25th Annual Meeting (2010)

This year, the Middle East History and Theory (MEHAT) Conference is celebrating its twenty-fifth year as a leading forum for emerging scholars in Middle East Studies.  The MEHAT Conference is an opportunity for University of Chicago graduate students to share their research with other students and professors from universities within the U.S. and abroad.  Interdisciplinary in nature, MEHAT attracts participants from various departments including: Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Anthropology, History, Political Science, Economics, Linguistics, Philosophy, Comparative Literature and Religion, Art History, and Film Studies.  In the past, participants have traveled from Turkey, Pakistan, France, Germany, and other leading universities from across the United States in order to present their work.

MEHAT Conference 2010-Preliminary Program


Max Palevsky Cinema

7:00 pm – Movie screening: Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul, Max Palevsky Cinema, Ida Noyes Hall


8:00-8:30 – Registration and Breakfast, Ida Noyes Library

8:30-10:15 Ida Noyes Library:

Identity and Legitimacy in Early Islam

Moderator: Tahera Qutbuddin

Eve, intertextuality and cultural diffusion

Catherine Bronson, University of Chicago

Ibn al-Muqaffa‘, the Question of Legitimacy, and a Failed Attempt at Secularization

Najm al-Din Yousefi. Department of History, Virginia Tech

The Significance of the Successors (al-Tābi‘ūn) as Reflected in Early Hadith Collections

Mustafa Macit Karagözoğlu, Marmara University

Abū Bakra, Mawlā of the Prophet? A Re-examination of Early Islamic Walā’

Elizabeth Urban, University of Chicago

8:30-10:15  Ida Noyes West Lounge:

Society and modernity in film and literature

Discussant: Saeed Ghahremani

The Quintessence of the Natural(ist) Novel: Ahmet Mithat’s Moralism and the Redefinition of Western Literary Terminology

Zeynep Seviner, University of Washington

Fictions of Modernity: A Postcolonial Reading of 20th Century Iranian Novel

Hamid Rezaeiyazdi, University of Toronto

Cinematic Cosmopolitanism: The Iranian Pre-Revolutionary Cinema

Golbarg Rekabtalaei, University of Toronto

From Isolation to Emancipation: The Case of a Palestinian Poet

Alaa’ Milbes, Columbia University

8:30-10:15 Ida Noyes East Lounge:

Marginal Groups in Istanbul

Discussant: Basil Salem

Building Sanity: Mental Institutions in Istanbul, 1870-1927

Burçak Özlüdil Altın, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Turkish Cultural Foundation Fellow
Being of Istanbul: A city with an idealized population and its migrants

Yağmur Nuhrat, Brown University, Department of Anthropology

Representations of the Commonly Neglected: The first Ottoman Newspapers’ Presentation of Beggars, Workers and Peasants during the Days of the Ottoman Financial Crisis

Gül Karagöz-Kızılca, State University of New York, Ankara University

10:15-10:30- COFFEE BREAK


10:30-12:15 Ida Noyes Library:

Love and the supernatural

Discussant: Ferenc Csirkes

Prophethood, Sainthood, and the Miʿrāj: Abū Yazīd in ʿAṭṭār’s Taẕkirat al-awliyāʾ

Austin O’Malley, University of Chicago

Two Aspects of Love in Persian Medieval Romances, Love-Possession & Love-Sublimation

Saeed Honarmand, Ohio State University

Genies as Companions of the Prophet? Supernatural hadith transmitters and post-classical hadith transmission.

Garrett Davidson, University of Chicago

The Reception of the Occult Sciences in the Ottoman Legal Culture: Evaluation of the Fatwa Collections from the 16th-18th centuries

Ahmet Tunç Şen, University of Chicago

10:30-12:15  Ida Noyes West Lounge:

Imaging the City; Cultural Aesthetics and the Middle East

Discussant: Noha Forster

The New American University in Cairo Campus: Virtual Place Making within the Discourse of Knowledge Economy

Karem Said, Stanford University
Acts of Creation and Preservation: The Author and His City in Muhammad Khudayyir’s Baṣrayāthā: Ṣūrat Medīna

Chip Rossetti, University of Pennsylvania

“A Reformer in the Garb of a Singer”: Music in the Discourse of National Identity in Colonial Egypt

Tess Popper, UC Santa Barbara

Bridges of Old Iranian Architecture: Focusing on the Khaju Bridge in Isfahan

Mahboubeh Hosseini Zydabadi, Islamic Azad University Nishabur Branch

Iranian Bazaars (From the Past to the Present)

Sharareh Azari, University of Melbourne

10:30-12:15 Ida Noyes East Lounge:

Provincial urban centers in Turkey and Iran

Discussant: Hakan Karateke

Urban History as a Means of Resistance: Huseyin Husameddin Yasar and his History of Amasya

Hasan Karataş, New York University

Power, Politics and Legitimacy in the Countryside: Alanya Municipal Government 1914-1930

Nurşen Gürboğa, Marmara University

An Ibn al-‘Arabī Scholar in Early Ottoman İznik: Ottoman Sources on the Assignment of the İznik Medrese by Sultan Orhān to Dāvūd-i Kayserī

Gonca Baskıcı, Bilkent University

12:15-2:00    LUNCH BREAK


2:00-4:00  Ida Noyes Library:

Roundtable on China and the Islamic World

2:00-4:00   Ida Noyes West Lounge:

Early Islam and the State

Discussant: Fred Donner

‘It’s the economy, stupid’: al-Tabari’s analysis of the free rider problem in the Abbasid caliphate.

Ulrika Mårtensson, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Ruler or Rebel? The Portrayal of ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Zubayr in Classical and Contemporary Scholarship

Rahaf Kalaaji, University of Chicago

“Andalusi Crete: An Islamic Frontier State in the Ninth and Tenth Century Mediterranean”

Mohamad Ballan, University of Chicago

The Egyptian Polity of ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Marwān

Josh Mabra, University of Chicago

Upholding God’s rule: ‘Umar and some Christian functionaries in Kufa

Luke Yarbrough, Princeton University

2:00-4:00    Ida Noyes East Lounge:

Intellectual encounters with Europe and America

Discussant: Orit Bashkin

Rudolf Belling (1886 – 1972) and the Role of Visual Arts in the Construction of Modern Turkish National Identity

Pelin Kadercan – University of Rochester

‘Paris as a boot camp for intellectuals from the Muslim World, 1826-1930’

Olivia Luce, University of Oxford

Assimilation and Positive Discrimination Bismarck’s advice to the Ottoman Special Mission in 1881

Naci Yorulmaz, University of Birmingham

4:30-6:00 – PLENARY SPEECH:

“Early Eleventh-Century Isfahan on My Mind”, Ida Noyes West Lounge

Everett K Rowson, New York University

6:00-8:00 – RECEPTION

8:00-10:00 – Middle East Music Ensemble Concert and Theatre Evening, Assembly Hall, International House


8:30-9:00 Breakfast

9:00-10:15   Ida Noyes Library:

“Translation between languages, translation of cultures: a panel discussion on the art and industry of translation to and from Middle Eastern languages”

Discussant: Cameron Cross

Farouk Mustafa, Ibn Rushd Professorial Lect. in Modern Arabic Lang. Near Eastern Lang. & Civ. and the College

Na’ama Rokem, Asst. Prof, Near Eastern Lang. & Civ. and the College

Franklin Lewis, Assoc. Prof, Near Eastern Lang. & Civ. and the College

Orit Bashkin, Asst. Prof, Near Eastern Lang. & Civ. and the College

Fred Donner, Prof, Near Eastern Lang. & Civ., Oriental Inst., and the College

9:00-10:15   Ida Noyes West Lounge:

Political Contestation in 16th century Ottoman Empıre

Discussant: Nikolay Antov

Gossip, Rumor and Slander: Political Uses of Hearsay and Accusation in the Court of Murad III

Elif Özgen, Istanbul Bilgi University

Narrating the City: Istanbul as Embodiment of Geographic Good in Viaje de Turquía

Jessica Ribble Boll, University of Wisconsin
9:00-10:15   Ida Noyes East Lounge:

Society and Development in the Middle East

Discussant: Nell Gabiam

Development Narratives of HIV/AIDS in Yemen

Cassandra Filer, Georgetown University

Sufi ritual and the sacred spaces of sohbet in Istanbul

Hannah Highfill, Washington University

The Material Culture of a Colonial Cotton Enterprise

Suzanne Schneider Reich, Columbia University

10:15-10:30- COFFEE BREAK


10:30-12:30   Ida Noyes Library:
God and Government in Modern Islam

Discussant: Laith Saud

Generation of Qur’an, Empire of Democracy: Contesting Democratic Theory in Contemporary Turkey

Dünya Deniz Çakır, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“After the Sepoy Revolt: South Asian Sufism and the Reassertion of Indo-Muslim Identity”

Daanish Faruqi, Washington University in St Louis

God and Government in Tunisia: The Historical Method of Mohamed Talbi

Kelly Al-Dakkak, University of Oxford

10:30-12:30    Ida Noyes West Lounge:

Projects of modernity in the late Ottoman Empire

Discussant: Ekin Enacar

Navigating Modernization: Developing İstanbul’s 19th Century Mass Transit Network

Robert Ehrmann, University of Chicago

Local Politics and Its Impact on the Formation of Modern States: The Use of Forced Labor in the Construction of the Trabzon-Erzurum Road, 1860-1861

Fulya Özkan, State University of New York, Binghamton

Fires and Firefighters of Istanbul, 1826-1923: The Struggle of a Wooden City Against Frequent Flames

Barış Taşyakan, Boğaziçi University

The Lay of the City: Singer Sewing Machines in the Late Nineteenth Century Istanbul, Cairo and Alexandria
Ceyda Karamürsel, University of Pennsylvania

Rush Hour in Downtown Ottoman Istanbul: Mechanized Transportation and the Emergence of Modern Temporal Patterns

Avner Wishnitzer,University of Washington

10:30-12:30   Ida Noyes East Lounge:

Seeking ‘Order and Progress’: Press in the Late Ottoman Empire

Discussant: Holly Shissler

A Forgotten Intellectual: Khalil Ghanim’s Contributions to the Ottoman Opposition Press in Paris (1878-1903)

Basil Salem, University of Chicago

Ahmed Rıza’s Mechveret: A Young Turk’s Quest to Answer the Eastern Question

Madeleine Elfenbeinm, University of Chicago

Constitutionalism and Opposition after the ‘Declaration of Liberty’: The Case of Lütfi Fikri Bey and Tanzimat (1911-1913)

Toygun Altıntaş, University of Chicago

The “Sırat-i Mustakim” Ottoman Journal (1908-1911): Controversies Between the Followers of The “Straight Path” and “Secular Mujtahids”

Ayşe Polat, University of Chicago

12:45-2:00 – Lunch


2:00-4:00   Ida Noyes Library:

Panel in Honor of Professor Heshmat Moayyad

Discussant: Austin O’Malley

‘But joy comes in the morning’: The Semiotics of Dawn in the Ghazals of Hafiz

Professor Franklin Lewis, University of Chicago

The Persian Sources of Sheyh Ghalib’s Husn u Ask

Professor Judith Wilkes, Northwestern University

Arzu as a ‘Docile Agent’: the Paradox of the Obedient Daughter in Pre-Islamic Iran

Professor Alyssa Gabbay, Washington University

The Master’s Slap: Bodies, Books, and Variations on an Image by Sā’eb

Professor Paul Losensky, Indiana University

2:00-4:00   Ida Noyes West Lounge:

Meaning in the landscape: the city and the country from the early period

Discussant:Donald Whitcomb

Graves in Damascus: Non-Textual Sources of Sacrality in Independent Fadâ’il al-Shâm Treatises

Raha Rafii, The University of Texas at Austin

The Social Landscape of the Islamic Dhamar Basin in the Central Highlands of Yemen

Daniel Mahoney, University of Chicago

The Islamization of the Landscape: The Transformation of Beirut into a Ribāṭ

Rana Mikati, University of Chicago

The place of Islamic law in Córdoba: Configuration of legal attitudes toward domestic space in Muslim Córdoba through textual and archaeological data

Sabahat Adil, University of Chicago

The rise and fall of Samarra: A history of Shi’a Urban Heritage in Iraq

Sajad Jiyad, Center for Islamic Shia Studies

2:00-4:00   Ida Noyes East Lounge:

Gender, Education and Ideology

Discussant: Shayna Silverstein

Constructing the “Mother Citizens” of the Ottoman Empire: Education, Nationalism and Gender in the Young Turk Era (1909-1918)

Ekin Enacar, University of Chicago

The Diary of Khalil al-Sakakini: Social change, conflicting ideologies, and the individual self
Nadim Bawalsa, Georgetown University

Mandatory Body-Building: Physical Activity, Masculinities, Class, and Nationalism in Syria, 1933-1945

Sam Dolbee, Georgetown University

Urban Encounters in Arabic: Language Ideologies and Imaginaries of Social and Physical Space in Amman
Yazan Doughan, University of Chicago

4:30-6:00 Keynote Address, Ida Noyes West Lounge:  “Revolutionary Subjectivity and Cultural Engineering in Contemporary Iran”
Professor Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, University of Toronto

6:00-8:00 Lamb Roast and Reception

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