Paper Presentation: “Politics of Informality: On the Power of the Public Spheres of Egypt” with Heba Raouf
February 15, 2012. While politics has long been studied from a modernist systemic approach, sociology has been trying to relate the form to relations of power, and ideologies have addressed power and thought as being in a dialectical multi-dimensional relation. Yet even the shift from old to new social movements did not grasp the emergence of a new rationale of political agency. Informality is a concept that needs to be introduced here to allow better understanding of the political in its different manifestations and transformations. Dr. Raouf discussed how the Egyptian revolution can be approached through the lenses of informality, how the old social movements paved the way to new ones, and how the moment of change crystallized through informal actions.
Luncheon Briefing: “Guantanamo: The rule of law or the law of ever changing rules?” with Nancy Hollander
February 14, 2012. In her discussion about Guantanamo Bay, internationally renowned criminal defense lawyer Nancy Hollander provided an update on the pending military commission cases, pending habeas cases, and the continuing flexibility of the rules that apply in those cases.
“Establishing a New Political Party in Egypt: A First Hand Account” with Ahmed Abou-bakr
On February 13, 2012 Dr. Abou-bakr spoke about he and his wife’s (actress Tayseer Fahmy) experiences as protestors during the revolution, Tayseer's decision to run for the Maglis al-Shaab (People’s Assembly), their joint decision to establish a party (making her the first woman to lead a political party in Egypt), the challenges creating a new party presented, and their experiences during the elections. This event was co-sponsored by ACMCU and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.
Trends in 21st Century American Muslim Women's “Feminist” Activism with Leila Ahmed
The first decade of the 21st century witnessed the emergence of a newly exuberant and dynamic American Muslim “feminist” activism. Reminiscent in some ways in its liveliness of the American feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s, this contemporary movement appears to be occurring above all among American Muslim women and thus in relation specifically to Islam. Outlining some of its most notable developments through this decade, Dr. Ahmed also described some of the historical and social conditions contributing to the emergence of this newly invigorated American Muslim “feminist” activism.
Colloquium: “Music in Oman: Politics, Identity, Time, and Space in the Sultanate”
ACMCU partnered with the Sultan Qaboos Center (SQCC) and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies to host a colloquium on music in Oman. The presentations included “Mozart in Muscat: Politics, Performance, and Patronage in Oman” by Nasser Al-Taee, Director of Education and Outreach, Royal Opera House, Muscat; “African Identities, Afro-Omani Music, and the Official Constructions of a Musical Past” by Majid Al Harthy, Assistant Professor of Music/Musicology/Ethnomusicology, Sultan Qaboos University; and “The Musical Design of National Space and Time in Oman” by Anne K. Rasmussen, Associate Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology and Chair of the Department of Music, College of William and Mary. The event was moderated by D.A. Sonneborn, who is an Associate Director at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution.
“Yes to Palestine” with HRH Prince Turki Al-Faisal
Former Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States and Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies HRH Prince Turki Al-Faisal visited ACMCU to reiterate his full support of a Palestinian state. HRH is a Trustee of the Oxford Islamic Center at Oxford University and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University. He is also a Commissioner at the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. HRH received an honorary PhD. in Philosophy from the University of Ulster in 2010 and is a visiting Distinguished Professor at Georgetown University.