Montserrat Rabadán: Syrian refugees in Berlin

This week we welcome back one of UChicago’s former Arabic lecturers, Dr. Montserrat Rabadán, who currently resides in Berlin, where in addition to her academic work she has spent a considerable time volunteering for communities of Syrian refugees from the current civil war. In this talk she discusses statistics and some of social challenges this new influx of immigrants has created for both host country and its new guests.

اللاجئون السوريون في برلين

MONTSERRAT RABADÁN
Syrian Refugees in Berlin

(Winter Quarter, Week 9: 6 March 2015)

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Amir Toft: Onomatopoeia in Arabic

This week’s speaker talks about the phenomenon of onomatopoeia in Arabic, as conceived in modern and classical terms, with a handful of examples to illustrate. Animal sounds are but one example of the very rich part of the active Arabic lexicon whose sound evokes (or is thought to evoke) its meaning. We also listened to a piece of poetry, which you can listen to yourself here.

أصوات الحيوان والحكاية الصوتية في لسان العرب

AMIR TOFT
Animal Sounds and Onomatopoeia in the Arabic Language

(Winter Quarter, Week 8: 27 February 2015)

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Khalid Alhindi: Arabian scholarship before the Wahhabi movement

In this week’s meeting, our guest, an advanced law student in Chicago who has served for some time in the Saudi judiciary and comes from a family of scholars and lawyers extend back over a century, discusses the fascinating mosaic of scholarly activity in Arabia before and during the advent of the Wahhabi movement in the 18th century. The speaker draws from his own experience and research to discuss some history of a region that on balance receives relatively little attention from contemporary scholars.

النشاط العلمي في جزيرة العرب قبل الدعوة الوهابية

Khalid Alhindi
Scholarly Activity in Arabia before the Wahhabi Movement

(Winter Quarter, Week 6: 13 February 2015)

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Noha Forster: Nostalgic images of Egypt’s past

In this week’s talk, one of our esteemed Arabic lecturers, in light of the recent passing of several iconic figures of Egyptian culture, shows images and discusses how they have evoked for some Egyptians a yearning for the past—as well as to what extent this emotion is reflective of how good things really were in the past or a reaction to how troubling things appear to have become today. Enjoy!

قراءة الحاضر المصري في معالم الحنين إلى الماضي

NOHA FORSTER
Reading the Egyptian Present through Nostalgic Milestones

(Winter Quarter, Week 5: 6 February 2015)

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Mariam Sheibani: Grammar of the heart

Surely, the (for some) cold and perhaps tedious subject of grammar has no affinity with the loftier purposes of Sufi aspirants. Our guest for this week, a PhD student in Islamic Thought in NELC, discusses an interesting and innovative hybrid genre of literature developed by some Sufi masters over centuries. (We hope to have a visual aid uploaded soon, so please check back if you’d like to have that while listening to this talk.) You may find the speaker’s presentation slides helpful as you listen (click here for them). Enjoy!

نحو القلوب: الشروح الصوفيّة على النحو العربي

MARIAM SHEIBANI
The Grammar of the Heart: Sufi Commentaries on Arabic Grammar

(Winter Quarter, Week 4: 30 January 2015)

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Usama Canon: Learning Arabic in its various forms

Our guest this week, who has lived for extended periods in several parts of the Arabic world, discusses his own journey in learning and teaching Arabic and offers some advice for students on how to navigate the language in its classical form and its various vernaculars. Enjoy!

العربيّة بين الفصحى والدارجة تعلّماً وتكلّماً

USAMA CANON
Navigating Classical & Vernacular Arabic in Study and Speech

(Winter Quarter, Week 3: 23 January 2015)

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Orit Bashkin: Transit camps in early Israel

Our own Prof. Orit Bashkin presents on a current topic of her research, namely, transit camps in the early state of Israel, the lives of Jews therein, and related questions concerning race and class. Enjoy!

مخيمات اليهود العرب في دولة إسرائيل: عنصرية الدولة والطائفية الجديدة

ORIT BASHKIN
Transit Camps in Israel: State Racism and the New Sectarianism

(Winter Quarter, Week 2: 16 January 2015)

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Kevin Blankinship: Death and decay in poetry

“I esteem the very ground to be but mortal remains.”   —Abū al-‘Alā’ al-Ma’arri

This week our guest, a PhD candidate in Arabic literature in NELC, gives us us a macabre look into death and decay as they appear in the poetry of al-Ma’arri, whose work is the subject of his research. This talk includes a lot of poetry, and the speaker has been kind enough to prepare a handout of the lines he cites, which you can find by clicking here. Enjoy!

المعرّي والاضمحلال

KEVIN BLANKINSHIP
Al-Maʿarrī & Decay: A Macabre Interlude

(Fall Quarter, Week 5: 31 October 2014)

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Nareman Taha & Rima Najia: Arab-American Social Services

This week our guests, who work for Chicagoland-based nonprofit Arab-American Family Services (Bridgeview, IL), discuss the work they do as social workers and challenges they face therein, as well as the some of the contours of the Arab-American fabric. This presentation includes a combination of standard Arabic and Jordanian dialect (and sprinkles of English). Enjoy!

الخدمة الأسرية بين الأمريكان العرب

NAREMAN TAHA & RIMA NAJIA
Family Services among Arab Americans

(Fall Quarter, Week 4: 24 October 2014)

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Ahmed Alqarni: What makes language beautiful?

How do poets translate their thoughts and emotions into mere words which, when uttered, move us to laughter or tears, or bring us to share in their joy or their anger or their wonder? In this our second session of the quarter, we welcome Ahmad Alqarni, a student in mass communication at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. Mr. Alqarni is a native speaker from Saudi Arabia with a background in Arabic media. In this presentation, he interactively takes his audience through some of the elements behind what makes the language we speak—and the literary heritage we esteem (whatever our culture)—esthetically pleasing.

جماليات النصّ العربيّ

AHMED ALQARNI
Esthetics of the Arabic Text

(Fall Quarter, Week 2: 10 October 2014)

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