Catholicism and Transnational Human Rights Movements in Guatemala, 1968-1996

IASH Fellows Speaker Series – Fall 2015 continues

Michael Cangemi, graduate student in history, will speak on “‘We Cannot Distort History, nor Should we Silence the Truth’: Catholicism and Transnational Human Rights Movements in Guatemala, 1968-1996” at noon Wednesday, Oct. 14, in the IASH Conference Room (LN-1106). He will argue that the Catholic Church’s transnational nature allowed it to offer a human rights model that was fundamentally different from either the United States or Soviet blocs’ competing models.

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Belarusian Author and Journalist Svetlana Alexievich Wins 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature

Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2015 has been awarded to the Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich. The Swedish Academy, which awards the prestigious prize,commended Alexievich “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.”

A Belarusian author writing in Russian and an investigative journalist, Alexievich has been praised for her documentary reports depicting life and war in the Soviet Union and in the post-Soviet era, based on many in-depth interviews. She is the 14th woman to win one of the 111 awarded Nobel Prizes for Literature, and the first Russian-language author to be granted the honor since 1987, when poet Joseph Brodsky received the prize.

Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, told journalists on October 8 at the announcement of the award in Stockholm that Alexievich “has offered us new historical material and she has offered us a new genre.” Wall Street Journal also highlighted the writer’s more current work, calling her “a vocal critic of her country’s leader and a prominent voice against Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.”

Alexievich’s works, mixing fiction and documentary prose to convey emotional stories of the role of women in World War II and the Chernobyl disaster based on witness accounts, have been translated into many languages and won international awards. But her books are not published in her home country, Belarus, ruled by long-standing president Alyaksandr Lukashenka, due to a continuing crackdown on free speech and pervasive censorship.

Read more here.

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Turkey and the War Against ISIS: A Reliable Ally?

Sinan Ciddi, director, Institute of Turkish Studies at Georgetown University, will speak on “Turkey and the War Against ISIS: A Reliable Ally?” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, in UU-209. What are the salient factors that determine Turkey’s position toward ISIS; do Turkey and the U.S. have a joint plan on how to defeat ISIS, and what is the likely role that Turkey will play in the future stability of the Middle East? Event co-sponsors: Middle East and North Africa Program, Sociology Department, History Department and Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies.

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The Power of Objects: Ars Sacra and the Negotiation of the Sacred in Late Byzantium

The Department of Art History invites you to the first lecture of 2015 in the Harpur College Dean’s Speaker Series in Visual Culture by Tera Lee Hedrick, visiting assistant professor of art history at Binghamton University, at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in FA-218. Her talk is titled “The Power of Objects: Ars Sacra and the Negotiation of the Sacred in Late Byzantium.” Visit the art history department blog for more information about VizCult.

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A Gauge of Our Faithfulness’: Religion and the Politics of Immigration Reform

Wendy Wall, associate professor of history, will present “A Gauge of Our Faithfulness’: Religion and the Politics of Immigration Reform” at noon Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the IASH Conference Room, LN-1106.

Few developments since World War II have changed the face of American religion or American politics more than the Immigration Act of 1965. Given this, it is surprising how little attention scholars of either politics or religion have paid to the postwar politics of immigration reform. Those few who have addressed the issue have generally portrayed the 1965 act as the inevitable product of a postwar liberal consensus without exploring how any such consensus was forged or the nature of its fracture points and limitations. This talk attempts to recover that history, focusing particularly on the role of religious language, institutions, and issues.

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The Petroleum Commons: Local, Islamic, and Global

George Caffentzis, well-known political philosopher, will speak on “The Petroleum Commons: Local, Islamic, and Global” from 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the IASH Conference Room, LN-1106. Caffentzis is an autonomist Marxist who is a founding member of the Midnight Notes Collective and the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. He was professor of philosophy at the University of Southern Maine. Among his books are Midnight Notes Goes to School: Report From the Zapatista Escuelita and In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and Value. The event is sponsored by the Department of Sociology.

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New York Times bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran to speak

Binghamton University celebrates 50 years of offering PhDs with a presentation by Azar Nafisi, best known as the author of the international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. Nafisi will speak on campus at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, in the Anderson Center Chamber Hall. The talk is free and open to the public.

Currently a visiting professor and the executive director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., she is a professor of aesthetics, culture and literature, and teaches courses on the relation between culture and politics.

Reading Lolita is Nafisi’s account of her experiences conducting classes in her home in Iran for women students based on the premise that everyone has a right to an education – even women hidden under mandatory veils. These classes form an agenda for a new human rights curriculum.

Nafisi’s latest book, The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books, celebrates the power of literature in a democratic society. Praised as the memoir in books that does for America what Reading Lolita did for Iran, this passionate book illustrates the importance of fiction, and especially of active reading, to change people’s lives.

For more information, go online.

The book, Reading Lolita in Tehran, is available in the Bartle Library.

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Award-winning Caribbeanist to speak Friday, Oct. 2

Valérie Loichot, professor of English and French at Emory University, will speak on “Art as Grave: Radcliffe Bailey, Jason deCaires Taylor, Edouard Glissant and the unritual” at 1p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, in the IASH Conference Room (LN-1106).

This presentation is part of the 2015-2016 Dean’s Speaker Series Current Trends in Caribbean Thought: Francophone, Anglophone and Hispanic Perspectives, organized by assistant professors Sandra Cassanova-Vizcaíno and Robyn Cope and co-sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, LACAS, comparative literature, art history; and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

For more information, contact Cope or Cassanova-Vizcaíno.

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Visiting professor seeks to connect with faculty, students

The Department of Public Administration welcomes Mery Rodriguez from Javeriana University in Bogotá, Colombia, as a visiting professor now through Oct. 13. She is director of the master’s degree in peace studies and conflict resolution at Javeriana. Rodriguez holds a PhD in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University and is an expert in the Colombian armed conflict and peace processes; public policies of transitional justice; transformative memories; and the consideration of gender, race, ethnicity and other factors to improve community-level policy responses.

She is available to speak to classes on a variety of topics, including the Colombian armed conflict and the current peace process between the Colombian national government and the FARC; peace building and peace dynamics in Colombia at the local, regional and national levels; public policy during transitional justice times and policies of peace and development; application of the method of enfoque diferencial in which gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, race and class perspectives are considered in the design and application of methods and instruments within communities affected by the armed conflict; transformative memories and the process of working toward a memory that goes beyond crimes and damage and accompanies the communities and individuals to mourn and move on; and reflective practice in conflict resolution as a model to teach and learn in the field.

Rodriguez is interested in meeting with faculty, doctoral students and administrators to share ideas and to explore opportunities for future collaborations. Anyone interested in arranging a time to meet with Rodriguez during her visit should contact Nadia Rubaii in the Department of Public Administration.

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Notes from the Leningrad Underground

John Bailyn, professor of linguistics at Stony Brook University and the director of the SUNY Russia Programs Network, will speak about the underground rock scene in Leningrad in the 1980s from 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, in AM-189. Having been both personal participant in and professor observer of this quasi-dissident milieu, Bailyn offers particular insight into the dynamics and long-term impact of this cultural moment in the Soviet past. This talk is sponsored by the Russian and East European Program and German and Russian Studies.

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