Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Congressional Members Call for an Investigation of NYPD/CIA Efforts to spy on Muslim Communities in New York
Interfaith Clergy To Present 200,000 Signatures At Lowe’s Headquarters Today Demanding An Apology For Pulling Ads
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. Acts 10:39
The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning. While the lynching tree symbolized white power and black death, the cross symbolizes divine power and black life God overcoming the power of sin and death. For African Americans, the image of Jesus, hung on a tree to die, powerfully grounded their faith that God was with them, even in the suffering of the lynching era.
In a work that spans social history, theology, and cultural studies, Cone explores the message of the spirituals and the power of the blues; the passion and of Emmet Till and the engaged vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.; he invokes the spirits of Billie Holliday and Langston Hughes, Fannie Lou Hamer and Ida B. Well, and the witness of black artists, writers, preachers, and fighters for justice. And he remembers the victims, especially the 5,000 who perished during the lynching period. Through their witness he contemplates the greatest challenge of any Christian theology to explain how life can be made meaningful in the face of death and injustice.It is featured as one of Huffington Post's Top 11 Religious Books of the Year!
Andrew March, a Yale University professor who testified for the defense as an expert witness, said the verdict sends the message to Muslim Americans that they do not have free speech.
"I do what he did almost every single day at Yale University. I teach Islamic law, I study Islamic law. I translate things about al-Qaida. I teach people to debate," March said. "Because I'm not a Muslim and because of what my name is, I have no problem doing it. But if my name were Tarek Mehanna, I would have everything being tapped, and that should worry every single one of us."via Professor Fadel
via Sidi Faraz Khan
A thought-provoking conversation on Islamic theology with Dr. Mohammad Khalil Hasan, author and professor of Islamic Studies at Michigan State University. The topic of discussion is The Salvation Controversy: Islam, the Afterlife, and the Fate of Others.
This has not only been a hotly debated topic throughout Islamic history, but it has taken on a new and fresh interest in an increasingly multi-faith in which the "other" are now our friends and neighbors. This public lecture is part of our Islam in Conversation Series.
Slightly out of place on this 'blog' maybe, but I'm a big LOTR fan!
Monday, December 19, 2011
What is the truth about Islam and Muslims in America? (Everything you always wanted to know – but were afraid to ask)
The Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum, Unity Productions Foundation, Wesley Theological Seminary, the Institute for Faith and Politics and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding invite you to a timely and provocative discussion:
What is the truth about Islam and Muslims in America?
(Everything you always wanted to know – but were afraid to ask)
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
555 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
In recent months, anti-mosque protests, anti-Sharia legislation and related controversies have left many Americans confused about Islam and Muslims in America. Join a panel of experts for a civil dialogue that separates fact from fiction in the current debates about Islam in the U.S. Bring your questions — and learn about resources for addressing these important issues in your own community.
Alex Kronemer, Unity Productions Foundation
Haroon Mogul, Columbia University, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
Rabbi Marc Schneier, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding
Melissa Rogers, Center for Religion and Public Affairs, Wake Forest University
Asma Uddin, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
Charles C. Haynes, Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseumhttp://www.freedomforum.org/e-vite/muslimsinamerica/e-vite.html
Admission is free, but registration is required. To RSVP or for information,
contact Ashlie Hampton at email@example.com or 202/292-6288.
via Khuram Zaman
This same notion was presented another way when Anderson Cooper invited two couples from “All-American Muslim” on his show—Nawal and Nader and Shadia and Jeff—and also, in his studio audience, a woman named Melanie who had been petitioning to get the show cancelled. Cooper asked her if she thought it were possible to be “a good Muslim and a good American.” She answered, “I really don’t.”
Cooper: So you’re saying that the millions of Muslims who are living here are not good Americans—you’re saying that the people on this stage are not good Americans.
Melanie: What I’m saying is that you’re either one or the other.
Cooper: You’re saying that you’re one or the other.
Melanie: I’m not saying that they can’t be Americans. But then I’m also—what I’m saying is that they’re not true Muslims. So, I mean, I would ask the question to them: Are you living by the Koran, are you living by the prophet Mohammed, are you doing what you’re commanded to do?
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2011/12/the-attack-on-all-american-muslim.html#ixzz1h02t1ULk
Critical Muslim Studies: Decolonial Struggles, Theology of Liberation and Islamic Revival A Summer School in Granada, Spain June 4 - June 16, 2012
Edward E. Curtis IV is Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and professor of religious
studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He is author or
editor of six books on Muslim American and African American history, including
Muslims in America: A Short History, which was named one of the top 100 books of
2009 by Publishers Weekly. A former NEH Fellow at the National Humanities Center, he
has been awarded Carnegie, Fulbright, and Mellon fellowships. Most recently, Professor
Curtis has completed work as general editor of the two-volume Encyclopedia of MuslimAmerican History. He is currently at work on a monograph about Islam in the global
Sunday, December 18, 2011
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Thrust into the national spotlight on 9/11, Arab-Americans have since been vilified and defended by fellow citizens still trying to make sense of the catastrophe—yet the community itself remains one of America's least understood. Indeed, as Orfalea (Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry) explains, the U.S. Census Bureau doesn't even recognize the community's roughly three million members as an ethnic group. This volume, a substantial update of Orfalea's 1988 Before the Flames, traces the century-long arc of Arab immigration, illuminating assimilation and ethnic politics with a loving yet candid eye as the narrative shifts between observations historical, personal and statistical. It comes as something of a surprise to learn, for instance, that only 23% of the community is Muslim. Beautifully written, the book is a much-needed entry in an all but empty field, and is blessedly free of both jargon and jingoism. By grounding the narrative with accounts of his own trips to Lebanon and Syria, Orfalea provides additional depth. If his volume has a flaw, it is its occasional indulgence in long strings of personal interviews; clearly, Orfalea wanted to honor as many as he could. Unavoidably, history morphs into current events as post-9/11 reality comes to frame the community. Since that date, says one Syrian-born interviewee, "we don't feel we're in America anymore." In a nation of immigrants, such observations strike very close to the bone. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gregory Orfalea is the author of Messengers of the Lost Battalion: The Heroic 551st and the Turning of the Tide at the Battle of the Bulge. He is also director of the Center for Writing at Pitzer College, where he teaches creative nonfiction and the short story.
Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Olive Branch Pr (December 30, 2005)
A new reality TV show aiming to counter negative stereotypes of Muslim Americans in the US has sparked major debate after at least two companies pulled their advertisements from the series following pressure from a conservative evangelical group for a boycott.
All American Muslim focuses on the everyday lives of five American Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan, a city with the largest Arab population in the US. The show's creators, cable TV network TLC, say the show aims to foster better relations with a community that many feel is misrepresented by mainstream US media. But voices from the right say it is a ploy to carry out a stealth holy war.
In this week's feature, Listening Post's Marcela Pizarro looks at what an American Muslim reality TV show has revealed about US media in a post-9/11 era.http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2011/12/201112177561131120.html via Wajahat
Also see these quotes from Ghazali's Deliverance from Error:
via Aaron Sellars via Naqeeb Memon
Recently, TLC began running an innocuous reality show called All-American Muslim. It documents the lives of five Muslim families in a Detroit suburb that boasts the highest concentration of Arabs and Muslims in America. The 99 percent of Americans who don't share their faith are invited to explore the possibility that these very misunderstood Americans don't have horns or drink the blood of infant Christians and Jews.
It didn't take long for a conservative group calling itself the Florida Family Association to complain that the TLC series is "propaganda that riskily [sic] hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."
Of course, there's nothing on the show to indicate a subversive religious agenda, other than its blatant attempt to portray Muslims as humans.
Lowe's Home Improvement couldn't be bothered with such nuances. It pulled its ads from the show and issued the wimpiest justification of corporate cowardice ever: "Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views."
Ted Lieu, a state senator in California, called Lowe's capitulation to intolerance "un-American" and is considering calling for a boycott of the retailer. Lowe's isn't worried about a boycott from America's Muslims, who number fewer than two million, but a sympathy boycott by fair-minded Americans of all faiths and political persuasions would be a nightmare for the company.http://articles.philly.com/2011-12-16/news/30524943_1_islamophobia-liberties-and-traditional-values-muslim-brethren
Rami has served as the Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) since its incorporation as a nonprofit in January 1997. He has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago and has been an adjunct professor at various colleges and universities across the Chicagoland area, where he has taught a range of Sociology, Anthropology, and other Social Science courses. He has worked with several leading scholars in the area of globalization, African American studies and urban sociology and has contributed chapters to edited volumes by Manning Marabel and Saskia Sassen.
Rami has lectured across the United States and Europe on a range of topics related to American Muslim identity, community activism and social justice issues and is a recipient of several prestigious community service and organizing honors including the Norman R. Bobins Fellowship presented at the most recent Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards. Rami and his work with IMAN have been featured in many national and international media outlets including the BBC, PBS and a front page story in the Chicago Tribune. In 2007 Islamica Magazine profiled Rami as being among the “10 Young Muslim Visionaries Shaping Islam in America” and most recently Chicago Public Radio has selected Rami Nashashibi as one of the city’s Top Ten Chicago Global Visionaries. Rami was named one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in concert with Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He was also invited by the governor of Illinois to serve on the Commission for the Elimination of Poverty.
Rami lives with his wife and two daughters on Chicago’s Southwest Side.http://www.imancentral.org/about/staff/
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Tonight, Friday Dec 16, from 7pm-9pm EST: In Conversation with Dr. Umar: In-depth “town hall” style discussion. Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Shaykh Afroz Ali (From SeekersHub Sydney and Al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences & Human Development in Australia) and other guests will discuss Islam and culture in historical and contemporary contexts. Discussions will be centered around relevant papers authored by Dr. Umar. Join us in person or live online: www.SeekersHub.org The paper being discussed tonight is "Living Islam with Purpose" and can be found here:http://seekershub.org/via SeekersGuidance
wp-content/uploads/2011/12/ In-Conversation-with-Dr-Umar-Ab d-Allah.-A-Reader.pdf
Also available here: http://nawawi.org/downloads/article6.pdf
The rethinking of socialism represented as significant break with pre-1956 Marxism because of its singular "preoccupation with 'culture'". The New Left was preoccupied with "culture," a crucial element for Hall, as a means of challenging and reconceptualizing the dominant understanding of social practices in British society. This conception of culture encompassed a broad sphere of human existence: music, sport, leisure activities, youth culture, morality, and articulations of national identity. The articulation of the New Left's cultural politics marked a crucial transition in British intellectual life. The emergence of the New Left represents the moment in which the Scrutiny (and Bloomsbury) tradition of highbrow literature as culture was critiqued (and tentatively replaced) by a more popular understanding of the practices of everyday life. For all the ostensible differences between these two cultural modes, however, the fledgling 1950s movement that would mature into an as-yet-unnamed practice called cultural studies was as much as an evolution of the Cambridge University-based journal as it was a commentary on Scrutiny's ideological shortcomings.  In The Moment of "Scrutiny" Francis Mulhern briefly (and, quite unintentionally) delineates the similarities, differences, and intellectual links between the two movements: "Anti-fascist, anti-war, anti-capitalist, and yet unable to accommodate itself to socialism, even in the latitudinarian popular-frontist version of the late thirties-Scrutiny's eventual recoil from socialist politics was indicative of its general failure to make the practical connection between 'culture' and organized politics." -Grant Farred, What's My Name: Black Vernacular Intellectuals, 156.
via Dustin and Iram
One of my history professors was saying how the Bobst library was clearly designed by someone not familiar with libraries...(see here)
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Also see Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl's entry on “Dogs in the Islamic Tradition and Nature”and "a fatwa on dogs".
You can watch the fifth (and previous) episode(s) of All American Muslim here online. (For help with watching on icefilms, see this guide).
If you missed Jon Stewart's awesome segment on this, see it here.
Linda Sarsour is a working woman, community activist, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. Currently she is the Advocacy and Civic Engagement Coordinator for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a network of 22 Arab American organizations in 11 states including the District of Columbia, nationwide where she conducts trainings nationally on the importance of civic engagement in the Arab and Muslim American community. Locally she serves as the Director of the Arab American Association of New York, a social service agency serving the Arab community in NYC. Linda’s strengths are in the areas of community development, youth empowerment, community organizing, civic engagement and immigrants’ rights advocacy.http://nnaac.org/2011/12/14/white-house-highlights-linda-sarsour-as-a-%E2%80%9Cchampion-of-change%E2%80%9D-who-is-giving-back/
Publication Date: January 24, 2012http://loveinshallah.com/
Romance, dating, sex and - Muslim women? In this groundbreaking collection, 25 American Muslim writers sweep aside stereotypes to share their search for love, showing just how varied the search for love can be--from singles' events and online dating, to college flirtations and arranged marriages, all with a uniquely Muslim twist.
These heartfelt narratives are filled with passion and hope, loss and longing: A quintessential blonde California girl travels abroad to escape suffocating responsibilities at home, only to fall in love with a handsome Brazilian stranger she may never see again. Finding herself twice-divorced and the mother of a young son, an African-American woman wonders if she'll be alone forever in a community obsessed with youth and race. A young girl defies her South Asian parents' cultural expectations with an interracial relationship. And a Southern woman agrees to consider an arranged marriage, with surprising results.
These compelling stories create an irresistible balance of heartwarming and provocative, revealing and deeply moving.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Begin forwarded message:
From: Chris Blauvelt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: December 14, 2011 4:15:25 PM EST
Subject: Personal, Urgent Request - The Final Push: 59 hours left to make a difference (+ 7 FAQs)
As salaam alaikum,Alhamdulillah we're in the final push to raise money to establish the first privately-funded Muslim Chaplain at a public university!Thank you for everyone who has contributed thus far, here are the stats to date:
- 181 funders
- 59 hours remainingOnly $3000 left to reach our goal! That translates to a ~$50 donation every hour, not too bad :D More importantly though, let's get the number to 300 funders - it's a lot easier than it sounds, everyone just needs to give today and get 1-2 friends to do the same - it all ends on Friday!A lot of people have had questions about the campaign, here are the most frequently asked ones:
- Are you going to be doing this every year? No, this is a one-time effort to engage students, alumni & local community to be aware of the new position and feel invested into its creation.
- Will this always be a part-time chaplain? No, our goal is to turn it into a full-time chaplain in a year and a half inshallah
- How will this be sustainable then? We have an incredible Board of Trustees and Alumni Association behind the effort, with plans to start fundraising as soon as next semester for the future
- How are you selecting a chaplain? The Board of Trustees has been working for a year now in collaboration with other Muslim chaplains, alumni and students on campus to develop the job description, bring in applicants, and review candidates. Ultimately the student feedback is of the greatest concern. To see who is on the Board of Trustees and Alumni Association visit here and here.
- What if I want to be involved with the chaplaincy at UM? We're always looking to get great people involved, and there is so much work to do - please contact me to become a volunteer or adviser to the project!
- How can we do this at our University? About half a dozen schools have asked us this, so we will be hosting a free conference/call webinar next week to help those alumni or students interested in doing this at there school get started. If interested just email me directly
- Who will the chaplain be? Stay tuned! ;)Wasalam,Chris
Daily Show: Newt Gingrich's Poverty Code - Larry Wilmore analyzes Newt Gingrich's janitorial solution to America's poverty problem.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Newt Gingrich's Poverty Code|
That being said, this is one of my favorite quotes. I think it sort of defines or is an inspiration for what I hope to do now - study the social sciences and humanities and tie that with a foundation in the Islamic sciences..
This is from Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah in his most recent Nawawi paper called "Living Islam with Purpose:"
(and yes, I'm crazy and I actually typed this up from the pdf file :)
All professions and fields of learning that serve the community's material and cultural needs fall under societal obligations. There can be no place in the community for elitism; any honest profession is a good profession. Whether a person is driving a taxi or working in a hospital emergency room, each livelihood helps serve a vital societal function. Too often, however, our community's attitudes toward career choices and professions have everything to do with money and social status and little to do with our overall societal needs as a developing Muslim community in America.[Originally posted on April 28, 2009]
Medicine, engineering, and a number of other well-paying fields are well represented, if not over represented in the American Muslim community. They have indisputable value, but the community's tendency to socially compartmentalize desirable careers within this limited range stultifies our future. Social sciences like psychology, sociology, and anthropology are often mistakenly regarded as less worthy because they are not as lucrative and do not afford elite status in our community. In reality, the social sciences play a critical role in modern society and constitute key priorities for American Muslims. They serve the community's essential interests in areas such as mental health, social welfare, and cultural development. Our ability to function effectively as Muslims in modern society requires a nuanced understanding of modernity. Such an understanding falls squarely within the competence of the social sciences. It is a primary societal obligation for American Muslims to develop sufficient cadres of well-trained social scientists whose research is not only of use to the Muslim community but is valuable to the greater society at large.
Specializations in the humanities like history, modern thought, philosophy, and literature are widely considered in our community as marginal, but they too are necessary and meet essential societal obligations similar to those of the social sciences. They impart a wider view of the world; how its past relates to its present and future; and the seminal ideas of our times. They give direct access to effective cross-cultural understanding and intellectual development and enable the community to take interpretive control of itself and its religion in a contemporary context."
There is something in us that loves to share. The great Persian theologian, Fakhrudin al-Razi, said that discoveries are without enjoyment if they are not shared, and even a child, upon discovering something new, runs frantically to find someone to share it with. As adults, we love to share knowledge because we know, deep down, that it doesn’t belong to any individual but to everyone.http://sandala.org/blog/2011/12/14/dont-let-wikipedia-become-wickedmedia/
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
ALIM Winter Program in Detroit, MI, Jan 13-15th: Prophet Muhammad (s): Real and Relevant Justice. Responsibility. Action.
This year’s ALIM Winter Program is coming to Detroit, Michigan over Martin Luther King Weekend in 2012, insha-Allah.
The program will utilize Sirah as a lens to focus on issues relating to making the Prophet (S) real and relevant for the individual and collective lives of Muslims in contemporary America. We will seek to enhance our understanding of the intrinsic Islamic values of social justice, personal responsibility, and call to action. By identifying the gap between principle and implementation, we will work towards fostering an actionable plan for the future.
Just found this site as I was researching for a paper I'm writing (on hookah)...
"The journey to Islam is different for each person: for some it takes many years, It is important that we as converts foster an environment that is open and welcoming to our families."
Marc is a beloved brother, ma sha Allah. :)
Monday, December 12, 2011
via Ebrahim Moosa
via Ustadh Abdullah
Also see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saadat_Hasan_Manto
[Taking a Topics in South Asian History class this semester and writing my final paper on the Partition...]
Sunday, December 11, 2011
You can find his dissertation online on "Aspects of religious identity : The Nurcu movement in Turkey today" (577 pages in 1985 ma sha Allah).
You can also find recordings of halaqas or discussions with him here.
It's been a blessing to study and get to know him more recently ma sha Allah.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
Panel Discussion with Imam Zaid Shakir, Sr. Rabia Khedr, Dr. Jamal Badawi and Dr. Yasir Qadhi.
Moderator: Amadou Shakur
Check out this new video on YouTube:
Begin forwarded message:
From: Chris Blauvelt <email@example.com>
Date: December 9, 2011 12:36:39 AM EST
Subject: Muslim Chaplain Fundraising Update - the Final Stretch! (+ new announcement)
As salaam alaikum,Check out the update below, including the video. We're in the final stretch, one week to go! Alhamdulillah we're over 60% of the way there, but only 124 people have participated!In fact, I'll reimburse anyone short on funds! This is about establishing a new model for Muslims across America. In fact, since my last email several different schools (UF, UCF, Rutgers, UNC and counting) have expressed interest in learning how to start a chaplaincy at their own school. As a result, we will be offering a conference call/webinar just before Christmas.
- If you are interested in being part of this call, please let me know.Let good be done!With peace,Chris---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Omar Ashmawey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 11:05 AM
Subject: This is the home stretch!
To: Chris <email@example.com>
The final days of the campaign are here. Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.
UM Muslim Chaplain Campaign Update
no ratings yet 8 views
HELP US FINISH WHAT WE STARTED...
It's been almost a month since we have launched the campaign to bring a Muslim chaplain to U-M campus, and alhamdulillah we have raised over $16,000. Now it's crunch time. With 9 days left, we still have about $9,000 to go. We need 100% participation! Out of 400 alumni, 100 have donated generously. Don't let their effort and support be in vain. Many of our supporters have been current students, but we are the ones with the resources to make this official. This is your sadaqa jariyya: insha'Allah you will be rewarded for this chaplain and chaplains to come. Please check out the video and pass it on to all your friends. Don't forget to voice your support on Facebook and LinkedIn, too!
Omar Ashmawey, Class of 2009
Michigan Muslim Alumni Foundation
Don't forget to check out the many cool perks you can claim for your donation ranging from an MMAF mug to dinner with Dr. Jackson in January!
Copyright © 2011 Michigan Muslim Alumni Foundation, All rights reserved.
You are subscribed to this list as a member of the Michigan Muslim Alumni Foundation.
Our mailing address is:
Michigan Muslim Alumni FoundationUniversity of Michigan530 S. State StreetAnn Arbor, MI 48109
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Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Jewish American Novel
Close readings of American Jewish fiction by writers including Abe Cahan, Ludwig Lewisohn, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, and Bernard Malamud, as well as a number of less conventionally studied texts. Attention is devoted to fictions that test the limits of the so-called “Jewish American novel,” including texts composed in Yiddish, Hebrew, and German (all of which are made available in English translations); fiction written by non-Jews about American Jews; and graphic novels.
Baseball as a Road to God
"Baseball As a Road to God" aims to link literature about our national pastime with the study of philosophy and theology. This seminar aims to blend ideas contained in classic baseball novels such as Coover's Universal Baseball Association, Kinsella's Iowa Baseball Confederation, and Malamud's The Natural with those found in such philosophical/theological works as Eliade's Sacred and Profane, Heschel's God in Search of Man, and James' Varieties of Religious Experience. It discusses such themes as the metaphysics of sports, the notions of sacred time and space, and the idea of baseball as a civil religion. Not for the faint-hearted, this course requires students to read over two dozen works of varying lengths in addition to supplemental readings as they might arise. Weekly papers are also required. As with any serious commitment of one?s time, the rewards of taking a seminar such as this can be great.
Between Rights and Justice in Latin America
What is the relationship between human rights and social justice? Do both always operate in conjunction? Are they ever mutually exclusive—one sacrificed at the expense of the other? This course explores key questions around the theory and practice of human rights promotion, surveying specialized literature and founding documents to consider the promise and challenge of existing human rights frameworks as they work for, but sometimes clash with, the promotion of social justice. We ask, are there universal rights? If so, how are these defined, and by whom? What is the relationship between "political" and "human" rights, between individual and collective rights? Can human rights be in conflict, and if so, how are such conflicts to be resolved? In regions rife with inequality—political, social, and economic—is promoting a global human rights agenda unrealistic, or more necessary than ever? After exploring these general questions, we will focus on Latin America, in particular on Argentina, Guatemala, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico. How do human rights struggles in these countries change our view of the prevailing human rights regime? How do legacies of colonialism in these countries affect both the protection and violation of human rights in the present? Do these countries reveal a political tension between social justice and human rights? Readings will draw from Bartolomé de las Casas, I. Kant, John Rawls, Ariel Dorfman, Paul Farmer, Martha Nussbaum, Winifred Tate, and Greg Grandin, among others.
Lefebvre and Urban Marxism (2 credits)
Despite being heralded after his death in 1991 as the most prolific French intellectual of the twentieth century—he wrote more than seventy books!—the fact is that few theorists have had such as bad a rap as Marxist philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre. Scolded by the Althusserian establishment during the 1960s and 1970s for his rejection of structuralist epistemology; chastised by the French Communist Party for his contempt for dogma and orthodoxy; and ignored by academia for his irreverence toward disciplinary boundaries, Lefebvre’s ideas were never fully embraced until recently. In this course we focus especially on his writings about urbanism—with special emphasis on his concepts of everyday life, social reproduction, and the right to the city—as we explore why his ideas are becoming so popular today. Primary readings include The Urban Revolution, The Survival of Capitalism, Critique of Everyday Life (volume three), and chapters from State, Space, World: Selected Essays.
When I was seventeen, my sister had a major nervous breakdown. She began a relationship with a young student doctor who had come to Jamaica from Barbados. He was middle-class, but black and my parents wouldn't allow it. There was a tremendous family row and she, in effect, retreated from the situation into a breakdown. I was suddenly aware of the contradiction of a colonial culture, of how one lives out the colour-class-colonial dependency experience and of how it could destroy you, subjectively.
I am telling this story because it was very important for my personal development. It broke down forever, for me, the distinction between the public and the private self. I learned about culture, first, as something which is deeply subjective and personal, and at the same moment, as a structure you live. I could see that all these strange aspirations and identifications which my parents had protected onto us, their children, destroyed my sister. She was the victim, the bearer of the contradictory ambitions of my parents in this colonial situation. From then on, I could never understand why people thought these structural questions were not connected with the psychic - with emotions and identifications and feelings because, for me, those structures are things you live. I don't just mean they are personal, they are, but they are also institutional, they have real structural properties, they break you, destroy you.-Kuang-Hsing Chen, "The Formation of a Diasporic Intellectual: An Interview with Stuart Hall" in Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies (New York: Routledge, 1996). 488.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
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The Great Bounties of Ashura
December 5, 2011/ Muharram 10, 1433
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Imam Zaid Shakir
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