MEHAT 2019 – Schedule

Middle Eastern History and Theory Conference, May 3rd-May 5th 2019

Theme: Migration, Diaspora, and Movement of Peoples

Friday, May 3rd

Registration: Begins at 4:00 p.m.

Saieh Hall 146

Round Table Discussion: 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Saieh Hall 146

Contextualizing Migration Studies


Akram Khater, North Carolina State University

Ilana Feldman, The George Washington University

Wendy Pearlman, Northwestern University

Ulrike Präger, Salzburg University

Moderated by Orit Bashkin, University of Chicago

Reception: 6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Hutchinson Commons

Catered by: Nepal House Indian Nepalese Restaurant

Film Screening: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Saieh Hall 146

Havana Habibi looks at the cross cultural exchange and inter-migration between Africa, Cuba, and the USA; what it means to be a Cuban Belly-dancer in Revolutionary Cuba as well as the Diaspora, and travels throughout time, geography and space to tell a human story of healing, transformation, empowerment, liberation and Identity through the sensual metaphor of Bellydance.

This movie screening is free and open to the public.


Saturday, May 4th

All panel sessions will be held in Stuart Hall

Registration – Starts at 8:00 a.m.

Stuart Hall Lobby

Coffee and a light breakfast will be provided at registration.

Session I – 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Stuart 101

Ottoman Studies

Stuart 102

[Im]migration Studies

Stuart 103

Arabic Literature

“Reading the Cultural Migration from Greek Thought to Arabic Culture”,

Abdullah Rıdvan Gökbel, Istanbul University

“Mapping Community and its Implications: A Case Study of Copts in Nashville”

Lydia Yousief, University of Chicago

“Moving from Invisibility to Visibility through Palestinian Literature”

Aarushi Punia, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

“Translation as a Remedy: Juristic Perspective in the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Political Writing”

Arif Erbil, Boğaziçi University

“Migration Movements in the Black Sea in the First Half of the 20th Century”

Cafer Sarıkaya, Boğaziçi University

“Vocalization by women who faced violence during partitions of Palestine-Israel and India-Pakistan”

Tanzoom Ahmed, University of Chicago

“Ottoman Travelers’ Search for Europe with the Guidance of Baedeker Editions”

Semra Horuz, TU Wien

“Consequence of arami Trans-oceanic Migrations in Indian Ocean Muslim legacy Formation”

Ashraf PonnChethil, Darul Huda Islamic University

“The Oddities of the Language: Questioning the Authority of the Lexicon in al-Saq ʿala al-Saq”

Aidan Kaplan, University of Chicago

Coffee Break – 10:00 – 10:15 a.m.

Session II – 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Stuart 101


Stuart 102

Jewish Studies

Stuart 103


“Medieval Islamic Education Theory and its Implications for Today’s Islamic School Practices”

Derya Doğan, Indiana University Bloomington

“Bedouin Tents and Camel Rides: East-West Dichotomies and Gendered Paradigms on Birthright Israel”

Jacob Beckert, Indiana University

“Dreams Deferred: The Politics of Hope and Exile”

Fernando Revelo La Rotta, University of Chicago

“Systems of Identity: Modes of Citizen Identity and Sociality Experienced by Female Jordanian and Syrian Refugee Students in Amman’s Public Schools”

Patricia Kubow, Indiana University

“The Yiddish-Hebrew Kulturkampf: Historical and Contemporary Implications”

Joey Ayoub, University of Edinburgh

“Whom Should We Shoot: Assigning Blame and Revising History in 70s Egypt”

Hazem Fahmy, University of Texas at Austin

Coffee Break – 11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Film Screening – 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Stuart Hall 101

a film by Fadi (the fdz) Baki
2017 / 29 minutes
in Arabic with English subtitlesLast Days of the Man of Tomorrow is the award winning film by current Gray Center Mellon Collaborative Fellow Fadi (the fdz) Baki, who is in residence at the University of Chicago this quarter. Plot: A young filmmaker investigates the legend of Manivelle, an automaton gifted to Lebanon in 1945 that still haunts an abandoned mansion in Beirut. After being coaxed back out into the limelight, the people who knew him come forward to speak their mind, and the myth that Manivelle has constructed around himself begins to unravel.The film has been screened at over 50 international film festivals and took home the prize for Best Short Film at the BBC Arabic Film Festival, Boston Underground Film Festival, SciFi Film Festival Australia, Sapporo International Short Film Festival, Arab Film Festival (Malmö), Cinalfama Lisbon International Film Awards, Lebanese Film Festival, Batroun Mediterranean Film Festival, and the International Short Film Week Regensburg.

Lunch – 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Stuart Hall, Cox Lounge (Downstairs)

Session III – 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Stuart 101


Stuart 102


Stuart 103

At the Margins of the Ottoman Empire

“The Nature of Bayt al-Hikma”

Wihad Al-Tawil, University of Chicago

(W)rapping the Hijab: Hip-hop, Islam, and Femininity”

Aliah Ajamoughli, Indiana University Bloomington

“The 1862 Zēytʻun Affair and the Armenian Press” Aram Ghoogasian, University of Chicago

“The Maḥmūdiyya: Preliminary Observations on the Book Contents of a Mamluk Era Library”

Kyle Wynter-Stoner, University of Chicago

Morality or Corruption: Analyzing Two Contradictory Approaches Regarding Iranian Women’s Hijab Based on Foreign Travellers, Memoirists and Historians’ Accounts in King Nasreddin’s Period Tehran (1848-1896)”

Zeinab (Sarah) Eskandari, University of Cincinnati

“Traveling Dervishes: Waves of Bektashi Migration” Xhesika Bardhi, University of Chicago
“Ottomanizing Heritage Conservation and Turkifying the Monumental Past: The Life and Works of Halil Edhem Bey”

Lauren Poulson, University of Chicago

“The reception of Ikhwān al-Safā’s Classification of the Sciences in ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Bisṭāmī’s (d. 1454) al-Fawāʾiḥ al-miskiyya fī l-fawātiḥ al-Makkiyya

Cem Turkoz, University of Chicago

*note: this paper is out of theme

“Ottomans and Yezidis on the Margins of the Empire”

Bahadin Hawar Kerborani, University of Chicago

Coffee Break – 3:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Session IV – 3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Stuart 101

Confronting Catastrophe: Fitna, Invasion, and Apocalypse

Stuart 102

Politics and Policies in Saudi Arabia

Stuart 103

Political Science

“Rule, dissent, and the spread of information: The first and second fitnas in non-Muslim writings of the first two centuries”

Ameena Yovan, University of Chicago

“Neo–Wahhabi in Saudi Arabia, the Challenges and Future” Abdullah Alrebh, Grand Valley State University “Identity, Transnationalism and Power: Transnational Iraqi Shia Politics pre- and post- the 2003 Iraq War” Oula Kadhum, University of Birmingham
“ ‘Human-Faced Beasts’: Racial Depictions of the Mongols in Armenian Manuscript Colophons”

Armen Abkarian, University of Michigan

“The Moral and Social Effects of Labor Importation in Saudi Arabia” Benjamin Beames, University of Chicago “Hard Forces for Soft Targets: China’s ‘Prudent Power’ and the Legitimization of Its Military Base in Djibouti”

Degang Sun, Shanghai International Studies University

“ ‘Blessed are the strangers’: An Apocalyptic Hadith on the Virtues of Loneliness, Sadness, and Exile”

Youshaa Patel, Lafayette College

“A Peripheral Realist Analysis of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Policy” Miras Tolepbergen, Shanghai University “From Colonial divide et impera to the War on Terror: The Racialized Muslim Subject in the Moroccan Hirak al-Rif” Ahmed Mitiche, University of Michigan

Upon the conclusion of Session IV,

please make your way to the Oriental Institute  for the keynote address.

Keynote Address – 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., May 5th

The Middle East History and Theory Conference proudly presents

Dr. Akram Khater

Professor of History

Khayrallah Distinguished Professor of Lebanese Diaspora Studies

Director, Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies

Editor, International Journal of Middle East Studies

On Forgotten Shores: Migration and Mobility in the Middle East


This lecture is free and open to the public


Lamb Roast Dinner – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Ida Noyes Hall

Catered by: Al Bawadi Grill

This meal is made possible by the generous support of the

Middle Eastern Studies Students’ Association (MESSA)

Sunday, May 5th

All panel sessions will be held in Stuart Hall

Breakfast – 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Stuart Hall

Session V – 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Stuart 101

Migration, Diaspora, and Movement of Peoples in Central Eurasian Contexts

Stuart 102

Diasporic Narratives

Familiar Strangers: A Samarkandi Community in Mongol-Yuan Literature” 

Xinyi Wei, University of Chicago


“Choreographies of Diaspora: Reimagining Anatolian Dance in Berlin”

Michael O’Toole, University of Chicago

Huihui Officials in the Embroidered Uniform Guard” Carol Fan, University of Chicago “From Population to Community: Translation of Iranian Immigrant Community in France”

Narciss M. Sohrabi, University of Nanterre la Défense

The Ottoman Throne Between Tent and Metropolis: The Character and Extent of Ottoman Courtly Mobility as Represented in Mehmed Rāşid Efendi’s (d. 1735) Tārīḫ-i Rāşid and Ismaʿīl Asim Küçükçelebizāde’s (1675-1759) Tārīḫ-i Çelebizāde, a Framework Towards a Social History of Monarchy in the Ottoman Empire (c. 1660-1730)”

Arlen Wiesenthal, University of Chicago 

“Culinary Place-Identity: Palestinian Belonging in the Chilean Foodscape” Nicholas Bascuñan-Wiley, Northwestern University
Textbook Imperialism: 16th Century Uzbek History from a 21st Century Perspective”

August Samie, University of Chicago

“A Women’s Movement in Transition: Iranian Counterpublics and Digital Diasporas”

Sean Widlake, Northeastern University

Lunch – 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Stuart Hall

Catered by: UChicago Dining Services, Bon Appetit

The Middle East History and Theory Conference in coordination with the Department of Music at the University of Chicago and EthNoise! proudly present

Dr. Ulrike Präger

Senior Research Scientist/Post-doctoral Fellow

Salzburg University

Music, Migration, Liminality

Please join us for a pre-concert and talk concert sponsored by the Department of Music at the University of Chicago:

Pre-Concert Talk by Dr. Philip V. Bohlman, University of Chicago

2:00 pm

Logan Center Performance Hall


3:00 pm – Letters from Iraq

Rahim AlHaj, joined by the Kontras Quartet, Christian Dillingham, and Nicholas Baker

Performance Hall, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

915 E. 60th Street Chicago, IL 60637

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online through: [note: we have secured the student price for all of our attendees]


 Rahim AlHaj

2015 Recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts

2010 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional World Music Album

2009 United States Artists Fellow Award in Music

2008 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional World Music Album

2003 Winner of the Bravo Award for Excellence in Music

2001 Award from Veterans for Peace for work towards peace

1988 Music Institute Award for Composition


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5/2 Workshop with Kara Peruccio

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Spring 2018 MEHAT Workshop Schedule

Dear all, 
At last we have finalized the Spring 2018 Middle East History and Theory Workshop (MEHAT) Schedule. Please note that the meeting time for all MEHAT workshops this quarter has changed to Wednesdays, 1:30-3:00 PM at Pick Hall Room 218. The schedule is as follows:
April 18th: Samuel Lasman (Comparative Literature): “Dangerous Authenticity: What It Means to be from the Iranian ‘Otherworld.'” Discussant: Samantha Pellegrino (Islamic Studies, Divinity School)
May 2nd: Kara Peruccio (NELC)  “Bad Romance: Toxic Masculinity and Problematic Relationships in Italian and Turkish Women’s Novels, 1923-1933.” Discussant Claire Roosien (NELC/History).
May 16th: Amir Toft (NELC) “A Gentleman and a Scholar: Profiling an Ottoman Judge in the Late Sixteenth Century” Discussant: Dr. Basil Salem (Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Chicago).
May 30th: Kareem Rosshandler (CMES) “Arab-Israelis and the ‘Right to Culture’: Obstacles and Progress” (Discussant to be determined)
We will also be mixing up the usual food and beverage options! 
Hope to see you all there,
Kyle Wynter-Stoner
2017-2018 MEHAT Workshop Coordinator
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April 4th Workshop with Oğuz Alyanak

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March 7th Workshop with Chad Mowbray

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February 28th Workshop with Kyle Wynter-Stoner (NELC)

Hello Middle East History and Theory Workshop attendees, please join us this Wednesday, February 28th at 3:00-4:30 pm in Pick Hall Room 218 for a MEHAT Workshop by me, Kyle Wynter-Stoner (NELC). I will be talking about my paper entitled “The Movement and Destruction of Library Books in Mamluk Cairo.” My discussant will be Arlen Wiesenthal (NELC). And as always, food and beverages will be served!
Kyle Wynter-Stoner
2017-2018 MEHAT Workshop Coordinator.
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February 7th Workshop with Carl Shook

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January 24th Workshop with Theo Beers

Greetings Middle East History and Theory Workshop attendees. Please join us this Wednesday, January 24th at 3:00-4:30 PM in Pick Hall Room 218 for a workshop with Theo Beers (NELC) on his paper: “The Tuḥfah-i Sāmī and the Persian Taẕkirah Tradition.” His discussant will be Sam Lasman. As always, food and soft drinks will be served.

Hope to see you all there,
Kyle Wynter-Stoner
2017-2018 MEHAT Workshop Coordinator
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Winter 2018 MEHAT Workshop Schedule

Hello Middle East History and Theory Workshop attendees. I’m excited to announce that our Winter 2018 schedule is finally ready. Please note that all of the following workshops will be held on Wednesdays from 3:00-4:30 PM in Pick Hall, Room 218:

January 24th: Theo Beers (NELC): “The Tuḥfah-i Sāmī and the Persian Taẕkirah Tradition.”

February 7th: Carl Shook (NELC): “Preliminary Conclusions About the Border Formation Process in Mandate Iraq, 1920-1932.”

February 28th: Mustafa Kaya (NELC): Zayn al-Din Khwafi (d. 1435) in the networks of the religious elite from Herat to Bursa.”

March 7th: Chad Mowbray (NELC): “Ambiguity in the ‘Wretched Hunter’ poem of al-Ḥuṭay’a”

As always, there will be food and beverages served. I hope you can all make it!


Kyle Wynter-Stoner

2017-2018 MEHAT Workshop Coordinator

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The Middle East History and Theory (MEHAT) Workshop is accepting submissions for the Winter 2018 Quarter. We aim to provide a forum for graduate students to present new work, receive feedback, and generate discussion across disciplines. We are eager to hear from historians, anthropologists, sociologists, musicologists, linguists, scholars of religion, and political scientists whose work engages with the Middle East, defined broadly to include the Mediterranean, North and West Africa, and South and Central Asia, over a span of time extending from Late Antiquity and the advent of Islam to the present. 

Drafts of dissertation proposals, chapters, and master’s theses are especially welcome, along with other works in progress. Professors are also encouraged to present their recent work. Papers are generally circulated a week prior to the workshop on the MEHAT listserv to encourage attendance and informed academic discussion. 

Please email abstracts of no more than 300 words to if interested.  We have a few slots remaining for the Winter Quarter. Please note all dates are Wednesdays, between 3:00 and 4:30 PM:

January 24th
March 7th
If none of these dates work for you, you can also present in the Spring Quarter. Please email  and we can arrange a slot for you then.
With best wishes, 
2017-18 MEHAT workshop coordinator
Kyle Wynter-Stoner
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