American University of Beirut

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​​​​​News 2022-2023​​​

CASAR hosts Two Day Conference in New York

CASAR hosted a two-day conference in New York on “Arts, Humanities and American Studies: East and West." The event, which took place on May 16 and 17 at AUB's Debs Center, 305 E. 47th Street, New York, featured writers and scholars such as Moustafa BayoumiJuan ColeMarcia Inhorn and David Shumway  and presentations about arts, humanities, and American Studies in the Middle East and globally. After the multiple crises Lebanon has suffered in recent years, CASAR hopes that this conference allows AUB to maintain connections​ with scholars in North America who share our interests, survey the global state of these vital scholarly disciplines, and serve as a prelude to an expanded conference we plan to convene in Beirut soon.​

​​​CASAR Announces New Working group on the “Mahjar and the Nahda in the Americas​​"​

​​CASAR has started a working group on the “Mahjar and the Nahda in the Americas" with Juan Cole, director of the  Arab and Muslim American Studies Program (American culture) at the University of Michigan; Rami Khouri, director of Global Engagement at AUB's Debs Center in New York; Hiba Abid, Curator for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the New York Public Library; and Robert Myers, director of CASAR. The group will focus on the contribution of cultural producers of the Mahjar in North America, Central America and South America with particular emphasis on the contribution of women and lesser-known figures in these movements and contemporary re-readings of Mahjar culture and artists. One of its first projects will be to collaborate with the New York Public Library on an exhibition, tentatively called “Beyond Gibran," that will include public involvement in the Arab community in New York. Other projects will entail connecting various archives, museums, libraries and data bases devoted to the study of the Mahjar and the Nahda in the Americas.​​

​​CASAR Announces New working group on "Science and Arts and Humanities"

CASAR has started a new working group on “Science and Arts and the Humanities," which will be headed by Joanna Doummar​, Associate Professor of Groundwater Hydrology and chairperson of the Department of Geology at AUB. The other members of the group include Silke Ackermann, director of the History of Science Museum at Oxford; Nadine Touma, an environmental and community activist based in Beirut and co-founder and co-director of Dar Onboz, a Lebanese publishing house that has published numerous award-winning books on science in Arabic for children; Robert Myers, director of CASAR; David Currell, Associate Professor of English and chairperson of English, whose books include Digital Milton and Milton Through Islam; and Jihad Touma, Professor of Physics and chairperson, who is an esteemed physicist and the author of dozens of articles on astrophysics and other subjects.

The group's initial projects will include a mini-conference on “Water," held in conjunction with the staging of an Arabic-language production of Enemy of the People in the fall of 2023 at AUB, and a collaboration between AUB and the Oxford History of Science Museum to create a performance in the museum and at AUB and to create an exhibition based on devices invented by Iraqi medieval scientists Al Jazari and Banu Musa.

Alwaleed Philanthropies “Global" launches a global initiative to spearhead cross-cultural understanding​​

08 December 2022, Riyadh, KSA: Chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Alwaleed Philanthropies "Global", today launched the Alwaleed Cultural Network (ACN), a distinguished global networking platform, to spearhead tolerance and cross-cultural understanding on an economic, specialist, collegiate and cultural industries level in an era of great transformation and diversification in Saudi Arabia and beyond. Leading with an inaugural group of more than eight globally renowned educational and cultural institutions from five countries around the world, Alwaleed Cultural Network's debut convening was held at Al Diriyah, Al-Turaif District, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on Thursday 08 December 2022.

The inaugural ceremony welcomed over 100 guests, hosting the Guest of Honour, HH Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al-Saud, Minister of Culture. 

Exploring stories of cultural connections, Alwaleed Cultural Network is built on a series of projects and online workshops, whereby current partners unanimously recognise the significant value of working more closely together to increase collective global impact. Pioneering academic and cultural institutions across North America, Europe, North Africa and Asia, all supported by Alwaleed Philanthropies, have come together under one umbrella to promote education, awareness, and Islamic knowledge – recognizing that diverse cultures have remarkable histories and exchanges in common. These institutions are Alwaleed Islamic Studies Programme, Harvard University (USA), Center for American Studies and Research, American University of Beirut (Lebanon), Center For American Studies, American University in Cairo (Egypt), Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge (UK), Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University (USA), Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, University of Edinburgh (UK), History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University Museums (UK), and Museum of Islamic Art, Pergamon Museum, Berlin (Germany).

About Alwaleed Philanthropies

Over four decades, Alwaleed Philanthropies has supported and spent more than 4.4 billion dollars on social welfare and initiated more than 1000 projects in over +189 countries, managed by 10 Saudi female members, and reaching more than 1 billion beneficiaries around the world, regardless of gender, race, or religion. Alwaleed Philanthropies collaborates with a range of philanthropic, governmental, and nongovernmental to combat poverty, empower women and youth, develop communities, provide disaster relief, and create cultural understanding through education. It seeks to build bridges for a more compassionate, tolerant, and accepting world.

About Alwaleed Cultural Network

Alwaleed Cultural Network is a hybrid networking platform, propelling cross-border cultural funding and critical global discourse to strengthen academic and cultural aptitude. Established in December 2022, Alwaleed Cultural Network launched with an inaugural group of more than eight globally renowned educational and cultural institutions from five countries around the world. Current Alwaleed Cultural Network patrons of the academic, arts, and culture ecosystem include Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University (USA), University of Cambridge (UK), Georgetown University (USA), University of Edinburgh (UK), American University in Cairo (Egypt), American University of Beirut (Lebanon), Oxford University Museums (UK), and Pergamon Museum, Berlin (Germany).​

LATIN AMERICA, AL-ANDALUS AND THE ARAB WORLD ​

​A new volume titled Latin America, Al-Andalus and the Arab World is set to be published by AUB Press in 2023. The volume is a collaboration between a number of scholars including Robert Myers, professor at AUB, co-director of the Theatre Initiative at AUB, and director of the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR); Enass Khansa, assistant professor at AUB, co-founder and co-editor of Weaving Words: Medieval Literature for Young Readers Series, and editor in the board of The Library of Arabic Literature at NYU-Abu Dhabi​; and Sonja Mejcher Atassi, associate professor of Arabic and comparative literature in the Department of English and an associated faculty in the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages at AUB.


CASAR Collaboration with AUB ​University Libraries​

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In efforts recognizing the importance of developing the library digital collections, CASAR has agreed to fund a new project by the University Libraries that will digitize and make available online an interesting collection of AUB early publications housed at the Archives and Special Collections at the libraries. These publications are important to study the early encounter of American missionaries with Lebanese Intellectuals during late 19th Century and early 20th Century. They reveal the intellectual and religious discourse introduced by the missionaries and discussed by local communities in Syria and Lebanon.


CASAR Grants Support Projects in the Science​s

The CASAR Internal Advisory Committe and CASAR Director have decided to fund three projects next spring (2022) all of which are concerned with the field of the sciences. Professor Faraj Hasanayn's project titled “Green Chemistry: A Need to Understand the Mechanism of CO2 Insertion into the Metal Hydride Bond of Octahedral Transition Metal Catalysts" seeks to understand the nature of a fundamental reaction at the heart of an emerging area in catalysis that is of great importance in green synthesis and environmental chemistry as well as renewable energy. Professor Nabil Nassif's project titled “Identification of Gas Diffusion Coefficients in Polar Firn to Mitigate Climate Change”  intends to use state of the art tools of inverse problems for partial differential equations to capture hidden parameters using data extracted from firns’ measurements. This project attempts to study the abstract aspects of the direct and inverse problems associated with the already constructed mathematical model and construct​ robust, efficient, and fast solvers for the direct and inverse problems. Finally, Professor Antoine Ghauch's project titled “REIIE: Reducing Environmental Impact of Industrial Effluents” ​is said to complement current research work undertaken in the laboratory on the degradation of hazardous chemicals found in industrial effluents.​

International Advisory Board​ Reconvened with New and Returning Members

After a period of inactivity, CASAR reconvened the International Advisory Board (IAB). The new IAB is comprised of six esteemed scholars from various universities in Egypt and the United States.  Among the returning members are Marwan Kraidy, a leading authority on Arab Media and the newly appointed Dean and CEO of Northwestern University-Qatar; Mounira Soliman, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cairo University; and Moustafa Bayoumi, award-winning author and Professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. The new members of the IAB are David Shumway, cultural ​theorist and Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University; Robert Reid-Pharr, Professor of both Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and African and African American Studies at Harvard University; and Marcia Inhorn, medical anthropologist, specialist on the Middle East and gender, and Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at Yale University.​ The board's first meeting in June 2020 served to define significant areas of focus and paths forward for the center. CASAR is looking forward to benefitting from the insights and support of these accomplished scholars as it navigates a very challenging period for the university, the country, and the globe.

​​New Volume on Syrian Playwright Sa'adallah Wannous From Cambridge University Press

 


​​The Theatre of Sa'dallah Wannous: A Critical Study of the Syrian Playwright and Public Intellectual​ ​(http://services.cambridge.org/af/academic/subjects/arts-theatre-culture/drama-and-theatre-general-interest/theatre-sadallah-wannous-critical-study-syrian-playwright-and-public-intellectual?format=HB&isbn=9781108838566%E2%80%8B ​) was published by​ Cambridge University Press in 2021. Co-edited by CASAR Director Robert Myers and Professor of English Literature Sonja Mejcher-Atass​i, this volume contains articles by Marvin Carlson (CUNY), Edward Ziter (NYU), Margaret Litvin (Boston University), Zeina Halabi (AUB), Nada Saab (LAU), Sahar Assaf (AUB) and a number of other renowned scholars and artists. The volume grew out of a conference at AUB entitled “On Wannous,” which was co-sponsored by CASAR and celebrated the acquisition by AUB’s Jafet Library of the private library of Sa’dallah Wannous.​ It is first book in English to provide a clear sense of the significance and complexity of Wannous' life and work. It is unique in bringing cross-disciplinary scholarship on Wannous together and aligning it with cultural practice and memory by including contributions from leading academics as well as renowned cultural figures from the Arab world. This volume should be of interest to literary and theatre studies scholars, cultural historians, theatre practitioners and anyone who cares about contemporary theatre, Syria and the Arab world. Collectively, the contributions demonstrate the role of cultural production - especially dramatic literature - in providing a portrait of and shaping a culture in the throes of profound transformation. The ​following podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sadallah-wannous-and-the-many-dimensions-of-arab-theatre/id1555137368?i=1000519667357 with Robert Myers discusses this volume and is part of a series called "Professors at Work" initiated by Rami Khouri, professor of journalism at AUB - tune in for more information!

​Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes 


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).​

Passing of Noel Ignatiev

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Ignatiev was k​nown for his work 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:



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

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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.​

CASAR's International Symposium: Localizing Transnational American Stud​ies​

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. Amy Zenger will be editing a volume based in part on the conference.


 









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