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11.06.2014 All Eyes on Egypt: Religion and the Medical Use of Dead Bodies Amidst Cairo’s Political Unrest

Public lecture by Dr. Sherine Hamdy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Brown University

Presented by the Human Rights Institute’s Research Program on Global Health & Human Rights

Thursday, November 6, 2014
3:30pm- 5:00pm
Laurel Hall 302, Storrs Campus

This talk explores the contemporary phenomenon of mass eye trauma and cornea donation in Egypt to ask: How, and when, can “religion” as an analytical category help explain political and social events?

Injuries to the eye became a regular feature of Egypt’s popular uprisings, which began in 2011. In response to the riot police’s violence against protesters, including the targeting of their eyes, a group of young doctors calling themselves ‘Atibaa`Uyun al-Thawra (“The Revolution’s Eye Doctors”) began a well-received cornea donation campaign on social media. Within hours, hundreds of people signed up to donate their body parts after their death. This talk asks: What made arguments about giving up body parts in death for the sake of the living compelling in Egypt now, when they had not been so in the past?  Did the revolutionaries’ “secular” movement inspire new attitudes toward the human body, and toward death? The talk will explore how dominant “secular vs. religious” narratives mischaracterize both Egyptian popular politics and the ways in which medical and health issues are experienced and lived.

Dr. Sherine Hamdy is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Brown University and author of Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt (University of California Press, 2012), which won Honorable Mention from the Clifford Geertz Prize of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion in 2013. She is currently collaborating with Professor Soha Bayoumi (Harvard, History of Science) on a project called Doctors of the Revolution, on the role of medics in Cairo’s political uprisings, and authoring another project called Reframing Islamic Bioethics.

Co-sponsored by Middle East Studies & the Medical Anthropology Forum

For more information about this event, contact Dr. Sarah Willen at

11.03.2014 A Reporter’s First Hand Report: Assad, ISIS, Obama and US Middle East Policy

A talk by Reese Erlich, Freelance Journalist

Monday, November 3, 2014
2:00-3:30 pm
Konover Auditorium (Dodd Center)

Sponsored by Humanities House and Middle East Studies.

Foreign Correspondent and investigative reporter Reese Erlich discusses his new book Inside Syria: the Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect, published by Prometheus Books and distributed by Random House. Foreword by Noam Chomsky.

Erlich recently returned from northern Iraq where he interviewed displaced Yazidis, peshmerga fighters and US diplomats. He will discuss the growing influence of extremist rebel groups and why the US bombing campaign will hurt both Americans and people of the region. Erlich has covered the Middle East for almost 30 years, reported from Syria five times and visited all its neighboring countries.

10.28.2014 Louis J. Kuriansky Annual Conference

The Dangerous Neighborhood of the Middle East

Download the flyer for more information. Please print and return RSVP card.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
GenRe Auditorium, UConn Stamford Campus, One University Place


7:00 PM Introductions
Nahema Aschkenasy, Professor of Comparative Literary & Cultural Studies, University of Connecticut

7:10 — 8:00 PM A Time of Terror:The Middle East and the Future of Terrorism
Keynote Address by Dr. Bruce Hoffman

8:00 — 8:50 PM Dancing with the Devil:Why Diplomacy Will Never Resolve Middle Eastern Threats
Dr. Michael Rubin

8:50 — 9:30 PM Repercussions for Israel
Respondent and Q&A Moderator: Dr. Jeremy Pressman, Director of Middle East Studies & Professor of Political Science, UConn

09.15.2014 Ritual Mutuality in North Africa: Jews and Muslims listen to the Ten Commandments in the Synagogue

Public Lecture with Dr. Harvey Goldberg (Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University)

Monday, September 15, 2014
12:00 -1:30 PM
Oak Hall, Room, Storrs, CT

RSVP to or Register Online.

Harvey E. Goldberg’s work focuses on the cultural history of Jews in North Africa, on religious and ethnic identities in Israel, and on the interfaces of anthropology and Jewish Studies. His translation from Hebrew of an indigenous account of Jews in Libya – The Book of Mordechai by Mordecai HaCohen – links historical and ethnographic perspectives. Goldberg has authored Cave
Dwellers and Citrus Growers: a Jewish Community in Libya and Israel, Jewish Life in Muslim Libya: Rivals and Relatives, and Jewish Passages: Cycles of Jewish Life. Among his edited works are Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewries and The Life of Judaism. Today’s talk is based on ethno-historical research, carried out together with Hagar Salamon, among former residents of Tunisia and Libya now living in Israel.

Co-Sponsored by Anthropology, Middle Eastern Studies, the Humanities Institute, James Barnett Endowment in Humanistic Anthropology, and the Center For Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life

Fall 2014 Lunch & Learn Series

Please Print and return the RSVP Card from the attached flyer along with specified registration fee to Center for Judaic & Middle Eastern Studies, UConn Stamford Campus.

The Lunch & Learn Series takes place on Thursdays, from 12:00 Noon -1:30 PM in the MPR (Room 108) 1st Floor, UConn Stamford Campus, One University Place.


9/19 Early Christian Commentaries and Art on the “Sacrafice of Isaac”

The Barbara & Joe Field Lecture with
Rev. Dr. Blaine Edele, Adjunct Professor of Bible, UConn-Stamford; Pastor, Union Memorial Church, Stamford


10/23 Hiding in Plain Sight: Italian Jews and the Film Industry of Mussolini to Present

Sponsored by an Anonymous Donor
Dr. Philip Balma, Professor of Italian Literary & Cultural Studies, University of Connecticut


11/4 What Can Jewish Law Mean to Jewish Citizens of a Non-Jewish State?

The Norma Mann Memorial Lecture
Dr. Paul Franks, Professor of Philosophy, Yale University


11/4 Rewriting the ‘Binding of Isaac’: The Literary Odyssey of the Tale of the Aqedah

The Norma Mann Memorial Lecture
Dr. Nahema Aschkenasy, Professor of Comparative Literary & Cultural Studies, University of Connecticut

05.01.2014 “Trends in Contemporary Islam: Radicalization and the Quest for Secular Politics

Lecture with Dr. Zaid Eyadat, Dean, School of International Studies and Political Science, University of Jordan

Thursday, May 1, 2014
12:30-1:45 pm
Thomas J. Dodd  Research Center, Room 162

Download the flyer.

Dr. Zaid Eyadat is Dean of the School of International Studies and Political Science at the University of Jordan and was involved in the establishment of the Human Rights and Human Development Department at the University of Jordan. He has written on a range of topics including migration, political Islam, the Arab revolutions, and Islamic political thought. Dr. Eyadat received his PhD in political science from the University of Southern California.

Questions? Contact the Human Rights Institute at UConn – 860-486-8739. To request reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities please contact Nicole White at

Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, Middle East Studies and the Department of Political Science

Lefebvre on H-Diplo and Israel-Palestine

Prof. Jeffrey Lefebvre’s invited contribution to the H-Diplo roundtable discussion of Louise Woodroofe’s book, Buried in the Sands of the Ogaden: The United States, the Horn of Africa, and the Demise of Détente, was published online in H-Diplo Roundtable Review, volume XV, No. 29, April 7, 2014.

Also, on April 15, 2014, Prof. Lefebvre gave a presentation for the Stamford faculty colloquium series, “The Israel-Palestinian Conflict: The End of the Two-State Solution?”

04.24.2014 Women’s Rights in the Middle East

As part of UConn Reads, join us for a special panel and discussion on the book Persepolis

Thursday, April 24,2014

11:00-12:15 pm Panel Discussion
Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

12:30pm – 2:00pm Luncheon
Public Lounge, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Prof. Zehra Arat, UConn Department of  Political Science

Maggie Proctor, Middle East & North Africa Program Manager, Freedom House
Sama’a Al-Hamdani, freelance journalist and author of blog Yemeniaty



04.18.2014 Revolution and Liberal Legality in Egypt’s Arab Spring

Lecture with Professor Amr Shalakany, The American University in Cairo

Thursday, April 24, 2014
5:00-7:00 pm
Oak Hall 236.

 This lecture is co-sponsored by The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office; Department of English; UConn Humanities Institute; Department of Literatures, Cultures & Languages (French Studies and Comparative Literary & Cultural Studies); Middle East Studies; and The Office of Global Affairs.