Arab Spring Lecture – Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow: UNESCO, NWICO and the U.S. – NAIROBI 1976 and the February 2011 ‘Arab Spring’

Edris Makward
Professor Emeritus, Department of African Languages and Literature
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Time and Location: 12:00pm, 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI
Click the link below for further information on Professor Makward’s discussion of the NWICO organization and how it affected the Arab Spring of February 2011.

Judaism Lecture – Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
56th Annual Free Public Lecture
Bernard M. Levinson, Professor at University of Minnesota
“‘You Must Not Add Anything to What I Command You’: Paradoxes of Canon and Authorship in Ancient Israel”
at the AT & T Lounge in the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., Madison

Professor Bernard M. Levinson will present a free public lecture entitled, “‘You Must Not Add Anything To What I Command You’: Paradoxes of Canon And Authorship in Ancient Israel.” Professor Levinson’s lecture addresses how Israel, having a tradition of prestigious or authoritative texts, dealt with the problem of literary and legal innovation. By comparing scribal practices in ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform law, he shows how ancient Israel’s development of the idea of divine revelation of law that might have been expected to impede legal revision or amendment tolerated modification through exegetical innovation.

As a test-case, Professor Levinson begins with the concept of divine punishment in the Decalogue: the idea that God punishes sinners transgenerationally, vicariously extending the punishment due one generation to three or four generations of their progeny. A series of inner-biblical and post-biblical response to the rule demonstrates, however, that later writers were able to criticize, reject, and replace it with the alternative notion of individual retribution. The lecture’s conclusions stress the extent to which the formative canon sponsors this kind of critical reflection and intellectual freedom.

This lecture is sponsored by University Lectures Committee and the Department of Hebrew & Semitic Studies with the generous support of the Ettinger Family Foundation; co-sponsored by the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies and the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions. For more information, please contact the Department of Hebrew & Semitic Studies, email

Thirteenth Annual Greenfield Summer Institute: Jewish Memory and Nostalgia

This summer, from July 8th-12th, the University of Wisconsin Madison will be hosting the Greenfield Summer Institute, which is a four day long event consisting of lectures, round table discussions, films and concerts about Jewish culture, heritage and religion.  The event must be signed up for in advance and promises to be an enlightening experience for anyone interested in Hebrew studies.

Here is the full event description:

The Greenfield Summer Institute was the brainchild of Lawrence Greenfield, a member of the Center for Jewish Studies Board of Visitors, who first proposed the idea of an adult summer institute in the mid-1990s. The first Greenfield Summer Institute in 2000 brought together people from the Madison community and beyond to participate in a unique blend of continuing education, entertainment, and fellowship. Now underwritten by the generosity of Larry and Ros Greenfield, the Institute showcases the research of UW–Madison faculty and acclaimed Jewish Studies scholars from around the country. Each year the Institute’s lectures center around a theme (past years’ themes have included Jewish identity, Jews and politics, the “Wandering Jew,” Jewish Studies and the arts, Jews and gender, Israel, European Jewry, and American Jewish history). In addition to lectures that explore the year’s theme in depth, the Institute also features concerts, dinners, and other opportunities to socialize.

For even more info, go to the website here.

Enchantings: Modernity, Culture, and the State in Postcolonial Africa – Thursday April 26th-Saturday April 28th, 2012

The Institute for Research in the Humanities is sponsoring a three day long symposium filled with over a dozen different lectures detailing the trials and tribulations of Africa in a post-colonial world.  The event will cover the affects of post-colonialism on the governments, culture and social history of Africa in the last fifty years.  These topics will surely cover Northern Africa, or the area that falls under the nomenclature of the Middle East, as well, meaning that this symposium is certainly relevant to Middle East Studies.  Head over to the website for a more detailed look at lecture schedules and content. 

Africa 50 Forward Events – April – May 2012

An ongoing event on campus has been the celebration of fifty years of African Studies at UW-Madison, which has been filled with Africa related films and lectures throughout the year.  The celebration is winding down now, but there are still a few interesting films and lectures on Africa scheduled in the coming weeks.  Check out the website for more details on what events still remain and how you can get involved in celebrating UW’s continued commitment to African Studies.

Turkish Night Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

This Sunday the Madison Association of Turkish Students will be hosting a Turkish Night at 6:00 pm in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.  There will be Turkish food, music, dancing and other activities and admission will be free.  All UW students are welcome to attend this event whether they know anything or nothing about Turkish culture previously.  It will be a good opportunity to either learn more about a new culture or enjoy a culture you are already enamored with and a part of.  

Third International Conference on Islam – April 13th-14th, 2012

This upcoming weekend the Third International Conference on Islam will convene in Madison, Wisconsin and will be focused on “Islam and Democracy” amongst other engaging Middle East and Islamic related discussions.  Some of the topics to be included, through papers, lectures and discussions, are:

  • Islamic Theological Perspectives on Democracy
  • Islam, Liberalism, and Pluralism
  • Islam, Secularism, and the State
  • Islam and Nationalism
  • Muslim Women and Democracy
  • Islam and Democracy in the Middle East
  • Islam and Democracy in Central Asia
  • Islam and Democracy in Europe
  • Islam and Democracy: Turkey Model
  • Arab Spring

More information on this huge gathering of minds can be found at  It promises to be an intellectually stimulating conference about the ever-changing political and cultural landscape of the Middle East and sure to be of interest to anyone concentrating in the area of Middle East Studies.