Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Feb. 8-9: Real & Imaginary Borders across the Mediterranean

A Graduate Student Conference: February 8 & 9, 2013

Keynote Speakers:
Professors Ruth Ben-Ghiat, NYU & Abdulkader H. Sinno, Indiana University - Bloomington

Geographically, the Mediterranean has always been a backdrop for cross-cultural contact, between East and West, and between North and South. Thanks to its multicultural character, it has been perceived in many ways: as a unified and exotic space, a space where the ideals of coexistence somehow become possible, or contrastingly as an isolated space of prolonged conflict. Yet, the complexity of cultural contact in the Mediterranean and its political and social consequences cannot be left to broad generalizations. Its united image must be scrutinized, and its cultural "mixture" across various boundaries needs to be looked at more closely.

The upcoming Mediterranean Studies graduate student conference entitled “Real & Imaginary Borders Across the Mediterranean” is an interdepartmental event aimed at provoking such scholarly discussion about this region. With the support of the School of Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics, the conference will focus on the risk of crossing borders – whether national, political, psychological, or cultural – within the Mediterranean and will showcase the work of graduate students from UIUC and abroad. This two-day event will take place in the Lucy Ellis Lounge, in the Foreign Language Building, on February 8th and 9th, 2013.

"Real & Imaginary Borders Across the Mediterranean" will host two distinguished keynote speakers: Professors Ruth Ben-Ghiat from New York University and Abdulkader Sinno from Indiana University Bloomington. Relating to her upcoming publication on empire cinema produced in Fascist Italy, Professor Ben-Ghiat will speak about how the production and reception of these films relates to Mediterranean crossings. Professor Abdulkader Sinno's talk, “Political Dynamics and Population Movements Across the Mediterranean," will shed insight on his recent research in political experiences of Muslim minorities in Europe and on relevant research methods in political science and Mediterranean studies. These two enlightening talks, along with panels showcasing some of UIUC's graduate student research, should attract students across schools and disciplines.

For more information about the conference schedule, please visit us at http://publish.illinois.edu/mediterraneanconf/.

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