Meursault's Labyrinth, a multi-media play uniting The Stranger, The Battle of Algiers, and the Lebanese civil war

​​When: Thurs-Sun, Nov 29 - Dec 2, 8:30pm            Where: The Station, Jesr al-Wati

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The Battle of Algiers blows up Albert Camus’ l’Etranger with the Lebanese Civil War watching and waiting in the wings. A play of memory, time, time-bombs and other man-made earthquakes. A purifying wave of almost true stories about beautiful bombers, tortured torturers, fallen men and rising women.

Written and Directed by American screenwriter and AUB literature professor, Doyle Avant 
Produced ​by Sahar Assaf

Cast: Basma Baydoun, Doyle Avant, Elie Youssef, Jawad Rizkallah, Pascale Chnaiss, Sahar Assaf, Sany Abdul Baki

Presented by the AUB Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH) Mellon Grant, the Center for American Studies and Research at AUB (CASAR), and the AUB Theater Initiative.

​Panel on the U.S. Mid-term Elections: What the Results Mean for the U.S. and the World

When: Monday November 12, 5PM                 Where: Building 37

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Tim Raphael Associate Professor of Arts, Culture, and Media and Founding Director of the Center for Migration and the Global City (Rutgers University – Newark)

Kouross Esmaeli Visiting Professor of Media Studies and American Studies (AUB)

Juli Carson Jabre Visiting Professor in Art History and Curating (AUB)

Karim Makdisi Associate Professor of International Politics (AUB)

Danyel Reiche Associate Professor of Comparative Politics (AUB)

This interdisciplinary panel of scholars will come together to discuss the results of the 2016 American mid-term elections. Since 2016, the United States and the world have witnessed one of the nation's most controversial presidencies, that of Republican Donald Trump. Backed by a Republican House and Senate since his election, there have been little to no checks or balances exercised on his executive powers. On November 6th, during a time of intense strife between progressive and conservative forces in the country, the American people had a chance to shift the balance of power on local, state, and federal levels. But did this happen? What ground was held and what ground was forfeited in this round of mid-term elections? Who are the important political actors to keep an eye on moving forward? How, why, and to what avail are the American people participating in electoral politics? Join us for what promises to be an intriguing discussion about the current political climate in the U.S. and its implications worldwide.

Border Questions: ​A film s​creening and discussion with filmmakers Ernie Larsen and Sherry Millner

When: Friday November 9, 1-2:30 PM         Where: Building 37


Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen, co-creators of the interventionist video program State of Emergency, are anarchist artists, who often work collaboratively on film, book, installation, curatorial and other media projects. Volume 2 of their Disruptive Film: Everyday Resistance to Power DVD collections is now available through Facets Multimedia. Their video essay Rock the Cradle (2011) centers on the aftermath of the insurrection in Greece in December 2008.​ 

Please join CASAR for a screening and discussion of three short films from the archives of New York City-based filmmakers Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen. For the past ten years the filmmakers have been collecting short-form usually experimental radical films and videos from all over the world, and from 100 years of cinematic political history. Typically (though not invariably) they take these interventionist films to sites of political intervention, such as anarchist social centers and squats. Millner and Larsen's archive aims to represent historically and aesthetically distinct challenges to power—power as signified by the imposition of boundaries and borders, challenges that emerge from previously colonized peoples caught in the midst of struggle.​ ​Lunch will be provided.

Robert Reid-Pharr, newly appointed professor of gender studies at Harvard, returns to AUB to give lecture "Effective/Defective: James Baldwin"

When: Thursday November 8, 5PM                 Where: Building 37

robert-reid-pharr.jpgCASAR and the Women and Gender Studies Initiative are happy to present Robert Reid-Pharr, former Edward Said Chair and the newly appointed professor of women, gender and sexuality at Harvard University and Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at ​​Harvard University. Reid-Pharr comes to AUB to deliver a talk, "Effective/Defective​ about his forthcoming book on James Baldwin that will make use of newly-available archives.

Robert Reid-Pharr is a founder and leader of the field of black queer studies, known for incisive and original literary close readings, wide-ranging cultural analyses, bold personal engagement, and challenging provocations. He has written four critically acclaimed, high-impact books: Black Gay Man: Essays; Once You Go Black: Choice, Desire, and the Black American Intellectual; Conjugal Union: The Body, the House, and The Black American; and most recently, Archives of Flesh: African America, Spain, and Post-Humanist Critique. 

James Baldwin was an American novelist and social critic who wrote many novels and collections of essays, including Go Tell it on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time, and Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone.

In addition to the lecture, there will also be a screening of the award winning documentary film, "I Am Not Your Negro" in Building 37 at 5PM on Monday, November 5th. The film tells the story of race in modern America through narration that is based on Baldwin's unfinished novel, Remember this House, and documentary footage from throughout the last half century in the United States. Find the trailer here.

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​Scholar of world literature, Galin Tahinov, visits literature course at AUB

When: Thursday November 8, 9:30-10:45AM                     Where: 204A Fisk Hall

​​galin.jpgGalin Tahinov, Professor of comparative literature at the Queen Mary School of London, will visit Dr. David Currell's course on world literature and speak to a mixed audience of undergraduate and graduate students in literary studies about current issues in comparative and world literature. Tihanov has published widely on German, Russian, and East-European cultural and intellectual history. He is the author of four books and (co)editor of nine volumes of scholarly essays. Some of his books and articles have been translated into Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, French, German, Hungarian, Macedonian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Slovene. He is Honorary President of the ICLA Committee on Literary Theory, member of Academia Europaea, Honorary Scientific Advisor to the Institute of Foreign Literatures at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for World Literature at Harvard University. Tihanov has held visiting appointments at Yale University, St. Gallen University, the University of São Paulo, Peking University, Seoul National University, and the Higher School of Economics (Moscow), and research fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust, AHRC, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and Collegium Budapest. His new book, Regimes of Relevance, will be published by Stanford University Press in 2019. He is currently writing Cosmopolitanism: A Very Short Introduction for Oxford University Press. ​

​"W. E. B. Du Bois at the Center: From Science, Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter" by Aldon Morris​​

When: Wednesday November 7 at 5pm                Where: West Hall Auditorium B.​

Morris.pngW.E.B. Du Bois was one of a handful of scholars of the 20th century with a sustained global impact on sociological, literary, and political knowledge. In this talk, co-sponsored by CASAR and the department of Socciology, Anthropology, and Media Studies, Professor Morris will draw on evidence from his recent multiple award-winning book, The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology (University of California Press, 2015) to demonstrate that Du Bois was the founding father of scientific sociology in the United States; that is, American scientific sociology was founded in a segregated black university by a black man. This disconfirms the accepted wisdom that American scientific sociology was founded solely by white sociologists in elite white universities. The talk explores the methods Du Bois pioneered and his novel theorizing that laid the foundations for subsequent sociological analyses. It offers an account of the dynamic forces that generate scientific schools of thought and that undergirded knowledge production in social science during Du Bois' era. The talk will also explore the relevance of activism for modern social science more broadly.​

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Timothy Raphael, founding director of the Center for Migration and the Global City​ presents, “Newest Americans: Stories From The Global City 

When: Thursday November 15, 5PM                Where: Building 37

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When President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1965 Immigrant and Naturalization Act into law he downplayed its significance, stating that it “is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives, or really add importantly to either our wealth or our power.” Johnson was wrong on all counts. As the day fast approaches that for the first time in the history of the United States no single ethnic group will constitute a majority of the population, the Newest Ame​ricans project is documenting the truly revolutionary impact of this Act, signed over half a century ago. 

Tim Raphael is the founding director of Newest Americans, a public humanities project that cross-pollinates academic inquiry and award-winning media production to generate fresh insights and narratives about immigration and the immigrant communities that have arrived in the United States since 1965. His presentation will use media produced by the project to demonstrate how a unique collaboration between university students, research faculty, and professional journalists and media makers has created a new and replicable model for engaging contemporary issues and documenting complex histories.

​​"When the Bars Were Put Up: Immigration Restriction in 19th Century America and its Effect on Syrian/Lebanese Immigrants" with Dr. Linda Jacobs 

When: Thursday, November 1, 5-7PM                Where: Issam Fares Institute, Auditorium (Level B)​

linda jacobs.jpgLinda K. Jacobs is a New York-based independent scholar and author. She holds a PhD in Near Eastern Archaeology/Anthropology and spent many years working on archaeological excavations and economic development projects in the Middle East. She is the author of two books, Digging In: An American Archaeologist Uncovers the Real Iran and Strangers in the West: The Syrian Colony of New York City, 1880-1900 (2015), as well as a series of articles and blogposts about the early Syrian immigrant experience ( The granddaughter of four Lebanese immigrants who settled in New York City, Jacobs is currently at work on a study of all the nineteenth-century Syrian/Lebanese colonies in the United States. Dr. Jacobs sits on the boards of several Middle Eastern organizations and is committed to promoting knowledge of Middle Eastern culture and heritage in the United States.​ This event is co-sponsored by CASAR and ​the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs.​​

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Theatrical Realism and August Wilson's Century Cycle" and Other Events with David Shumway

​When: ​The week of October 15th               Where: Building 37

Shumway pic.jpgCASAR and the Theater Initiative co-sponsored  a public lecture with David Shumway, professor of literary and cultural studies and the founding director of the Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon University. In this talk, Shumway discussed his current research on realism across media in 20th century America, focusing on playwright August Wilson. Wilson is generally acknowledged to be one of the most important American writers of the 20th century, and a key figure in both black theater and American theater more generally. He will argue that Wilson's “century cycle," a series of 10 plays that chart the experience of black Americans throughout the twentieth century, is fundamentally a work of realism, both in its formal conventions—despite such elements as ghosts and clairvoyance—and in its explicit intention to represent African-American life. History is usually understood to compromise realism, but in Wilson's plays history works differently, serving not as an escape that transports the audience to a distant time and space, but as the very ground of contemporary life for African Americans. Thus, Wilson's century cycle is unfettered by time and space and overcomes the standard limitations of any single realist drama.

In addition to the lecture, CASAR will hosted a documentary screening of August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, on Monday, October 15th at 5PM. Professor Shumway also joined Professor Robert Myer's seminar on modern American literature for a discussion about realism in the hit HBO TV series, The Wire, on Thursday, October 18th from 11-12:15. All events are open to the public and located in building 37.​

"New Media and Other Dramaturgies," a talk with Peter Eckersall and Frank Hentschker 

​When: Thursday, October 11, 5PM        Where: Building 37​

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​Two visiting professors from The City University of New York (CUNY) will offer a lecture, presentation, and discussion at CASAR, co-sponsored by the Media Studies program. Peter Eckersall is a scholar of contemporary performance practices in Australasia and Europe​, the Executive Officer of the PhD Program in Theatre and Performance at CUNY's Graduate Center and co-author of New Media Dramaturgy: Performance, Media, and New-Materialism (2017). ​In his talk he will discuss the book as it illuminates the shift in approaches to the uses of theatre and performance technology in the past twenty-five years, developing an account of new media dramaturgy (NMD), an approach to theatre informed by what the technology itself seems to want to say. ​​ Engaging with works from a range of artists and theatre companies​​, Eckersall will discuss how a range of extruded performative technologies operate overtly on, with, and against human bodies alongside more subtle dispersed, interactive, and experiential media. Following the lecture, Frank Hentschker, the program director of the CUNY Graduate Center's Martin E. Segal Theatre Center and founder of several important theatre series and festivals will give a brief presentation about the Segal Center and how it acts as a home to theatre artists, scholars, students, performing arts managers, and the local and international performance communities​​​, providing a supportive environment for conversation, open exchange, and the development of new ideas and new work​​. Finally, both Eckersall and Hentschker will particpate in a discussion and Q&A.​

​​​A panel with Rachel Valentine Smith, director of upcoming Beirut premiere of controversial play My Name is Rachel Corrie 

When: Friday October 5, 4PM                   Where: Building 37

rachel valentine smith.jpgFilmmaker and theater director Rachel Valentine Smith, joins Sahar Assaf, co-director of AUB's Theater Initiative and Sari Hanafi,  professor of sociology at AUB, to discuss the Beirut premiere of the controversial American play, My Name Is Rachel Corrie. This play is based on the diary entries and emails of a young American activist, Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli soldier while protesting the razing of a Gazan home by the IDF during the Second Intifada. It has previously been produced all over the world and won the Theatregoers' Choice Awards for Best Director and Best New Play when it originally premiered in London in 2005. It arrived in New York City years later in the face of protests and controversy. Now, thirteen years after its original production, My Name is Rachel Corrie is finally making its Beirut debut. Please join as we come together with Valentine Smith, Assaf, and Hanafi to discuss the significance of the play's newest production, which will take place so close to the site of Rachel Corrie's death.

​​​A lecture and staged-reading with Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka

wole-soyinka.jpg​When: September 10, 2018, 11:00 AM                           Where: Assembly Hall, AUB

wole-soyinka.jpgCA​​​SAR encourage​s you to attend the Anis Makdisi Memorial Lecture with renowned Professor, litterateur, poet, and playwright, Wole Soyinka. Soyinka received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986, making him the first African Nobel laureate in the category of literature. The lecture, "Oh-Oh, Fables Sweeter than Facts: History, Culture, and Revisionism," will be directly followed by a staged-reading of Soyinka's play, Death and the King's Horsemen, ​presented by the AUB Theater Initiative. This event is sponsored by The Anis Makdisi Program in Literature and the Office of the President.

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