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Upcoming Events

Tuesday, October 21 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity


Leila Sadat, Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law


When: Tuesday, October 21 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm


Where: Maurer School of Law, Room 123

211 S Indiana Ave., Bloomington, IN 47405


What: In the aftermath of the horrors of the Second World War, the international community responded to the mass violations of human rights norms by adopting treaties that clearly defined and outlawed genocide and war crimes. Yet, to date, there is still no single body of international instruments that defines and outlaws crimes against humanity. Professor Leila Sadat will present and discuss a draft prepared and proposed by a group of the world’s leading experts on the topic, in the hope that their draft will become the basis of a future international treaty. This event is co-sponsored with the Middle Eastern Law Students Association (MELSA).


Leila Sadat is an internationally recognized human rights expert specializing in international criminal law and justice. The Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law at Washington University School of Law and director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute since 2007, she is a dedicated teacher and award-winning scholar, publishing more than 90 books and articles in leading journals and academic presses throughout the world. She is currently serving as an Israel Treiman Faculty Fellow at Washington University Law School. In December 2012, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appointed her as Special Adviser on Crimes Against Humanity. Earlier that year she was elected to membership in the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations. In 2011, she was awarded the Alexis de Tocqueville Distinguished Fulbright Chair in Paris, France, the first woman to receive such an honor. 




Wednesday, October 22 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Lunch and a Lecture


"However We Come to Know It: The Limitations of Research in Fiction"

Elizabeth Eslami, Visiting Lecturer in IUB's Creative Writing Program


When: Wednesday, October 22 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

*Lunch Provided


Where: CSME

1105 E Atwater, Bloomington, IN 47401


What: We read fiction because we want to learn the story, but also because that story unfolds within a fictive world that compels us to enter. The fiction writer—far from an all-knowing creator—is also writing in order to learn about that world, and research can be a boon in the discovery process. Novelist or historian, though, we’ve all had moments of reckoning at the mouth of the rabbit hole: How much research is enough, especially when writing about a country like Iran, whose history is forever being debated, propagandized, and misunderstood? How might we cultivate narrative authority when describing a place we’ve never seen? Who “owns” any fictive setting in the Middle East—the author, its real-world inhabitants, or the readers whose understanding of that place might be at odds with the author’s intent? To whom is the novelist accountable? What happens when the research doesn’t serve the story? This talk will briefly explore the opportunities and limitations fiction writers face when using research in their work.


Iranian-American author Elizabeth Eslami is the author of the story collection, Hibernate, for which she was awarded the 2013 Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction, and the novel Bone Worship (Pegasus, 2010).  Her essays, short stories, and travel writing have been published widely, most recently in The Literary Review, The Sun, and Witness,and her work is featured in the anthologies Tremors: New Fiction By Iranian American Writers and Writing Off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema.She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Elizabeth Eslami is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Indiana University’s Creative Writing Program.




October 24 - 25 | 9a - 4:30 pm

Beyond The Sunni-Shiite Conflict: A Workshop On The Ottomans And The Safavids In The Early Modern Era


On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Çaldıran/Chaldiran, we are convening a two-day workshop to be hosted by Indiana University, Bloomington, on October 24-25, 2014. Our aim is to explore the political, military, cultural, and religious tensions that defined the Ottoman-Safavid relationship from ca. 1500 onward.


Despite the intensity of their relationship, the Ottomans and the Safavids are typically studied in isolation, and the various dimensions of their rivalry have been assigned relatively marginal importance within the context of the larger histories of these two empires. We believe it is time to revisit the Ottoman-Safavid interface in order to problematize several issues through individual presentations and discussion sessions. Issues to be explored are the ‘confessionalization’/construction of Sunni, Shiite and Alevi identities; the impact of the conflict on different communities and polities from the southern Caucasus to the Persian Gulf and beyond; the emergence and significance of frontiers (geographical, cultural); and the significance of a literary culture shared by both empires.


The workshop is open to the public. The location is the Social Science Research Commons, 200 Woodburn Hall, 1100 East 7th Street, Bloomington, IN.


Day 1: October 24, 2014


9 AM-9:15 AM: Opening remarks


9:15-10:00: Colin Paul Mitchell (Dalhousie University): “‘Battles Decide Everything’: Chaldiran and Change in Early Safavid Iran”


10:00-10:45: Ahmet Karamustafa (University of Maryland): “In His Own Voice: What Khata'i Tells us about Shah Isma’il”


10:45-11:00 Coffee/tea break


11:00-11:45: Kaya Şahin (Indiana University-Bloomington): “Ottoman-Safavid Frontiers, Real and Imagined”


Noon-2 PM: Lunch break


2-2:45: Sabri Ateş (Southern Methodist University): “Hudud al-Islam: The Notion of Frontier in Ottoman-Safavid Relations”


2:45-3:30: Ayfer Karakaya-Stump (College of William & Mary): “Defining the Polity by its Boundaries: The Anti-Kızılbash Campaigns as a Catalyst of Ottoman Confessionalization, 16th and 17th Centuries”


3:30-4:30: Discussion



Day 2: October 25, 2014


9:30-10:15: Paul Losensky (Indiana University, Bloomington): “Methodological Considerations for a New Comparative Study of Ottoman and Persian Poetry”


10:15-11:00: Sholeh Quinn (University of California, Merced): “Universal Chronicles and Early Ottoman and Safavid Persian Historiography”


11:00-11:15 Coffee/tea break


11:15-noon: Guy Burak (New York University): “Beyond the Shi‘i-Sunni Divide: Dynastic Law/Qanun and ‘Orthodoxy’ in the Ottoman and Safavid Empires”


Noon-2: Lunch break


2-2:45: Ron Sela (Indiana University, Bloomington): “The Flight of Khorasani Intellectuals to the Chinggisid Courts of Central Asia, 1500-1550”


2:45-3:30: A. Azfar Moin (University of Texas, Austin): “The Politics of Shrines in Mughal, Safavid, and Ottoman Empires”


3:30-4:30: Discussion


Organizers: Kaya Şahin (Indiana University, Bloomington), Erdem Çipa (University of Michigan)

Contact for more information.


October 31 - November 2

Mapping the Landscapes of Islamic Studies at IU Conference


When: October 31 - November 2


Where: Tocqueville Room, Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis (513 N. Park Ave.); Bridgwaters Lounge, Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center (275 N. Jordan Ave.)


Contact for more information.




























































Tuesday, November 11 | 4:00 pm

Post-Trip Vice-Presidential Forum and Reception


On Saudi Arabia and Turkey


When: Tuesday, November 11 | 4:00 pm


Where: Presidents Hall (in Franklin Hall)


What: The next post-trip Vice-Presidential Forum and Reception will be on Saudi Arabia and Turkey, following the Sept. 21-29 presidential trip to Turkey and the Oct. 25-Nov. 2 presidential trip to Saudi Arabia and India. It will be cosponsored by the School of Global and International Studies and will be held in Presidents Hall (in Franklin Hall) on Tue., Nov. 11at 4pm. It will also be live-streamed and archived for later viewing on


Wednesday, November 12 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Lunch and a Lecture


"Is Displacement Rational? Explaining the Relationship between Information Flows and Displacement"
Justin Schon, PhD Candidate of Political Science, IUB


When: Wednesday, November 12 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

*Lunch Provided


Where: CSME

1105 E Atwater, Bloomington, IN 47401


What: How do information flows affect civilian responses to conflict? Conflict scholars tend to assume that civilians will know about all important conflict events. This allows them to make rational decisions about whether to leave their homes and where to go if they do leave. However, civilians often make decisions that make them unsafe or cost excessive amounts of money. These seemingly irrational decisions are systematic, not rare aberrations. To explain them, this paper challenges the assumption of complete information. Interviews conducted with Syrian refugees in Jordan illustrate how Syrian civilians have consumed and reacted to information about the Syrian conflict. The most important finding is that the ways in which civilians consume information change during conflict. Civilians consume less precise and less accurate information. These findings add nuance to current explanations of displacement.


Justin is a 3rd Year Political Science PhD student at Indiana University Bloomington. He uses a variety of time series analyses, spatial analyses, event count modelling, and qualitative fieldwork to pursue his interests in conflict, displacement, and insurgency.


Wednesday, November 19 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Lunch and a Lecture


"Beyond ISIS: Gender-Based Violence in Iraq"

Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies at University of London's SOAS


When: Wednesday, November 19 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

*Lunch Provided


Where: CSME

1105 E Atwater, Bloomington, IN 47401


What: The talk will address the issue of gender-based violence and violence against religious and ethnic minorities in the context of ISIS in Iraq. It will also reflect on the difficulty to talk about women and minorities in a context where sexual violence is being instrumentalised by both sectarian and imperialist agendas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 | 4:30 - 7 pm

"We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War"


A lecture and discussion with author and gender studies professor Nadje Al-Ali about her prize-winning book We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East).


When: Wednesday, November 19 | 4:30 - 7pm


Where: Indiana Memorial Union, Oak Room


What: While the occupation of Iraq and its aftermath has received media and political attention, we know very little about the everyday lives of Iraqis. Iraqi men, women, and children are not merely passive victims of violence, vulnerable recipients of repressive regimes, or bystanders of their country’s destruction. Professor Nadjer Al-Ali will introduce this co-edited anthology )with Deborah Al-Najjar) consisting of contributions by Iraqi artists, writers, poets, photographers, film-makers and activists etc, who are all trying to creatively engage with issues of war, violence and identity. The book recently one the Evelyn Shakir non-fiction award.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Lunch and a Lecture


"Tensions in Iran's Ethnic Minorities"

Professor Jamsheed Choksy, Department of Central Eurasian Studies, IUB


When: Wednesday, February 11 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

*Lunch Provided


Where: CSME

1105 E Atwater, Bloomington, IN 47401


What: Prof. Choksy speaks on ethnic minorities-related tensions in the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Dr. Choksy is a professor at Indiana University and Chair of the Department of Central Eurasian Studies.