E-Newsletter - November 2015

Retirement: Dr. Karin Rührdanz

Dr. Karin Rührdanz

On November 30th, Dr. Karin Rührdanz retired from her position as Curator of Islamic Decorative Art at the Royal Ontario Museum. A native of Greifswald (Germany) she received her doctorate at the Martin Luther University at Halle-Wittenberg in 1974 with a dissertation on Humanism and tradition in modern Arab painting, followed by her Dr. sc. Phil (Habilitation) in 1985, entitled The development of Persian manuscript illustratiothe Metropolitan Museum (1994-95), and the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2005-06), before she joined Royal Ontario Museum in 2007, where she was promoted the Senior Curator in 2012. A much-liked colleague at both the ROM and NMC, known as much for her uncompromising commitment to academic rigor as for her bone-dry sense of humor, Karin’s departure from Toronto will leave a deep void. A certificate of appreciation was presented on her last day. We will miss her and wish her all the best for the next steps of her life back in Germany.

Dani Giles: New Communication Administrative Assistant

This November, Dani Giles joined our department as the new Communication Administrative Assistant, taking the place of Eugenia Tsao. Dani will be available Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays on a part time basis.

Dani has extensive experience from both Algonquin and Sheridan College where she worked within Student Services as a Communications and Marketing Associate. Please welcome Dani and let her know if you have submissions for the newsletter or events that you would like to publicize.

Syria: A Critical Discussion of Crisis and Destruction

In collaboration with the NMCSU and the NMCGSA, students of the University of Toronto and the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations organized an event on November 13th, focusing on the humanitarian and refugee crisis, as well as the ongoing cultural destruction in Syria and the Middle East.

Featuring lectures by Dr. Şenay Özden of the Hamisch Syrian Cultural House in Istanbul, Dr. Clemens Reichel, and Dr. Jens Hanssen of the University of Toronto, this event promoted awareness and discussion, while raising funds for two University of Toronto initiatives (University of Toronto 'Scholars at Risk' and 'Lifeline Syria') aimed at helping Syrian Refugees and Scholars.

The event program and more information on these very worthy fundraising initiatives and how you can help by donating are available online at: the NMCSU website or NMCGSA website.

The Jewish Family & Professor Tirzah Meacham Featured in The Canadian Jewish News

Attendees gather around the table at the Jewish Family event

On November 10th, The Jewish Law Association hosted “The Jewish Family,” in conjunction with the University of Toronto's Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies“When the Perfect Divine Law Meets the Imperfect Jewish Family,” by Harry Fox "Your Silence is more Prudent: The Perverse Consequences for Women Attempting to Exercise their Legal Rights” by Marinka Yossiffon and “The Age of Marriage in Jewish Law—Conflicts between Halakhah and Civil Law” by Tirzah Meacham.

Following the event, Professor Tirzah Meacham was featured in the November 19th issue of The Canadian Jewish News. Multiple presentations took place which involved a lively debate regarding conflicts between the Halachah and civil law, gender relations as well as marriage and divorce. The event succeeded in accomplishing a focused discussion on themes relating to Jewish family perspectives.

Canadian Society for Syriac Studies CSSS Symposium XV

Attendees watch the symposium

On November 14th, NMC hosted the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies (CSSS) Symposium XV. Representatives from the University of Toronto included, Professor Ashoor Yousif (“Islamism in the Syro-Arabic Mukhtaṣ ar al-Akhbar al-Bay‘iyya”), Professor Amir Harrak (“Christian Arabic Historiography: Origins and Trends”), and Professor Jeannie Miller (“What it Means to be a Son: Linguistic Analysis in Al-Jahiz’s, Rebuttal of the Christians”). The Symposium focused on multiple themes all important to the preservation of Christian Arabic ecclesiastical history as well as trends related to Syriac chronography and historiography.

2015 Annual Conference of the Ibn 'Arabi Society USA, A Living Legacy: Ibn 'Arabi in Today's World

At the 2015 Annual Conference of the Ibn 'Arabi Society USA, Professor Todd Lawson presented “The Mark of Friendship and the Structure of Sanctity in the Teachings of Ibn 'Arab” as well as an abstract workshop “Friends and Strangers”.

The conference was held for the 850th anniversary of the birth of Muhyiddin Ibn ’Arabi, the Ibn ‘Arabi Society in the U.S. This conference explored Ibn 'Arabi's legacy as a living reality with profound implications for the modern world.

Noa Shaindlinger: Anthropology of Hope and the Futures of the Middle East & AAA annual meeting in Denver

PhD candidate Noa Shaindlinger co-organized three panels including Anthropology of Hope and the Futures of the Middle East parts 1 and 2 at MESA as well as a panel of the same title at AAA annual meeting in Denver.

She also presented two papers, one in each conference, based on her doctoral research: "Point of No Return: The Nakba and the 'New Normal' in Jaffa, 1948-1949" at MESA and "Looking for Hope: Notes from Fieldwork in Palestine" at AAA. Thank you Noa representing NMC!

The 2015 ASOR Annual Meeting

Professors Tim Harrison, Stephen Batiuk, and Domonique Langis-Barsetti attended the 2015 ASOR Annual Meeting held in Atlanta, GA. Presenting, “The Tell Tayinat Archaeological Project 2013–2015.”

The Annual Meeting brings together ASOR's academic community to present current findings and discuss research including over 1,000 scholars and enthusiasts of archaeology, linguistics, geography, epigraphy, anthropology, and other fields related to the study of the ancient Near East. The event concluded with a panel discussion and a summary of all projects, an engaging experience for all who attended. More information about ASOR>> 

ISAW Hosts Regional Workshop in Digital Approaches to Antiquity

Émilie Pagé-Perron, presented her work at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) earlier this month. Her research focused on "Data mining and visualizing cuneiform texts,” building a more semantically sophisticated database of transliterated cuneiform documents into the religious life of the Mesopotamian city Adab in the third millennium B.C.E. Over thirty participants attended, representing a diverse cross-section of the ancient studies community. Emilie also accepted a scholarship to a two week event, Digital Humanities Workshop at UVictoria 2016. We congratulate Emilie on all her success!

Completion Doctoral Degrees and Dissertations

Congratulations to the following students who have completed their doctoral degrees and dissertations. Dissertations are available through the University of Toronto Digital Library Repository.

Andrew Ray Jones - Word Order and Information Structure in Finite Verb Clauses in Hellenistic Period Hebrew

Mustafa Banister - The Abbasid Caliphate of Cairo (659-923/1261-1517): History and Tradition in the Mamluk Court

Dinno Khalid S. - The Syrian Orthodox Christians in the Late Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Periods: Crisis and Revival

Emmanuel Joseph Mar-Emmanuel - The Book of Resh Melle by Yohannan Bar Penkaye: An Introduction to the Text and Study of its Literary Genres

Congratulations MA Graduate Students!

Joud Al Korani - Islamic Studies - MA Thesis – Dial a Fatwa – Islamic Legal Inquiry Across the Airways

Yehia Amin – Persian Studies

Leah Bender – Egyptology

Ian Costa – (Women/ Gender Studies) Modern Middle East

Marzieh Firooz – Zadeh – Persian Studies

Erin Elizabeth Ingram – Egyptology

Alexander Kirk – Biblical Studies (Biblical Poetry & Wisdom Literature)

Carla Gabriella Mesa Guzzo – (Nessa) Egyptology

Ira Schwartz – ANE Studies (Schwartz)


Publications & Research

Professor Amir Hassanpour completed three recent publications:

Sedeyek Xebat le Pênawî Zimanî Kurdî da: Tiyorî, Siyaset û îdeolojî (A Century of Struggle over the Kurdish Language: Theory, Politics and Ideology). Biney Jîn Publications, 2015, Silêmanî, Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq.

“Nation and nationalism,” in Shahrzad Mojab (ed.), Marxism and Feminism, London: Zed Books, 2015, pp. 239-58.

“Deng û rengî jin le hunerî zarekî da” (Voice and face of women in verbal arts), in Selah Payaniyani (compiler), Edebiyatî Zarekî Mukriyan: Beşi Jinan (The Oral Literature of Mukriyan: Women’s Component), Mahabad, Iran, 1393 (2015), pp. 7-50.

Alizee Zapparoli-Manzoni-Bodson, published "The Making of the Iranian Refugee: From Revolution to Asylum," in the Kiessling Papers. Her undergraduate thesis explores the experiences of Iranian asylum-seekers transiting through Turkey and was completed under the supervision of Dr. Mohamad Tavakoli. 

Workshop in Literary Translation: TURKISH-ENGLISH

Are you interested in literary translation? Then this is for you. A group of professional translators as well as translation enthusiasts, gather once a week to translate stories from Turkish into English. UTORONTO WORKSHOP IN LITERARY TRANSLATION: TURKISH-ENGLISH is open to anyone who has a working knowledge of Turkish.

Come join the squad of translators and share the joy of translation. Every Thursday between 5.30-7.30 pm in the Bancroft Building, second floor meeting room.

For more information e-mail: uoftwiltte@gmail.com

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Call for Articles: The Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities

The Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities/Société pour l’Étude de l’Égypte Ancienne has decided to  dedicate volumes 42 and 43 of the Journal of the SSEA to the memories of our late colleagues and long-time members Edwin C. BrockAlumnus of the Dept of Near Eastern Studies at University of Toronto and Dr. John L. Foster, one number of the journal being dedicated to each. 

Article submissions dealing with any area of Egyptology are welcomed from those who wish to honour either Ted Brock or Jack Foster.
Scholars who are interested in submitting articles to either or both volumes should contact the Editors of the JSSEA at journalofthessea@gmail.com  or journal@thessea.org for  more information on deadlines and contributor guidelines.
Anyone who is interested in making a donation towards the publication of these volumes may contact info@thessea.org. Donors will be recognized via a tabula gratulatoria in the front of each volume.

Dr. Jackie L. Jay and Dr. Edmund S. Meltzer, Editors of the JSSEA

Call for New Themes at the Jackman Humanities Institute

The Jackman Humanities Institute (JHI) is calling for suggestions for new annual themes. Each year the Institute organizes many of its activities around a theme. The Advisory Board of the JHI then will select annual themes for 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020. Each theme should reach across multiple disciplines and offer foci to leading research in the Humanities.

For each theme you propose, please provide a title and 2-3 sentences describing the theme’s scope and focus. Multiple suggestions are welcome.

Please e-mail your suggestions to humanities@utoronto.ca by 10 December 2015.

Modern Turkish Literature in Translation (NMC257H1)

This course surveys the history of modern Turkey and its culture through readings of Turkish literature in translation. Topics such as cultural revolution, migration, identity and gender will be covered. Production and transmission of literature in the globalized literary market of today will also be discussed. The selected genres include short stories, poems and excerpts from novels. The course will be taught in English.

Modern Turkish Literature in Translation (NMC257H1) will be offered for the first time in Winter 2016, and will be taught by Nefise Kahraman, PhD candidate at the Centre for Comparative Literature.

January 11th, 2016 - April 8th, 2016

Monday: 10:30am - 12:00pm BF 315, Wednesday: 12:00pm - 1:30pm BF 315

Call for Papers: 20th Annual Graduate Students' Symposium to be held on March 3, 2016 (Hart House)

The NMCGSA Symposium provides an opportunity for promising graduate students to share their original research with the broader scholarly community in a conference-like forum, and to publish their presentations as proceedings. By annually bringing together specialists in the ancient, medieval and modern Near and Middle East, the symposium provides a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary discourse focused on the study of this region and its cognates. The 2016 symposium aims to highlight this diversity in order to foster communication and exchange across disciplinary boundaries, celebrating archaeology, history (modern, medieval and ancient), anthropology, art, comparative literature, philosophy, language, religion and political science.

The NMCGSA has established a very broad and inclusive theme this year. We hope to accommodate a diversity of topics and student proposed panels. We will consider all topics related to the study of the Near and Middle East, as well as cognate regions such as the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Central and South Asia. We encourage pre-planned panels and will do our utmost to accommodate student proposals. Graduate students are invited to submit an abstract of 250 words or less via e-mail attachment by January 30th, 2016 to the committee at: nmcgsasymposium@gmail.com.

*Note: Submissions should include the following information in the body of the email: name, program (M.A., PhD.), year of study, area of specialization, department and university, title of paper, and audio-visual requirements. If your paper is being submitted as part of a proposed panel or specific theme, please include the proposed panel title or the theme under the title of the paper on the abstract.



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Wednesday, 13 January 2016, 8:00 pm The Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies/La Société canadienne des études mésopotamiennes, presents: THE A.K. GRAYSON LECTURE ON ASSYRIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE Cities and Landscapes of Assyria: New Research in the Imperial Core *A free public lecture. Where: Earth Sciences Auditorium B142, 5 Bancroft Avenue, University of Toronto, St. George Campus

March 3rd 10:00AM: From Ancient to Modern: Perspectives on the Near and Middle East, 20th Annual Graduate Student Symposium. Where: Hart House, University of Toronto, St George Campus.