Northwestern Events Calendar


Race and Blackness in Middle East Studies: A MENA Conversation

When: Monday, November 30, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Online

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

Cost: Free

Contact: Danny Postel  

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Co-Sponsor: Program of African Studies
Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA)

Category: Lectures & Meetings, Academic, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement


This event is free and open to everyone, but registration is required:


Mandana Limbert is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY) and a faculty member of the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the author of In the Time of Oil: Piety, Memory, and Social Life in an Omani Town (Stanford University Press, 2010) and co-editor of Timely Assets: The Politics of Resources and their Temporalities (2008), published by the School of American Research, Advanced Seminar Series. With the support of grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the City University of New York, and the National Endowment of the Humanities, Professor Limbert has been writing her next book, “Oman, Zanzibar, and the Politics of Becoming Arab” on changing notions of Arabness in Oman and Zanzibar over the course of the 20th century.

Zekeria Ahmed Salem is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA) at Northwestern University. He specializes in Islam and politics in Africa in comparative perspective. His research engages contemporary academic debates regarding religion and politics, especially the interplay in contemporary African societies of a variety of issues such as: the state, religious authority, race, social hierarchies, identity politics, Islamic knowledge and political power. He is the author of Prêcher dans le Desert: Islam, Politique et Changement Social en Mauritanie (published by Karthala, Paris, in 2013, with an English translation forthcoming as Preaching in the Desert: Islam, Politics and Social Change in Mauritania) and the editor of Trajectoires d’un Etat-Frontière. Espaces, Evolutions Politiqiues et Transformations Sociales en Mauritanie (Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa Book Series, 2004).

Sophia Azeb is an assistant professor of Black studies in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago. Her research engages how Blackness and Black identity is variously translated, mobilized, and circulated by African American, African, and Afro-Arab cultural figures in North Africa and Europe in the 20th century. In her current book project, "Another Country: Constellations of Blackness in Afro-Arab Cultural Expression," she reads canonical texts on Blackness, pan-African, and pan-Arab identity alongside heretofore untranslated or mistranslated cultural archives that reveal the extent to which conceptions of Arabness and Blackness have long been entangled in the cultural and political constellations of the African diaspora. She is a regular contributor to The Funambulist magazine.


Brannon Ingram is Associate Professor of Religious Studies, co-director of the Global Religion Research Group, and a core faculty member of the Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern University. He works on Islam in South Asia and South Africa, with a particular interest in how Muslims have debated Sufism, Islamic law, and politics in the modern era. Professor Ingram’s first book, Revival from Below: The Deoband Movement and Global Islam (University of California Press, 2018), examines the Deoband movement, a network of traditionally educated Muslim scholars (‘ulama) founded at the Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband seminary in north India. Professor Ingram is currently working on a second book, examining how Muslims have theorized, debated and contested the category of ‘religion’.

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