Urbanism and Kurdish Mobilization in Diyarbakir, Turkey

Join the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and the Brandeis community for “Urbanism and Kurdish Mobilization in Diyarbakir, Turkey

A Brown Bag Seminar with Muna Güvenç Ospina Leon

In the early 2000s, pro-Kurdish parties in Turkey—banned by the state or denied access to parliament by legal restrictions—worked to preserve squatter settlements (gecekondus) in cities they controlled. This is puzzling because municipalities around the world often work to end urban informality. In this talk, Muna Güvenç Ospina Leon examines how pro-Kurdish municipalities sustained such conditions and used urban planning in Diyarbakır to mobilize Kurdish society and resist state coercion.

Muna Güvenç Ospina Leon is an assistant professor of fine arts at Brandeis and a faculty affiliate of the Crown Center.

When: Wednesday, March 4, 12:30pm—2:00pm
Where: Schwartz Hall 103, Brandeis University

Cosponsored by
Islamic and Middle Eastern studies program

Free and open to the public | Bring your lunch | Light refreshments will be served

On the Margin of the Holocaust: Vichy Forced Labor Camps in North Africa, 1940-1945

Join the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and the Brandeis Community for “On the Margin of the Holocaust: Vichy Forced Labor Camps in North Africa, 1940-1945

A Brown Bag Seminar with Aomar Boum

When: Tuesday, March 10, 11:00am—12:30pm
Where: Multipurpose Room (Room 236)
Shapiro Campus Center, Brandeis University

In the early 1940s, the colonial Vichy administration set up networks of forced labor camps in Algeria and Morocco to build a railroad system connecting the Sahara to the Mediterranean Sea. Using Muslim oral histories, Aomar Boum argues that these camps exemplify a model of internment in which Spanish Republican and European Jewish captives had a margin of hope of survival despite the harsh topography of the desert and environmental conditions that restricted their movements in and out of the camp. Boum addresses the bureaucratic management of camps and prisoners’ daily lives and analyzes the movement of internees between labor and internment camps in French North African colonies and their connections to camps in the French mainland. The collective experience of these camps by Jews and non-Jews contributes to both a historical ethnographic understanding of North Africa and a reevaluation of the Holocaust period.

Aomar Boum is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Cosponsored by
Islamic and Middle Eastern studies program
Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
The Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry

Free and open to the public | Bring your lunch | Light refreshments will be served

What about tomorrow? A lecture on the history of punk music in the USSR and Russia

When: Monday, March 9, 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Where: Mandel Reading Room (303)
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/943831382697961/
What about tomorrow? A lecture on the history of punk music in the USSR and Russia by Alexander Herbert is a PhD candidate in the history department at Brandeis University focusing on the history of the late Soviet Union. His research interests include environmentalism, youth culture, macabre film, music, and politics toward the end of the socialist experiment. He is a veteran vegan, self-ascribed environmentalist, occasional musician, opportunistic freelance writer and translator, and fan of beet and pickle pizza.
The presentation will chronicle the history of punk rock in Russia from its earliest manifestation in 1978 to its current standing. It looks at how punk entered the Soviet Union and managed to persist despite the cultural police, how it struggled for definition in the 1990s, and how punks formed Antifa, animal rights, and feminist groups to help carve out safe spaces in an otherwise conservative country. Please join Alexander for a presentation, a chance to listen to some music, and a discussion. 

Permanently Temporary: The Politics of Waiting for Citizenship A Brown Bag Seminar with Noora Lori

When: Wednesday, December 4, 12:00pm—1:30pm
Where: Schwartz Hall 103, Brandeis University

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/781625312266400/

How and why are some minorities neither fully included nor simply expelled by a state? What does it mean to be suspended in limbo—residing in a territory for extended periods without ever accruing any citizenship rights? In this talk, Noora Lori will discuss her recent book, Offshore Citizens: Permanent Temporary Status in the Gulf, an in-depth study of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which uses new archival sources and extensive interviews to show how “temporary residency” can be transformed into a permanent legal status. This presentation will focus specifically on the UAE’s minorities—communities of South Asian, Persian, and East African descent whose Emirati citizenship was called into question when new biometric passports were introduced in 2008. After being stripped of their Emirati passports, these populations were issued passports from the Union of Comoros. This new legal status authorizes them to remain in the UAE, but as temporary ‘guest workers’. This arrangement codifies temporary residency into a formal citizenship status, allowing elites to effectively reclassify domestic minorities into foreign residents.

Noora Lori is an assistant professor of international relations at Boston University.

Cosponsored by

Where Is Oman Headed? – A Brown Bag Seminar with Gary Grappo

When: Wednesday, November 20, 12:00pm—1:30pm
Where: Schwartz Hall 103, Brandeis University

Facebook Event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/2186491834992662/

Despite regional pressures, Oman has somehow managed to maintain friendly and effective diplomatic ties with Iran, neighboring Gulf Arab states, and the U.S. Given growing tensions both within the GCC and between the GCC and Iran, as well as a looming succession question, can Oman continue its unique foreign policy? And what does this mean for the U.S.? In this talk, Gary Grappo—who served as U.S. Ambassador to Oman from 2006-2009 and as Deputy Chief of Mission in both Oman (1998-2001) and Saudi Arabia (2003-2005)—will give a brief history of Oman and its policies. He will outline the challenges Oman faces and the past and future of Omani-U.S. relations.

Gary Grappo is a former U.S. ambassador and currently a distinguished fellow at the Center for Middle East Studies at the Korbel School for International Studies, University of Denver. Previously, he was visiting senior scholar at the University of Wyoming. He possesses nearly 45 years of diplomatic and public policy experience in a variety of public, private and nonprofit endeavors.

Cosponsored by

Spaceship in the Desert: Energy, Climate Change, and Urban Design in Abu Dhabi –

Join IGS and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies for a Brown Bag Seminar with Gökçe Günel.

When: Wednesday, November 6, 12:00pm—1:30pm
Where: Schwartz Hall 103, Brandeis University

In 2006, Abu Dhabi launched an ambitious project to construct the world’s first zero-carbon city: Masdar City. In this talk, Gökçe Günel will discuss her recent book, Spaceship in the Desert, which examines the development and construction of Masdar City’s renewable energy and clean technology infrastructures and provides an illuminating portrait of an international group of engineers, designers, and students who attempted to build a post-oil future in Abu Dhabi. Spaceship in the Desert tells the story of Masdar, at once a “utopia” sponsored by the Emirati government, and a well-resourced company involving different actors who participated in the project, each with their own agendas and desires.

Gökçe Günel is a sabbatical fellow at the Crown Center and an assistant professor in anthropology at Rice University.

Schwarzman Scholars: A Fantastic Opportunity to Study in China

On Wednesday, April 17, please join the Schwarzman Scholars program in the Office of Study Abroad conference room (in Usdan) for an info session.

The Schwarzman Scholars program offers students an outstanding opportunity to immerse themselves in a Global Affairs M.A. program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s top universities.

NB: no knowledge of Chinese or of China is required — they’re looking for leaders from all fields. 

This is an amazing chance for any IGS student who has graduated since 2014 (and up to the Class of 2020!) to gain real experience and networks in international affairs in the heart of one of the world’s largest economies and most influential states. More eligibility requirements are available on the official website. You can also read about Jennifer Almodovar Jimenez ’18, a Brandeis IGS grad who was selected for the 2019/20, here!

The application to join the 2020/21 cohort is in September 2019, but the program encourages interested students/grads to apply as soon as possible.


Chinese-American photographer Taca Sui

Monday, April 1, 6:00-7:30 pm
Mandel Center for Humanities G03
Beijing and New York-based photographer Taca Sui creates work inspired by the history and landscape of China. His art challenges our preconceptions about nation and nature as well as our expectations for photography itself. 

BREXIT: Continuing Chaos?

If the British voted to leave the European Union three years ago, why haven’t they left yet?  Why is “Brexit” so complicated?  Why can’t Britain come to an agreement with the EU that the British parliament will approve?

And what happens to the world’s largest market if the world’s fifth-largest economy crashes out of it?  Will “Brexit” be followed by a worldwide “Brecession?”

Come learn more at our lunchtime panel on Friday, March 29 at the Faculty Club.