The 2007 Nicholas R. Clifford Symposium, titled Islam and Politics in a Globalizing World, will take place at Middlebury College on Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 4-6.
The symposium will feature prominent scholars of Islam and politics; events include a lecture, panel discussions, a dance performance and a film. Speakers will address several key issues and discuss the implications for the future of political Islam in an increasingly interconnected world. All events are free and open to the public.
Oxford University professor and Islamic studies scholar James Piscatori will deliver the symposiums keynote lecture titled Iraq and the Future of Political Islam on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m.
Piscatoris most recent book, Monarchies and Nations: Globalization and Identity in the Arab States of the Gulf (2005), is an interdisciplinary approach to the issue of identity in the Arab Gulf States, in which the transnational flows of wealth and the large migrant worker community play a part.
The Middlebury College Islamic Society members will initiate the panel discussions on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 4:30 p.m., with a roundtable on the religious experience of Muslims, titled What it Means to be a Muslim. They will be joined by Mahmoud Hayat, former president of the Islamic Society of Vermont.
On Friday afternoon, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m., Yale University Assistant Professor of Political Science Andrew March and Cornell University Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Politics David Patel will join Piscatori on a panel addressing the question, Why Does Islam Become Politicized?
March is a scholar of Islamic ethics and his dissertation, Islamic Doctrines of Citizenship in Liberal Democracies, won the 2006 Aaron Wildavsky Award for Best Dissertation in Religion and Politics from the American Political Science Association His dissertation will be published in book form by Oxford University Press in 2008.
The final panel on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 10:30 a.m., will discuss Islam, Human Rights and Democracy. Participants include Amr Hamzawy, senior associate of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Princeton University instructor in Near Eastern Studies Mirjam Knkler; and Naz Modirzadeh, a senior associate at the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Hamzawy is a noted Egyptian political scientist who previously taught at Cairo University and the Free University of Berlin. His research interests include the changing dynamics of political participation in the Arab world and the role of Islamist opposition groups in Arab politics, with special attention both to Egypt and the gulf countries. His latest book is Human Rights in the Arab World: Independent Voices (2006).
On Saturday, Oct. 6, at 1:30 p.m., a modern dance performance by Middlebury College artist-in-residence Leyya Tawil will take place in the Dance Theatre of the Center for the Arts, located on South Main Street (Route 30). Tawil, of Syrian-Palestinian descent, will perform her solo, Landmine/Map of the World, followed by an improvised work with violinist and Palestinian-American Mike Khoury. In a follow-up discussion Tawil will address the role of contemporary dance in creating and breaking illusions about Middle Eastern women and culture, and Khoury will discuss the Arab avant-garde in music.
Later that afternoon and evening, the critically acclaimed Afghan film Osama (2003) will conclude the symposium with screenings at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Dana Auditorium, located in Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125).
For more information, call (802) 443-5975.