Upcoming Events

Fall 2021

The fall speaker series is being co-sponsored by the Dean’s Office of the College of Arts & Letters, Keough School of Global Affairs, and Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

 

 

Leaving Childhood Behind: A Conversation with Mosab Abu Toha, Poet and Founder of the Edward Said Public Library in Gaza
Friday, October 8th, 2021 12:00 pm EST/17:00 pm BST/19:00 pm EET

Mosab Abu Toha is a Palestinian bilingual poet, essayist, and short story writer from Gaza. A graduate in English language, he taught English at the UNRWA schools in Gaza 2016-2019, and is the founder of the Edward Said Public Library, Gaza’s first English language library (now two branches).  In 2019-2020, Mosab became a visiting poet at Harvard University, hosted by the Department of Comparative Literature. He is also a columnist for Arrowsmith Press.  Mosab’s poetry, essays, and short stories have been or will be published by Poetry, Solstice, Banipal, Periphery, Harvard Human Rights Review, Kikah, Middle East Eye.  In 2020, Mosab gave talks and poetry readings at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, the University of Arizona, and the American Library Association Midwinter Exhibits and Meetings.

This conversation will be moderated by Refqa Abu-Remaileh, Professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Film at the Department of Semitic and Arabic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin and Principal Investigator of the European Research Council (ERC) project “PalREAD-Country of Words” and Alison Rice, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies and the Chair of the Romance Languages Department at the University of Notre Dame.  

Refqa Abu-Remaileh is professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Film at the Department of Semitic and Arabic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. She is the Principal Investigator of the European Research Council (ERC) project “PalREAD-Country of Words”, a digital project that explores the history of Palestinian Literature. Abu-Remaileh received her DPhil and MSt in modern Arabic Literature and Film from the University of Oxford, and her BA in English Literature from the University of British Columbia.

Alison Rice is Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Notre Dame. She specializes in 20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature and film. Her first book, Time Signatures: Contextualizing Contemporary Francophone Autobiographical Writing from the Maghreb (Lexington Books 2006), closely examines the work of Hélène Cixous, Assia Djebar, and Abdelkébir Khatibi. Her second book, Polygraphies: Francophone Women Writing Algeria (University of Virginia Press, 2012), focuses on autobiographical writings by seven prominent Francophone women writers from Algeria. She is the editor of a forthcoming volume titled Transpositions: Migration, Translation, Music (Liverpool University Press, 2021) that explores a wide range of innovations in Francophone film, literature, theater, and art. Her current book project, inspired by a series of filmed interviews she conducted in Paris, constitutes an in-depth examination of the present proliferation of women writers of French from around the world.

This event is co-sponsored and co-organized with Archives of the Disappeared Research Seminar, University of Cambridge and the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative at Harvard University, https://rpl.hds.harvard.edu/programs/religion-conflict-peace.  

 

Poetries of Abolition: Dwayne Betts and James Ford III in Conversation with Francisco Robles
Friday, November 5th, 2021 12:00 pm EST/17:00 pm BST/19:00 pm EET
 

Reginald Dwayne Betts is the Founder and Director of the Million Book Project. A poet and lawyer, he transformed himself from a sixteen-year old kid sentenced to nine-years in prison to a critically acclaimed writer and graduate of the Yale Law School. He has written three acclaimed collections of poetry, the recently published FelonBastards of the Reagan Era, and Shahid Reads His Own Palm. His memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, is the story of a young man confined in the worst prisons in the state of Virginia, where solitary confinement, horrific conditions, and the constant violence threatened to break his humanity. Instead, Betts used the time to turn himself into a poet, a scholar, and an advocate for the reform of the criminal justice system.

He is the recipient of an American Book Award, PEN/New England Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, Radcliffe Fellowship, and a 2019 National Magazine Award for Getting Out, his New York Times Magazine article about his journey from prison to becoming a licensed attorney, amongst numerous other awards and honors. He holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland; an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College, where he was a Holden Fellow; and, a J.D. from Yale Law School. He is a Ph.D. in Law candidate at Yale and as a Liman Fellow, he spent a year representing clients in the New Haven Public Defender’s Office.

James Ford is Associate Professor of English and Black Studies and Chair of English at Occidental College.  His first book, Thinking Through Crisis: Depression-Era Black Literature, Theory and Politics won the MLA’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize. He is currently working on two book-length projects: Phillis, the Black Swan: Disheveling the Origins of African American Letters and Hip-Hop’s Late Style: Liner Notes to an Aesthetic Theory.
 

This conversation will be introduced by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Director of Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame, and moderated by Francisco Robles, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.  

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of Call Me Zebra, winner of the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award, the John Gardner Fiction Award and longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award. She is a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and a Whiting Writers Award Winner. Her novel, Savage Tongues, is forthcoming in 2021. She is the Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Notre Dame and a Fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. 

Francisco E. Robles teaches and researches in American Literatures of the twentieth century, focusing in particular on Multi-Ethnic American Literature. He has articles in Latino StudiesPost45: Peer ReviewedMELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United StatesASAP/JKilling the Buddha, and Post45: Contemporaries, reviews in the Journal of Popular Music Studiessx:salon, and The New Mexico Historical Review, as well as a chapter in the edited collection Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities.

This event is co-sponsored by the Archives of the Disappeared Research Seminar, University of Cambridge.

 

 

Poetics of Evidence: Sonallah Ibrahim in conversation with Ammiel Alcalay
Friday, November 19th, 2021 12:00 pm EST/17:00 pm BST/19:00 pm EET


Poet, novelist, translator, critic, and scholar Ammiel Alcalay teaches at Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. His books include After Jews and Arabs, Memories of Our Future, Islanders, neither wit nor gold: from then, from the warring factions, and a little history. Recent books include the co-edited A Dove in Flight: Poems by Faraj Bayrakdar, with Shareah Taleghani and the New York Translation Collective; a poem sequence, Ghost Talk, and A Bibliography for After Jews & Arabs. He has written and been active on the question of Palestine for decades and, during the wars in ex-Yugoslavia, he was one of the main conduits for translations from Bosnia. He is a contributing editor of The Markaz Review and was given a 2017 American Book Award from The Before Columbus Foundation for his work as founder and General Editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative (lostandfoundbooks.org).

Sonallah Ibrahim was born in Cairo in 1937. Involved in political activities as a student, he was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment in 1959. He has been a full-time writer since 1976.  He studied law at the University of Cairo and cinematography at Moscow film institute.  His first novel ” the smell of it” in 1966 was censored in Egypt but republished in Beirut several times.  Only in 1986, the complete version appeared in Cairo, Khartoum, and Casablanca simultaneously. It has been translated into 11 languages.

Corruption, exploitation, ever-increasing American influence, the Lebanese civil war, and the revolutionary experience of Zofar in Oman between 1965and 1975, the Israeli expansionist policy, and the multinationals are among the themes of his novels.  Additionally, he writes ecological novels for young people, has been a visiting professor at the French University of Bordeaux and the American one at Berkeley.  He has been described as “ somewhere between a political activist and a writer of inventiveness, experimentation, and mastery of different kinds of tone-light –hearted mockery, irony, satire and tragedy.”

In 2003 he was awarded the Egyptian state prize for Arab novel. He rejected it in public and used the event to deplore the policy of dependence and corruption followed by the Egyptian regime.  In 2010 his novel Zaat was turned into a successful TV production. Another novel, sharaf, is now under preparation as a co-production film (French, German, Egyptian) by the director Samir Nasr.  The novel Al Lagna was translated into French, Swedish, English, Russian, Italian and other languages. It ran into its tenth edition in Arabic.   In 2019 he got Mahmoud Darweesh literary prize.

This conversation will be moderated by Hana Morgenstern, University Lecturer in Postcolonial and Middle East Literature at Cambridge University and a Fellow at Newnham College.  

Dr. Hana Morgenstern is a scholar, writer and translator. She is University Lecturer in Postcolonial and Middle East Literature at Cambridge University and a Fellow at Newnham College. Dr Morgenstern is co-director of the Documents of the Arab Left and the Revolutionary Papers projects and co-convener of the Archives of the Disappeared seminar. She is currently at work on a book manuscript titled, Literary Infiltrators: Anticolonial Collaboration in Palestine/Israel. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Markaz Review and the Archives of the Disappeared Research Seminar, University of Cambridge.

 

 

Political Violence and the Literary Subject: Salwa Ismail, Solmaz Sharif and Roger Reeves in Conversation
Friday, December 3rd, 2021 12:00 pm EST/17:00 pm BST/19:00 pm EET
 

Salwa Ismail is Professor of Politics with reference to the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her research examines everyday forms of government, urban governance, and governmental violence. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in both Egypt and Syria, enquiring into how mechanisms of government and practices of violence come to be formative of ordinary citizens’ political subjectivities. Her book Political Life in Cairo’s New Quarters: Encountering the Everyday State (University of Minnesota Press 2006) brings to focus regimes of discipline and control in everyday encounters between citizens and state agents and agencies in various urban spaces such as outdoor markets, streets and alleyways, security checkpoints, and municipality offices. Her recent book The Rule of Violence: Subjectivity, Memory and Government in Syria (Cambridge University Press 2018) asks how the Asad regime’s practices of violence, both in their routine and spectacular forms (e.g. the school, the prison camp), shaped Syrian political subjectivities, and what effect this violence has had at the level of society and the individual.

Roger Reeves’s poems have appeared in journals such as PoetryPloughsharesAmerican Poetry ReviewThe NationBest American Poetry, and The New Yorker, among others. He was awarded a 2015 Whiting Award, two Pushcart Prizes, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a 2013 NEA Fellowship, and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. His first book is King Me (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), which won the Larry Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University, the Zacharis Prize from Ploughshares, and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. His second book of poetry, Best Barbarian, is forthcoming from W.W. Norton in February of 2022.

Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif is the author of Look, finalist for the National Book Award. She holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, the New York Times, and others. Her work has been recognized with a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lannan Foundation, and Stanford University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at Arizona State University where she is inaugurating a Poetry for the People program. Her second poetry collection, Customs, will be published by Graywolf Press in March 2022.

This conversation will be moderated by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Director of Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame, and Ernesto Verdeja, Associate Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies.  

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of Call Me Zebra, winner of the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award, the John Gardner Fiction Award and longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award. She is a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and a Whiting Writers Award Winner. Her novel, Savage Tongues, is forthcoming in 2021. She is the Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Notre Dame and a Fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. 

Ernesto Verdeja is Associate Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies at Notre Dame. His research focuses on the causes and prevention of genocide and mass atrocities, as well as on political reconciliation and transitional justice. Ernesto also frequently consults on mass atrocities prevention and early warning with governments and human rights organizations.

This event is co-sponsored by the Archives of the Disappeared Research Seminar, University of Cambridge.

 

 

Spring 2022

 

The Madman of Freedom Square: Hassan Blasim and Jonathan Wright in Conversation With Amir Ahmadi Arian and Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
Friday, January 28th, 2022 12:00 pm EST/17:00 pm BST/19:00 pm EET

Hassan Blasim (b. 1973) is an Iraqi writer, poet, and filmmaker who is currently living in Helsinki, Finland. Born in Baghdad, he studied at the city’s Academy of Cinematic Arts where two of his screenplays won the Academy’s Festival Prize for Best Work. In 1998 he was advised by his tutors to leave Baghdad, since the political and critical nature of his films was drawing attention from Saddam’s informants at the Academy. After fleeing and travelling through Europe as a refugee, he settled in Finland in 2004. His debut collection of short stories, The Madman of Freedom Square (Comma Press, 2009), was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010. His second collection, The Iraqi Christ (Comma Press, 2013), won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2014.  Blasim’s writing has been translated into over 20 languages to date. He has been described by the Guardian as “perhaps the greatest writer of Arab fiction alive”. His debut novel, Allah99, was published in 2020.

Jonathan Wright studied Arabic, Turkish, and Islamic history at St. John’s College, Oxford University. Between 1980 and 2009 he worked for Reuters news agency, mainly in the Middle East. He began literary translation in 2008 and has since translated about a dozen novels, as well as collections of short stories, essays, and poetry. He won the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation twice, for  The Bamboo Stalk  by Kuwaiti writer Saud al-Sanoussi and  Azazeel  by Egyptian writer Youssef Ziedan, as well as the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2014 for his translation of  The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim. His latest literary translations include Jokes for the Gunmen, short stories by Mazen Maarouf, and  Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2018.

This conversation will be moderated by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Director of Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame, and Amir Ahmadi Arian, Visiting faculty of City College, New York. 

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of Call Me Zebra, winner of the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award, the John Gardner Fiction Award and longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award. She is a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and a Whiting Writers Award Winner. Her novel, Savage Tongues, is forthcoming in 2021. She is the Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Notre Dame and a Fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. 

Amir Ahmadi Arian started his writing career as a journalist in Iran. He has published two novels, a collection of stories, and a book of nonfiction in Persian. He also translated from English to Persian novels by E.L. Doctorow, Paul Auster, P.D. James, and Cormac McCarthy. Since 2013, he has been writing and publishing exclusively in English. In recent years, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, LRB, and Lithub. He holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Queensland, Australia, and an MFA in creative writing from NYU. He currently teaches literature and creative writing at City College, New York.

This event is co-sponsored by the Archives of the Disappeared Research Seminar, University of Cambridge.

 

 

The Politics of Home: Lina Meruane and Nadia Owusu in Conversation
Friday, February 25th, 2022 12:00 pm EST/17:00 pm BST/19:00 pm EET

Lina Meruane is an award-winning Chilean writer and scholar. She has published two collections of short stories and five novels. Translated by Megan McDowell into English are her latest: Seeing Red (Deep Vellum & Atlantic) and Nervous System (Graywolf & Atlantic). Meruane has written several non-fiction books, among which is her memoir Becoming Palestine and her essay on the impact and representation of the AIDS epidemic in Latin American literature, Viral Voyages (Palgrave MacMillan). She received the prestigious Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Novel Prize (Mexico 2012), the Anna Seghers Prize (Germany, 2011) as well as grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and a DAAD Writer in Residence in Berlin, and the Casa Cien Años de Soledad (Mexico 2021), among others. She currently teaches Global Cultures and Creative Writing at New York University.  (Photo credit: Lorena Palavecino)

Nadia Owusu is a Ghanaian and Armenian-American writer and urbanist. Her first book, Aftershocks,  topped many most-anticipated and best book of the year lists, including The New York TimesThe Oprah MagazineVogue, TIMEVulture, and the BBC. It was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. Nadia is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Orion, Granta, The Paris Review Daily, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, and others. 

By day, Nadia is Director of Storytelling at Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned consulting firm working for justice and liberation in partnership with philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. She teaches creative writing at the Mountainview MFA program and lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

This conversation will be co-moderated by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Associate Professor of English in Creative Writing, and Atalia Omer, Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and at the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame.

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of Call Me Zebra, winner of the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award, the John Gardner Fiction Award and longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award. She is a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and a Whiting Writers Award Winner. Her novel, Savage Tongues, is forthcoming in 2021. She is the Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Notre Dame and a Fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. 

Atalia Omer is Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and at the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Her research focuses on religion, violence, and peacebuilding as well as theories and methods in the study of religion. Omer was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2017. She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Program’s Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative.