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Beirut's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR)

Events taking place in Spring 2017:


Title: "From the Record: McCarthyism, Gossip, and Masculinist Populism in the Early Cold War"

Lecturer: Christopher Michael Elias

Affiliation: Brown University
Date: Thursday, 30 March 2017 

Place: conf. A, bldg. 37 (behind the old Lee observatory)
Time: 5:00-6:30 pm 

“From the Record: McCarthyism, Gossip, and Masculinist Populism in the Early Cold War" critically examines three moments in the political life of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy in an effort to understand his appeal and that of the populist movement he inspired. McCarthy used a new media landscape to exploit sociocultural concerns about gender, sexuality, and security, ultimately embracing tactics that appear prescient given current narratives surrounding “fake news" and “alternate facts." 

Christopher Elias recently completed his PhD in the Department of American Studies at Brown University. His work explores questions of culture, gender and identity in the modern United States and has been supported by the Harry S. Truman and Lyndon Johnson Presidential Libraries, as well as the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies.

Title: "Head Dress: Aligning the Hijab and Turban Under Imperial Visuality"

Lecturer: Balbir Singh

Affiliation: University of Illinois
Date: Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Place: conf. A, bldg. 37 (behind the old Lee observatory)
Time: 5:00-6:30 pm

In this talk, Singh theorizes and reckons with an aligned politics of recognition for both the hijabi Muslim body and the turbaned Sikh body. In the wake of renewed attacks on Muslim and Muslim-adjacent communities, the hijab and turban continue to be enveloped as important material objects in the racialization of Muslim and Sikh bodies. Analyzing contemporary visual culture as both testament and counter-archive to a geopolitical project of Islamophobia, “Head Dress" moves to both assemble and update how we apprehend these unsettling figures. Comparative in scope, this paper looks at the racial, gendered, and queer configurations that the religious symbols and objects of hijab and turban provide. Specifically, this talk examines the twinned contradictions in arguments around religious freedom, as well as the imperialist discourses of security in the ongoing Global Wars on Terror. Through readings of recent events, ephemera, and visual culture, Singh argues that the aligned politics of recognition of these two bodies has important effects for the racial, gendered, and sexual politics of American empire. 

Balbir K. Singh is a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Departments of Asian American Studies and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She earned her PhD in the Department of English at the University of Washington in 2016. Her research interests include comparative racialized religions; Arab and Asian American literary, visual, and cultural studies; transnational and women of color feminisms; and the politics of the body and dress. Her writing has appeared in Sikh Formations and Critical Ethnic Studies, and she is currently working on her first book, “Militant Bodies: Imperial Visuality and the Politics of Islamophobia."




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