​"Book Launch: Two Critical Anthologies of Levantine Theater" with Robert Myers and Nada Saab

When: Monday, April 15 at 5PM                                        ​Where: LAU Irwin Theatre, AKSC 904​ (maps)

​Robert Myers and Nada Saab present over a decade of collaborative work that entailed researching, translating, and producing seminal dramatic works from the Levant, culminating in the production of two major new books. At the opening Saab and Myers will present their work and show footage from the AUB Theater Initiative's productions of several of the plays that are featured in these recently published books. They will then lead a discussion about the cultural, aesthetic, and scholarly contributions that these books make to the art of dramaturgy and the world of Arab and Levantine theater. 

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Modern and Contemporary Political Theater from the Levant: A Critical Anthology, published by Brill, traces the recent history of political theater in the Levant through translations of plays by significant playwrights and critical essays about their work. Sentence to Hope: A Sa’dallah Wannous Reader, published by Yale University Press, is a collection of plays and other writings by the Syrian playwright Sa’dallah Wannous, as well as a critical introduction to his work. Wannous is acknowledged to be one of the most important dramatists and social critics from the Arab world of the last century. ​The first book launch for these two volumes took place at the end of April at LAU's New York campus, and Sentence to Hope was featured the The New York Times​ in their preview of international books to look out for in 2019.

Robert Myers is Professor of English, Director of the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) and Co-Director of the Theater Initiative at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He is a cultural historian and the author of over 15 plays and numerous articles on theater and culture. He has translated several seminal Arab dramatic works including Baghdadi Bath by Iraqi playwright Jawad Al Assadi, presented at LaMama Theater in New York, The Dictator by Lebanese playwright ‘Issam Mahfouz, Rituals and Signs of Transformations (translated with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation), and The Rape both by Syrian playwright Sa'dallah Wannous.

Nada Saab is Associate Professor of Arabic literature at the Lebanese American University (LAU) and Director of its Arabic Language and Culture Program (SINARC). She is the author of several studies on modern Arabic drama and translator of works written by modern Arab dramatists such as ‘Isam Mahfouz, Sa’dallah Wannous, Muhammad al-Maghout, Ra’ida Taha, and Jawad al-Asadi. In addition to her collaborations with Robert Myers, she has translated Shakespeare’s King Lear to the Lebanese vernacular with Sahar Assaf and Raffi Feghali, which was produced in Beirut theaters in 2016. She is the author of numerous books and articles on medieval Sufi mystical literature, and a critical editor of medieval Sufi manuscripts.​​

This event is co-sponsored by Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) ​, the Center for Arts and Humanities at AUB, and the collaborative Theater Initiative between AUB and LAU.

"​Shifting Ground in the Contemporary Marketplace: a New York Director’s Experience" by Kirsten Sanderson

When: Thursday, April 11 at 5PM                                            ​Where: Building 37

In this talk Kirsten Sanderson will discuss the juxtaposition of her work as a New York-based stage director with the work she does in American network news and sports television. Currently based in Manhattan, Sanderson stages live television programming for CBS Sports and also for a varie​ty of cable networks. Drawing from direct experience, she will illuminate issues such as how contemporary media technology is dissolving barriers between broadcast, online, and live entertainment, as well as how working in TV news production informs her perspective as an artist.​ 


Kirsten Sanderson’s recent work includes the acclaimed Off Broadway productions of First Daughter Suite at the Public Theatre (7 Drama Desk Nominations) and Under my Skin at the Little Schubert. She has directed new plays by Michael John LaChiusa, Craig Lucas, Shel Silverstein, Steven Schwartz and Blake Edwards, among others. Her work has been seen at Playwright’s Horizons, The Public, PS 122, Circle Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Director's Company, Sundance Theatre Lab, The Blank Theatre Company, Theatreworks USA, The Women's Project, HBO Comedy Arts Festival, New York Fringe Festival, New York Music Theatre Festival, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Town Hall.

"Arabs, Americans, and Global '58," ​professor of history Salim Yaqub inaugurates the new joint IFI and CASAR lecture series, Policy and Politics of the Americas

When: Friday, March 22 at 5PM                                            Where: IFI Auditorium (Level B) 

As part of the international conference, The Middle East in 1958: Reimagining a Revolutionary Year , Salim Yaqub will present a keynote address entitled "Arabs, Americans, and Global '58." This talk will also be the inaugural lecture in a new initiative being undertaken by CASAR and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI), entitled Policy and Politics of the Americas. Featuring both lectures and debates, this collaboration of CASAR and IFI will bring ​scholars, diplomats, journalists, policymakers, and public intellectuals to AUB to expand our understanding of the current political and policy landscape of the Americas (from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego). The focus of the series will be on bringing practitioners and scholars to AUB in order to discuss not only the politics and policies of individual states, but also to explore interdisciplinary perspectives on a broad range of critical transnational issues, such as US foreign policy and Arab-American relations. Among other goals, these discussions will seek to illuminate comparisons between political experiences in South and Central America and the Arab world, especially as related to civil strife, conflict resolution, power-sharing, and democracy.

This series will simultaneously acknowledge the often-devastating role of US policies in the Middle East while at the same time widening the scope of local discussions about politics in the Americas beyond simply the influence of these policies on the region. The contemporary reality of a multipolar political world demands a nuanced understanding of the current global “order," an order which is made even more complicated by the erratic and unpredictable policies of the current US president.  A broader ongoing transformation can also be witnessed in light of the contestations currently taking place in countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and Nicaragua. Policy and Politics of the Americas will provide a forum for speakers to share their practical experiences and informed analyses of the policies and politics of the Americas, thus promoting a greater awareness of shifting dynamics, the significant actors who are emerging, and a range of other critical issues in the Americas. ​

The conference on the middle east in 1958 is based on a forthcoming and interdisciplinary volume that recovers debates and reveals ideas that were central to this revolutionary and postcolonial moment in the Middle East at the outset of the Cold War in the 1950s. It does so through a political, social, economic, anthropological, a​nd historical study of the revolutionary year of 1958, arguing for the historiographically overlooked centrality of that year in the history of the modern Middle East. 

To this end, the international conference convenes scholars from institutions in Europe, the Middle East, and North America to discuss how events in 1958 brought about transformative and decisive changes in several states, primarily but not exclusively in Algeria, Britain, Egypt, France, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Soviet Union, Syria, Turkey, and the United States.

Salim Yaqub​ is a professor from the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Director of the Center for Cold War Studies and International History. ​He is the author of Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East and Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and U.S.–Middle East Relations in the 1970s.

For real-time updates on the Conference, please visit the official Facebook Page​.

This talk is co-sponsored by AUB's Center for Arab and Middle Easter Studies (CAMES), the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI). 

​"America's Wars and Refugees' Lives: Vulnerability and Health on the Margins" by Marcia Inhorn

When: Thursday, March 21 at 5pm                                         Where: West Hall, Auditorium A


Wars in the Middle East have led to the world’s worst refugee crisis in modern history. Tracing the history of Middle Eastern wars—and especially the US military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan—to the current refugee crisis, Marcia C. Inhorn examines how refugees fare once resettled in the United States.

In the US, Arab refugees are challenged by discrimination, poverty, and various forms of vulnerability. Inhorn shines a spotlight on the plight of resettled Iraqi refugees in the ethnic enclave community of “Arab Detroit,” Michigan. Sharing in the poverty of Detroit’s Black communities, Iraqi refugees struggle to find employment and to rebuild lives after all that has been lost. Iraqi refugees who have fled from war zones also face serious health challenges. Uncovering the depths of these challenges, Inhorn questions America’s responsibility for, and commitment to, Arab refugees, mounting a powerful call for US accountability.​


Marcia C. Inhorn​, PhD, MPH, is the William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs in the Department of Anthropology and The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. A specialist on Middle Eastern gender, religion, and health, Inhorn has conducted research on the social impact of infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in Egypt, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, and Arab America over the past 30 years. She is the author of six books on the subject, as well as ten edited volumes. Inhorn is the founding editor of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (JMEWS), and co-editor of the Berghahn Book series on “Fertility, Reproduction, and Sexuality.”

​​​​Inhorn will also be giving a talk at the Anthropology Society of Lebanon (ASIL), "The Egg Freezing Revolution? Gender, Education and Reproductive 'Waithood'" the day before on Wednesday, March 21 from 7-9pm at Mansion (Google Maps​).


"Read for the Unfinished" by Suzanne Enzerink

When: Tuesday March 12 at 5pm                                         Where: West Hall, Auditorium C


​In recent years, unfinished art, from film to painting, has garnered significant attention from both scholars and curators. However, these investigations have focused predominantly on unfinished works of established and canonized artists, leaving out producers and writers from racial and sexual minorities. Suzanne Enzerink proposes that as a method, reading for the unfinished in its earliest, most incipient forms allows us to bring into view alternate expressions of racial and sexual identity in U.S. film that have been erased from mainstream narratives about cultural production.

As a case study, Enzerink will discuss No Strings, a proposed 1962 film adaptation of the eponymous Broadway musical with a screenplay by queer writer Arthur Laurents. While the film was never realized, its screenplay reflects an ambitious and subversive engagement with interracial romance as a way to critique U.S. domestic racism. On paper, the adaptation contained all ingredients for success: an award-winning writer, a popular movie star (Nancy Kwan), and a successful production studio as its backer. Its ultimate failure suggests that No Strings spotlights the limits of racial and sexual representation of its time. As such, reading for the unfinished can give us a fuller picture of both the scope of cultural production and of U.S. societal sentiments structuring it.


Suzanne Enzerink will graduate with her Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University this spring. She is currently an interdisciplinary fellow at the Pembroke Center for Research and Teaching on Women, and a former fellow at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown. Her writing has appeared with a range of outlets, from American Quarterly to Public Books to Buzzfeed. ​

This event is co-sponsored by CASAR and the Media Studies Program. 

"Football or Soccer: What's in a word?" by Stefan Szymanski

When: Monday, March 11 at 5pm                                         Where: Building 37

The most popular sport on the planet is almost everywhere called “football”, or some variant of this word. In a few countries the game is called “soccer”, most notably in the USA. This seemingly insignificant linguistic variation generates immense antagonism, primarily from non-American English speakers who ridicule the word “soccer” as an American invention and insist, improbably, that it should be exiled from American vocabulary. Yet in fact, the word “soccer” was invented in Oxford, England, in the 1890s and was a commonly used word in the UK until the 1970s. The strange tale of this linguistic exile betrays a deeper contest over cultural hegemony in the modern world.

In addition to the public lecture Professor Szymanski will also be serving as a guest lecturer in two political studies classes offered by Danyel Reiche of PSPA. The first guest lecture will be on Tuesday, March 12 in Nicely 323. He will be discussing “Why Americans invented football” from 2-3.15pm in Reiche’s U.S. Politics course. The second will be in Reiche’s Introduction to Comparative Politics course on Thursday, March 14 in Nicely 323 from 3.30-4.45pm. The subject will be “Why Europeans dominate soccer.” For more information about the guest lectures and for access to the class readings please contact Professor Danyel Reiche (

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Stefan Szymanski is the professor of Sport Management at the University of Michigan. His research interests include the economic theory of contests, the economics of professional sports, notably soccer, and sports analytics. He is author of Why England Loses; Why Germany, Spain, and France Win; and Why One Day Japan, Iraq, and the United States Will Become Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport (with Simon Kuper, Bold Type Books, 4th edition 2018), Money and Soccer (Bold Type Books, 2015) and It's Football, Not Soccer (And Vice Versa): On the History, Emotion, and Ideology Behind One of the Internet's Most Ferocious Debates (with Silke-Maria Weineck, 2018). He has published widely in academic and policy journals, with articles in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Financial Times and The Guardian, among others.

These events are co-sponsored by CASAR and the department of Political Studies and Public Administration.

"Re-Reading 'Bad Biography' " by Oline Eaton

When: Wednesday, March 6 at 5 pm                                         Where: Building 37
Historians have long recognized biography as a significant medium through which American history, values and virtues are promoted and reproduced, and yet popular biographical forms have received limited scholarly attention. When academics have examined popular forms of print biography, they almost exclusively evaluate them in terms of genre rather than mass culture, evaluating these works against the “good,” “serious,” “real” biographies produced by academics in order condemn them as overly commercial, too gossipy, too “bad.”

In this talk, Oline Eaton will destabilize this notion of the “bad biography.” Recognizing the integral role these works played within the broader ecosystem of celebrity throughout the second half of the twentieth century, Eaton approaches them specifically in relation to their appeal to a mass market. Focusing on their mass market form and analyzing language, narration and interpretation in the “bad biographies” of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, she argues that the conventions most often used to label these works as “bad” are, in reality, connected to their effort to reach a mass audience. They are also indicative of their links to other media forms, including celebrity journalism, daytime serials and “trash” TV.    
Oline Eaton teaches at the University of Memphis and is writing a book about Jackie Onassis. Her work on American media, celebrity and culture has been published in Biography, Celebrity Studies Journal, The Journal of American Culture, and The Journal of American Studies. She holds a PhD in English from King's College London and an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago.

This event is co-sponsored by CASAR and the Media Studies Program.

​"How to Think Like an Actor who Thinks like a Dancer who Thinks like a Writer who Thinks like a Sculptor" a performance workshop with Rinde Eckert

WORKSHOP When: Wednesday, March 6 from 12-5pm           Where: West Hall Auditorium B​

This workshop will focus on how to use storytelling to generate text, then manipulate the way the story is told, adding physical, musical, and architectural elements and analyzing how our interpretation of the story (how we read it) changes when we do. We often discover stories hidden within stories, meanings masked by conventional conceits. In this process we are practicing modes of witness that are often neglected by more traditional ways of looking and listening. We are, it is hoped, enlarging our capacity to see, hear, and understand.

Rinde Eckert is a writer, composer, librettist, musician, performer and director. His Opera / New Music Theatre productions have toured throughout the U.S. and to major theater festivals in Europe and Asia. With a virtuosic command of gesture, language and song, this total theatre artist moves beyond the boundaries of what a 'play,' a 'dance piece,' an 'opera' or 'musical' might be by grappling with complex issues that create new kinds of performance.

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"Troublesome Women: Feminist Vision & Greek Drama" by Ellen McLaughlin

​LECTURE When: ​Tuesday, March 5 at 5pm                                Where: Building 37

angels500.jpgIn the talk, Ellen McLaughlin, a renowned playwright and performer best known as the Angel in the original Broadway production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, discusses her lifelong attraction to the Greeks, especially to the women in classic Greek plays. Beyond walking us through her motivations and methods for adapting classic Greek plays, Mclaughlin will also weave performance into the talk.​

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McLaughlin has worked extensively in New York, the US, and internationally, both as an actor and playwright. She has performed on and off Broadway and regionally in productions of Homebody/Kabul, A Delicate Balance, Threepenny Opera, Ghosts and many other plays. She has taught playwriting at Yale Drama School, Princeton and elsewhere, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Barnard College. In addition to her one-woman play Penelope and her many other acclaimed adaptations of Greek classics, McLaughlin’s plays include A Narrow Bed and The Tongue of a Bird.​

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​"Dual Citizenship in an Age of Globalization" by Peter J. Spiro

When: Monday, March 4 at 5pm                                Where: Building 37​

Dual nationality was once reviled as a moral abomination. More recently, it has garnered growing acceptance and even been embraced. What explains this dramatic shift, the endpoint of which has been to make dual citizenship a commonplace of globalization? The lecture will chart the historical trajectory of the status as well as suggest a future in which dual citizenship increasingly challenges equality values. 

Peter J. Spiro is Charles Weiner Professor of Law at Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia. His research interests include immigration, nationality, constitutional and international law. He is the author of Beyond Citizenship: American Identity After Globalization (Oxford University Press 2008), At Home in Two Countries: The Past and Future of Dual Citizenship (NYU Press 2016), and the forthcoming Citizenship: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press 2019). He has published widely in academic and policy journals, with articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Slate, and Foreign Affairs, among others. He has also held fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations and Open Society Institute, and was a Robert Schuman Fellow at the European University Institute. He also worked as a law clerk to Justice David H. Souter of the Supreme Court of the United States, a member of the National Security Council staff, and an attorney-adviser at the U.S. Department of State. 

In addition to the public lecture, Professor Spiro will also be serving as a guest lecturer in two political science courses being offered by Danyel Reiche of PSPA. Both guest lectures will be on Tuesday March 5th in Nicely 323. He will be discussing “Birthright citizenship in the United States – a controversial topic” from 2-3:15 in Recihe's U.S. Politics and Government course and Dual citizenship policies in the United States and Internationally from 3:30-4:45 in Reiche's Intro. to Comparative Politics course.

For more information about the guest lectures and for access to the class readings please contact Professor Danyel Reiche (

These events are co-sponsored by CASAR and the department of Political Studies and Public Administration.

​​"Double Helix: The film essay as form, ruminations around the essay film"

When: Wednesday, February 27 & Thursday, February 28       ​               ​ ​ Where: Building 37​

DoubleHelix -Poster.jpg​What is a film essay today, in our contemporary moment of fleeting images? Is it a portrait, a conversation, a political statement, a question? To ponder this we look at frames made by four generations of moving-image makers—born in years ranging from the 1960s to the 1990s—this constellation of artists aims to challenge the traditional notion of the essay film in spaces ranging from Beirut to Cairo, Namibia to Detroit.

​Of the thirteen participants who will lead sessions throughout the Conference, CASAR is proud to sponsor Lee Anne Schmitt. Schmitt is a writer and director of essay films and performances, work that exists in the juncture between fiction and documentary. Much of her work involves 16mm filmmaking placed in landscape, objects and the traces of political systems left upon them. Her projects have addressed American exceptionalism, the logic of utility and labor, gestures of kindness and refusal, racial violence, cowboyism, trauma and narrative and the efficacy of solitude. She is a Film Directing Program Faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles.

Click here for more information on Double Helix.

This event is co-sponsored by CASAR and the Center for Arts and Humanities at AUB.

"From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy" by Sarah Snyder

When: Wednesday, February 27, 5pm         ​ Where: IFI Conference Room, 4th Floor

The 1960s marked a transformation of human rights activism in the United States which fundamentally altered U.S. foreign policy in a way that has been overlooked by previous accounts. Snyder will show how transnational connections and social movements spurred American activism that achieved legislation which curbed military and economic assistance to repressive governments, create​d institutions to ​monitor human rights around the world, and enshrined human rights in U.S. foreign policy making for years to come. ​She will also analyze how Americans responded to repression in the Soviet Union, racial discrimination in Southern Rhodesia, authoritarianism in South Korea, and coups in Greece and Chile. By highlighting the importance of non​state and lower-level actors, Snyder shows how this activism established the networks and tactics critical to the institutionalization of human rights and highlights timely lessons for promoting a policy agenda that is resisted by the White House.

Sarah B. Snyder is a historian of U.S. foreign relations who specializes in the history of the Cold War, human rights activism, and U.S. human rights policy. In this talk she will discuss her newest book, From Selma to Moscow, which traces the influence of human rights activists and advances a new interpretation of U.S. foreign policy in the “long 1960s.” 


This event is co-sponsored by CASAR and the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration at AUB. Attendance is free and open to the public. ​

"Making Theater and Changing Society: How Tectonic Transformed Performance and Rewrote the Law" by Philipe AbiYouness

When: Thursday, February 21, 5pm          Where: West Hall Auditorium B

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Philipe AbiYouness, play-write, performer, and Moment Work teaching artist, joins us to offer a lecture on the history and impact of Tectonic Theater Project. This award-winning, Manhattan-based theater company is behind such rigorous, form-breaking plays as​ The Laramie Project, 33 Variations, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and I Am My Own Wife. Through their trademarked method of theatre-making, Moment Work, Tectonic is challenging the traditional text-centric approach to play-making by providing an inherently theatrical language and methodology for writing performance. This lecture will take up the philosophy, history, and process of Tectonic Theater Project in dialogue with their sprawling socio-economic impact. TTP's work is always in conversation with the zeitgeist and has contributed to national dialogues that led to historic action in favor of LGBTQ rights and anti-hate crime legislation. How does working in an egalitarian and theatrical language contribute to our ongoing pursuit of collective equality on a larger scale? This lecture will excavate the work of a revolutionary theatre company as a pioneer in art for social justice and performance that shatters the designated mold. ​

This event is co-sponsored by CASAR and the AUB Theater Initiative.

​WORKSHOP: “Moment Work: From Text-Based Theater to an Egalitarian Theatrical Language"

When: February 23 & 24   

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With co-sponsorship from CASAR and the AUB Theater Initiative, Philipe AbiYouness of Tectonic Theater Project offers a two-day intensive workshop on the process and methodology of Moment Work, Tectonic Theatre Project's trademarked technique of writing performance. Moment Work was at the heart of creating award-winning and socially affecting plays like The Laramie Project, 33 Variations, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and I Am My Own Wife. This process seeks to redefine how we craft narrative as theatre-makers by giving all of the elements of the stage (lights, sound, props, set, costumes, etc.) the agency normally afforded exclusively to the text. In this focused workshop, we will utilize Moment Work to give us a theatrical language and method that delves into and develops Sahar Assaf's harrowing, interview-based play, No Demand, No Supply, which tells the stories of young Syrian women kidnapped and forced into a sex trafficking ring in Lebanon. Moment Work provides us with an egalitarian and theatrical process by which we can create visceral work and break open the theatrical life of existing works; a process where actors, directors, designers, stage managers, etc. work in collaboration as storytellers and theatre-makers. ​

This event is invite-only. ​​

​"Radical Protocols: Designing Digital Tools in Social Movements from Tahrir to Occupy Wall Street to République" by Jessica Feldman

When: Wednesday, February 6, 5pm          Where: Building 37

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Jessica Feldman, Professor of Global Communications at the American University of Paris, is an artist and scholar whose current book project, Radical Protocols: Designing Democratic Digital Tools in Social Movements, is a study of the ways in which democratic values are (or are not) inscribed in the design of emerging networked communication technologies. Starting in 2010, an upsurge of publicly-sited, assembly-based social movements, broadly termed “the movements of the squares," attempted to solve the problems of democratic deliberation, public speaking, and group listening, while simultaneously struggling with routine surveillance and shut-downs of state- and corporate-owned telecommunications infrastructures and platforms. As a result, these movements developed an array of their own analog and digital communication tools to serve their communication and deliberation needs and to enact their values. This talk draws on a multi-sited ethnography in Cairo, Istanbul, Madrid, Paris, and New York City, coupled with an analysis of the social and digital codes underlying the communication protocols designed and developed by these movements (15M's “5 Rules for Collective Listening," Occupy's “People's Mic," voting algorithms, ad-hoc sms hubs, and mesh networks). Professor Feldman will consider these movements' struggles as testing grounds for the design requirements necessary for communication tools to enable democracy and embrace cultural difference, re-opening questions about participatory democracy, scale, and inclusion within our contemporary network era.​

Professor Feldman will also be discussing "The Current Crisis of Representative Democracy” as a guest lecturer in Professor Kouross Esmaeli’s course, American Society, Politics, and Culture in the Trump Era, on Thursday, February 7th from 3:30-4:45 in Nicely 108

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​W​hen: 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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