Sunday, April 01, 2007  

Way to start the week

As I hold my breath, wondering if the Rusian press is right and we're going into Iran on Good Friday (comments on this for another post), here's an event in Los Angeles that is definitely worth attending and very timely:

The Levantine Center, as always a hotbed of cultural activity, provocative programming and damn good parties (yay Jordan!!!!!!) has put together the following:
In the summer of 2006, several graduate students from UCLA studying Arabic in Beirut found themselves under siege as a minor border skirmish on the Lebanese/Israeli border suddenly escalated into a full-scale war. No part of Lebanon escaped bombardment. Ports, highways, bridges, border crossings and the international airport in Beirut—all came under attack. The country was effectively cut off from the outside world. The UCLA students were virtually abandoned and left to find an evacuation solution by themselves. Once safely back in the U.S., they discovered that very little of what they had been experiencing and seeing with their own eyes was actually being conveyed to American media audiences. This symposium is intended to redress that shortcoming, and to provide a perspective that was notably absent from most discussions of the war in the U.S. Panels will cover the history and prehistory of the war; the conduct of the war in terms of international law; and Lebanese narratives of the war. The event will conclude with a roundtable discussion of the media coverage of the war, including members of mainstream and alternative media, among them Al Jazeera, Los Angeles Times, The Angry Arab News Service and KPFK.

April 3 (Tues), 9 am-6 pm—"Covering Lebanon," Conference on Media and the Recent War at UCLA

UCLA Faculty Center, California Room. Several panels and a concluding roundtable will examine how the U.S. media presented the war in Lebanon, in contrast to international media representations. Background info on 2006 Israel-Lebanon Conflict on Wikipedia.

9-11 am—History/Pre-history of the War, with Gabriel Piterberg, UCLA, History; Nubar Hovsepian, Chapman University, Political Science; Sondra Hale, UCLA Anthropology.
11:15 am-1 pm—War and International Law, with Richard Falk, Princeton University, International Law; Karim Makdisi, American University of Beirut, International Relations.
1-2 pm—Break for Lunch.
2-3:30 pm—Narrating the War, with Stephen Sheehi, University of South Carolina, formerly of AUB; As'ad Abu Khalil, California State University, Stanislaus, editor of The Angry Arab News Service.
4-6 pm—Media Representations of War, with Nicholas Goldberg, Op-Ed Editor, Los Angeles Times Current; Josh Rushing, Al Jazeera, Washington, DC; Marjorie Miller, Foreign Editor, LA Times; and As'ad Abu Khalil, California State University, Stanislaus. Moderator: Ian Masters of KPFK's "Background Briefing." [Bios below.]

Moderators: Gil Hochberg and Aamir Mufti, UCLA. Conference co-sponsored by UCLA's Center for Near Eastern Studies, Department of Comparative Literature, Department of French and Francophone Studies and the Comparative Literature Graduate Student Group, and Levantine Cultural Center, with support from Diane Shammas, Visionary Sponsor, Ferris Wehbe and Casey Kasem, Activist Sponsors.

Free to the public, however, seating limiting, RSVPs necessary. Email your name and phone, or call 310.559.5544. Info and directions to UCLA's Faculty Center.


GABI PITERBERG Gabi Piterberg was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and grew up in Israel. He graduated at Tel Aviv University, where he majored in Middle East history and political science (BA), and Middle East and European history (MA). His D.Phil. in the history of the Ottoman Empire is from the University of Oxford. He taught at the University of Durham, England, and Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Piterberg has three main fields of interest: the cultural and intellectual history of the Ottoman Empire and its Mediterranean environment in the early modern period; the critique of Orientalism, nationalism, and Zionism; the theoretical literature on what history is.

NUBAR HOVSEPIAN Dr. Hovsepian joined the Chapman faculty in 2004 as Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies. He completed his Ph.D. at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Before moving to Chapman, he was the Associate Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). He specializes in comparative politics and international relations, with research and teaching interests in Middle East politics, state formation and educational institutions, democratic processes, nationalism and social movements, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

SONDRA HALE Sondra Haleis Professor of Socio-Cultural Anthropology at UCLA. Her research includes Gender; political economy; social movements; postcolonial and cultural studies; diaspora; aesthetics; Islam/Islamism; Middle East and Africa (mainly Sudan and Eritrea).

RICHARD FALK Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His most recent book, The Great Terror War (2003), considers the American response to September 11, including its relationship to the patriotic duties of American citizens. [More]

KARIM MAKDISI is Assistant Professor of Political Studies at the American University of Beirut. He received his Ph.D. in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 2001. His focus is Public International Law, International Environment and Natural Resource Policy and Politics, Colonialism and De-Colonialism, International History and Politics.

STEPHEN SHEEHI is an Associate Professor and Director of the Arabic Studies Program at the University of Southern Caroline. He received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1998. His teaching interests include Modern Arab intellectual, cultural, and literary heritage, Visual culture of the Arab World, particulary photography and film. Critical theory especially radical political and Marxist theory, poststructuralist and postcolonial liberationist theory. His recent book is Foundations of Modern Arab Identity, (University Press of Florida, 2004). Currently he is working on The Arab Imago: Consumerism, Capital and the Social History of Arab Photography in Lebanon. Until the recent war, he was on the faculty of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Beirut.

AS'AD ABU KHALIL is a professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Historical Dictionary of Lebanon (1998) and Bin Laden, Islam & America's New "War on Terrorism" (2002). He maintains a blog, The Angry Arab News Service, in which he describes himself as an "atheist secularist".

MARJORIE MILLER Prior to her appointment as London bureau chief in 1998, Miller held several bureau chief positions for The Times: Jerusalem (1995-1998), Bonn (1993-1995), Mexico City (1988-1993) and San Salvador (1985-1988). She served two years as a staff reporter covering the U.S.-Mexico border for The Times' former San Diego County edition and earlier completed reporting internships in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

NICHOLAS GOLDBERG Formerly a bureau chief for Newsday, Nicholas Goldberg edits the op-ed page and the Current section of the Los Angeles Times.

JOSH RUSHING was a United States Marine Captain who was a press officer for United States Central Command (CENTCOM) during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. He became famous for his appearance in the documentary Control Room, which documented his conversations with Al Jazeera correspondent Hassan Ibrahim. After the Pentagon ordered him not to comment on the movie [1], he left the Marine Corps and is now working for Al Jazeera English.


GIL HOCHBERG Gil Zehava Hochberg (Ph.D. UC Berkeley; Assistant professor of Comparative Literature, UCLA) specializes in contemporary Levantine literatures (North Africa, Israel, Palestine). She is especially interested in Transnational and Diaspora studies, language politics. [More]

IAN MASTERS is a BBC-trained broadcast journalist who has covered national security affairs for over 25 years on public radio. He is the host of "Background Briefing" and "Live From The Left Coast" on KPFK (90.7FM) Sundays 11AM to 1PM. He has produced documentaries for ABC News and "Frontline" and edited a number of features and documentaries including "The Secret Life of Plants" and "Koyannisqatsi". As a screenwriter he adapted Robert Ludlum's "The Osterman Weekend" and has worked as a script consultant on "Under Seige", "The Fugitive" and "Chain Reaction". He has been a senior fellow at UCLA's Center For Strategic and International affairs and the UCLA Center For International Relations and was a consultant to the Center For National Security Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

AAMIR MUFTI Aamir Mufti teaches Comparative Literature at UCLA. He worked for his Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University with Edward Said. He also studied Anthropology at the London School of Economics and at Columbia, with a regional focus on North Africa. He is a co-editor of Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation, and Postcolonial Perspectives (Minnesota), editor of "Critical Secularism," a special issue of the journal boundary 2, and author of Enlightenment in the Colony: The Jewish Question and Dilemmas in Postcolonial Culture (Princeton).

I can't go because I have students to subvert and I owe several editors book reviews and film reviews and an essay or two.

Your assignment? Go and report back to me. This is a stellar line up. Don't miss it.

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