2009 Annual Lecture Series

Iranian Accented Cinema of Displacement: Exilic, Diasporic, or Ethnic?

Dr. Hamid Naficy

January 30, 2009

Dr. Hamid Naficy is the John Evans Professor of Communication at Northwestern University. His research encompasses documentary and ethnographic films; cultural studies of diaspora, exile, and postcolonial cinemas and media; and Iranian and Middle Eastern cinemas. 

His books include An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking; Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place; The Making of Exile Cultures: Iranian Television in Los Angeles; and Otherness and the Media: The Ethnography of the Imagined and the Imaged. His forthcoming book is Cinema, Modernity, and National Identity: A Social History of a Century of Iranian Cinema (Duke University Press).

Summary

Dr. Hamid Naficy’s presentation elaborated on the work of exilic filmmakers with a focus on Iranian film movement.  Naficy highlighted that the second wave of Iranian immigrants were highly productive, and made 93 films during 1979-1986. "Accented" cinema is produced by filmmakers who have emigrated willingly or unwillingly and who work under new political and cinematic systems. He also discussed techniques used in individual films as well as those that identify a particular filmmaker such as Kaveh Zahedi. Naficy's comments on exilic, diasporic, immigrant and independent filmmakeres were intriguing. His presentation of the film world covered different viewpoints and stories from the Iranian artistic community.

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The Scope and Limits of Reforming Islam

Dr. Tariq Ramadan

February 3, 2009

Educated at the Univeristy of Geneva and currently a professor at St. Antony's College, Oxford University, Tariq Ramadan has written more than 20 books including  The Meaning of the life of Muhammad (Penguin, 2007), Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (Oxford, 2003), Islam, the West and the Challenges to Modernity (The Islamic Foundation, 2000). His talk, "The Scope and Limits of Reforming Islam," was given at SFU on February 3.

Summary

Speaking to a large audience and drawing from his most recent book, Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation (Oxford University Press,2007), Professor Ramadan proposed a radically reformed Islam of text and context that would be able to integrate spiritual and ethical objectives for contemporary Muslims. The lecture was subsequently broadcast on CBC Ideas. (see www.cbc/ideas)

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The Unfractionated Self: Person, Time and Conduct in Middle East Cultures

Dr. Lawrence Rosen

March 19, 2009

Lawrence Rosen is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University and Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. Among the first generation of MacArthur Award Recipients, Rosen is distinguished for his admirably lucid and meticulously argued books, including, most recently, Varieties of Muslim Experience: Encounters with Arab Political and Cultural Life (Chicago, 2008) and Law as Culture: An Invitation (Princeton, 2006).  The lecture expanded on his forthcoming book on memory and personhood, Drawn from Memory: Arab Lives Unremembered.  This lecture, "The Unfractioned Self-Person, Time and Conduct in Middle East Cultures," was co-sponsored with the Middle East and Islamic Consortium of BC.

Abstract

Notwithstanding the diversity of Middle Eastern cultures certain themes and variations are worth considering. In particular, the idea of the self as indivisible – as not composed of fully segregated roles or positions, but as defined by the totality of one’s negotiated networks – is deeply connected with the emphasis on time as relational, causation as traceable to sentience rather than impersonal forces, and language as a central vehicle for constructing social identity. Employing this vantage we may also throw light on a wide range of religious and political features, ranging from the everyday interpretation of the Quran or the style of legal reasoning to the reasons why the Prophet must be protected against slander or the rationale for engaging in suicidal bombings.

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Japanese Immigrants and the Retreat from White Supremacy A Historical Analysis of the Relationship between Nativism and Racism

Dr. Lon Kurashige

March 24, 2009

Lon Kurashige is an Associate Professor of History and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He is author of the award-winning book Japanese American Celebration and Conflict: A History of Ethnic Identity and Festival(Univerisity of California, 2002) as well as essays published in the Journal of American History and other scholarly journals.  Professor Kurashige also has edited a reader on Asian American history and is now re-interpreting US history for a new college-level textbook. The paper comes from his current research project entitled "Rethinking the Yellow Peril". 

Abstract

Research has well established that racism lay behind the nativist movement in the United States to bar Japanese immigration in the early 20th century.  But overlooked is the resistance to anti-Japanese racism that by the 1950s overturned America’s legacy of discriminating against Asian immigrants.  This paper examines the decline and collapse of Japanese exclusion through the case of Chester Rowell, a California journalist and social reformer who was one of the nation’s leading authorities on the “Japanese Question.” Rowell offers an intriguing window for  viewing the broader retreat in American politics from the ideology of white supremacy towards a vision of racial tolerance, inclusiveness, and colorblindness.

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