CASAR awarded CHCI-Mellon Global Humanities Institute Grant

The Center for American Studies and Research at AUB is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded a grant from the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), located at the University of Madison-Wisconsin. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this grant will be used for the creation of a Global Humanitie​s Institute (GHI) during the summer of 2021. This is the fifth GHI to be funded by the CHCI-Mellon partnership, and it will focus on the topic of “Climate Justice and Problems of Scale." The institute will also serve as the culmination of CASAR's 2020-2021 year of climate-themed programming, “Environments East and West." This exciting initiative is a collaboration between CASAR and five other humanities centers across the globe: the Humanities Institute (University of Texas at Austin), the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship (University of Pretoria), the Sydney Environmental Institute (University of Sydney), the Institute for Humanities Research (Arizona State University), and the Humanities Center (Carnegie Mellon). Stay tuned for more details on planned programming for CASAR's 2020-2021 theme and the summer Global Humanities Institute.​​

CASAR mourns the loss of former Edward Said Chair, Noel Ignatiev


CASAR mourns the loss of our friend, the former Edward Said Chair, Noel Ignatiev, who passed away on November 9, 2019. We fondly recall his courses with us on Huckleberry Finn, his revolutionary zeal, his lectures on his years working in the steel mills of Gary, Indiana and the theories of C. L. R. James, and his relentless struggle against the destructive fiction of whiteness. He will be sorely missed, but his ideas will live on in the pages of the journal Race Traitor and his renowned study How the Irish Became White.  ​Read Ignatiev's obituary in The New York Times and a tribute by one of his former students in The New Yorker:

​From Cairo to Camagüey​, a look into the Arab World and Latin America

Robert Myers, the CASAR​ director​ published an article with Penn State University Press​, "From Cairo to Camagüey: Ibn Daniyal’s The Shadow Spirit, Sarduy’s Cobra, and Rojas’s Celestina as a bawd between the Arab World and Latin America".

There have been numerous studies of the transmission of literatures of the medieval Arab world to al-Andalus, such as those by López-Baralt and Menocal. There have also been various studies examining the transmission of literatures from Golden Age Spain and Portugal to Latin America, such as Roberto González Echevarría’s Celestina’s Brood. There have, however, been almost no studies that examine continuities between the literatures and cultu​res of the medieval Arab world and modern Latin America through al-Andalus. 

Utilizing existing scholarship and an approach derived from romance philology, this study examines the continuities between the shadow plays of Iraqi poet Ibn Daniyal, written and presented in Cairo around 1300, especially The Shadow Spirit, which features a sexual go-between, and Celestina, by Fernando de Rojas, published in Salamanca in 1499. The study then looks at the intertextual links between Celestina and the Cuban Severo Sarduy’s postmodern novel Cob​ra, published in 1972, which also has a sexual go-between as a principal character, and the substantial affinities Cobra shares with The Shadow Spirit. The study suggests that these texts, and many others, can fruitfully be viewed as belonging to a centuries-long translinguistic tradition that includes works from the Arab world, the Iberian Peninsula, and Latin America.

​​​CASAR forms first international working group responding to the loss and legacy of famed journalist, Anthony Shadid


CASAR has created the first of several international working groups on issues related to the Middle East and the Americas to study the work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning  Lebanese-American journalist, Anthony Shadid, who passed away in 2012. The working group, a new initiative created in 2017 by CASAR's director from 2016-2018, Amy Zenger, was organized by Zenger, an AUB associate professor of English who has written extensively on writing, rhetoric and race; the renowned journalist Rami Khouri , who is an adjunct professor of media at AUB; CASAR's current director, Robert Myers ; and Kaoukab Chebaro, assistant professor and associate university librarian for special collections at AUB. The working group, which will include international scholars, journalists and artists, will draw on the extraordinary archives of Anthony Shadid, housed at AUB's Jafet Library, and overseen by Rami Khouri and Kaoukab Chebaro, to teach journalism and writing, develop a range of new pedagogical tools, create a theatrical performance about Shadid's life and career, and develop films and media on Shadid's work, as well as a number of other important projects.​

​Theater scholars from ​​​CUNY visit AUB and CASAR, cementing new relationship​

In October of 2018 a delegation from the City University of New York (CUNY) and the Martin E. Segal Theater Center visited AUB and CASAR as part of the new memorandum of understanding between CUNY and AUB. The group to kick off this new relationship between our two universities will include theater scholars Frank Hentschker, Nick Pappas, and Peter Eckersall. During their time here, Frank Hentschker and Peter Eckersall will offer a public lecture (see above), and the delegation will meet extensively with CASAR's d​irector Robert Myers and the co-directors of the AUB Theatre Initiative to make plans for activities that will take place as part of CUNY and AUB's memorandum of understanding.

Directors of various Alwaleed Centers to meet in Edinburgh


CASAR's director, Robert Myers, will be traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland to represent the center in a meeting of the directors of various Alwaleed centers hosted by The Alwaleed Centre at Edinburgh. In addition to Myers, the directors from the centers at Georgetown, Harvard, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and the American University of Cairo will be in attendance. Meetings will be held to discuss the roles played by the various Alwaleed centers in the global academic community.​ Exact date TBA.​

Proceedings from CASAR's international symposium, Localizing Transnational American Studies, forthcoming fall 2019

CASAR's outgoing director, Amy Zenger is currently working with associate professor of English and comparative literature, Siréne Harb, and AUB Press to publish the proceedings from our international symposium, Localizing Transnational American Studies. This symposium was a meeting of American studies scholars from locations all over the world, such as South Korea, Denmark, Egypt, and Italy, which took place in the spring of 2018. This symposium was an opportunity to discuss, explore, and develop practical and theoretical methods for grounding the increasingly sprawling field of transnational American studies in specific, localized realities. Keep an eye out for this book and check out our other conference proceedings here

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