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Welcome for the U of H Chair


The AAEF Hosts Social to Celebrate Establishing Chair of Arab Studies at University of Houston

An event was hosted on Friday, April 10, 2015, to celebrate the establishment of the Chair of Arab Studies. More than 150 guests attended the event at the Alumni Center.

Read more in:

Middle East Online

The Arab Weekly

University of Houston Chair of Arab Studies Celebration - April 2015


Below is the gallery of photos from the historic event celebrating the installation of the first Chair of Modern Arab History at the University of Houston.

To view a video of the evening, see our Home page.

Professor Manna Lecture


Why Nazareth Survived: Reflections on the 1948 Palestine War

Professor Adel Manna
Van Leer Institute

Thursday, November 12, 2015
6:00 p.m.

University of Houston
Classroom and Business Building

During the 1948 War, almost all the Palestinian cities that became part of the state of Israel- including Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, Lod, and Ramleh- were demographically transformed, with only a tiny proportion of their indigenous Arab residents surviving a fate of dispossession and prevention of return. Nazareth was the sole exception, persisting to this very day as the only large city that has a Palestinian majority within the boundaries of the Israeli state. In this scholarly talk, Professor Manna, a leading expert in this field, offers his reflections on this remarkable phenomenon based on his latest book.

Speaker: Professor Adel Manna is a historian specializing in the history of Palestine and the Palestinians during the Ottoman period and the 20th century. Manna has taught in several Palestinian and Israeli universities and is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Manna co-authored a book with Professor Motti Golani called "Two Sides of the Coin: Independence and Nakba" (Holland, 2011). This year, he has finished writing his new book titled "Nakba and Survival: The Story of Palestinians who remained in Haifa and the Galilee, 1948-1956," which will be published next year in Arabic (Beirut) and Hebrew (Jerusalem). Manna lives in East Jerusalem.

Islam in Liberalism Lecture

Thursday, December 3, 2015, 6:15 p.m.
University of Houston
Agnes Arnold Hall
Room 110
3553 Cullen Blvd.
Houston, TX  77204

Parking Information:

Joseph Massad is Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University. He is the author of Islam in Liberalism (Chicago, 2015) Desiring Arabs (Chicago, 2007), which was awarded the Lionel Trilling Book Award; The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinian Question (Routledge, 2006); and Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan (Columbia, 2001).

In these times when society sees a rise in phobias about Muslims, Arabs, and other Middle Eastern region peoples, it is important to understand the culture, history, and religious spectrum in this region, and to understand how anxieties can be projected. With the refugee crisis, more information can only help.

From the University of Chicago Press publisher's website for the book by the same title, Islam in Liberalism:

"In the popular imagination, Islam is often associated with words like oppression, totalitarianism, intolerance, cruelty, misogyny, and homophobia, while its presumed antonyms are Christianity, the West, liberalism, individualism, freedom, citizenship, and democracy. In the most alarmist views, the West’s most cherished values—freedom, equality, and tolerance—are said to be endangered by Islam worldwide.  

Joseph Massad’s Islam in Liberalism explores what Islam has become in today’s world, with full attention to the multiplication of its meanings and interpretations. He seeks to understand how anxieties about tyranny, intolerance, misogyny, and homophobia, seen in the politics of the Middle East, are projected onto Islam itself. Massad shows that through this projection Europe emerges as democratic and tolerant, feminist, and pro-LGBT rights—or, in short, Islam-free. Massad documents the Christian and liberal idea that we should missionize democracy, women’s rights, sexual rights, tolerance, equality, and even therapies to cure Muslims of their un-European, un-Christian, and illiberal ways. Along the way he sheds light on a variety of controversial topics, including the meanings of democracy—and the ideological assumption that Islam is not compatible with it while Christianity is—women in Islam, sexuality and sexual freedom, and the idea of Abrahamic religions valorizing an interfaith agenda. Islam in Liberalism is an unflinching critique of Western assumptions and of the liberalism that Europe and Euro-America blindly present as a type of salvation to an assumingly unenlightened Islam."