2016 was a terrible year for university professors and scholars working in Turkey and much of the Middle East. In Turkey, the one-year decline in academic freedom, university self-governance and security of tenure was precipitous and very far-reaching.
Beyond Turkey, academics faced troubling forms of repression and risk across the Middle East and North Africa, whether as a consequence of the wars raging in Syria and Yemen, or the increasing authoritarian interventions against academics by governments like those of Egypt and Bahrain attempting to quash the dissemination of their research. Scholars studying the Middle East at universities in North America also were affected by restrictions on their ability to travel and conduct research, and by a climate of intimidation from outside advocacy groups targeting them for teaching about the Middle East on campuses in the U.S.
This one day symposium addressed the threats to academic freedom in the Middle East and beyond with a special focus on Turkey and a keynote lecture by Iranian-Canadian scholar, Professor Homa Hoodfar. The symposium marked the launch of a campaign to host a scholar-at-risk from the Middle East at UCLA.
10 AM - Noon – Panel One: Eda Erdener (Pomona College), Can Aciksoz (UCLA), Zeynep Korkman (UCLA), moderated by Aslı Bali (UCLA)
Noon - 1 PM – Lunch Break
1 PM - 2 PM – Keynote: Homa Hoodfar (Concordia University, Montreal)
2 PM - 2:10 PM – Break
2:10 PM - 4 PM – Panel Two: Laurie Brand (USC), Pardis Mahdavi (Pomona College), Sondra Hale (UCLA), moderated by Sherene Razack (UCLA)