Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Iran and the Arab World: New Horizons

I would like to invite you to come to Rutgers for the

Iran and the Arab World: New Horizons

On February 13th, 2010


~The Center for Middle Eastern Studies Proudly Presents~

Iran and the Arab world: New Horizons

Saturday 13 February, 2010
Rutgers Student Center
RSC Multipurpose Room A
126 College Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Conference: 10 AM– 5PM


Saïd Amir Arjomand, SUNY at Stony Brook
“Iran’s New Political Class and the Green Movement.”
Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, University of Pennsylvania
“A Tale of Two Cities: From Cairo to Tehran.”
Negar Mottahedeh, Duke University
“The Iranian Political Crisis: Social Media Brought you the News!”


Hadi Ghaemi, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
“Iran’s Struggle for Civil and Human Rights and Its Impact in the Middle East”
Faraz Sanei, Human Rights Watch
“Shaping Popular Opinion: Arab Civil Society and Iran's Green Movement.”
Leili Kashani, The Center for Constitutional Rights
“The challenge of ethical solidarity at a time of internal repression and external threats.”

LUNCH~1:30-2:30 PM


Hussein Ibish, The American Task Force on Palestine; Foundation for Arab-American Leadership
“An overview of contemporary Arab attitudes towards Iran.”
Roozbeh Shirazi, CUNY
“Demographic Timebombs, Heroic Martyrs, and Knights of Change: Locating the Youth in
Contemporary Politics in Iran and Jordan.”
Stephen R. Shalom, William Paterson University
"Democratic Upsurge in a Region of US Hegemony."

A special screening of Shirin Neshat’s Award-winning Women without Men (2009) will be presented with selected scenes from the film, followed by a keynote speech delivered by Hamid Dabashi on “Shirin Neshat’s Women with/out Men: Gendering
Revolt in Iran, the Arab and Muslim World.”


If coming in by train from NYC:
(For “destination station” choose New Brunswick: Travel time from NY Penn Station is approximately 1 hour under normal circumstances)

If coming in to New Brunswick by private transportation:
(Parking is available off of College Avenue by turning onto Senior St. then onto Sicard or from Bartlett onto Sicard, behind the Rutgers Student Center)

Please direct any concerns or questions to: Shehnaz Abdeljaber

Speakers’ Biographies

Saïd Amir Arjomand: “Iran’s New Political Class and the Green Movement.”

BIO: Saïd Amir Arjomand is Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and Director of the Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies in New York City. He received his Ph.D. in 1980 from the University of Chicago. A pre-eminent sociologist, he is the author of a number of highly acclaimed books, The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam: Religion, Political Organization and Societal Change in Shi'ite Iran from the Beginning to l890 (1984); The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran (1988); and After Khomeini: Iran Under His Successors (2009). Professor Amir Arjomand is the founder and current President of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies and founding Editor of the Journal of Persianate Studies. Many historians and sociologist concur that it would be difficult to understand the victory of the Islamic Revolution and its aftermath and the role of political Shi'ism in Iranian political culture without the perceptive and extraordinary scholarship of Professor Amir Arjomand. In 1988, the American Historical Review described his comparative perspective on the Iranian revolution as “breathtaking.”

Hamid Dabashi: “Shirin Neshat’s Women with/out Men: Gendering Revolt in Iran and the Arab and Muslim World.”

BIO: Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York. An internationally renowned cultural critic and award-winning author, his writings range from Iranian Studies, medieval and modern Islam, comparative literature, world cinema, and the philosophy of art (trans-aesthetics). His best known books are Theology of Discontent (1993); Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, Future (2001); Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran (1999); Masters and Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema (2007); Iran: A People Interrupted (2007); and an edited volume, Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema (2006). A selected sample of his writing is co-edited by Andrew Davison and Himadeep Muppidi, The World is my Home: A Hamid Dabashi Reader (Transaction 2010).

In the context of his commitment to advancing trans-national art and independent world cinema, Professor Dabashi is the founder of Dreams of a Nation, a Palestinian Film Project, dedicated to preserving and safeguarding Palestinian Cinema. He is also chiefly responsible for opening up the study of Persian literature and Iranian culture at Columbia University to students of comparative literature and society, breaking away from the confinements of European Orientalism and American Area Studies.

Hadi Ghaemi: “Iran’s Struggle for Civil and Human Rights and Its Impact in the Middle East”.

BIO: Dr. Hadi Ghaemi is an Iran analyst and eminent human rights expert. He is currently the director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. In 2008, together with a group of international human rights activists, he founded the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran which has become one of the leading groups reporting and documenting human rights violations in Iran and building international coalitions in defense of Iranian human rights defenders. Between 2001 and 2004, he worked with NGOs focusing on Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2004, he joined Human Rights Watch as the Iran and United Arab Emirates researcher. His work at Human Rights Watch focused international attention on the plight of migrant workers in Dubai, as well as repression of civil society in Iran. He came to the United States in 1983 as a student and received his doctorate in Physics from Boston University in 1994. He was a professor of Physics at City University of New York until 2000. His groundbreaking research in Nano-Physics has been published in prestigious scientific journals such as Nature and he holds four patents in this field.

Hussein Ibish: “An overview of contemporary Arab attitudes towards Iran.”

BIO: Dr. Hussein Ibish is a Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) and Executive Director of the Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for Arab-American Leadership. From 1998-2004, Dr. Ibish served as Communications Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the largest Arab-American membership organization in the United States. From 2001-2004 he was Vice-President of the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom. Dr. Ibish has written widely on Hate Crimes and Discrimination against Arab Americans, civil liberties in the United States, race and human rights, and the Palestinian struggle for a nation state. A respected analyst and commentator in Arab and American media outlets, his most recent writings are “Race and the War on Terror,” in Race and Human Rights (Michigan State University Press, 2005) and “Symptoms of Alienation: How Arab and American Media View Each Other“ in Arab Media in the Information Age (ECSSR, 2005) and What’s Wrong with the One-State Agenda? Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel is Still the Palestinian National Goal (ATFP. 2009). He has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Leili Kashani: “The challenge of ethical solidarity at a time of internal repression and external threats.”

BIO: Leili Kashani works at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City where she advocates for a just closure of the prison at Guantánamo and against illegal detentions more broadly. She is a senior editor at Arab Studies Journal and has a graduate degree from the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. Over the years, she has organized and participated in various NYC events concerned with social movements in Iran and strengthening opposition to sanctions and war.

Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet: “A Tale of Two Cities: From Cairo to Tehran.”

Bio: Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet is a leading historian of the early modern period in Iranian history at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the second Iranian-born woman scholar to achieve tenure at an Ivy League university. Professor Kashani-Sabet completed her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in history at Yale University. Her book, Frontier Fictions: Shaping the Iranian Nation, 1804-1946 (Princeton University Press, 1999) is a groundbreaking study of Iranian nationalism in which Professor Kashani-Sabet analyzes and theorizes the significance of land and border disputes, with attention to Iran’s shared boundaries with the Ottoman Empire (later Iraq and Turkey), Central Asia, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf region. Her book is being translated into Persian by Kitabsara Press, Tehran, Iran.

Professor Kashani-Sabet teaches courses on various aspects of modern Middle Eastern history, including ethnic and political conflicts, gender and women's issues, popular culture, diplomatic history, revolutionary ideologies, and general surveys. She is finishing a book entitled, Conceiving Citizens: Women, Sexuality, and Religion in Modern Iran (forthcoming, Oxford University Press, 2010). She is also completing a book on America 's historical relationship with Iran and the Islamic world entitled, The Making of the 'Great Satan': A History of US - Iranian Relations (under contract with Princeton University Press). In addition to her academic work, Professor Kashani-Sabet has written several fictional pieces. Her first novel, Martyrdom Street, will be published by Syracuse University Press in 2010. Professor Kashani-Sabet has directed the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania since 2006. She is a member of the Association of Iranian American Writers.

Negar Mottahedeh: “The Iranian Political Crisis: Social Media Brought you the News!”

BIO: Negar Mottahedeh is an associate professor of film, literature and women's studies and the co-curator of the Reel Evil: Films from the Axis of Evil and Aftershocks: 9/11 film series at Duke University. Her work has been published in Camera Obscura, Signs, Iranian Studies, Radical History Review, and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Her first book, Representing the Unpresentable on Iranian cinema and its relation to 19th Century visual history was published in 2008. Her second monograph, Displaced Allegories: Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema was also published in 2008 by Duke University Press. A perceptive theorist of Iranian visual culture, Professor Mottahedeh writes and speaks about culture, innovation and digital technologies.

Faraz Sanei: “Shaping Popular Opinion: Arab Civil Society and Iran's Green Movement.”

BIO: Faraz Sanei is a Researcher with Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, where he focuses on issues related to Bahrain and Iran. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, he served as Senior Human Rights Lawyer and Program Director for IHRDC. Mr. Sanei received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his J.D. from the Vanderbilt University Law School.

Stephen R. Shalom: “Democratic Upsurge in a Region of US Hegemony."

BIO: Stephen R. Shalom is a professor of political science in William Patterson University in New Jersey (WPUNJ). He received his Bachelor's degree from M.I.T., his Master's from Northeastern, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston University. He began teaching at William Paterson in 1977. He is the author of many books and articles on US foreign policy, neocolonialism and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Some of his best-known books are The United States and the Philippines: A Study of Neocolonialism (1981); Which Side Are You On? An Introduction to Politics (Longman, 2003) and Imperial Alibis: Rationalizing U.S. Intervention After the Cold War (South End Press, 1993), which has been described by Noam Chomsky as "lucidly argued and carefully documented, Stephen Shalom's study of the pretexts for intervention is an invaluable guide to the recent past and unlikely future." He is also editor of Perilous Power: The Middle East & U.S. Foreign Policy. Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice by Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar (Paradigm Publishers, 2007) and is on the editorial boards of Critical Asian Studies and New Politics, and writes for Z Magazine and ZNet. Professor Shalom directs the Gandhian Forum for Peace & Justice at WPUNJ, an organization that engages with “high school, college, and university students and teachers in innovative and practical ideas, actions, and programs that promote peace and justice through cooperative engagement, dialogue, and respect for opposing views and opinions.”

Roozbeh Shirazi: “Demographic Timebombs, Heroic Martyrs, and Knights of Change: Locating the Youth in Contemporary Politics in Iran and Jordan.”

BIO: Dr. Roozbeh Shirazi is currently a member of the faculty of the School of Education at CUNY-City College. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative International Education with a disciplinary focus in Political Science from Columbia University. His dissertation is a critical ethnographic investigation of secondary schooling for boys amid national and international calls for education reform in Jordan. His research interests include the cultural production of schooling, the pedagogy of citizenship and national belonging, the Iranian diaspora, and the politics of representations of "youth" in the Middle East. Dr. Shirazi has extensive experience as an educator and researcher internationally and domestically, and has published articles examining the history of US involvement in education reform in Afghanistan, as well as the politics of education reform in Jordan. His forthcoming publications examine the construction of Iranian identities in diaspora, as well as the gendered production of schooling in Jordan.

Conference convener Golbarg Bashi

BIO: Golbarg Bashi joined the Rutgers Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) in September 2009 where she teaches Iranian and Middle Eastern Studies. She holds a First Class B.A. (Honors) in Middle Eastern Studies from Manchester University, a M.Sc. in Women's Studies from Bristol University and has recently completed her doctoral thesis on a feminist critique of the human rights discourse in Iran. Her research interests include the theories and practices of human rights in Iran and the Muslim world, modern Iranian social and intellectual history, and women’s rights movements in Iran/Arab world and in a comparative context. Her publications include, Feminist waves in the Iranian Green Tsunami? (2009); From One Third World Woman to Another: A Conversation with Gayatri Spivak (2010) and Eyewitness History: Ayatollah Montazeri (2006).

Conference organizers:

Shehnaz Abdeljaber: Outreach Coordinator, Center for Middle Eastern Studies and English and Africana Studies major at Rutgers.

Farah Hussain: Undergraduate student; Department of Comparative Literature and Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers and researcher at ArteEast in New York City.

Art work:

Poster designed by Shahin Haghjou, student of graphic design at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Barcelona, Spain.
Program designed by Bahareh Sehatzadeh, Publicity Officer, Center for Middle Eastern Studies and PhD candidate in the Department of Urban Planning, Rutgers.

Iran and the Arab World: New Horizons is sponsored by CMES and by the College Avenue Dean, with thanks to Rutgers University Global Programs.
Special thanks go to CMES director Dr. Charles Haberl for his gracious support!