Northwestern Events Calendar


MENA Graduate Student Colloquium

When: Monday, November 27, 2017
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM CT

Where: Kresge Hall, 1-515 (The Forum), 1880 Campus Drive , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Danny Postel  

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Presentations by MENA graduate students Keegan Terek (Anthropology), Matthew Bent (Theatre), and Safa Al-Saeedi (Political Science).

Open to Northwestern graduate students and faculty (and their guests). Followed by an end-of-quarter party in the Kaplan Seminar Room (4pm - 6pm).


"Mahmoud on the Move: Metaphors of Migration through the Lens of Queer Asylum"

Keegan Terek

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Amman, Jordan in the summer of 2017, this paper explores two contrasting ways of imagining the migration of subjects and sexual-identity terminology through processes of queer asylum. The first way views migration as a unilinear trajectory, progressing from a demarcated country of origin to a delineable country of resettlement. The second complicates such linearity by conceiving of migratory movement as a circuit that blurs points of departure and arrival. As only the start of a longer linguistic anthropological engagement with queer-asylum seekers in Jordan, this paper seeks not to elaborate any definitive model of migration that captures the many complexities of queer asylum. Instead, it works to underscore the political and ideological implications of the ways we understand the movement of a particularly vulnerable category of migrants.


"Plants and Politics: Nassim Soleimanpour and the Work of the Actor"

Matthew Bent

The plays of Nassim Soleimanpour are performed by someone new every night. For each performer, the contents of the script are as much a mystery as they are for the spectators. In Nassim, Soleimanpour’s first new play since moving from Iran to Germany in 2013, the playwright himself joins the performer onstage, in a collaborative work which draws in audience volunteers and raises themes of circulation and translation. In this paper, I will consider the way in which the performance of the unprepared performer raises the specter of the theatrical “plant”, and the attendant slippages around work, truth, and artifice that this figure embodies in relation to the artist.


"The Resilience of Arab Monarchies in the 2011 Uprisings"

Safaa Al-Saeedi

In this paper I investigate why Arab monarchies survived the Arab Spring. Several theories – legitimacy, culture, and oil resources — have been advanced as possible explanations. Surveys of civil liberties in the Arab World between 1900 and 2011 show that Arab monarchies and republics exhibit contrasting trends. I infer that those disparate patterns had a crucial effect in the development of uprisings in the republics and the lack thereof in the monarchies. Building on social movements and mobilization literature, I argue that Arab monarchies survived because they have been historically less repressive than their republican counterparts. Repression in the republics played an important role in activating long-term micro-mobilization processes, leading to the political outcomes of the Arab uprisings.

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