Politics and Practices of Resistance in the Middle East

Politics and Practices of Resistance in the Middle East
Friday, December 4, 2020
9:00 AM - 11:45 AM (Pacific Time)
Live Meeting via Zoom.
RSVP required to obtain access details.

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Conference Program:

9:00-9:15 am        

Opening Remarks and Introduction by Ali Behdad (UCLA) and Asli Bâli (UCLA)


Panel 1 - Religion, Environment and Resistance

9:15- 9:30 

Dilsa Deniz (UC San Diego)


Seyed Masoud Noori (NYU)


Discussant: Kevan Harris (UCLA)






Panel 2 - Urban Spaces, Social Movements and Resistance


Haydar Darici (American University)


Serra Hakyemez (University of Minnesota)


Discussant: Melissa Bilal (UCLA)




Closing Remarks


Dilşa Deniz is a socio-cultural Kurdish anthropologist and presently a lecturer at University of California San Diego (UCSD). She was dismissed from her position in Turkey, in February 2016 after signing a peace petition. Her research focuses on the cultural and religious practices, sacred geography, environmental attacks on the Alevi geography, ecocide, Alevism and environmental relation, myths of Alevism in Kurdish communities, particularly in the city of Dersim, an ancient urban center for Kurdish Alevism in Anatolia. She worked extensively as an activist and organizer in the women movement in Turkey. She holds PhD in Social Anthropology and published articles, book chapters as well as her monograph.

Seyed Masoud Noori is a law professor, Islamic issues researcher, and journalist focusing on the relationship between Islamic law/Sharia and the international human rights law system. In addition to a PhD in Private Law, he has more than 20 years of experience in studying, teaching, and researching Islam at Qom seminary. His professional experiences include working with UNICEF, UNDP and ICRC. His recent academic posts include positions at NYU Law, Emory Law School and National University of Ireland, Galway. Masoud was a faculty member at Mofid University, Qom, Iran, where he served at the Center for Human Rights Studies in several leadership positions. His research interests and activities include children rights, legal clinics, Islam and the environmental crisis, interfaith dialogue, constitution Muslim countries, religion and politics in the Middle East. He is a member of Global Alliance of persons committed to achieving Justice through Education (GAJE) and works with some journals as a member of the editorial board.

Kevan Harris is a historical sociologist studying development and social change in the global South. His first book, A Social Revolution: Politics and the Welfare State in Iran, is published by University of California Press. The Persian translation is published by Shirazeh Press. He also co-edited The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century: A Global View, along with Jan Breman, Ching Kwan Lee, and Marcel van der Linden. It is published by University of California Press on its open access imprint. The entire book is free to download. His current research projects focus on: welfare politics in low and middle-income countries; state formation in West Asia and North Africa; business-state relations in post-revolutionary Iran; and class and social mobility in Iran before and after 1979.

Haydar Darici is a postdoctoral fellow in Kurdish Studies at American University. His research focuses on youth politics of resistance in Kurdistan.

Serra Hakyemez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota , holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University. Based on her archival and ethnographic research on terror trials in Diyarbakir, Turkey (2008-2009, 2013-2015), her dissertation, Lives and Times of Militancy, examines what the “political” looks like within the space of law where Turkey resumes its war of terror against the Kurdish movement through myriad judicial and penitentiary technologies. Hakyemez currently works on a book project, Laws of Terror: Becoming Political in Criminal Courts, which approaches the political vulnerability of Kurds before the law as generative of a grammar of defense that is at once aspirational, corporal, and collective. Laws of Terror argues that the vague and arbitrary execution of anti-terror laws not only fail to discipline Kurdish revolutionaries into citizen-subjects, but also gives birth to an intimate space in which the “terror” suspects work together to redraw the lines between hope and despair, politics and criminality, and heroism and treason. Hakyemez’s research has been awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, and Wenner-Gren Foundation. Her publications in peer-reviewed journals and opinion pieces draw on the literature on ordinary ethics, political community, and human rights to examine the imbrications of law and violence in Turkey’s war of terror.

Melissa Bilal is Distinguished Research Fellow at UCLA Center for Near East Studies and Lecturer in the Department of Ethnomusicology. She previously taught at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Boğaziçi University, and the American University of Armenia (where she still serves as a member of the core team developing the Gender Studies program). Dr. Bilal received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Sociology at Boğaziçi University and earned her Ph.D. in Music from the University of Chicago. She was a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Music at Columbia University and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Orient-Institut Istanbul.

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies