Anti-regime demonstration in Homs, Syria, August, 2011

Conference Speakers

Prince Moulay Hicham ben Abdallah, consulting researcher at Stanford University; founder and CEO of the Moulay Hicham Foundation for Social Science Research on North Africa and the Middle East, is the grandson of the late King Mohammed V, the father of the modern, independent nation of Morocco, and is a first cousin of the present king, Mohammed VI. After growing up in Rabat, the capital of Morocco,he did his undergraduate studies at Princeton University, where he endowed the Institute for the Trans-regional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia at Princeton University, and his graduate studies in international relations at Stanford University, where, through the Moulay Hicham Foundation, he founded the Program on Good Governance and Political Reform in the Arab World, at The Freeman Spogli Institute's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He has recently founded a program in Global Climate Change, Democracy and Human Security (known as the “Climate Change and Democracy Project”), in the Division of Social Sciences, Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prince Moulay Hicham is currently a Visiting Researcher at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the University’s Freeman Spogli Instiitute for International Studies. He has also pursued a number of independent initiatives for global humanitarian and social issues.Prince Moulay Hichamis also an entrepreneur in the domain of renewable energy. His company, Al Tayyar Energy, develops projects that produce clean energy at competitive prices. He has implemented several of these projects in Asia, Europe and North America. Writing under the name of Hicham ben Abdallah El Alaoui, Prince Moulay Hicham publishes articles on contemporary political and social issues for periodicals in Morocco, France and the Arab world.


Niki Akhavan is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The Catholic University of America. Her research focuses on the relationship between new media technologies and Iranian political and cultural production, with an emphasis on state-sponsored uses of emerging media. She recently completed the manuscript for her first book, Electronic Iran: The Cultural Politics of an Online Evolution.


Roger Allen, is Professor Emeritus of Arabic Language and Comparative Literature and the former Sascha Jane Patterson Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, and he served as Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations from 2005-2010. He was President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) in the academic year 2009-2010. Professor Allen obtained his doctoral degree in modern Arabic literature from Oxford University in 1968, the first student to obtain a doctoral degree in that field at Oxford.  At the University of Pennsylvania he taught many generations of students, now including some of the most distinguished members of the younger generation of specialists in Arabic literature. He also contributed toward the improvement of methods of teaching the Arabic language in American universities and colleges. With Adel Allouche, he wrote a textbook, Let’s Learn Arabic (1986-88), and from 1986 till 2002 he conducted many workshops on language teaching in the USA, Europe, and the Arab world, as the national proficiency trainer in Arabic for the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). He is also the leading expert on modern Arabic literature in North America and a specialist in translating modern Arabic fiction into English. At the 2010 Casablanca Book Fair, the Kingdom of Morocco awarded him a Medal of Honor. He served as President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) in the academic year 2009-2010. Between 2008 and 2009, his former students participated with the editors of three of the journals with which Roger Allen has been associated—Middle Eastern Literatures, Al-`Arabiyya, and the Journal of Arabic Literature—in the publication of a series of literary studies and translations in the form of a three-part festschrift.


Paul Amar, Associate Professor in the Global & International Studies Program at the University of California at Santa Barbara, specializes in comparative politics, international security studies, political sociology, global ethnography, theories of the state, and theories of gender, race, and postcolonial politics. He holds affiliate appointments in Feminist Studies, Sociology, Middle East Studies, and Latin American & Iberian Studies. Prof. Amar's research, publishing and teaching focuses on the areas of state institutions, security regimes, social movements, and democratic transitions in the Middle East and Latin America, and traces the origins and intersections of new patterns of police militarization, security governance, humanitarian intervention, and state restructuring in the megacities of the global south.  His recent publications shed light on the gendered nature of new forms of security governance, reconceptualize how security-sector transfers shape state formations in the Middle East, offer new frames for explaining the link between institutional changes in the military and security apparatuses of Middle Eastern states and the revolutions of the “Arab Spring,” and interrogate the nature of sovereignty and the robustness of authoritarianism vis-a-vis humanitarian intervention and mass uprising.His books include: The Security Archipelago: ‘Human Security’ States, Sexuality Politics and the End of Neoliberalism (Duke University Press, 2012); Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East (American University in Cairo Press, 2006) with Diane Singerman; New Racial Missions of Policing: International Perspectives on Evolving Law-Enforcement Politics (Routledge, 2010); Global South to the Rescue: Emergent Humanitarian Superpowers and Transnational Rescue Industries (Routledge, 2012); Dispatches from the Arab Spring (University of Minnesota Press / LeftWord Press, 2012), with Vijay Prashad; and The Middle East and Brazil: Forging New South-South Alliances, Reviving Transregional Public Cultures (Indiana University Press, 2013).


Senem Aslan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at Bates College. She did her PhD in the Interdisciplinary Program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle and was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University from 2008 to 2010. She is currently working on her manuscript on Turkish and Moroccan states’ policies of nation-building and their effects on the formation and development of Kurdish and Berber mobilizations, respectively. She has published articles in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, and the European Journal of Turkish Studies.


Asef Bayat is the Catherine C. and Bruce A. Bastian Professor Global and Transnational Studies and Professor of Sociology, at the University of Illinois. Before joining Illinois, he served as the director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) and held the Chair of Society and Culture of the Modern Middle East at Leiden University, The Netherlands. His research areas range from social movements and non-movements, religion in politics and everyday life, Islam and the modern world, to urban space, politics and international development. His recent books include Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn (Stanford University Press, 2007); Being Young and Muslim: Cultural Politics in the Global South and North (with Linda Herrera) (Oxford University Press, 2010); and Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2010).


Kenneth M. Cuno researches, teaches, and writes about the history of the modern Middle East. He received a Ph.D. in history at UCLA in 1985, and taught at the American University in Cairo before coming to the University of Illinois in 1990. His recent publications include “Egypt to c. 1919,” in The New Cambridge History of Islam (2010); Race and Slavery in Nineteenth-Century Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman Mediterranean: Histories of Trans-Saharan Africans, co-edited with Terence Walz (2010); and Family, Gender, and Law in a Globalizing Middle East and South Asia, co-edited with Manisha Desai (2009). His ongoing book project is Family History in Egypt: Marriage, Family and Law in the Long Nineteenth Century, a study of changes in marriage and household formation and ideals of marriage and family, and family law, from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century.


Joyce Dalsheim is a cultural anthropologist and is currently Assistant Professor of Global, International, and Area Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has carried out extensive research in Israel/Palestine, studying controversies over historical narratives, issues of nationalism, and religiosity and the secular. She recently carried out fieldwork in the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip prior to Israel’s unilateral disengagement in 2005. Dalsheim is the author of Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project (Oxford University Press, 2011), and is Associate Editor for Israel and Palestine for the Review of Middle East Studies. She has recently published in Social Analysis, Journal of Historical Sociology, Social Identities, and Comparative Studies in Society and History. Her forthcoming article, “Anachronism and Morality: Israeli Settlement, Palestinian Nationalism and Human Liberation,” in Theory, Culture and Society, will be of special interest to those concerned with peace and social justice in Israel/Palestine. She is currently working on a new manuscript, Producing Spoilers: Peacemaking and the Production of Enmity in a Secular Age, under contract at Oxford.


Hadi Salehi Esfahani is Professor of Economics and Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition, he currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance. He is also a member of Board of Trustees of the Economic Research Forum for the Arab Countries, Iran and Turkey. In the past, he has served as Director of the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Illinois and as President of Middle East Economic Association. He has also worked for the World Bank as a policy research economist and as a consultant. He has received his B.Sc. in engineering from Tehran University and Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. His theoretical and empirical research is in the field of political economy of development, focusing in particular on the Middle East and North Africa region. He has published numerous articles on the role of politics and governance in fiscal, trade, and regulatory policy formation.


Abderrahim Foukara is Washington Bureau Chief of Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Satellite Channel. In his native country of Morocco, he completed a B.A. in English before moving to the U.K., where he completed a Ph.D. in African studies. In 1990, he joined the BBC World Service, where he worked for nine years as producer, reporter, anchor and journalism instructor in various departments, including Arabic, English, African and World Service Journalism Training. In 1999, he joined The World, a co-production of the BBC, Public Radio International and GWBH Boston, as an Arab World affairs reporter. In 2001, he continued to report for the BBC in London out of D.C. while also serving as a Senior Editor on, the world’s largest provider of African news and analysis. In 2002, he joined Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, initially as a Washington-based reporter, and subsequently became head of its United Nations office. In 2006 he became the Channel’s Washington Bureau Chief and host of Min Washington, a weekly roundtable show on American political and cultural affairs. Dr. Foukara has been a frequent guest on radio and television news/talk shows, and has served as panelist and keynote speaker at a number of international conferences and military colleges.


Lillie Gordon is a visiting lecturer in ethnomusicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She is a Ph. D. candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, specializing in the music of Egypt.  She is currently completing her dissertation, focusing on Egyptian violinists’ uses of their instrument as a vehicle for musical modernizations.  She has been performing Arab music on the violin for more than ten years throughout the United States, and has been fortunate to study violin and ‘ud with a number of renowned teachers in Egypt and the United States.


Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi is Associate Professor of History and Sociology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Islam and Dissent in Postrevolutionary Iran: Abdolkarim Soroush, Religious Politics and Democratic Reform (London, New York: I.B.Tauris, 2008). He has written widely on Islamic movements and Muslim intellectuals. His manuscript, Foucault, the Iranian Revolution, and Enlightenment, is under review for publication. His current project is on the conception of trauma and the memory of war among Iranian veterans of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). 


Waïl Hassan is Professor and Director of the Program in Comparative and World Literature, with research interests in modern Arabic literature, Arab intellectual history, and Arab diasporas. Author of Tayeb Salih: Ideology and the Craft of Fiction (Syracuse UP, 2003) and Immigrant Narratives: Orientalism and Cultural Translation in Arab American and Arab British Literature (Oxford UP, 2011); translator of Abdelfattah Kilito’s Thou Shalt Not Speak My Language (Syracuse UP, 2008); and co-editor of Approaches to Teaching the Works of Naguib Mahfouz (MLA, 2012).


Linda Herrera is a social anthropologist with regional specialization in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She works in the fields of global studies in education, international development, and youth studies. Her work examines youth and power at the local to global levels. She has undertaken critical ethnographic studies of Egyptian schools, biographical research of Muslim youth, and critical analysis of the Arabic web. More recently, Herrera has turned her attention to Arab youth, revolution, and citizenship in the information age.


Valerie Hoffman is Director of the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Professor of Islamic studies in the Department of Religion at the University of Illinois, specializing in Islamic thought and practice.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association of North America and on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Middle East Studies and the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and is a founding member of the Association of Ibadi Studies.  She is the author of Sufism, Mystics and Saints in Modern Egypt (University of South Carolina Press, 1995) and The Essentials of Ibadi Islam (Syracuse University Press, 2012), as well as numerous articles on Sufism, Islamic gender ideology, the Ibadi sect of Islam, human rights, and contemporary Islamic movements.In 2009 she was named a Carnegie scholar for the project on which she is currently writing a book, Islamic Sectarianism Reconsidered: Ibadi Islam in the Modern Age.


Joe F. Khalil is an Associate Professor in Residence at Northwestern University in Qatar. He is a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, the recipient of the 2008 SIUC Excellence in Commitment Graduate Student Research Award, a research grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation. Khalil is a leading expert on Arab television production and programming with more than fifteen years of professional experience as director, executive producer and consultant with major Arab satellite channels. He is author of a monograph on Arab satellite entertainment television and co-author of Arab Television Industries (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Khalil’s scholarly interests revolve specifically around Arab youth, alternative media and global media industries. He is currently working on a book project examining youth-generated media in the Arab world.


Anna-Maria Marshall has a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University. She is currently Associate Professor and  Head of the Sociology Department at the University of Illinois. Her research is based on a broad theoretical  and empirical project of examining the relationship between law and social change in studies of legal consciousness and law and social movements. In her work on legal consciousness, she examines the way that social change creates conflict in everyday life and how  individuals use law, politics and experience to resolve these conflicts.  She has studied these issues in her book, Confronting Sexual Harassment: The Law and Politics of Everyday Life, and in her  recent research on the politics of family life in the LGBT community. She also  studies cause lawyers and the  political and cultural life of law in social movement strategies and in the  context of the environmental justice movement and the LGBT movement.  Her recent book, Queer Mobilizations: LGBT Activists Confront the Law, was co-edited with Scott Barclay and Mary Bernstein. Her work has also appeared in Law and Society Review, Law and Social Inquiry, Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, and several edited volumes.


Gul Aldikacti Marshall is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Louisville.  Her research interests are in the areas of gender, politics, social movements, and mass media.  She has published numerous articles on women’s movements, women’s rights, and gender equality in Turkey. Her current research focuses on the significance of national and transnational feminist activism and its effects on the EU’s and Turkish state’s gender policies.


Haideh Moghissi is Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at York University in Toronto. She was a founder of the Iranian National Union of Women and a member of its first executive and editorial boards, before leaving Iran in 1984. Her publications in English include seven monographs and edited volumes and 35 articles in books  and journals, such as  Feminist Theory, Signs, Monthly Review, Humanity and Sociology, Third World Quarterly, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Socialist Register, Global Dialogue, Comparative Family Studies, and International Review of Comparative Public Policy. Her book, Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism: The Limits of Postmodern Analysis (Oxford University Press, 2000 and Zed Press, 1999), winner of the Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award, has been translated into Korean and Indonesian. Haideh Moghissi was the principal investigator of a SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI), “Diaspora, Islam and Gender” (2001-2006) and two other international comparative research projects on the subject, funded by the Ford Foundation (2002-2006 and 2006-10.) She received a Trudeau Foundation Fellowship in 2011.


Feisal G. Mohamed is a Professor in English and in the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Dr. Mohamed's latest book is Milton and the Post-Secular Present: Ethics, Politics, Terrorism (Stanford, 2011), and he writes on the Egyptian Revolution for Dissent Magazine. His current work focuses on religious liberty in various contexts, cultural, legal, and historical.


Hamid Naficy is Professor of Radio-Television-Film and the Al-Thani Professor in Communication at Northwestern University, where he also has an appointment with the Department of Art History.  He is a leading authority in cultural studies of diaspora, exile, and postcolonial cinemas and media and of Iranian and Middle Eastern cinemas. Naficy has published extensively and given many international talks on these and allied topics.  His English language books are: An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (Princeton University Press, 2001); Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place (Routledge, 1998); The Making of Exile Cultures: Iranian Television in Los Angeles (University of Minnesota Press, 1993); Otherness and the Media: the Ethnography of the Imagined and the Imaged (co-edited with Teshome H. Gabriel) (Harwood, 1993); and Iran Media Index (Greenwood, 1984).  His latest work is the four-volume book, A Social History of Iranian Cinema (Duke University Press, 2011-12).


Dina A Ramadan is Assistant Professor of Arabic in the Division of Languages and Literature at Bard College. Her current research focuses on the development of the category of modern art and the relationship between education and artistic production in early 20th-century Egypt. She is a senior editor of Arab Studies Journal and the guest editor of the Spring 2010-themed issued on the visual arts. She is a founding member and secretary of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab world, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA).


Zakia Salime is Associate Professor of Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies at Rutgers University. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she also received a Master’s in Gender in International Relations from the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program. Salime’s book, Between Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Shari‘a Law in Morocco (University of Minnesota Press, 2011), illustrates the interplay of global regimes of rights and local alternatives, by looking at the interactions among the feminist and the Islamist women’s movements in Morocco. Salime has published articles on gender, development, the war on terror, Islam and social movements.


Anthony Shenoda is a sociocultural anthropologist with a focus on the anthropology of religion and the Middle East. His research and theoretical interests include The Anthropology of Christianity; materiality; miracles, visions, and dreams—particularly as these relate to institutionalized forms of religious power; Muslim-Christian relations; social memory; hope; prayer; and the anthropology of death and dying. Shenoda has published articles on the politics of faith in Egypt and Coptic Christians and the Egyptian revolution. He is currently working on a book entitled Cultivating Mystery: Miracles and a Coptic Moral Imaginary. He is Assistant Professor of Anthropology & Religion at Leiden University College, The Hague.


Rebecca L. Stein is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Women’s Studies at Duke University. Her research studies linkages between cultural and political processes in Israel in the broader Middle East context. She is the author of Itineraries in Conflict: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Political Lives of Tourism (Duke University Press, 2008) and is the coeditor, with Ted Swedenburg, of Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture (Duke University Press, 2005) and, with Joel Beinin, of The Struggle for Sovereignty: Palestine and Israel, 1993-2005 (Stanford University Press, 2006).  She is currently researching linkages between new media and politics in Israel, with a focus on how social media is changing the contours of the Israeli political and social landscape.


Ted Swedenburg is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of Memories of Revolt: The 1936-39 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past (University of Arkansas Press, 2003) and is co-editor, with Rebecca Luna Stein, of Palestine, Israel and the Politics of Popular Culture (Duke University Press, 2005) and, with Smadar Lavie, of Displacement, Diaspora, and Geographies of Identity (Duke University Press, 1996). He serves on the Editorial Committee of Middle East Report.


Angharad N. Valdivia, Professor of Communications, is Head of the Department of Media and Cinema Studies, Interim Director of the Institute of Communications Research, former editor of Communication Theory, and Senior Fulbright Specialist.  Her research and teaching focus on issues of transnational popular culture, combining political economic and cultural aspects.  In particular, she highlights gender, race and ethnicity.  Her work on Latina/o Studies, Girls Studies, and Transnational Feminist Studies has generated two single-authored books, A Latina in the Land of Hollywood and Latina/o Media Studies, as well as several edited collections, including Latina/o Communication Studies Today, A Companion to Media Studies, and Feminism, Multiculturalism, and the Media.  She is the general editor of the seven volume The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies.  She has published in a range of journal such as Girlhood Studies, the Journal of Communication, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Sociological Quarterly, Camera Obscura, Journal of Children and the Media, and others.


Abbas Vali is Professor of Social and Political Theory and Modern Middle Eastern Studies in the Department of Sociology at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. He previously taught political theory and modern Middle Eastern politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Wales in Swansea, U.K., before moving to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan to serve as the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Kurdistan Hewler from 2006-2008. His writings include Pre-Capitalist Iran: A Theoretical History (I.B. Tauris, 1993), Essays on the Origins of Kurdish Nationalism (Mazda 2003), Kurds and the State in Iran: The Making of Kurdish Identity (I. B. Tauris 2011), Modernity and the Stateless: The Kurds in the Islamic Republic of Iran (I. B. Tauris 2012) and Plotting the Nation in Exile: The Forgotten Years of Kurdish Nationalism in Iran (Avesta, forthcoming 2013).

Jeremy F. Walton is the Levant Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS).  Prior to coming to Georgetown, he was an Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow in New York University’s Religious Studies Program (2009-2012).  He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago (2009), and is currently in the process of writing and revising his book manuscript, Pieties of Pluralism: Formations of Islam, Liberalism and Secularism in Turkey.  Dr. Walton co-edited, with John Kelly, Beatrice Jauregui, and Sean T. Mitchell, the collection Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency, and has book chapters in Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency, Orienting Istanbul: Cultural Capital of Europe? and the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies.  His teaching and research broadly interrogate the complex relationships among Islamic practice, the politics of contemporary secularism, and global regimes of publicity. Professor Walton conducted fieldwork for his dissertation in Istanbul and Ankara from 2005 to 2007, and continues to spend as much time as possible in Turkey in pursuit multiple research projects.


Ruth V. Watkins currently serves as the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois. Dr. Watkins joined the faculty of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Illinois in 1993. She served as Associate Dean for Academic and Research Affairs in the College of Applied Health Sciences from 2000-2003, and in the Office of the Provost as Associate Provost from 2003-2006, and Vice Provost 2006-2008. As Associate Provost, Watkins provided guidance to the campus on a range of issues related to undergraduate education; as Vice Provost (2006-08), she served as Chief of Staff and provided leadership in the areas of academic affairs, faculty affairs, undergraduate education, and strategic planning and implementation. Watkins serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) of a grant from Lumina Foundation for Education, designed to support the campus’ efforts to expand opportunities for community college students at Illinois. Dr. Watkins' scholarship focuses on communication development and disabilities, including prevention of disability in populations who are at risk. Her research and training programs have been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education, and she has received recognition for teaching excellence at departmental and college levels.


Angela Williams completed her MA and BA in Linguistics from the University of Illinois, and has studied Arabic at the Arabic Language Institute at the American University in Cairo. Her research has focused on hip hop music and culture in the Arab world, especially Egypt. She has taught Arabic at Parkland College in Champaign. She is currently working toward a doctorate in Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership, in the Division of Global Studies in Education.


Bassam Yousif is Associate Professor of Economics at Indiana State University.  He regularly presents and has written extensively on the economic development and political economy of the Middle East, concentrating on Iraq.  His work has led to policy consulting and numerous invited lectures.  His book on the development history of Iraq, Human Development in Iraq, 1950-1990, has just been published by Routledge (2012).