Past Events

Fall 2021

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.  His first book of poetry, Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza, will be published in April 2022 with City Lights Books.

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,  

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 andDirector 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.