CTlab virtual symposium on the Hamdan trial

September 27, 2008

[cross-posted to Culture Matters]

CTlab is hosting a virtual symposium on the Hamdan trial, and they’ve got a lot of people, including myself, poised to comment on Dr Brian Glyn Williams’ fascinating account of the trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver. Williams was an expert witness for the defense.

This week, Williams has been posting a fivepart narrative account of his experience, and after the fifth installment, CTlab will post comments and observations from a panel of invited legal scholars and social scientists based in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

–L.L. Wynn


Beyond Occupation? Sarah Roy (Harvard) speaks at Macquarie Uni

September 24, 2008

The Macquarie University Centre for Middle East and North African Studies is hosting an open guest lecture by Harvard Professor Dr Sara Roy titled

“Beyond Occupation? Examining the New Reality in Israel and Palestine”

Tuesday 14 October 2-4 PM

Macquarie University, Building E6A, Room 133.

For more details regarding the talk please visit the Centre website at http://www.mq.edu.au/mec


New Books on Iraq at Glebebooks, Monday 22 Sep

September 19, 2008
Leilah Nadir & Michael Hastings on Baghdad
Two journalists discuss their very different books on Iraq with Peter Manning. Hastings’ I Lost My Love in Baghdad covers his experience as a war correspondent and the death of his girlfriend. Nadir’s book,The Orange Trees of Baghdad, is a family memoir of history and homeland.
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm Sep 22 Cost: $10/$7 conc. Gleeclub welcome
Venue: Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe
Bookings: Gleebooks www.gleebooks.com.au/events/

02 9660 2333


The UAE: Paris of the East?

September 17, 2008

It seems from this short piece in the SMH/Guardian that the Emirates is remaking itself in the image of the “West”. But this attachment to western-centricism is at the cost of emphasising the rich historical culture of Arabia and its surrounds. The Gulf has also had a longer historical connection with both the east, India, Persia and China, and with the East African coastline, than with Western Europe. The effort shown by the rulers of the Emirates to replicate the “west” in Arabia is most unfortunate, not because the best of western culture is not impressive, but that it ignores the richness of the eastern and African culture achievements and also those of the Americas and the Pacific. Most of all it belies the claim made in the article by Sheikh Mohammed that the planned projects will help “interconencted global understanding” as a project of truly global projections would provide space for attractions that represent the cultural achievements from all around the world. I can’t help but see the project of westernising the Emirates as part of the reaction of some Islamic elites to the “clash of civilizations” discourse and the aggressive assault on non-western culture by neo-conservatives in the US and elsewhere. Looking forward to some debate regarding this, even if this is not an entry about Israel.

Noah Bassil


Another Struggle: Sexual Identity Politics in Unsettled Turkey

September 15, 2008

A very interesting article on a topic that, in the West, tends to be limited to examples of Muslim intolerance towards homosexuality. Transgender issues are notoriously under-reported too, but this article covers them well. 

From MERIP (Middle East Report Online):

Another Struggle: Sexual Identity Politics in Unsettled Turkey

Kerem Öktem

September 2008

(Kerem Öktem is a fellow at the European Studies Centre of St. Antony’s College at the University of Oxford.)

What happens when almost 3,000 men, women and transgender people march down the main street of a major Muslim metropolis, chanting against patriarchy, the military and restrictive public morals, waving the rainbow flag and hoisting banners decrying homophobia and demanding an end to discrimination? Or when a veiled transvestite carries a placard calling for freedom of education for women wearing the headscarf and, for transsexuals, the right to work?

Read the rest of this entry »


International Conference on “Israel/Palestine: One State or Two?”

September 14, 2008

Call for Papers
International Conference on “Israel/Palestine: One State or Two?”

Paper proposals are requested for an international conference addressing the question of whether a two-state solution or a single constitutional democracy in Israel/Palestine offers the most promising path to future peace and security in the region.

The conference aims to envision in specific terms the likely outcomes of the two state peace process as well as the possible constitutional dimensions of a future single state. Conference speakers will be selected to represent a range of opinion, including proponents of one and two state models for Israel/Palestine. The conference will provide an opportunity to question whether a one state option could ever achieve sufficient political support or adequately protect the rights and security of both national communities. Drawing on the experiences, both successful and otherwise, of other multinational constitutional democracies, the conference will explore the potential of a state shaped by federalism, equal citizenship and respect for linguistic, cultural and religious rights to protect the rights and security of its inhabitants and to serve as a political framework for the amelioration or even resolution of protracted conflicts. Similarly, the capacity of potential two-state solutions to promote democracy, human rights and self-determination will be evaluated. The conference will explore the ways in which multiple models might deal with seemingly refractory issues such as refugees, Jerusalem, and deep-seated and legitimate concerns about security and liberty.

The conference is being planned by legal scholars from York University and Queen’s University but the conference itself is intended to be fully interdisciplinary in nature. The organizers have been assisted by an international advisory committee comprised of distinguished scholars and researchers. The conference aims to include contributions from scholars from disciplines such as law, political science, gender studies, geography, economics, and the arts, among others.

The conference will be held at York University, Toronto, Canada from June 22nd to 24th 2009.

Paper proposals should be no more than 500 words in length and should be submitted along with a biography or CV to onestateortwo@osgoode.yorku.ca by October 15, 2008. Applicants will be contacted by November 30, 2008.

For further information and the conference vision statement, please contact us at the above email address or visit the conference website at www.onestateortwo.com


Khaldoun contributor interviewed on 2SER

September 13, 2008

Reporter Jordan Bryon interviewed me about Barry O’Farrell’s attempts to censor Khaldoun this week.  The podcast of the interview is available online, if anyone is curious to hear what my voice sounds like!

–L.L. Wynn