Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance: Ibtisam Azem Reading

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Location: Virtual Webinar

Featuring Ibtisam Azem, Palestinian Short Story Writer, Novelist, and Journalist


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Ibtisam Azem is a Palestinian short story writer, novelist, and journalist, based in New York. She studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and later at Freiburg University, Germany, and earned an M.A. in Islamic Studies, with minors in German and English Literature. In 2011 she moved to New York where she lives now and works as a senior correspondent covering the United Nations for the Arabic daily al-Araby al-Jadeed. She is also co-editor at Jadaliyya e-zine.

The Book of Disappearance is her second novel in Arabic. It was translated by Sinan Antoon and  published by Syracuse University Press in July 2019. Some of her writings have been translated and published in French, German, English and Hebrew and have appeared in several anthologies and journals. She is working on her third novel and she just finished another M.A. in Social Work from NYU's Silver School.

This conversation will feature the discussant, Hilary Rantisi, Associate Director of the Religion, Conflict and Peace Initiative and Senior Fellow at the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School, and be moderated by Notre Dame MFA alum, Nazli Koca

Rantisi is Associate Director of the Religion, Conflict and Peace Initiative and Senior Fellow at the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School. She has over a decade and a half of experience in institution building at Harvard. Previously she was Director of the Middle East Initiative (MEI) at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She received her Master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining Harvard, she worked with civil society organizations in Israel-Palestine, which focused on religion, politics, and grassroots mobilization efforts in Jerusalem. She co-edited Our Story: The Palestinians in 1999, and has been an active public speaker on issues pertaining to the Middle East region. Hilary is a native Arabic speaker.

Koca is an anglophone writer who grew up on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Her work has appeared in The Threepenny Reviewbooks without covers, and elsewhere. She currently lives in the United States, where she continues to write about exile, disorientation, and isolation.

Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Global Middle East and North Africa is a bi-annual symposium and lecture series that focuses on the study of literatures that have been shaped by histories of territorial and linguistic politics, colonialism, military domination, and gross human rights violations. The initiative grapples with the constructed nature of history; reimagines American and global history from the position of suppressed voices; and examines how minoritized writers and scholars have historically innovated literary production and theory in the process of responding to systemic violence. 

Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance, launched by Associate Professor of English and Kroc Institute Faculty Fellow Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, is co-sponsored by the College of Arts & Letters, the Keough School of Global Affairs, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. This event is co-sponsored by the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative at Harvard University

Kroc Institute faculty members Asher Kaufman, Ebrahim Moosa, Atalia Omer, and Ernesto Verdeja serve on the advisory board for the series. In addition, the advisory board includes College of Arts and Letters faculty members Alison Rice, Perin Gürel, Barry McCrea, Francisco Robles, Olivier Morel, and Mark Sanders.  This initiative would not have been possible without the contributions of advisory board member Chana Morgenstern, Lecturer in Postcolonial and Middle Eastern Literatures, Faculty of English, Cambridge University. For more information, visit the Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance website.   

Other events in the series will take place on September 4 and November 6.

Originally published at kroc.nd.edu.

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