2024 Events

Institute Events

Book Talk: Book Talk: The Fall and Rise of American Finance: From J.P. Morgan to Blackrock | May 16, 6:00 - 9:00 | Room 7000 Harbour Centre

Co-sponsored by SFU International Studies, Labour Studies and School of Communication, and SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement. 

How Wall Street concocted a more volatile and dangerous capitalism


The Fall and Rise of American Finance traces the collapse and reconstitution of American financial power from the disintegration of robber baron J. P. Morgan’s vast empire to the rise of finance behemoth BlackRock. Contrary to what is taken for common sense by figures from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders, Maher and Aquanno insist that financialization did not imply the hollowing out of the “real” economy or the retreat of the state. Rather, it served to intensify competitive discipline to maximize efficiency, profits, and the exploitation of labor—with the support of an increasingly authoritarian state.


Scott Aquanno is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ontario Tech University. He is the co-author of The Fall and Rise of American Finance with Stephen Maher (Verso, 2024), and author of Crisis of Risk: Subprime Debt and US Financial Power from 1944 to Present (Edward Elgar, 2021).

Ingo Schmidt
is an economist by training. He wrote his Master’s thesis on Cooperatives in Zimbabwe and a PhD thesis on Trade Unions and Keynesian Policies, both at the University of Göttingen. He worked at different universities in Germany and Canada before joining AU in 2006. He is also a life-long activist and educator in international solidarity, peace and labour movements. For many years he was engaged in the Working Groups for Alternative Economic Policies in Germany and Europe, writing pro-labour policies and conducting seminars for unionists and other social movement activists. After moving to Canada, he became one of the organizers of the annual World Peace Forum teach-ins in Vancouver.

Moderated by
Samir Gandesha, Director, Institute for the Humanities

Razing Gaza: Israel's War on Palestinian Health and Wellbeing | April 17, 6:00 - 9:00 | Mowafaghian Cinema, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

Organized by Centre for Comparative Muslim studies and co-hosted by the Insitute for the Humanitites  

Apartheid and military invasion are well-recognized structural determinants of health. Ongoing military campaigns and blockades in Gaza have severely constrained the availability and provision of healthcare services. The magnitude of the effects of this violence on the Gaza healthcare system over a relatively short period of time is unprecedented. Given these observations, this event aims to answer the question: What are the short, medium, and long-term impacts of the dehumanizing crisis in Gaza on the health and wellness of Palestinian peoples?


  • Salia Joseph (St’ax̱í7alut)
  • Jada-Gabrielle Pape, BA, MEd (Saanich and Snuneymuxw)
  • Dr. Yipeng Ge, MPH MD CCFP. Family Doctor, Public Health and Preventive Medicine Resident Physician
  • Dr. Nahla, MD, BHSc, Psychiatry Resident
  • Dr. Akihiro Seita, MD with UNRWA
  • Dr. Kendra Strauss, PhD; Director of the Labour Studies Program, SFU
  • Dr. Adel Iskandar, PhD; Associate Professor in the School of Communications, SFU
  • Dr. Malcolm Steinberg, MD; Associate Professor of Health Sciences, SFU

Cosponsors: Faculty of Health Sciences, the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies, the Morgan Labour Project in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the School for International Studies, the School of Communication, and the Institute for the Humanities, all at SFU.

The image on this poster is provided by Almadhoun family with a request to amplify his integral work at the Gaza Soup Kitchen. We encourage donations to this charity. Photo credit: @eshak_daour

Catch the live stream of the event here:

Book Launch:Maya Wind’s Towers of Ivory and Steel | April 3, 6:30 - 8:30 | Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue WCC 320

Organized by Centre for Comparative Muslim studies and co-hosted by the Insitute for the Humanitites 

Israeli universities are often celebrated as liberal bastions of freedom and democracy. Maya Wind will be joined by Brenna Bhandar (UBC) and Adel Iskander (SFU) to discuss her new book, which examines how Israeli universities are in fact directly complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights. Academic disciplines, degree programs, campus infrastructure, and research laboratories all service Israeli occupation and apartheid, while universities violate the rights of Palestinians to education, stifle critical scholarship, and violently repress student dissent.


Maya Wind is a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Her research on the reproduction and international export of Israeli security expertise has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Killam Laureates Trust. Her first book, Towers of Ivory and Steel: How Israeli Universities Deny Palestinian Freedom (Verso 2024), investigates the complicity of Israeli universities in the violation of Palestinian rights and the occupation of Palestine.

In Conversation with

Brenna Bhandar is Associate Professor at Allard Law Faculty, UBC and the author of The Colonial Lives of Property.

Adel Iskandar is Associate Professor of Global Communication at Simon Fraser University where he is Director of the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies and the Graduate Chair in the School of Communications.

Speaker Series: Dan Collins On Jacques Lacan’s Middle Seminars (XII and XIII) | March 26 and 28 | SFU Woodwards Room 2205

Organized by Lacan Salon and Co-hosted by the Institute for the Humanities  

Description: The “middle seminars” occupy a curious position in Lacan’s career. Between the major turning points of Seminar 11, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, and Seminar 17, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, the middle seminars occupy an ambiguous terrain. In Seminar 11, Lacan insisted upon  the subject’s determination by the Other, by language, by the network of the signifiers. This strict determination raised the question, Where is the place of the subject? Lacan spends the middle seminars, 12, 13, 14, and 15, trying to answer this question. 

Seminar 12, Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis, and Seminar 13, The Object of Psychoanalysis, address the subject and the object respectively, and they prepare for Seminar 14, The Logic of Fantasy. In Seminars 12 and 13, we find Lacan exploring and groping towards new ways to talk about the subject. One of the surprising things about the middle seminars is that as he explores, Lacan gives intimations and hints of ideas and formulations that will only be developed much later in his career. Thus the middle seminars are fascinating in that they show the birth of many new Lacanian ideas. 

In these talks, we’ll explore Seminars 12 and 13, and we’ll look at the ways in which Lacan attempts to overcome obstacles to thought and to break through impasses. We’ll look both back, to the problems introduced in Seminar 11, and forward, to the resolutions of those problems announced in Seminar 17. These talks will take a rigorous look at Seminars 12 and 13, but no prior knowledge of the seminars is assumed.

Bio: Dan Collins, PhD, MSW, lives and works in Buffalo, NY. He is a member of Lacan Toronto, where he is Program and Education director and gives an annual seminar. He is also a guest member of the Toronto Psychoanalytic Society and an overseas member of the Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland. Dan lectures and publishes widely in psychoanalysis, and he translates frequently, most often texts by Jacques Lacan and Jacques-Alain Miller. This summer, a collection of essays on the drive that Dan co-edited with Eve Watson—called Critical Essays on the Drive: Lacanian Theory and Practice—will be published by Routledge.

The Middle East and Islamic Consortium Student Conference | March 23, 8:15 AM - 9:00 PM | SFU Segal Buildings Room 1200 - 1500  


8:15 - 9:00 Coffee, Pastries, and Opening Remarks
Opening remarks by CCMS director Dr. Adel Iskandar

9 - 10:30 Panels 1 and 2

Panel 1: Gendered and Queered Subject-Making
• Yara Ahmed
• Sansal Gumuspala
• Usman Shafeek Chamaka Parambil*
• Mozhgan Fazli
• Discussant: Dr. Nadine Atewell
Panel 2: Mechanisms of Violence and Control
• Ata Rahmani
• Yassmeen El-Hariri
• Pooja Sanyal
• Elif Cansu Gümüşpala
• Discussant: Dr. Janice Jeong

10:30 - 10:45 Break

10:45 - 12:15 Panels 3 and 4

Panel 3: The Weight of Representations
• Mohadeseh Jazaei
• Jon Gill
• Arlen Wiesenthal
• Emma Bolton
• Discussant: Dr. Ozlem Sensoy

Panel 4: Shaping Identities through Politics and Culture
• Sam Bender-Prouty
• Yağmur B. Karaca
• Navid Aliakbar
• Sepideh Saffari
• Discussant: Dr. Merih Erol

12:15 - 1:45 Catered Lunch and Remote Brown Bag with

Dr. Maya Mikdashi on A Sextarian World: The Geopolitics of

Sex and Sexuality in the Transnational Middle East.

Catered by Tayybeh

1:45 - 3:15 Panels 5 and 6

Panel 5: Unsettling the Status Quo
• Mary Kostandy
• Yasmina Seifeddine
• Katerina Hansraj
• Asmaa Heban
• Discussant: Dr. Pheroze Unwalla

Panel 6: Education, Knowledge Production, and Intellectual

• Nashwa Moheyeldine Khedr
• Fawaz Abdul Salam
• Laila Shaheen, Jason Izadi
• Neslican Akman
• Discussant: Dr. Naghmeh Babaee

3:15 - 3:30 Break

3:30 - 5:00 Panels 7 and 8

Panel 7: The Media in Context
• Sayed Baqir Hussaini
• Jenna Hassan
• Asma Jaghman
• Aida Bardissi
• Discussant: Dr. Adel Iskandar

Panel 8: Representations through Textuality and Visuality
• Saqib H. Khateeb
• Ambreen Shehzad Hussaini
• Gülistan Ünal
• Hala Qasqas
• Discussant: Dr. Azadeh Yamidi-Hamedani

5:00 - 5:15 Break

5:15 - 6:45 Panels 9 and 10

Panel 9: Islam Embodied
• Suman Mahmood
• Muhammad Alfreda Daib Insan Labib
• Abdullah Muhammad Zaved RAKIB
• Discussant: Dr. Tammara Soma

Panel 10: Solidarity and Its Challenges
• Nabila Huq
• Matthew Cheesman
• Jordanne Fitchtner
• Discussant: Dr. Nawal Musleh-Motut
6:45 - 7:00 Closing Remarks

Closing remarks by Dr. Adel Iskandar

7:30 - 9:00 Dinner for MEICON participants

Dinner at Tamam: Fine Palestinian Cuisine
• Iftar begins at 7:42 PM
• Route: Take the R5 bus. Walk 2 minutes from the Segal

Building. Get on at the EB W Hastings Street @ Granville
Street Stop. Take the R5 St/To SFU Exchange bus. Get off at
the EB E Hasting Street @ Nanaimo Street stop. Walk 5
minutes to the venue. Door to door 30 minutes.

This event is hosted by the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies at SFU, SFU School of Communications, SFU School of International Stduies, SFU Institute for the Humanities, SFU Department of History, UBC Middle East Studies, SFU's David LAM Centre, and the University of Victoria Department of History.

Book Launch: Dwelling in the Wilderness Modern Monks in the American West  | March 21, 2024 at 6:00 PM | SFU Harbour Centre Room 7000

Jason M. Brown Book Launch: Dwelling in the Wilderness Modern Monks in the American West
Moderated by David Mirhady

What might the lives of contemporary monastics teach us about putting down roots? Whereas many of us are constantly on the go, stressed out, and focused on productivity, the life of a monk prioritizes staying put and paying attention. Many monks take a vow of stability that commits them to their home monastery, leading them to develop a deep connection with and knowledge of the land they inhabit. The monastic life teaches those who practice it to move more slowly through the world, and the monastic sense of place may even hold a key to responding to the growing ecological crisis threatening our environment.

Jason M. Brown is a Lecturer in Religious Studies and teaches courses in Ecological Humanities for the Department of Global Humanities.

David Mirhady is the Chair of the Department of Global Humanities and the President of International Society of the History of Rhetoric

"Untouchable: Laughing out Caste" Manjeet Sarkar in Vancouver | March 15, 2024 at 4:00 PM | University of British Columbia 

Co-sponsored by the Insititute for the Humanities 

Thursday March 14th at 6 PM: stand up show at York Theatre 
Friday, March 15th at 4 PM: screening of documentary at UBC (exact location TBD) 

Tickets are free for students with ID, and will be priced at $15 for all others. 

Book Talk with Nawal Musleh-Motut, “Connecting the Holocaust and the Nakba Through Photograph-based Storytelling: Willing the Impossible” | February 6, 2024 at 6:00 PM | WCC 20 ICBC Salon B

Join CCMS on Feb. 6 in an event that focuses on the launch of Nawal Musleh-Motut’s new book, Connecting the Holocaust and the Nakba Through Photograph-based Storytelling: Willing the Impossible.

About the Book

This unprecedented ethnographic study introduces a unique photography-based storytelling method that brings together everyday Palestinians and Israelis to begin connecting rather than comparing their distinct yet organically connected histories of suffering and exile resulting from the Holocaust and the Nakba. Working with Palestinians and Israelis living in their respective Canadian diasporas who are of the Holocaust and Nakba postmemory generations-those who did not experience these traumas but are nonetheless haunted by them-this study demonstrates that storytelling and photography enable the occasions and conditions of possibility necessary for willing the impossible. That is, by narrating and then exchanging their (post)memories of the Holocaust and/or the Nakba through associated vernacular photographs, project participants were able to connect rather than compare their histories of suffering and exile; take moral, ethical, and political responsibility for one another; and imagine new forms of cohabitation grounded in justice and equitable rights for all.

About the Author

Dr. Nawal Musleh-Motut (she, her) is the Postdoctoral Fellow in Social Justice and Decolonization at the ISTLD and an uninvited settler of Palestinian descent.

Her postdoctoral research project, Creating Decolonial and Just Futurities in Postsecondary Education, highlights the dangers and counters the consequences of institutional performances of equity, diversity, and inclusion that support the neocolonial and neoliberal status quo by creating decolonial and just educational futurities via teaching and learning.

Nawal’s current ISTLD projects include the Decolonial Teaching and Learning Seminar Series and the Decolonizing and Indigenizing STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) at SFU project.

Nawal has extensive experience both as a researcher and post-secondary educator. She previously worked as Research Officer, Generalist with BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, General Education Project Manager at SFU, Limited Term Lecturer in the School of Communication at SFU, Sessional Instructor in Mass Communication at both Columbia College and the University of the Fraser Valley, and Research Specialist with Indian Residential School Resolution Canada. She will return as a Limited Term Lecturer in the School of Communication at SFU in Fall 2022 and her book, Connecting the Holocaust and the Nakba Through Photograph-base Storytelling: Willing the Impossible, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2023.

Her primary research, writing, and teaching interests include: decolonial theory and praxis; critical intersectional social justice; critical race/anti-racism theory and praxis; critical, imaginative, and performative ethnography; visual culture; narrative and storytelling; solidarity and the creation of decolonial futurities between Indigenous, Palestinian, and Black communities globally.

Film Screening: Israelism | January 24, 2024 at 7:00 PM | SFU Harbour Centre Room 1700  

Presented by Independent Jewish Voices, Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies

Join Independent Jewish Voices and the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies at SFU for a screening of the critically important documentary, Israelism. The screening of the film will be followed by a discussion with two of the filmmakers as well as Dr. Naomi Klein and Dr. Gabor Maté.

About the Film:

When two young American Jews raised to unconditionally love Israel witness the brutal way Israel treats Palestinians, their lives take sharp left turns. They join a movement of young American Jews battling the old guard to redefine Judaism’s relationship with Israel, revealing a deepening generational divide over modern Jewish identity. When two young American Jews raised to unconditionally love Israel witness the brutal way Israel treats Palestinians, their lives take sharp left turns. They join a movement of young American Jews battling the old guard to redefine Judaism’s relationship with Israel, revealing a deepening generational divide over modern Jewish identity.

Directed by two first-time Jewish filmmakers who share a similar story to the film’s protagonists, Israelism is produced by Peabody-winner & 6-time Emmy-nominee Daniel J. Chalfen (Loudmouth, Boycott) along with activist and filmmaker Nadia Saah (Mo, Omar, 5 Broken Cameras), executive produced by two-time Emmy-winner Brian A. Kates (Marvelous Ms. Maisel, Succession, The Plot Against America) and edited by Emmy-winner Tony Hale (The Story of Plastic).

Israelism uniquely explores how Jewish attitudes towards Israel are changing dramatically, with massive consequences for the region and for Judaism itself.


Naomi Klein is Co-Director of the Centre for Climate Justice, and Associate Professor of Climate Justice at the University of British Columbia. Her research and teaching take place at the intersection of crisis and political transformation. She looks at the ways that large-scale shocks – from economic crises to ecological disasters to terror attacks – act as catalysts and accelerators for broad-based social change. This is an area of research she explored in her 2007 book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, and she uses this lens to explore the aftermath of disasters linked to climate breakdown, including Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico (2017) and the Camp Fire in Northern California in (2018). At UBC, her primary focus is on how the climate emergency can and must act as a catalyst for bold, justice-based transformation in our bio-region and beyond, with particular attention to the intersections between climate justice and Indigenous land rights; the gendered and racialized labour of care; and the rights of migrants.

Gabor Maté is a renowned speaker, and bestselling author, and is highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics including addiction, stress and childhood development. Rather than offering quick-fix solutions to these complex issues, Dr. Maté weaves together scientific research, case histories, and his own insights and experience to present a broad perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their own healing and that of those around them. After 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, Dr. Maté worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness.

Simone Zimmerman is Co-Founder of IfNotNow Movement and is one of the principal subjects of the the film Israelism. Cosponsors: Independent Jewish Voices, Students for Justice in Palestine (SFU), Labour Studies at SFU, SFU Vancity Office of Community Engagement, SFU’s Institute for the Humanities

Dr. Ardi Imseis’ The United Nations and the Question of Palestine | January 11, 2024 at 6:00 PM | SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

The Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies Presents

Join the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies for the launch of Dr. Ardi Imseis’ incisive new book, The United Nations and the Question of Palestine. In this talk, Dr. Imseis will detail how, contrary to conventional wisdom, there has been a continuing though vacillating gulf between the requirements of international law and the UN on the question of Palestine. This book explores the UN’s management of the longest-running problem on its agenda, critically assessing tensions between the organization’s position and international law. What forms has the UN’s failure to respect international law taken, and with what implications? The author critically interrogates the received wisdom regarding the UN’s fealty to the international rule of law, in favour of what is described as an international rule by law. This book demonstrates that through the actions of the UN, Palestine and its people have been committed to a state of what the author calls ‘international legal subalternity’, according to which the promise of justice through international law is repeatedly proffered under a cloak of political legitimacy furnished by the international community, but its realization is interminably withheld.


Ardi Imseis is Assistant Professor and Academic Director in International Law Programs at Queen’s University. He is interested in the intersection of power, politics, law, and justice, and the practical impact of those phenomena on international relations in general and on underrepresented peoples in particular. He joined the Queen’s Faculty of Law in 2018, following a 12-year career as a UN official in the Middle East, first with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and then with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Since leaving the UN, Imseis has continued to engage in high-level public advocacy on international law, peace and security, including a number of invited addresses to the UN Security Council. Between 2019-2021, Imseis was appointed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to serve as a Member of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts, a commission of inquiry mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and report on violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the conflict in Yemen. He serves as the Academic Director of the International Law Programs that Queen’s Law offers at Bader College, Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex, United Kingdom.

Professor Imseis’s scholarship has appeared in, inter alia, the American Journal of International Law, the Berkeley Journal of International Law, the Harvard International Law Journal, the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, and the University of British Columbia Law Review. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Third World Approaches to International Law Review. He is former Editor-in-Chief of the Palestine Yearbook of International Law (2008-2019), Visiting Research Scholar, Department of Law, American University in Cairo and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Human Rights Fellow, Columbia Law School. Between 2010 and 2011, he served as Senior Legal Counsel to the Honourable Catherine A. Fraser, Chief Justice of Alberta.

Cosponsors: SFU School of Communication, SFU School for International Studies, the Institute for the Humanities at SFU, SFU History, Middle East Studies at the University of British Columbia, SFU Labour Studies Program

How the Humanities First Cracked the Nazi Code | January 10, 2024 at 6:00 PM | SFU Harbour Centre 

The Englishman Alan Turing’s use of computer-aided mathematics to break the Nazis’ World War II cypher has become famous. But decades earlier Dr. Winthrop Bell, a Canadian philosopher, historian, and MI6 spy, was the first to crack the Nazi code. His death-defying adventures in revolutionary 1919 Berlin were long kept top-secret, and his story has remained unknown. Finally his declassified papers reveal how he used the humanities to save humanity.


Jason Bell is the author of Cracking the Nazi Code: The Untold Story of Canada’s Greatest Spy (HarperCollins). He is associate professor of philosophy at University of New Brunswick. He earlier served as Fulbright professor at the University of Goettingen, and Marjorie Young Bell fellow at Mount Allison University, Winthrop Bell’s alma maters.