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Teach-in to combat Islamophobia through education

Media Contact

Melissa Osgood

In response to the recent executive order barring U.S. entry to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries, Cornell’s Department of Near Eastern Studies will hold a “Teach-in on Islam, the Middle East, and America,” Friday, Feb. 17, 10 a.m. to noon in the Klarman Hall atrium. The event is free and the public is welcome.

“This is an extension of our educational mission and our ethical obligation to our students, colleagues, friends and family members affected by the ban,” said Deborah Starr, associate professor of Near Eastern studies. “We are committed to combatting Islamophobia through education.”

Starr noted that the executive order will have a harmful impact on tens of thousands of innocent people, including dozens of graduate and undergraduate students, staff and faculty at Cornell.

The teach-in is a public learning opportunity about Islam and the cultures and histories of the people and countries targeted by the ban. “[It] serves both as a form of public protest against the travel ban, and as a means of fulfilling our educational mission to our students, as well as to the wider Cornell and Ithaca communities,” Starr said.

The event will feature talks by experts on topics related to Islamophobia, the Middle East and its relationship with America; and readings of literary works by student and faculty writers whose home countries are affected by the travel ban.

Topics and speakers:

• “Islam and History of Immigration to U.S.,” Salah Hassan, the Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture; director, Institute for Comparative Modernities.

• “The Diversity of Islam,” Eric Tagliacozzo, professor of history and director, Comparative Muslim Societies Program.

• “Syrian Refugees,” Elyse Semerdjian, visiting fellow in the Society for the Humanities.

• “Muslim Identity and the National Security State,” Aziz Rana, professor of law.

• “Ask a Middle East Specialist,” Ziad Fahmy, associate professor of Near Eastern studies.

• “The Middle East and American Wars,” Kyle Anderson, doctoral candidate in modern Middle Eastern history.

• “Theater and Revolution: The View from Tahrir,” Rebekah Maggor, assistant professor of performing and media arts.

• “Banned Literary Voices,” Deborah Starr, associate professor of Near Eastern studies.

The teach-in is presented by the Department of Near Eastern Studies in partnership with the Clarke Institute for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa, the Comparative Muslim Societies Program, the Jewish Studies Program and the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Initiative.

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