SOAS University of London

Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)

Activist Humanities in the World

See Schedule

Date: 13 March 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 15 March 2014Time: All Day

Venue: Room: See Schedule

Type of Event: Conference

SOAS, University of London, University of Oxford, University College London, University of Virginia

March 13, 14 and 15, 2014 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday)

A conference on the relationship between humanities and social change, across a wide range of national and cultural contexts, will bring together academics, artists, and audiences for three days of presentation and conversation. Guiding themes include artistic expression and political struggle, academic reflection and social responsibility, faith and society, and the circulation of texts, images and bodies at the start of the twenty first century.

Participants will gather from many places in the world, representing a range of occupations and vocations: translator, filmmaker, novelist, historian, critic and theologian.  The format of the event is designed to bring together reflections from different parts of the world and promote discussions that will highlight comparisons and connections across continents – most sessions will emphasize brief talks followed by discussion among both panelists and audiences.

Ahdaf Soueif will deliver the keynote address on the evening of 13 March, followed by a programme of film and music.  After two panels in London on the morning of  the 14th (“Translation as Radicalisation” and  “Humanities and Activism”), the conference will move to Oxford, where it reconvenes for an evening conversation among Ahdaf Soueif, Robin Kelly and Paul Smith on “The Activist Humanities in a Global Context.”  On Saturday morning and afternoon, panels will address “Migration and Translation,” “Social Practice and Subversive Action,” and “Religion and Secularism.”

The Global Humanities Initiative began in 2012 with a set of partnerships among scholars committed to trans-national exchange and the public engagement of the humanities.  An initial meeting was held at the University of Virginia in the spring of 2012.  There followed a conference on the “Humanities in Ferment” in Delhi, India in August of that year, and in May 2013, the GHI convened at Nanjing University to address “The Value of Humanities Research.”  The present conference marks a next stage in collaboration, as we look ahead to widening ties among scholars, artists, activists, citizens.

Schedule of London Events
13 and 14 March 2014

Thursday, 13 March 2014, 7-11PM, SOAS, Khalili Lecture Theatre

19:00-19:30 Reception
19:30-20:30 Ahdaf Soueif, chaired by Marina Warner
20:30-21:30 Gargi Sen, short films
21:30-22:00 Ahmed Mukhtar, ‘Ud

Friday, 14 March 2014, 9:00 to 13:00, SOAS, University of London, and University College London

9:00-10:45, Panel 1:Translation as radicalisation
SOAS, University of London, Brunei Gallery, Room 102
Chair and respondent: Andong Lu (Nanjing)

Banipal, Margaret Obank
Nada Elzeer (SOAS, Arabic)
Stephen Hart (UCL, Latin America)
Tim Mathews (UCL, French)
Mike Hutt (SOAS, Nepali)
Library of Arabic Literature, Wen-chin Ouyang (SOAS)
Awraq Journal and al-Quds al-‘Arabi, Husam Eddin Mohammed,

11:00-13:00, Panel 2: Humanities and activism
University College London, Charles Bell House

Chair and respondent: Wen-chin Ouyang

Haifa Zangana (Iraqi)
Selma Dabbagh (Palestinian)
Ghazi Gheblawi (Libyan)
Ma Jian (Chinese)
Prajwal Parajuly (Nepali)
Abdul Wakil Sulamal Shinwari (Afghani)
Florian Mussgnug (UCL, on Italian literature)
Brinda Bose (Delhi)
Prasanta Chakravarty (Delhi)

For information about Activist Humanities events at Oxford, see the document on the right.

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