The Middle East is turbulent, confusing, and often difficult for Westerners to understand - but what happens there is crucial for the United States. With their unique perspectives on this enigmatic region and its people, four speakers will, over five sessions, help expand our knowledge of the history, politics, and people of the Middle East.
October 12: The Middle East Tinderbox: A 20th-Century Overview
Headlines suggest the United States is entangled in the web of Middle Eastern political chaos. Is there a path through this apparent maze? Can we find ways to understand it? This lecture will offer a broad historical and analytical overview of the Middle East, focusing on critical events that underlie today’s polemics.
Dina Alsowayel is associate director of the Women’s Studies program at the University of Houston and an instructional assistant professor in the history department. She also teaches in the Master of Liberal Studies program at Rice University. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley, a doctorate from Rice University, and a law degree from the University of Houston. Before joining the academic world, she worked for 20 years for a Saudi based oil company.
October 19: An Insider’s Perspective: Israel and Palestine
Flying in from Israel to share her insights, Professor Galia Golan will discuss the current outlook for peace in the Middle East with a special focus on the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
Born in the United States, Galia Golan has a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and a doctorate from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She emigrated to Israel in the 1960s and is now a professor in the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy in Herzliya, Israel. Golan is a leader of Peace Now, an organization that works to bring about an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. A frequent media commentator, she is a former consultant to the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli Foreign Ministry. She has been a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and a Ford Foundation Fellow and has written extensively on the Arab Israeli conflict. Her forthcoming book is entitled Middle East Peace Plans from Oslo to Disengagement.
October 26: Does al-Jazeera Set the Tone? Media and Public Opinion in the Middle East
Mass media play a role in all aspects of our daily lives, including our perception of “others.” This is particularly true in the Middle East, where al-Jazeera and other major media outlets help to shape political realities. Professor Kamalipour will discuss the media’s effect on public opinion in this volatile region and its implications for the international situation.
Yahya Kamalipour is professor of mass communication and head of the department of communication and creative arts at Purdue University at Calumet. He earned a doctorate at the University of Missouri and has written or edited numerous books including Mass Media in the Middle East and Bring ‘Em On: Media and Politics in the Iraq War.
Dr. Kamalipour is founder and managing editor of the globally acclaimed open-access online Global Media Journal which boasts African, American, Arabic, Australian, Chinese, Indian, Persian, Polish, Spanish, Mediterranean, and Turkish Editions. He is also editor of Global Media Monitor, My Global Village, and co-editor of Journal of Globalization for the Common Good.
November 2: Women and Islam in the Middle East Today
Political crisis has turned a critical Western eye toward Arab and Muslim societies. Among the many objects of curiosity is the veiled, ostensibly oppressed Muslim woman. In her second session in this series, Professor Alsowayel will consider these topics: why Muslim women are the subject of such scrutiny, what their roles are in society, whether it is religion that defines the role of women, and whether a modern society can exist where there is no professed equality between men and women.
November 9: Terrorism, Intelligence, and Democracy
Professor Ami Pedahzur will address four questions: 1) do counter-terrorist intelligence operations subvert the foundations of democracy, and can they be justified; 2) how can intelligence agencies of different countries cooperate in the global fight against terrorists; 3) how might our domestic intelligence agencies cooperate better with one another and with elected leaders; and 4) are intelligence tools developed during the Cold War relevant for coping with terrorism today?
Ami Pedahzur is an associate professor in the departments of government and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a senior fellow at the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, Israel, where he earned his doctorate. His book, Suicide Terrorism, was published by Polity Press in 2005. An edited volume, Suicide Attacks: Root Causes of the Culture of Death, is forthcoming (Routledge, 2006). Currently he is co-authoring a book to be entitled The Weapon of the Weak? The Paradox of Jewish Terrorism in Israel.
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Fall 2018 brochures are being delivered!
Registration is now open. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card.
The interest list for the fall and spring study tours is also now open. If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez in the fall of 2018 or Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy.
Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12.
Have a great summer. We look forward to seeing you this fall!
For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at registrar.houstonseminar.org or phone 713.666.9000.