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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