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Desiring the Middle East Seminars at Pembroke

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Various forms of ever-evolving cultural practices, rituals and entertainments which are now communicated throughout the Middle and Near East, and around the world have acquired new power not only as sites of resistance between the people and the state, but also as sites of competing inter-class and inter-generational discourses. The processes of globalization and the development of new information technologies have reformulated notions of nationalism, conceptions of identity, and gender roles. The central concern of this seminar series is to look at contemporary Middle and Near East through unaccustomed angles, as an attempt to unfix the Eurocentric categories, and narrow the epistemological gap by informing ourselves about seemingly less political aspects of the everyday life in the region. By starting a conversation about the region, this seminar series aim to use desire as a central theme. Desire enables a gripping discussion at multiple levels: gendered, political, social, and religious. Desire provides an ontological ground to normative makings of sexuality while expanding our conceptual horizons about the Middle East where the public discourse is shaped through terms of yearning for change, transformation, and development in a variety of vocabularies that advocate for multiple ways of envisioning a better future. This seminar series is composed of events combining conversations with grassroots activists, journalists, artists, film-makers, along with seminars, workshops, film screenings and discussions with academic and non-academic experts.

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