Middle East Studies

Director's Message

Nadje Al Ali

Dear colleagues, students, and friends of CMES,

As we are about to start the spring semester 2022, I would like to take the opportunity to send my New Year’s greetings and wish everyone a healthy, peaceful, and happier year. Once again, we will have to work a bit harder and be more creative to maintain our sense of community given the ongoing, and currently rather acute, challenges linked to Covid.

Just as happened last semester, most of our activities will be online although we are planning a number of on-campus activities. We hope to see you there. You will find the list of our upcoming events here. I just would like to highlight a few of them:

I am excited that we will be hosting three internationally acclaimed female Palestinian academics, Professors Rema Hammami, Ruba Salih, and Noura Erakat. They will not only each be giving a public lecture and organizing a workshop but will also visit undergraduate student classes and meet with graduate students.

This coming semester we will be continuing the Queering the Middle East lecture series and also starting a new joint series with Columbia’s Middle East Institute on Gender & Body Politics: Arts in the Middle East and its Diasporas. In conversation with artists from the Middle East and North Africa as well as its diasporas, the series examines intersecting inequalities and body politics expressed, represented, and transgressed in both visual and performance art. Against the backdrop of war and conflict, the rise of authoritarian regimes, displacement and diaspora mobilization, Islamophobia, ongoing orientalist depictions, and challenges linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, this series explores the ways in which artists are informed by and/or contribute to anti-racist, transnational feminist and queer praxis.  

Fingers crossed, CMES will be hosting an end-of-year party with live music on May 9. We will keep you posted.

My best wishes,

Nadje Al-Ali
Director, Center for Middle East Studies
Robert Family Professor of International Studies
Professor of Anthropology and Middle East Studies