Image by Flickr user Magnus Halsnes.

Conversations on the Politics of the Modern Middle East

 By Vida Samiian 

The series of lectures titled Conversations on the Politics of the Modern Middle East aim to create a dialogue and conversation on contemporary pressing issues facing the Middle East. The speakers are part of the Middle East Lecture and Performance series sponsored by the Middle East Studies’ semester-long program at Fresno State. The goal is to bring experts, scholars and researchers to discuss important and sometimes controversial topics on the politics and cultures of the Middle Eastern countries and people.
The Politics of the Middle East began with Dr. Afshin Matin, Middle East historian and professor of history at California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Matin opened the series on March 23 with a discussion of “European Imperialist Interests and the Rise of Nationalism in the Middle East.” He focused on the postwar era and the division of the Middle East region into the nation states that comprise the contemporary Middle East. On April 6, Dr. Sasan Fayazmanesh, emeritus professor of economics at Fresno State whose most recent book is Containing Iran: Obama’s Policy of Tough Diplomacy, will discuss “The Iranian Revolution and the U.S. Policy of Dual Containment” in Peters Building (PB) 101. On April 13, Dr. Lawrence Davidson, professor of history at Westchester College and co-author of A Concise History of the Middle East, will address “The Formation of Israel and the Rise of Arab Nationalism” at 6 p.m. in PB 191.
On April 24, Dr. Richard A. Falk will present on “The Apartheid Question and the Palestinian Struggle to End the Occupation” in PB 191 at 3:30 p.m. Falk is professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, as well as at UC Santa Barbara. He is the author or co-author of 20 books and the editor or co-editor of another 20 volumes. In 2008, Dr. Falk was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to a six-year term as a UN Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” His talk is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Commission, Peace Fresno, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Beth Ann Harnish Lecture Series.
Finally, on April 28, the series will close with Dr. Jason Bahbak Mohaqhegh, professor of Middle East studies and comparative literature at Babson College. Dr. Mohaqhegh’s scholarly focus is on tracking emergent currents of experimental thought in the Middle East and the West, with particular attention to exploring the concepts of chaos, violence, illusion, silence, sectarianism and apocalyptic writing. He is the author of The Radical Unspoken: Silence in Middle Eastern and Western Thought. Dr. Mohaghegh will speak on “New Literature and Philosophy of the Middle East.”
A number of other talks and presentations will take place in April. All events are open and free to the public. All of the speakers are co-sponsored by the Middle East Studies program at Fresno State and the Palestine Freedom Project. For more information, call 559-278-2458 or e-mail vidas@csufresno.edu.
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Vida Samiian, Ph.D., is a professor of linguistics at Fresno State. Contact him at 559-278-2458 or vidas@csufresno.edu. 
  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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