Monumentality and the Individual

Ariana Hajmiragha

The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca can be seen for miles in each direction when not blocked by buildings. Built on the coast, jutting into the ocean with views of the beach from each side, the clean lines and intricate designs of the tower starkly contrast with the surrounding dingy buildings of the industrial city. I visited on a gorgeous spring day, warm enough to take off my jacket, with droves of people visiting on their Sunday off from work. Entering from the street, two flanking buildings and fountains block the sheer scope of the mosque, but after passing into the courtyard the area feels like it belongs to a time and city apart.

Finished in 1993, the mosque does not belong to the distant past, but is designed to link the past with the present in aesthetics and function. The architecture is indelibly Islamic, but reminiscent of artistic visions of the future, with sweeping lines, slight curves, and the impeccable juxtaposition of intimate spaces in the covered walkways along the perimeter with the sweeping open space of the courtyard and the monumentality of the main mosque.

Couples, families, friends, and individuals roamed the grounds, and sat along the edges with a view of the rocky coast and beach. The mosque is not only unique due to its incredible architecture, but also is one of the few mosques open in Morocco to non-Muslims, at certain appointed tour times. I was unable to take one of such tours, because I arrived just prior to the noon prayers and so the mosque was open only to practitioners. At about 12:30pm, the call to prayer rang out from the tower. Immediately people began moving from the sidelines to the enormous main gate to pray. Not all went to pray, and many remained outside in the sun, sitting, walking, and talking. Continue reading “Monumentality and the Individual”

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Hands

Ever Wanted to Apply Classroom Knowledge to the Real World?

Looking for More than Your Average Class for Fall Semester?

Come to “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Hands” and find out more about the Immigrant Support Services Practicum, one of Brandeis’s Experiential Learning Courses!

Listen to students share their experiences applying International Global Studies to working in the Waltham Community with various community organizations and enjoy a free catered lunch!

BE THERE on Wednesday, April 25th @ 1:00-2:30pm @ Levin Ross Hassenfeld Conference Room (Upper Sherman)

China Expert To Speak as Communist Party in Upheaval

The Chinese Communist Party is facing its greatest upheaval since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.  Just as the Party is trying to smooth the way for appointment of a new leader, one of its rising stars, Bo Xilai, has been ousted as chief of Chongqing, China’s biggest metropolis.  Bo’s wife is even under arrest for suspected involvement in the murder of a British businessman.

The infighting surrounding Bo’s dismissal is rocking China. To help the Brandeis community understand the monumental struggles going on behind Beijing’s closed doors, the International and Global Studies program welcomes Dr. Cheng Li, director of China research at the Brookings Institution and prolific author on Chinese politics.

Dr. Li will speak on “China 2012: What’s Next?” on Tuesday, April 17, at 5 pm in the Rapaporte Treasure Hall.  The talk is free and open to the public.

Dr. Li’s visit to Brandeis will also help celebrate the publication of a new issue of the Brandeis International Journal, one devoted to understanding new directions in Chinese politics.  Dr. Li will be joined by Brandeis Professor Gary Jefferson, an expert on the Chinese economy.  Dr. Li’s visit is supported by the Ellen Lasher Kaplan ’64 and Robert Kaplan Endowment for Economic Growth.

Dr. Li is Director of Research and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center. Dr. Li currently also serves as a member of the Academic Advisory Team of the Congressional U.S.-China Working Group.  He is the author/editor of numerous books, including China’s Leaders: The New Generation (2001), China’s Changing Political Landscape: Prospects for Democracy (2008), and China’s Emerging Middle Class: Beyond Economic Transformation (2010).  He is the principal editor of the Thornton Center Chinese Thinkers Series published by the Brookings Institution Press.

Dr. Li has recently appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, BBC, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, NPR Diane Rehm Show, NPR News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and the PBS Charlie Rose Show.