2015-2016 Annual Lecture Series

Re-Imagining Self and Other: Knowledge, Power and the Clash of Ignorance

Karim H. Karim

Wednesday, 13 July 2016, 7 PM - 9 PM

SFU Harbour Centre, Room 1900 - 515 W. Hasting St., Vancouver


The twenty-first century exploded into the global imagination with unforgettable scenes of death and destruction. An apocalyptic “clash of civilizations” seemed to be waged between two old foes – “the West” and “Islam.” Much of the interaction between them is characterized by a mutual lack of awareness of the vital role that each has played historically in shaping the other. Western and Muslim civilizations have demonstrated a vast capacity for productive engagement. But this long record of collaborative exchange has not prevented a contemporary escalation of the “clash of ignorance” on both sides. The complexities and subtleties of their mutually beneficial relationship are overshadowed by portrayals of unremitting conflict that promote a continuing cycle of terrorism and war. Canada and other countries have paid dearly in blood and treasure in the last one and half decades of strife, which seems fated to continue for many more years. It is time to re-imagine Western-Muslim intersections.

Karim H. Karim is the Director of the Carleton Centre for the Study of Islam and Professor of Communication at Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication. He has also served as Director of the School and of the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, England, and has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. Earlier in his career, he worked as a journalist and then as a senior policy analyst in the Multiculturalism Program of the Canadian government. Professor Karim has delivered several major lectures at venues in North America, Europe, and Asia, including the 2007 Laurier Institute/University of British Columbia Multiculturalism Lecture, which was broadcast to a national audience on CBC Radio 1’s program, Ideas. His most recent publications are the twin volumes: Re-Imagining the Other: Culture, Media, and Western-Muslim Intersections and Engaging the Other: Public Policy and Western-Muslim Intersections. Karim won the inaugural Robinson Prize for his critically acclaimed book Islamic Peril: Media and Global Violence. He has been honoured by the Government of Canada for his efforts in promoting collaborative activities between Muslims, Jews, Christians, and other Canadian communities.


Nadje Al-Ali

Monday, March 21, 2016, 7 PM

Simon Fraser University
Segal Building Room 1500
500 Granville Street, Vancouver

Why does gender matter when looking at developments in the Middle East? The lecture will develop the argument that gender is not a side issue but central to understanding recent developments in the region. Focusing on Iraq, Egypt and Turkey as three different sites of conflict and violence, but also addressing developments in other parts of the Middle East, the talk will explore the significance of body politics for wider political developments. It will also show how feminist activism in the region is particularly challenged to not only address gender-based inequalities and forms of injustices but also wider forms of political authoritarianism.

Dr. Nadje Al-Ali is Professor of Gender Studies at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London. Her main research interests revolve around gender theory; feminist activism; women and gender in the Middle East; transnational migration and diaspora mobilization; war, conflict and reconstruction; art & cultural studies, and food. Her publications include What Kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq (University of California Press, 2009, co-authored with Nicola Pratt); Women and War in the Middle East: Transnational Perspectives (Zed Books, 2009, co-edited with Nicola Pratt); Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present (Zed Books, 2007); New Approaches to Migration (Routledge, 2002, co-edited with Khalid Koser); Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and Gender Writing – Writing Gender (The American University in Cairo Press, 1994) as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles. Her most recent book entitled We are Iraqis: Aesthetics & Politics in a Time of War (Syracuse University Press, 2013, co-edited with Deborah al-Najjar) won the 2014 Arab-American book prize for non-fiction.

Professor Al-Ali was President of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS) from 2009-2011. Recently, she has been elected to the Board of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). She is also a member of the Feminist Review Collective and a founding member of Act Together: Women’s Action for Iraq ( She is currently involved in several projects with Iraqi academics and women’s rights activists with the aim to facilitate the introduction of women and gender studies and increase evidence-based research capacity in Iraq.

A seminar for faculty members, research scholars, and students by Dr. Al-Ali:

Gendering the Kurdish-Turkish Conflict and Attempts at Peace

Based on her on-going joint research with a Turkish-Kurdish scholar (Dr Latif Tas), Dr. Nadje Al-Ali will shed light on the historical context and current development of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict with a specific focus on its gendered dimensions. The seminar will attempt to address the following questions: What kind of conflict and violence are Turkish and Kurdish women’s rights activists fighting against? How does women’s rights activism and peace activism intersect? Why has gender become central to the Kurdish political movement? What are points of commonalities and tensions amongst Turkish and Kurdish women’s rights activists? And how do developments in south-eastern Turkey link to the Kurdish women fighting ISIS in Kobane (Rojava in Syria)?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Academic Quadrangle 6229


Sinan Antoon

Thursday, October 1, 2015, 7:30 PM

Simon Fraser University
Segal Building Room 1500
500 Granville Street, Vancouver

How does a poet mourn and grieve the death and destruction visited upon one’s homeland yet avoid clinging to the nation-state or denying its own congenital violence? The lecture will address this question and its potential answer in the late works of Sargon Boulus (1944-2008).

Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist, translator, and academic at the Gallatin School, New York University. His poetry and novels have been translated into English, German, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Italian, and his work has merited the National Translation Award, the Arab American Book Award, and the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize. Among his recently published books are the novel, The Corpse Washer (Yale University Press, 2014), the collection of poetry, Laylun Wahidun fi Kull al-Mudun (One Night in All Cities) (Dar al-Jamal, 2010), and the academic study, The Poetics of the Obscene in Premodern Arabic Poetry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Acclaim for Sinan Antoon's work

“The Corpse Washer is a remarkable achievement . . . a compact masterpiece, a taut, powerful and utterly absorbing tale that, with luck, will secure Antoon a wider, more international readership.”—The National

“Antoon gives us a remarkable novel that in 184 pages captures the experience of an Iraqi everyman who has lived through the war with Iran in the first half of the 1980s, the 1991 Gulf War over the Kuwaiti invasion, and then the 2003 war.”—Three Percent

A seminar for faculty members, research scholars, and students by Dr. Antoon:

Aunt Merkel: The Politics of Parody in Iraqi Popular Culture

Merkel's name and image have been prominent in recent protests in Iraq. This talk will present ongoing research as to the ways in which parody is deployed to critique corruption and the failure of state institutions in Iraq today.

Friday, October 2, 2015, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Academic Quadrangle 6229


Resat Kasaba

Thursday, October 22, 2015, 7 PM

Simon Fraser University
Segal Building, Room 1500
500 Granville Street, Vancouver

Turkey has been practicing democratic politics for seventy years. It has also been a member of NATO and other western alliances for almost the same amount of time.  Why, after all these years it is, once  again,  on the verge of an all-out civil war,  in danger of becoming totally isolated in its foreign policy, and facing a big economic crisis?  This lecture will explore short-term and long term factors that have  contributed to this situation.  

Resat Kasaba is the Stanley D. Golub Chair of International Studies at the University of Washington, where he also directs the Jackson School of International Studies. Dr. Kasaba researches the transformation of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey in the modern period, with a focus on economic and social history. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including A Moveable Empire: Ottoman Nomads, Migrants, and Refugees (University of Washington Press, 2009) and The Cambridge History of Turkey, vol. IV: Turkey in the Modern World (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

Acclaim for Resat Kasaba's work

“In this remarkable work of synthesis, Kasaba provides critical new insights into the relevance of the Ottoman past to the modern Middle East and makes a major contribution to the study of tribe and state relations across eight centuries.”  American Historical Review

A seminar for faculty members, research scholars, and students by Dr. Kasaba:

Two Lives in Izmir at the End of World War One


Between the end of World War One and the establishment of the Turkish Republic, the city of Izmir went through a complete transformation. While it had a non-Muslim plurality for most of its history, it emerged from the wars of the early twentieth century as a predominantly Muslim city. This seminar will focus on two individuals who came from cosmopolitan backgrounds and discuss how they tried to cope with this transformation.


Friday, October 23, 2015, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Academic Quadrangle 6229