News & Events 2015-2016


Spring 2016

Upcoming Events


January 29
CineCulture:  Dawn of the World (L’aube du monde, 2008)

Discussant: Dr. Rose Marie Kuhn                                         

Directed by Iraqi-born French film maker Abbas Fahdel, Dawn of the World is set in the Mesopotamian Marshes.  This complex of shallow freshwater lakes, swamps, marshes, and seasonally inundated plains between the Tigris and Euphrates makes up the largest river delta in the Middle East.  Located in southwestern Iraq on the border with Iran and Kuwait, the area is known as the land of the mythical Garden of Eden, explains the film director. This is where the Maadan tribes, also known as the Marsh Arabs, live, and where Mastur and Zahra grow up.
Shortly after their marriage, the first Gulf War breaks out and Mastur is sent to the front.  There he befriends Riad, a young Baghdadi soldier, and makes him promise to protect Zahra should something happen to him… Fahdel’s film is a visual poem taking place in a haunting and magical landscape.  The simplicity of his plot and the beauty of the images of the film almost make the story seem like a misty dream.

Starring in the film are two actresses whom some of the viewers might have seen in Radu Mihaileanu’s film La source des femmes (2011), Tunisian-FrenchHafsia Herzi as Zhara and Arab-Israeli Hiam Abbass as Mastur’s mother.  Additionally, Dawn of the World won the prestigious Grand Prix for the Best Screenwriter in France. In Arabic and French, with English subtitles.  96 minutes.  Trailer (in French):

 Co-Sponsors: Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures Department, the French and Middle East Studies Programs


March 3
Global Music Lecture Series:  Dr. Patricia Shehan Campbell
(University of Washington) Conducting two workshops on global music in the elementary classroom


April 29
CineCulture:  When Voices Meet; One United Choir; One Courageous Journey (2015)

Discussants: Marilyn Cohen (Music Therapist) & Sharon Katz (Director) & Band Members

When Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, courageous South African musicians broke through Apartheid’s barriers to form a 500-voice, multiracial children’s choir. Threatened with bombs and thwarted at every turn, they prevailed and railroaded across the country aboard The Peace Train.

Singing their way into the hearts, minds and soul of a divided nation amidst a civil war, they promoted a peaceful transition to democracy and went on to become Mandela’s face of the new rainbow nation.

When Voices Meet documents the trials, tribulations and triumphs of those musician activists and young choir members. They performed together for seven years; never lost touch with one another; and then reunited 20 years later. 86 minutes.

Band concert following film screening and Q&A! It was music that brought the disparate groups together, and the harmony of their voices became emblematic of the new South Africa. Original songs in the trailer’s award-winning soundtrack include We Are The Children of South Africa, The Time Is Right Today and Siyajabula.

Co-Sponsors: Cross Cultural and Gender Center, Jewish Studies Certificate Program & Jewish Studies Association, Africana Studies Program and Global Music Lecture Series



Fall 2015

Edward Said Lecture Series (PDF 572 KB) download PDF icon Reader)

Middle East Studies Lecture, Performance & Film Series 2015-2016


Monday, September 21, 5-7, Science 145

Religious Traditions: Islam
Guest Speaker: IRFAN ALI, Co-Chair, Interfaith Alliance of Fresno
What is Islam?
Guest Speaker: DR. NEGIN TAHVILDARY, Philosophy and Religious Studies, California State University, Fresno
Women’s Rights in Islam


Friday, September 25, 3-5, PB (UBC) 191

(Edward Said Lecture 1) The Responsibility of the Worldly Intellectuals
Guest Speaker: DR. DAVID LLOYD English, University of California, Riverside


Monday, September 28, 5-7, Science 145

A Historical Perspective: The Ancient Near East
Guest Speaker: DR. MARITERE LOPEZ, History, California State University, Fresno


Monday, October 5, 5:15-7, Science 145

A Historical Perspective: The Rise and Fall of the Islamic Empire
Guest Speaker: DR. FREDERIK VERMOTE, History, California State University, Fresno


Monday, October 12, 5-7, UBC 191

(Edward Said Lecture Series 2) Orientalism: Its Genealogies and its Legacies
Guest Speaker: DR. NADIA LATIF, Anthropology, Georgia State University


Monday, October 19, 5-7, Science 145

Imperialist Interests, The Postwar Era, Israel’s Birth and the Occupation of Palestine
Guest Speaker: DR. MANZAR FOROOHAR, History, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo


Monday, November 2, 5-6:30, Science 145

(Edward Said Lecture Series 3) Edward Said: The Non-humanist Humanist
Guest Speaker: DR. R. RADHAKRISHNAN, UC Irvine


Wednesday, November 4, 5-6:30, Peters Education Auditorium (Student Rec Center)

Humanism Food Security and Climate Change
Guest Speaker: DR. HILAL ELVER, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and Research Professor at the Orfalea Center at UC-Santa Barbara


Friday, November 6, 10-12, UBC 191

(Edward Said Lecture Series 4: Mini Conference) Universities at the Crossroad: The Assault on Academic Freedom

Edward Said's Humanism and the Rejection of the State Department's Definition of Anti-Semitism
Guest Speaker: DR. RICHARD FALK, Princeton University/UCSB

Censoring Palestine at the University: Growing Threats to Academic Freedom
Guest Speaker: AZADEH SHAHSHAHANI, President, National Lawyers Guild

What Is to Be Done? An Activist Agenda
Guest Speaker: Dr. VIDA SAMIIAN California Scholars for Academic Freedom, Professor of Linguistics, Dean Emerita, College of Arts and Humanities, California State University, Fresno


Monday, November 9, 5-7, Science 145

Middle East Art and Cinema
Guest Speaker: DR. ADAN AVALOS, Professor of Cinematic Arts, University of New Mexico


Monday November 16, 5-7, Science 145

Music in the Middle East
Guest Speaker: DR. PARTOW HOOSHMANDRAD, Music, California State University, Fresno


Monday November 23, 5-7, Science 145

Iran in the 21st Century
Guest Speaker: DR SASAN FAYAZMANESH, Professor Emeritus of Economics, California State University, Fresno


Monday, November 30, 5:30-7, Science 145

Contemporary Literature of the Middle East (Arabic, Azeri, Turkic, Persian)
Guest Speaker: DR. ALISON MANDAVILLE, English, California State University, Fresno

An Evening of Persian Literature Wednesday December 9, at 5pm, LS#5


California State University, Fresno

Middle East Studies Lecture, Performance & Film Series 2014-2015

*All events are held at 6:00pm at PB #101 unless otherwise noted


Monday Feb. 2

Historical Perspectives: The Ancient Near East (6PM, PB 101)
DR. MARITERE LOPEZ, History, Fresno State


Monday Feb. 9

Religious Traditions: Islam (6PM, PB 101)
DR. NEGIN TAHVILDARY, Philosophy, Fresno State


Monday Feb. 23

The Development of Islamic Civilization (6PM, PB 101)
“Cultural and Religious Diversity during the Islamic Civilization"
DR. SERGIO LA PORTA, Philosophy & Armenian Studies, Fresno State


Saturday, March 7

An Evening of Iranian Classical Music (*7PM, Concert Hall)
Behrouz Sadeghian & Faramarz Amiri


Monday March 9

Islamic Civilization:Edward Said’s Orientalism (*5 PM, PB 101)

Cinema & Media:  Media Stereotypes of the Middle East (6 PM PB 101)
DR. MARY HUSAIN, MCJ, Fresno State


Monday March 16

The Rise and Fall of the Ottomans and Safavids (6PM, PB 101)
DR. FREDERIK VERMOTE, History, Fresno State


Monday March 23

European Imperialist Interests, the Rise of Nationalism, and the Postwar Era (*6PM, PB 191) DR. AFSHIN MATIN, History, California State University, Los Angeles


Monday April 6

The Iranian Revolution and the US Policy of Dual Containment (6PM, PB 101)
DR. SASAN FAYAZMANESH, Economics, Fresno State


Monday April 9

Who Speaks for Islam? (*5-7pm, McLane Hall 121)
DR. VINCENT BIONDO, IRFAN ALI, HAMID MAVANI, Philosophy (the Ethics Center), Fresno State


Monday April 13

The Contest for Palestine (*6 PM, PB 191)
DR. LAWRENCE DAVIDSON, History, West Chester University


Wednesday April 15

Feminist Street Art Since the Arab Spring (*2 PM, CA 101)


Monday April 20

Iranian Classical Music (6PM, PB 101)


Friday April 24

The Question of Apartheid and the Palestinian Struggle to End the Occupation (*3:30PM, PB 191)
DR. RICHARD FALK, Princeton University/UCSB


Free & Open to the Public!

Sponsors:  Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute; Parsa Foundation; Middle East Studies Program (Department of Philosophy);Persian Language and Culture Studies; The Ethics Center; California State University, Fresno