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The Naksa Fifty Years Later: New Sources, Questions, and Approaches to the '67 War (Conference at Harvard)

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies 
presents a conference

The Naksa Fifty Years Later:  
New Sources, Questions, and Approaches to the '67 War

March 30-31, 2017 

William James Hall, Lecture Hall B1, 
Lower Level
Harvard University, 33 Kirkland St,
Cambridge, MA 


On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the June 1967 War, this workshop seeks to explore new approaches to understand and rethink this pivotal and transformative moment in the history of the modern Middle East. At stake is the search for new sources that can shed light on the war and its long-term repercussions for Arab societies. 

Organized by: William Granara, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Professor of the Practice of Arabic on the Gordon Gray Endowment, and Khaled Fahmy, Shawwaf Visiting Professor in Modern Middle Eastern History; Professor of History, American University of Cairo 


Keynote speaker: Elias Khoury, Novelist, Lebanon 

Speakers include:

Betty Anderson, Boston University

Daniel Behar, Harvard University

Yoav di Capua, University of Texas, Austin

Khaled Fahmy, Harvard University, American University in Cairo

William Granara, Harvard University

Haci Osman Gunduz, Harvard University

Bassam Haddad, George Mason University

Hazem Kandil, Cambridge University (UK)

Laila Parsons, McGill University

Derek Penslar, Harvard University

Sherene Seikaly, UC Santa Barbara

This event is open to the public; no registration required. 

Contact: Liz Flanagan || twitter: @HarvardCMES || instagram: @harvardcmes || facebook



Thursday, March 30 

4:00pm          Welcome: William Granara, Professor of Arabic, Director, CMES

                      Introduction: Khaled Fahmy, Shawwaf Visiting Professor in Modern Middle Eastern History


                      Chair: Ilham Makdisi (Northeastern)

                      William Granara (Harvard): Rereading War[s] in the Land of Egypt

                      Laila Parsons (McGill): Ghassan Kanafani between Literature and History

                      Daniel Behar (Harvard): ‘Thou Shalt Not Join the Zealots’: Responses to the Six-Day War in Israeli Literature

                      Hacı Osman Gündüz (Harvard): Nizar Qabbani: ‘A Poet Transformed Instantly’

6:15–7:15      Keynote Address: Elias Khoury, Novelist, Lebanon: The Defeat and the Continuing Nakba


Friday, March 31

9:30–12:30    PANEL II

                      Chair: Roger Owen (Harvard)

                      Betty Anderson (BU): Student Mobilization after 1967

                      Bassam Haddad (George Mason): Internecine Struggles and the 1967 War: The Syrian Case

                      Sherene Seikaly (UCSB): The Politics of Hope: 1967 and Beyond

                      Yoav di Capua (UT Austin): Toward an Intellectual History of 1967


2:00–4:30      PANEL III             

                      Chair: Sara Roy (Harvard)

                      Hazem Kandil (University of Cambridge): Blood, Folly, and Sandcastles: June 1967

                      Khaled Fahmy (Harvard; AUC): How Do We Know What We Know about the June 1967 War? The Case of the Withdrawal Order


Closing Conversation: Khaled Fahmy and Derek Penslar (Harvard)



Betty Anderson is a professor at Boston University and the author of Nationalist Voices in Jordan: The Street and the State (University of Texas Press, 2005), The American University of Beirut: Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education (University of Texas Press, 2011), and A History of the Modern Middle East: Rulers, Rebels and Rogues (Stanford University Press, 2016), as well as a co-author with Carol Berkin of the History Handbook (Houghton-Mifflin, 2003, and Cengage 2011). Dr. Anderson has published articles in Civil Wars, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Critique, and Jordanies, as well as chapters for a number of edited volumes. She has written about the themes covered by Islamic and history textbooks used in Jordan, the politicizing role of education in twentieth-century Middle East history, and the evolution of the American liberal education system at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Her latest project examines the economic, educational, political and social changes that have come to Beirut, Amman, and Ramallah over the last 25 years. Dr. Anderson has received Fulbright and American Center for Oriental Research (ACOR) grants to conduct research in Jordan and Lebanon. At Boston University, she is director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations. 

Daniel Behar is a PhD candidate in comparative literature at Harvard University. BA: Hebrew University of Jerusalem; MA: Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Freie Universität, Berlin. He is writing his dissertation on the urban idiom in modern Syrian poetry. He recently published a series of Hebrew translations of poems by the Iraqi poet Sargon Boulus in Helicon, an Israeli journal for contemporary poetry.

Yoav Di-Capua is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches modern Arab intellectual history. He received his PhD. from Princeton University in 2004. He is the author of Gatekeepers of the Arab Past: Historians and History Writing in Twentieth-Century Egypt (University of California Press, 2009). His new book, No Exit: Arab Existentialism, Jean Paul Sartre and Decolonization, is forthcoming with the University Press of Chicago.

Khaled Fahmy is a Professor of History at the American University in Cairo, and currently the Shawwaf Visiting Professor of Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. His research interests lie in the social and cultural history of modern Egypt. He has written on military history, history of law (shari’a), history of medicine and of public hygiene – all with an emphasis on 19th-century Egypt. He is also a frequent contributor to Arab and Western media on current Middle Eastern affairs.

William Granara is Director of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Professor of the Practice of Arabic on the Gordon Gray Endowment in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. 

Hacı Osman Gündüz is a first-year Ph.D. student at the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department at Harvard. Prior to coming to Harvard, he taught Arabic at Tufts University. He holds a Master's degree in International Relations and a Bachelor's degree in Arabic Language and Literature. 

Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011). Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal and the Knowledge Production Project. He is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the series Arabs and Terrorism. Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and the Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute. He serves on the Board of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and is Executive Producer of Status Audio Magazine.

Hazem Kandil is the Cambridge University Lecturer in Political Sociology and Fellow of St Catharine’s College. He studies power relations in revolution and war, focusing on the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America. Following an MA (2004) in International Relations from the American University in Cairo, and an MA (2005) in Political Theory from New York University, he received his PhD (2012) in Political Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Soldiers, Spies, and Statesmen: Egypt’s Road to Revolt (Verso, 2012), Inside the Brotherhood (Polity, 2014), and The Power Triangle: Military, Security, and Politics in Regime Change (Oxford University Press, 2016). He has published articles on revolution, warfare, and ideology in various academic journals and periodicals. Kandil received the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2014), and a CRASSH ProFutura Scientia Fellowship (2016), which fund his current projects on the development of the US war doctrine, and the relationship between conscription and democracy in France and Egypt.

Elias Khoury is a Lebanese novelist, playwright, critic, and prominent public intellectual. Born in Beirut in 1948, Khoury studied history and sociology in his native city before moving to Paris to study at the Sorbonne, where he wrote his dissertation on the 1860 Lebanon conflict. On his return home in 1973 he became a researcher for the Palestine Liberation Organization and began a career in journalism. In addition to several works of literary criticism and three plays, Khoury has published ten novels, which have been translated into several foreign languages, including English, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian and Spanish. He has taught at Columbia University, NYU, the American University of Beirut, the Lebanese University (Beirut), and the Lebanese American University (Beirut and Byblos, Lebanon). From 1993-2009, he served as editor of Al-Mulhaq, the weekly cultural supplement of the Lebanese daily newspaper Al-Nahar. Khoury, along with Samir Kassir and other intellectuals and political activists, was involved in the establishment of the Democratic Left Movement in Lebanon, founded in September 2004. 

In 1972, Khoury joined and became a member of the editorial board of the journal Mawaqif. From 1975-79, he was editor of Shu'un Filastin (Palestinian Affairs), collaborating with Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish. From 1981-82, Khoury was editorial director of Al-Karmel magazine, and from 1983-1990, he served as editorial director of the cultural section of Al-Safir, the former leading Arabic-language daily newspaper in Lebanon. 

Khoury published his first novel An 'ilaqat al-da'ira in 1975. It was followed in 1977 by The Little Mountain, set during the Lebanese civil war. Other works include The Journey of Little Gandhi (1989), about a rural immigrant to Beirut who lives through the events of the civil war, and Gate of the Sun (2000), an epic re-telling of the life of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon since the 1948 Palestinian exodus. Khoury's novel, Yalo (2002), depicts a former militiaman accused of crimes during Lebanon's civil war; the title refers to the name of a Palestinian Arab village that was destroyed and in territory annexed by Israel during the 1967 war. Khoury's works have been translated and published internationally in Catalan, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Ilham Makdisi is Associate Professor of History, Northeastern University. Ilham teaches courses in Middle Eastern history, World history and urban history. She is particularly interested in Mediterranean cities in the late 19th, early 20th centuries and the movements of people and ideas. Her current research focuses on the articulation and dissemination of radical ideas such as socialism and anarchism, in Eastern Mediterranean cities. Specifically, she analyzes the establishment of migrant networks of intellectuals, dramatists and workers, and their roles in the spread of radical ideas in and between Beirut, Cairo, Alexandria. She argues that the presence and activities of such (nominally ‘peripheral’) radical networks were central to the making of a globalized world and to the formulation of alternative visions of radicalism. Her publications include: “A Mediterranean Jewish Quarter and its Architectural Legacy: The Giudecca of Trani, Italy (1000-1550),” co-written with Mauro Bertagnin and Susan Miller in Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, University of California, Berkeley (Spring 2003), vol. 14, No. 2.; and “Projecting Beirut”: CD Rom by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, 1997 (Historical Background). 

Roger Owen is the former A.J. Meyer Professor (Emeritus) of Middle East History at Harvard University and one-time director of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He previously taught Middle East political and economic history at Oxford University where he was also many times the Director of the St Antony’s College Middle East Centre. His books include Cotton and the Egyptian Economy, The Middle East in the World Economy: 1800–1914, State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East (3rd revised edition 2004) and Lord Cromer; Victorian Imperialist, Edwardian Proconsul. He is also the co-author (with Sevket Pamuk) of A History of the Middle East Economies in the Twentieth Century. His most recent major publication is The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life published by Harvard University Press on 1 May 2012, a political history of an era when most presidents were becoming more and more monarchical in their style, a system which seemed to have come to an end with the revolutions of the ‘Arab spring.’ He has also just finished a personal memoir entitled, A Life in Middle Eastern Studies published by Tadween Press in early 2017. He has written a regular column for the Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat, since the late 1980s.

Laila Parsons is Associate Professor of History and Islamic Studies at McGill University. Among her publications are two books: The Druze Between Palestine and Israel, 1947–1949 (2000) and The Commander: Fawzi al-Qawuqji and the Fight for Arab Liberation, 1914–1948 (2016). 

Derek Penslar is Visiting Professor of History (and incoming William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History) at Harvard; and the Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto. He approaches modern Jewish history from a transnational and global perspective. His work encompasses the history of the Jews in modern West and Central Europe, North America, and Palestine/Israel. He is particularly interested in the relationship between modern Israel and diaspora Jewish societies, global nationalist movements, European colonialism, and post-colonial states. Penslar has taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, the University of Toronto, and Oxford University, where he served as the inaugural Stanley Lewis Professor of Modern Israel Studies from 2012 until 2016. He co-edits (with Anita Shapira) The Journal of Israeli History and serves on the editorial boards of The Journal of Jewish Studies, Jewish Social Studies, and Israel Studies. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Academy for Jewish Research. Penslar’s books include Zionism and Technocracy: The Engineering of Jewish Settlement in Palestine, 1870–1918 (1991); In Search of Jewish Community: Jewish Identities in Germany and Austria, 1918-1933 (1998, co-edited with Michael Brenner), Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe (2001); Orientalism and the Jews (co-edited with Ivan Kalmar, 2004), Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective (2006); The Origins of the State of Israel 1882–1948: A Documentary History (with Eran Kaplan, 2011), and Jews and the Military: A History (2013). He is currently writing two books: Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader (for Yale University Press’ “Jewish Lives” series) and Zionism: An Emotional State (for Rutgers University Press’ “Keywords in Jewish Studies” series).

Sherene Seikaly is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Seikaly's Men of Capital: Scarcity and Economy in Mandate Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2016) explores how Palestinian capitalists and British colonial officials used economy to shape territory, nationalism, the home, and the body. She is the editor of the Arab Studies Journal, co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya e-zine, and an editor of Journal of Palestine Studies.



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