“Current Intellectual Debates in the Arab World” Features NYU Professor and Leading Arab Intellectual Elias Khoury
Madison, NJ (March 26, 2006) — The public is invited to hear Elias Khoury, New York University Professor and a leading intellectual in Middle Eastern Studies, present his thoughts and deliberate with Riad Nasser of Fairleigh Dickinson and Christopher Taylor of Drew University in a discussion entitled “Current Intellectual Debates in the Arab World.”
The event, which will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. in Hartman Lounge of The Mansion at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham on Thursday, April 12, will begin with Khoury addressing some prevailing issues in the Arab world. Responses and questions from Nasser and Taylor will follow. The audience will then have the opportunity to present questions.
Topics may include secular vs. Islamist ideologies, Western vs. Arab perspectives, and local vs. global concerns.
Khoury is the Global Distinguished Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at NYU. Originally from Lebanon, he is also a novelist, a journalist, and a playwright. A cultural activist known for his defense of the liberty of expression and democracy, he has published 11 novels and four books of literary criticism. Several of his novels have been translated into English, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, and Hebrew. Khoury has also written three plays which has been performed in Beirut, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and Basil. He served on editorial board of Mawakif Quarterly, and was managing editor of Shu’un Falastinia (Palestine Affairs) and of Karmel Quarterly. In his academic career, Khoury has taught at Columbia University, the American University of Beirut, and the Lebanese American University.
Nasser is the Director of Middle East Studies at FDU and also is an associate professor of Sociology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tel-Aviv University, a Master of Arts from Clark University in MA, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Maryland. An Israeli citizen of Palestinian descent, Nasser has worked to promote understanding between Israelis and Palestinians, and is studying how the history curricula in Israel, Jordan and Palestine shape the national identity of these collectives. Nasser is an expert on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and nationalism in the Middle East; he is the author of “Palestinian Identity in Jordan and Israel,” which examines the process of national identity formation. His recent publication discusses minority-majority relations in Israel between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of the state. Nasser’s on-going research has focused on regional Arab media and the regional political forces competing on the shaping of the new emerging Arab Middle Eastern collective identity. At FDU, he teaches courses in nationalism and ethnicity; sociology of religion; conflicts in sociological and cultural perspective; and globalization, culture, and identity.
Taylor is the Chair of the Religious Studies Department and the Director of the Center of the Study of Religion, Society & Culture at Drew University. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins and his Master of Arts and his Ph. D. from Princeton University. His research and scholarship deals with the social history of religion in the medieval Islamic world and Islamic mysticism. He is the author of “In the Vicinity of the Righteous: Ziyara and the Veneration of Muslim Saints in Late Medieval Egypt” and several articles on aspects of popular piety in Islam. Taylor has previously served as the Acting Executive Director of the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and as the Dean of Calhoun College and Instructor of Near Eastern Studies at Yale University. He has lived and traveled extensively in the Middle East and he has directed eight Drew International Seminars in Egypt and Yemen.
The debate will be moderated by Dr. Elise Salem, Associate Provost for Global Learning and Professor of Literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is the author of “Constructing Lebanon: A Century of Literary Narratives”. This event is free and open to the public.