middle East on behalf of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs ahead of the “Arab Spring.”  Sajoo was previously affiliated with Cambridge and McGill universities, the Institute of Ismaili Studies (London), and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore).  His books include Pluralism in Old Societies and New States (1994), Civil Society in the Muslim World (2002), Muslim Ethics: Emerging Vistas (2004), Muslim Modernities: Expressions of the Civil Imagination (2008), and A Companion to Muslim Cultures (2012). Sajoo’s writings have featured in the Guardian, the Asian Wall Street Journal, the Globe and Mail, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Eva Sajoo (CCSMSC, SFU)

“Religion and Development: Muslim Feminist Approaches”

Thursday, March 14, 2013, 6:00 pm

Location: SFU Harbour Centre, Room 7000, 515 West Hastings Vancouver

To RSVP for the colloquium, please email sminachi@sfu.ca

Abstract

The relationship between religion and development has often been seen as indifferent, or even antagonistic, by civic organisations and religious communities alike.  Islam in particular is frequently invoked as a barrier to projects that privilege women’s education and employment.  This colloquium will explore the use of Islam as a resource for gender equity by activists and development practitioners, with specific regard to Afghanistan and Indonesia.

Biography

Eva Sajoo has taught at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing as well as the University of British Columbia, and currently lectures at Simon Fraser University in the Continuing Studies Program.  She has published on gender, development, and education in Muslim societies, including chapters on “Modern Citizenship, Multiple Identities” in Muslim Modernities (I.B Tauris, 2008), “Gender and Identity” in Companion to Muslim Cultures (I.B. Tauris, 2012), and “Education, Religion, and Values” in Education and International Development: Practice, Policy, and Research (Continuum Books, forthcoming, 2013). Her research won first place in a 2010 competition sponsored by the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (Geneva).

Dr. Parin Dossa (Anthropology, SFU)

“Acknowledging the Women of Afghanistan: Social Suffering and Remaking of Life”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 12:00 pm

Location: SFU Burnaby Campus, Room AQ 6229

To RSVP for the colloquium, please email sminachi@sfu.ca

Abstract

It is increasingly recognized that violence is multi-layered and not event-bound. The complex linkages between corporeal, structural and epistemic forms are well theorized. Less attention has been given to the existence of violence in the weave of everyday life. As an elusive phenomenon, this form of violence may be understood through interrelated questions: how do we recognize and acknowledge forms of suffering that have been normalized following decades of violence? What does it mean to engage into the work of recovery and remaking of life worlds within spaces of devastation? How does the geopolitics of war shape a gendered script and in what ways is it reconfigured through voice and social memory? Based on my ethnographic research in Kabul, Afghanistan (fall of 2008 and fall of 2009, respectively) I engage with the above questions to map some of ways in which we can begin to understand the impact of violence and war on the social worlds of the people/women of Afghanistan, discursively and intricately linked to the political agendas of the global stakeholders. I argue that it is in this interconnected space that we can begin to acknowledge the suffering and recovery work of women (and men). I explore the implications of this finding for accountable and more engaged anthropology.

Biography

Dr. Parin Dossa is Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University. Her ethnographic work has focused on Muslim women in Canada, Lamu (Kenya), Afghanistan and India. She is the author of (a) Politics and Poetics of Migration: Narratives of Iranian Women from the Diaspora (2004); (b) Racialized Bodies, Disabling Worlds: Storied Lives of Immigrant Muslim Women (2009). Currently she is exploring the relationship between structural violence, gender and politics of memory in Afghanistan and its diaspora.

Dr. Maya Yazigi (CCSMSC, SFU)

"The Classical Arabo-Islamic Genealogical Tradition and the Evidence for Gender: Preliminary Conclusions”

Thursday, March 28, 2013, 6:00 pm

Location: SFU Harbour Centre, Room 1520, 515 West Hastings Vancouver

To RSVP for the colloquium, please email sminachi@sfu.ca

Abstract

This Colloquium will discuss the anecdotal material about women that survive in the Classical Arabo-Islamic genealogical tradition through an examination of two of the best 9th century examples of the genre. It will show what kind of information about women was remembered in this literature, and offer some possible suggestions as to why some material about women survives in genealogies whereas it does not in other Arabo-Islamic genres, such as biographical dictionaries where one would have expected such material to be present. The colloquium will conclude with some remarks about the role of the classical Arabo-Islamic Genealogical Tradition among the Arabo-Islamic literatures of the time and with some thought as to why depictions of more fluid gender roles seems to be more acceptable within this literature.

Biography

Dr. Maya Yazigi is a historian with a primary focus on the formative period of Islamic history and more precisely on the history and historiography of the first few centuries of Islam. She is currently a Scholar in Residence at the Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures at SFU and a lecturer in the Department of Humanities, also at SFU.  Prior to that, she taught at the University of British Columbia and at UCLA, from where she obtained her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies.

Pari Azram Motamedi

“Translations and Visual Interpretations of the Poetry of Mohammad Reza Sahfii Kadkani”

Thursday, April 4, 2013, 6:00 pm

Location: SFU Harbour Centre, Room 7000, 515 West Hastings Vancouver

To RSVP for the colloquium, please email sminachi@sfu.ca

Abstract

In this presentation Pari Azarm Motamedi focuses on her paintings inspired by the poetry of contemporary Persian poet and scholar, Mohammad Reza Shafii Kadkani. The aim is to present a phenomenology of her creative process from the point of encountering the poetic work, interpretation and formation of conceptual impression, to the creation of the visual image.  Areas and levels of awareness of the cultural and historical background enabling the proper ‘reading’ of the layers of meaning in the poetry, and the development of the visual language used in the realization of the visual image are discussed.

Biography

Azarm Motamedi is an artist and translator living and working in Vancouver.  Her background in urban planning (MA, London University) and architecture (MA, Tehran University), and her interest in the study and interpretations of contemporary poetry in the socio-political context of present day Iran inspire her paintings. Her work has been published and exhibited in more than 30 solo and group shows in North America and Iran. Click here to visit her website.