- List View
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa

History and Society on TV in the Middle East Conference

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 9:00 AM to Friday, April 7, 2017 - 6:00 PM


Middle Eastern-produced television serials are a billion-dollar industry, and one that has stirred controversy among audiences in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond. The conference will bring together scholars of history, languages, and culture, communication, film studies, political science, and anthropology to explore the transnational projection of Middle Eastern television productions and the heated debates over history and contemporary social relations that they have generated.

On April 6-7, 2017, we will investigate Middle Eastern televised fiction in shaping popular opinion. A prelude to the conference includes showings of Middle Eastern productions.

For more information on this conference, please click here.

This event has been organized by Professor Madeline Zilfi, who can be contacted at mzilfi@umd.edu.

Valerie Anishchenkova is Associate Professor of Arabic at the University of Maryland and former Director of the Arabic Program and Undergraduate Arabic Flagship Program.  She is the author of Autobiographical Identities in Contemporary Arab Culture (Edinburgh University, 2014), "Checkpoint Masculinities in Sigalit Liphshitz's Cock Fight (1999)," in Journal of Short Film Studies 6 (2016), and "Feminist Voices of the 1990s Generation:  The New Feminine in Miral al-Tahawi's Blue Aubergine, forthcoming in Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 13 (2017).

Walter Armbrust is Associate Professor of Modern Middle Eastern Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies of the University of Oxford and Albert Hourani Fellow in St. Antony's College, University of Oxford.  He is the author of Mass Culture and Modernism in Egypt (Cambridge, 1996), "The Trickster in Egypt's January 25th Revolution," in Comparative Studies in Society and History 55 (2013), and "Neoliberalizing People and Places in Egyptian Media," in Ars Orientalis 42 (2012), and editor of Mass Mediations:  New Approaches to Popular Culture in the Middle East and Beyond (California, 2000).  His latest book, After Utopia:  The Egyptian Revolution as Liminal Crisis, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press.

Orit Bashkin is Professor of Modern Middle East History at the University of Chicago. She is the author of New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq (Stanford, 2012), The Other Iraq: Pluralism and Culture in Hashemite Iraq (Stanford, 2008), "When the Safras Met the Dajanis:  Arabic in Hebrew and the Rethinking of National Ideology," in Journal of Arabic Literature 47 (2016), and "Deconstructing Destruction:  The New Historiography of Twentieth-Century Iraq and the Second Gulf War," in Arab Studies Journal 23 (2015).

Aomar Boum is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He is the author of Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco (Stanford University, 2013), "Partners against Anti-Semitism:  Muslims and Jews Respond to Nazism in French North Africa," in The Journal of North African Studies 19 (2014), “The Virtual Genizah: Emerging North African Jewish and Muslim Identities Online," in International Journal of Middle East Studies 46(2014), and "Shoot-outs for the Nation: Football and Politics in Post-Colonial Algerian-Moroccan Relations," in Soccer and Society 14 (2013).

Joshua L. Carney received his PhD in Communication and Culture in 2015 from the University of Indiana.  He was a Doctoral Fellow at the Kadir Has University in Istanbul in 2014-15, and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Communication of the University of South Florida.  His publications include "Regarding North:  Bakur and the Crystallization of Cinematic Censorship in Turkey," in Kurdish Documentary Cinema in Turkey:  The Politics and Aesthetics of Identity and Resistance, edited by C. Candan and S. Koçer (Cambridge Scholars, 2016), and "Re-creating History and Recreating Publics:  The Success and Failure of Recent Ottoman Costume Dramas in Turkish Media," in European Journal of Turkish Studies 19 (2014).

Jane Gaffney is an independent researcher studying mass mediated entertainment in the Middle East and a retired U.S. Public Diplomacy officer.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she studied and worked in the Arab world for nearly twenty years in the field of education.  She has a BA from the American University in Washington DC in International Relations and an MA in Applied Linguistics from the American University in Cairo.  In Beirut, Jane studied Social Anthropology at the American University and conducted research in Jordan on Bedouin tribal law.  She later studied the Egyptian cinema before turning her attention to television programming in the region.  Her current research focuses on Arabic and Turkish TV dramas, looking particularly at the treatment of history and of terrorism.

Joel Gordon is Professor in the Department of History and Director of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas.  He is the author of Nasser's Blessed Movement:  Egypt's Free Officers and the July Revolution (Oxford, 1992), "Days of Anxiety/Days of Sadat:  Impersonating Egypt's Flawed Hero on the Egyptian Screen," in Journal of Film and Video 54 (2002), "River Blindness:  Black and White Identity in Early Nasserist Cinema," in Narrating the Nile:  Politics, Cultures, Identities, edited by I. Gershoni, et al. (Lynne Rienner, 2008), and "Piety, Youth and Egyptian Cinema—Still Seeking Islamic Space," in Islamism and Cultural Expression in the Arab World, edited by A. Hamdar and L. Moore (Routledge, 2015).

Shay Hazkani received his MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University in 2010 and his PhD in History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies in 2016 from New York University.  He is currently Assistant Professor in the Meyerhoff Program and the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland.  He is the author of "Soldiers' Political Indoctrination in the IDF, 1948-49," in Israel Studies Review 30 (2015), and co-author with Samuel Dolbee of "'Impossible Is Not Ottoman':  Menashe Meirovitch, 'Isa al-'Isa, and Imperial Citizenship in Palestine," in International Journal of Middle East Studies 47 (2015).

Ahmet Karamustafa is Professor of Early Modern Middle East History at the University of Maryland and Director of Graduate Studies in the History Department.  His publications include Sufism, the Formative Period (University of Edinburgh and University of California, 2007), God's Unruly Friends (University of Utah, 2006), "Islamisation through the Lens of the Saltukname," in Islam and Christianity in Medieval Anatolia (Ashgate, 2015), edited by A.C.S. Peacock, B. De Nicola, and S. N. Yildiz.

Fatemeh Keshavarz is Professor of Persian Studies, Director of the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and Chair and Director of the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland.  Her books include Jasmine and Stars:  Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran (University of North Carolina, 2007), Recite in the Name of the Red Rose (University of Southern California, 2006), and most recently Lyrics of Life: Sa’di on Love, Cosmopolitanism, and Care of the Self (Edinburgh University, 2015).

Ida Meftahi received her PhD from the University of Toronto in 2013.  She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in Contemporary Iranian Culture and Society at the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland.  Her publications include:  Gender and Dance in Modern Iran:  Biopolitics on Stage (Routledge, 2016); "Sacred or Dissident: Islam, Embodiment and Subjectivity on the Post-Revolutionary Iranian Theatrical Stage,” in Islam, Popular Culture and Art (University of Texas, 2016), edited by K. Van Nieuwkerk, M. Stokes, and M. LeVine; and “The Sounds and Moves of Ibtizal in 20th Century Iran,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 48 (2016).

Pedram Partovi received his PhD with distinction in History from the University of Chicago in 2010.  He is currently Assistant Professor of Middle East History at American University, Washington, D.C.   His publications include "Reconsidering Popular Iranian Cinema and Its Audiences," in Iranian Studies 45 (2012), "Girls' Dormitory:  Women's Islam and Iranian Horror," in Visual Anthropology Review 25 (2009), and the forthcoming "Constituting Love in Persianate Cinema."

Leslie Peirce is Silver Professor of History Emerita at New York University.  She is the author of Morality Tales:  Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab (California, 2003), The Imperial Harem:  Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire (Oxford, 1993), and “An Imperial Caste: Inverted Racialization in the Architecture of Ottoman Sovereignty,” in Rereading the Black Legend: The Discourses of Racism in the Renaissance Empires, edited by M. R. Greer, W. Mignolo & M. Quilligan (University of Chicago, 2007).  Her biography of Hurrem (Roxelana), concubine and wife of the sixteenth-century Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, is due out from Basic Books in 2017.

Mehdi Semati is Professor of Communication at Northern Illinois University.  Among his publications are "Elite Discourse on Technology in Iran" (co-authored), in Sociology of Islam 4 (2016); "The Geopolitics of Parazit, the Iranian Televisual Sphere, and the Global Infrastructure of Political Humor," in Popular Communication 10 (2012); "Communication, Culture, and the Essentialized Islam," in Communication Studies 62 (2011); and "Islamophobia, Culture and Race in the Age of Empire, in Cultural Studies 24 (2010).

Christa Salamandra is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Lehman College, City University of New York.  Her publications include A New Old Damascus:  Authenticity and Distinction in Urban Syria (Indiana University, 2004), "Ambivalent Islam:  Religion in Syrian Television Drama," in Islam and Popular Culture, edited by K. van Nieuwkerk and Mark Levine (University of Texas, 2016), and a co-edited volume, Syria from Reform to Revolt:  Culture, Society and Religion (Syracuse University, 2015), which includes her article, "Syria's Drama Outpouring between Complicity and Critique."

Philip Soergel is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern European History at the University of Maryland and Chair of its Department of History.  He is co-editor of the Routledge series, Religious Cultures in the Early Modern World, and the author of Miracles and the Protestant Imagination (Oxford, 2012) and Wondrous in His Saints:  Counter-Reformation Propaganda in Bavaria (California 1993).

Edith Szanto received her PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Toronto in 2012.  She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.  She has conducted fieldwork in both Iraq and Syria on religious practice and expression in the Levant.  Her articles include “Economies of Piety at the Syrian Shrine of Sayyida Zaynab,” in Muslim Pilgrimage, edited by Babak Rahimi and Peyman Eshaghi (University of North Carolina, 2015), and “Beyond the Karbala Paradigm: Rethinking Revolution and Redemption in Twelver Shi‘a Mourning Rituals,” (Journal of Shi‘a Islamic Studies 6, 2013).

Shibley Telhami is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and the Director of the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll.  He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.  He is the author of The Stakes:  America and the Middle East (Westview, 2004), The World through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East (Basic Books, 2013), Power and Leadership in International Bargaining:  The Path to the Camp David Accords (Columbia University, 1990), and with Daniel Kurtzer et al., The Peace Puzzle:  America's Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011 (Cornell University, 2013).

Peter Wien is Associate Professor of Modern Middle East History at the University of Maryland, Director of the UM Middle East Studies Graduate Field Committee, and President of The Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TARII).  He is the author of Arab Nationalism: The Politics of History and Culture in the Modern Middle East (Routledge, 2017), and Iraqi Arab Nationalism:  Authoritarian, Totalitarian and Pro-Fascist Inclinations (Routledge, 2006) as well as articles on ideological transfer and the cultural history of nationalism in the Middle East.

Eric Zakim is Associate Professor of Hebrew Literature and Culture and Director of the Graduate Field Committee on Film Studies at the University of Maryland.  His publications include To Build and Be Built: Landscape, Literature, and the Construction of Zionist Identity (University of Pennsylvania, 2006), “Chris Marker’s Description of a Struggle and the Limits of the Essay Film,” in The Essay Film (Wallflower Press, 2016), edited by Elizabeth Papazian and Caroline Eades, and co-editor of David Fogel and the Emergence of Hebrew Modernism (a special issue of Prooftexts, 1993).

Madeline Zilfi is Professor of Middle East and Islamic History at the University of Maryland.  She is the author of Women and Slavery in the Late Ottoman Empire:  The Design of Difference (Cambridge, 2010); “Muslim Women in the Early Modern Era,” The Cambridge History of Turkey: The Later Ottoman Empire, 1603-1839 (Cambridge, 2006), edited by Suraiya Faroqhi; and The Politics of Piety:  The Ottoman Ulema 1600-1800 (Bibliotheca Islamica, 1988); and editor of Women in the Ottoman Empire:  Middle Eastern Women in the Early Modern Era  (Brill, 1997).