Fall 2020

Neda Maghbouleh, The Limits of Whiteness, Friday September 4th, 2020, 12-1:30PM EST

Dr. Neda Maghbouleh is Associate Professor of Sociology and Canada Research Chair in Migration, Race, and Identity at the University of Toronto. An international expert on racial identity formation with a strategic focus on SWANA immigrants and refugees, she is Principal Investigator of RISE Team, a major 5-year study of integration and wellbeing among Syrian newcomer refugees. Her award-winning first book, The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race was published in 2017 by Stanford University Press. Born in New York City and raised in Portland, Oregon, Neda now lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and six-year-old daughter, Neelu.

This conversation will feature the discussant, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Director of Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame, and be moderated by a Niloofar Adnani, MGA graduate student with the Keough School of Global Affairs.  Event page can be found here.

Niloofar Adnani holds a BSc in mechanical engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology. She also has completed graduate-level coursework in women’s studies at Allameh Tabataba’i University. While volunteering for various nongovernmental organizations, Niloofar developed analytical skills and gained an understanding of intersectional oppression and structural inequality. She has organized educational camps for students in underserved parts of Iran, raised funds for school construction projects, and supported the production of handicrafts by the Baluchi people, a nomadic minority group. She also is an active translator for Harasswatch, an Iran-based group that aims to mitigate the normalization of harassment and assault in public spaces. Niloofar’s first goal as a socialist feminist and graduate student is to stand against discrimination. She is the recipient of a Donald & Marilyn Keough Fellowship.

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 long listed 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. 


Ibtisam Azem, The Book of Disappearance, Friday, October 2nd, 2020, 12-1.30PM EST (moderated by Nazli Koca)

Ibtisam Azem is a Palestinian short story writer, novelist, and journalist, based in New York. She studied at  the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and later at Freiburg University, Germany, and earned an MA in Islamic Studies, with minors in German and English Literature. In 2011 she moved to New York where she lives now and works as a senior correspondent covering the United Nations for the Arabic daily al-Araby al-Jadeed. She is also co-editor at Jadaliyya e-zine.

The Book of Disappearance is her second novel in Arabic. It was translated by Sinan Antoon and published by Syracuse University Press in July 2019. Some of her writings have been translated and published in French, German, English and Hebrew and have appeared in several anthologies and journals. She is working on her third novel and she just finished another MA in Social Work from NYU’s Silver school.

This conversation will feature the discussant, Hilary Rantisi, Associate Director of the Religion, Conflict and Peace Initiative and Senior Fellow at the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School, and be moderated by Notre Dame MFA alum, Nazli Koca.  This event is co-sponsored by the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative at Harvard University, https://rpl.hds.harvard.edu/programs/religion-conflict-peace.  Event page can be found here.

Hilary Rantisi, Associate Director of the Religion, Conflict and Peace Initiative and Senior Fellow at the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School.  She has over a decade and a half of experience in institution building at Harvard. Previously, she was Director of the Middle East Initiative (MEI) at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She received her Master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining Harvard, she worked with civil society organizations in Israel-Palestine, which focused on religion, politics, and grassroots mobilization efforts in Jerusalem. She co-edited Our Story: The Palestinians in 1999, and has been an active public speaker on issues pertaining to the Middle East region. Hilary is a native Arabic speaker.

Nazli Koca is an anglophone writer who grew up on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Her work has appeared in The Threepenny Reviewbooks without covers, and elsewhere. She currently lives in the US, where she continues to write about exile, disorientation, and isolation. nazlikoca.com

Sinan Antoon, Literature and Surveillance: A Reading and Conversation, Friday, November 6th, 2020 12-1.30PM EST

Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist, scholar, and translator. He was born in Baghdad and left Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War. He holds degrees from Baghdad, Georgetown, and Harvard where he earned his doctorate in Arabic Literature in 2006. He has published two collections of poetry and four novels. His works have been translated into thirteen languages. His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s last prose book In the Presence of Absence won the 2012 American Literary Translators’ Award. His translation of his own novel, The Corpse Washer, won the 2014 Saif Ghobash Prize for Literary Translation and was longlisted for the International Prize for Foreign Fiction. Two of his novels were shortlisted for the Arabic Booker. His scholarly works include The Poetics of the Obscene: Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf (Palgrave, 2014) and articles on Mahmoud Darwish, Sargon Boulus, and Saadi Youssef. He returned to his native hometown in 2003 to co-direct About Baghdad, a documentary about Baghdad after dictatorship and under occupation. He has published op-eds in The GuardianThe New York TimesThe Nation and various pan-Arab publications. His latest novel, The Book of Collateral Damage was published by Yale University Press in 2019. He is an Associate Professor of Arabic Literature at New York University and co-founder and the editor of the Arabic section of Jadaliyya.

This conversation will feature the discussant, Olivier Morel, Joint Associate Professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame, and be moderated by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Director of Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame.  Event page can be found here.

A French and American scholar and filmmaker, Olivier Morel is the director of several feature-length nonfiction films (documentaries) and the author of essays including one graphic novel with the artist and writer Maël. His academic work, as well as his films, highlight the importance of creation and the arts (music, literature, cinema, photography) in the perception of historical events. He is a joint associate professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Censorship and Silence: A Global Historical Approach, Friday, December 4th, 2020 12:00 pm EST

‘The Only Good Chinese Writers Live Outside China’ and Other Myths: On the Transnational Censorship of Chinese Writers

Michel Hockx is Professor of Chinese Literature and Director of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on modern and contemporary Chinese literary and cultural communities, their publications, their values, their relationship to the state, and their representation in history. His most recent book publications are Women and the Periodical Press in China’s Long Twentieth Century (co-edited with Joan Judge and Barbara Mittler, Cambridge UP, 2018) and Internet Literature in China (monograph, Columbia UP, 2015)

Sistahood is Powerful: Recovering Black Women Intellectuals of the Black Arts and Black Power Movements

La Donna L. Forsgren is an associate professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame. Her research reclaims black women’s intellectual, artistic, and activist traditions within US theatre and society. She is the author of In Search of Our Warrior Mothers: Women Dramatists of the Black Arts Movement (Northwestern University Press, 2018) and Sistuhs in the Struggle: An Oral History of Black Arts Movement Theater and Performance (Northwestern University Press, 2020).

This conversation will be moderated by Nan Z. Da, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.  Event page can be found here.

Nan Z. Da is an assistant professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. She works on Chinese and American literature from the nineteenth-century, as well as literary and social theory, to address the truth-telling capacities of literary criticism, and its uses for understanding counterintuitive social dynamics behind our cross-cultural encounters. This work also extends into methodological inquiries into the relationship between literary interpretation and data science. She is the author of Intransitive Encounter: Sino-US Literature and the Limits of Exchange (Columbia University Press, 2018) and edits, with Professor Anahid Nersessian, the Thinking Literature series housed at the University of Chicago Press.