Dissident Subjects: A conference in honor of miriam cooke

June 9, 2017

On April 6–8, 2017, a group of scholars from around the world, Duke faculty, staff, and students participated in a 3-day event to celebrate the career and retirement of miriam cooke, Braxton Craven Professor of Arab Cultures at Duke University. This three day event was sponsored by the Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Deans, Franklin Humanities Institute Humanities Futures, the Duke University Middle East Studies Center, and the Duke Islamic Studies Center.

The three-day event began with a reception for Creative Memory: The Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution art show at the John Hope Franklin Center Gallery. Professor miriam cooke led a tour of the exhibit, which she helped to curate, and introduced the pieces and their history to the reception guests. 

On Friday, April 7, the conference was held at the Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room at the Rubenstein Library. The day began with introductory remarks by Sally Kornbluth (Provost, Duke University), Gennifer Weisenfeld (Dean of Humanities, Duke), Hae-Young Kim (Chair of the Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Duke), Erdağ Göknar (Director of the Duke University Middle East Studies Center), and Bruce Lawrence (Professor Emeritus, Duke) on miriam cooke's career and her legacy at Duke. After these remarks was the first panel, "Women Claim Islam," was facilitated by Ellen McLarney (Duke). The papers presented were: "Reciprocal Transmission: My 'Women and War' Journey with miriam cooke," by Evelyne Accad (Lebanese American University), "Islamic Feminism between Islam and Islamophobia," by Hina Azam (University of Texas-Austin), "Keeping the Gates Open," by Margot Badran (Wilson Center), and "'Women Claim Islam' in Turkey: Bodies, Subjectivities, and Challenging Cultural Hegemony in Public Space," by Banu Gökarıksel (UNC-Chapel Hill).

After lunch, Shai Ginsburg (Duke) and Mbaye Lo (Duke) gave the afternoon introductory remarks. The second panel, "Mediterranean Passages," facilitated by Charles Wilkins (Wake Forest University), followed. The papers on this panel were: "The Mediterranean Passages of the Virgin Mary of Oran, Algeria," by Susan Slyomovics (UCLA), "The Land of Remorse: Between Subalternity and Wretchedness," by Roberto Dainotto (Duke), and "Navigating Mediterranean Passages: Objects and Itineraries," by Erdağ Göknar (Duke). The third and last panel of the day was "Dissident Arts," facilitated by Nancy Armstrong (Duke). The papers presented were: "Petromodernity and Film in the Arabian Gulf," by Fırat Oruç (Georgetown University-Qatar), "Psychoanalysis and the Middle East," by Ranjana Khanna (Duke), "Another Pioneer: The Life and Poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad," by Farzaneh Milani (University of Virginia), and "Reel Evil: Films from the Axis of Evil," by Negar Mottahedeh (Duke).

On Saturday, April 8, the conference continued at the Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall, Room 240, of the John Hope Franklin Center. The morning began with the fourth panel, "Palestine-Israel," which was facilitated by Susan Slyomovics (UCLA). The papers on this panel were: "Sephardim on the Israeli Screen: Rethinking National Allegory in the Digital Age," by Eric Zakim (University of Maryland), "The Precarious Aesthetics of Kamal Aljafari," by Nadia Yaqub (UNC-Chapel Hill), and "FAKE NEWS!: Israeli Occupation, Lies, and Videotape," by Rebecca Stein (Duke). After the panel, miriam cooke gave her closing remarks. Following lunch, Suad Joseph (University of California-Davis) was Skyped in to give her tribute to cooke. This tribute began the lunchtime roundtable discussion led by Leo Ching (Duke), Ellen McLarney (Duke), Nancy Armstrong (Duke), Zeina Halabi (UNC-Chapel Hill), and Carl Ernst (UNC-Chapel Hill).

For a copy of the poster, click here.

For a copy of the conference program, click here.

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Professor miriam cooke leads a tour of the "Creative Memory"
exhibit at the John Hope Franklin Center Gallery (Credit: JHFC, 2017)
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Panel 1 – Women Claim Islam with (from left to right) Ellen McLarney, Evelyne Accad,
Hina Azam, Margot Badran, and Banu Gökarıksel (Credit: DUMESC, 2017)
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Panel 2 – Mediterranean Passages with (from left to right) Charles Wilkins, Susan Slyomovics,
Roberto Dainotto, and Erdağ Göknar (Credit: DUMESC, 2017)
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Panel 3 – Dissident Arts with (from left to right) Nancy Armstrong, Fırat Oruç,
Ranjana Khanna, Farzaneh Milani, and Negar Mottahedeh (Credit: DUMESC, 2017) 
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Panel 4 – Palestine-Israel with (from left to right) Rebecca Stein, Nadia Yaqub,
and Eric Zakim (Credit: DUMESC, 2017)
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Professor miriam cooke gives her closing remarks (Credit: DUMESC, 2017)
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The audience listens to the discussion on Saturday, April 8 (Credit: DUMESC, 2017)
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The Lunchtime Roundtable Discussion with (from left to right) Leo Ching, Carl Ernst,
Zeina Halabi, Nancy Armstrong, and Ellen McLarney (Credit: DUMESC, 2017)