Middle East Studies

Middle East Studies Undergraduate Paper Series | Fall 2023

Fall 2023 Undergraduate Paper Series

Friday, December 1, 2023

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer

Open to the Brown community

 Pizza and refreshments will be provided.

We warmly invite you to join the Center for Middle East Studies for presentations by three graduating concentrators. The students will offer research presentations and take questions afterward in a lively conversation.


Zoe Federman '23.5: "Translating Fadwa Tuqan’s في المدينة الهرمة”
Mara Kessler '23.5: "Investigative Journalism in the Arabic-Speaking World"
Rita Slaoui '23.5: "Saman Arastoo’s You All Know Me: a Tool to Educate Iranian Audiences on Trans Issues"

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About the Speakers

Zoe Federman is a double concentrator in Middle East Studies and Comparative Literature. She has spent much of her time at Brown as a student organizer working to combat Jewish communal support for the Israeli occupation. Zoe has been studying Arabic since she was a freshman, and has spent the past year writing a thesis that explores political theories of translation through a multilingual encounter with Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman. After graduating, Zoe plans to get her MSW and work at a community resource center, with a mind to eventually becoming a psychotherapist specializing in transgender care.

Mara Kessler is a Middle East Studies concentrator on the pre-medical track. During her time at Brown, she served as the co-editor-in-chief and managing editor of the Brown Undergraduate Journal of Middle East Studies. In addition, she volunteered as an emergency medical technician for Brown EMS, worked for the Center for Middle East Studies, and actively participated in Palestinian activist circles. Her studies at Brown have revolved prominently around Arabic, leading her to study abroad in Amman, Jordan for a semester. Mara later returned to the country to intern with Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism and conduct research for her capstone project. Upon graduation in December, Mara aspires to pursue a career that merges her passions for human rights advocacy—particularly in relation to Palestine—and healthcare.

Rita Slaoui is a double concentrator in Middle East Studies and History from Casablanca, Morocco. She is passionate about queer and feminist organizing in the region, an interest she has pursued through her classes, research with professors, and her Royce Fellowship project to create a collaborative online archive of queer and feminist resistance. At Brown, she was the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Brown Undergraduate Journal of Middle East Studies, and she has also been working as an immigration advocate with the Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice throughout her time at Brown. After graduating from Brown in December, she hopes to attend law school to advocate for her passion for queer and women’s rights in the Global South through the law.