Letters Archive
Spring 2003, Vol. 11, No. 2 (requires Adobe Acrobat)

“Understanding the Middle East” Lecture Series

The Warren Center is sponsoring a lecture series during the 2002/2003 academic year entitled “Understanding the Middle East.” The first lecture was presented on Tuesday, November 19th, by Benjamin Barber, Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society, University of Maryland and director, New York office of the Democracy Collaborative. Professor Barber's fifteen books include Strong Democracy (1984) and the international best-seller Jihad Vs. McWorld (1995). His two most recent books are A Passion for Democracy (1999) and The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House (2002). His lecture at Vanderbilt was entitled “America’s World: Pax Americana or Lex Humana.”

On March 20th, Ebrahim E. I. Moosa, associate professor, Department of Religious Studies at Duke University and co-director of the Center for the Study of Muslim Networks, will speak at Vanderbilt. Professor Moosa’s research interests are in the area of Islamic thought, especially Islamic law, ethics, theology, and critical theory. He is the author of many published essays in Islamic thought ranging from issues in ethics and law covering topics such as human rights, women's rights, Muslim family law, medical ethics, and political ethics to historical studies that deal with questions of Qur’an exegesis and medieval Islamic law and philosophy. He is especially interested in the way religious traditions encounter modernity and the way new conceptions of history and culture dialogically engage with the Islamic heritage. Currently he is finishing a manuscript called “A Poetics of Imagination: Ghazali and the Construction of Muslim Thought” and has a second work-in-progress provisionally titled “After Empire: Rethinking Islam in (Post) Modernity.” Moosa is considered to be among the foremost figures of a new generation of Muslim thinkers.

Kanan Makiya, adjunct professor of Near Eastern Studies, Brandeis University, will present a lecture entitled “The United States and Post-Saddam Iraq” on April 2nd. His book Republic of Fear (1989) became a bestseller after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Professor Makiya's next book, The Monument (1991), is an essay on the aesthetics of power and kitsch. Both Republic of Fear and The Monument were written under the pseudonym, Samir al-Khalil. Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising and the Arab World (1993) was published under Makiya's own name. It was awarded the Lionel Gelber Prize for the best book on international relations published in English in 1993. Along with these books, Makiya has written for The Independent, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement and The Times. In October 1992, he acted as the convener of the Human Rights Committee of the Iraqi National Congress, a transitional parliament based in northern Iraq. He has collaborated on two films for television, the most recent of which exposed for the first time the 1988 campaign of mass murder in northern Iraq known as the Anfal. The film was shown in the U.S. under the title Saddam’s Killing Fields, and received the Edward R. Morrow Award for Best Television Documentary on Foreign Affairs in 1992.

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For more information, contact the Center's executive director, Mona C. Frederick.

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