American University of Beirut

Recent Events

​Spring 2019

LECTURE:"US Policy in Transition in the Middle East"
Mara Karlin, Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution
Thursday, June 20 2019 | 2:00 PM | Issam Fares Institute (IFI)​

Mara Karlin discusses ideas put forward in her recent article in Foreign Affairs, "America's Middle East Purgatory​", Mara Karlin will give a talk on looking at the big picture of the United States policy in transition in the Middle East. ​Karlin was also an U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development from 2015 to 2016.​ Co-sponsored by the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI). 

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​BO​OK LAUNCH: Two Critical Anthologies of Levantine Theater​
Robert MyersProfessor of English, Director of CASAR, Co-Director of the Theater Initiative at AUB
Nada Saab, Associate Professor of Arabic Studies in the Department of Humanities at LAU
Monday, April 15 2019 | 5:00 PM | LAU, Adnan Kassar School of Business, Room 904 | Facebook Event​

A decade-long collaboration between Nada Saab of LAU and Robert Myers of AU​B, involving research, translation and production of plays from the Levant, culminated in the​ publication of two major new books:  Modern and Contemporary Political Theater from the Levant: A Critical Anthology (Brill) and Sentence to Hope: A Sa’dallah Wannous Reader (Yale University Press). Saab and Myers present their work, show clips of productions of the plays, and professional actors will read selected scenes.​ Read a recent review published in the New York Review of Books on Sentence to Hope: A Sa'adallah Wannous Reader​ here.​​ Co-sponsored by the Department of Humanities at LAU​, the Center for Arts and Humanities at AUB, and the Theater Initiative at AUB ​​.


LECTURE: ​Shifting Ground in the Contemporary Marketplace: a New York Director’s Experience
Kirsten Sanderson, New York-based stage director
Thursday, April 11 2019 | 5:00 PM | Building 37 | Event Poster​

Kirsten Sanderson discusses the juxtaposition of her work as a New York-based stage director with the work she does in American network news and sports television. Drawing from direct experience, she illuminates 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. Co-sponsored by the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) and the Media Studies Program at American University of Beirut (AUB).​


IFI x CASAR LECTURE SERIES: Arabs, Americans, and Global '58
Salim Yaqub, Professor of UCSB, Director of the Center for Cold War Studies & Int'l History
Friday, March 22 2019 | 5:00 PM | IFI Auditorium (Level B) | Facebook Event​

As part of the international conference, The Middle East in 1958: Reimagining a Revolutionary Year , Salim Yaqub presents a keynote address entitled "Arabs, Americans, and Global '58." This talk is also 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 AmericasCo-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). 


​LECTURE: America's Wars and Refugees' Lives: Vulnerability and Health on the Margins​
Marcia Inhorn, Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs and The MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University
Thursday, March 21 2019 | 5:00 PM | West Hall, Auditorium A | Facebook Event​

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. 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.​ Co-sponsored by the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Media Studies (SOAM) and the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS).

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LECTURE: Read for the Unfinished
Suzanne Enzerink, Ph.D. candidate in American Studies from Brown University
Tuesday, March 12 2019 | 5:00 PM | West Hall, Auditorium C

Suzanne Enzerink proposes that as a method, reading for the unfinished - unfinished art, from film to painting - 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. Co-sponsored by CASAR and the Media Studies Program. 

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LECTURE: Football or Soccer: What's in a word?
Stefan Szymansk​i, Professor of Sport Management at the University of Michigan

Monday, March 11 2019 | 5:00 PM | 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. 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. Stefan Szymanski discusses the strange tale of this linguistic exile and how it betrays a deeper contest over cultural hegemony in the modern world. Co-sponsored by CASAR and the department of Political Studies and Public Administration.

LECTURE: Re-Reading 'Bad Biography'
Oline Eaton, Professor at the Department of English in the University of Memphis, Tennessee
Wednesday, March 6 2019 | 5:00 PM | Building 37

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.” Oline Eaton destabilizes the 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. Co-sponsored by CASAR and the Media Studies Program.


PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP: How to Think Like an Actor who Thinks like a Da​ncer who Thinks like a Writer who Thinks like a Sculptor

Rinde Eckert, a writer, composer, librettist, musician, performer and director
Wednesday, March 6 2019 | 12-5:00 PM | West Hall, Auditorium B​ | Event poster | Facebook Event

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.

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LECTURE: Troublesome Women: Feminist Vision & Greek Drama
Ellen​​ McLaughlin​, a playwright, performer, and Adjunct Associate Professor at Barnard College
Tuesday, March 5 2019 | 5:00 PM | Building 37 | Event poster | Facebook Event​

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.​ Co-sponsored by the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) and The Women and Gender Studies Initiative at AUB.


LECTURE: Dual Citizenship in an Age of G​lobalization
Peter J. SpiroCharles Weiner Professor of Law at Temple University School of Law
Monday, March 4 2019 | 5:00 PM | Building 37​ | Facebook Event​

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? Peter J. Spiro's lecture charts the historical trajectory of the status as well as suggest a future in which dual citizenship increasingly challenges equality values. Co-sponsored by CASAR and the department of Political Studies and Public Administration.

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CONFERENCE: ​Double Helix: The film essay as form, ruminations ​​​around the essay film
Wednesday, February 27 & Thursday, February 28 2019 | Building 37​ | Event Page​

​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 was 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. Co-sponsored by CASAR and the Center for Arts and Humanities at AUB. 

LECTURE: From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy
Sarah Snyder, Associate Professor of International Service at the American University 
Wednesday, February 27 2019 | 5:00 PM | IFI Conference Room, 4th Floor | Facebook Event​

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

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LECTURE: Making Theater and Changing Society: How Tectonic Transformed​ Performance and Rewrote the Law
Philipe AbiYouness, a playwright, performer, and Moment Work teaching artist
Thursday, February 21 2019 | 5:00 PM | West Hall, Auditorium B

Philipe AbiYouness discusses 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. Co-sponsored by CASAR and the Theater Initiative at AUB.

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WORKSHOP: Mome​​nt Work: From Text-Base​d Theater to an Egalitarian Theatrical Language
Philipe AbiYouness, a playwright, performer, and Moment Work teaching artist
February 23 & 24 2019   

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. 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. ​Invite-only. ​​​

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​​​LECTURE: Radical Protocols: Designing Digital Tools in Social Movements from Tahrir to Occupy Wall Street to République
Jessica Feldman, Professor of Global Communications at the American University of Paris
Wednesday, February 6 2019 | 5:00 PM | Building 37

Starting in 2010, an upsurge of publicly-sited, assembly-ba​sed 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.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.​

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