“Islam in Central Eurasia” symposium – Friday, May 11th, 2012

A message from CREECA (Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia) -

Please join us this Friday, May 11, from 2:30-5:30 pm in 336 Ingraham 
Hall for an informal graduate student symposium on "Islam in Central 

Graduate students in LCA 850 (Seminar in Turkic Studies), taught by 
Professor Uli Schamiloglu, will present 15-minute synopses of their 
semester-long research projects, addressing various aspects of Islam in 
Central Eurasia. This symposium is open to everyone and no registration 
is required. Light refreshments will be served.

PDF of symposium schedule - Symposium Program-2012


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  hebrew@mailplus.wisc.edu

Lubar Institute Lecture – Monday, April 30th, 2012

Tonight the Lubar Institute is sponsoring a lecture given by Eboo Patel entitled “Acts of Faith: Interfaith Leadership in a Time of Global Religious Crisis.”  It will deal with the need to have interfaith dialogue between politicians and others in leadership positions in order to create a more peaceful and harmonious world.

More information:

Eboo Patel
Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core

Monday, April 30
7:30 p.m.
Tripp Commons

A leader defines reality. In a world too often convinced of the inevitable clash of civilizations, how do we lead our communities of faith to work with people from different religious and philosophical backgrounds and serve the common good? From Martin Luther King, Jr. to Mahatma Gandhi, Dorothy Day to Abraham Joshua Heschel, the answer was clear: interfaith leadership.

Patel’s core belief is that religion is a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. He’s inspired to build this bridge by his faith as a Muslim, his Indian heritage, and his American citizenship. He has spoken about this vision at places like the TED conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, as well as college and university campuses across the country. He writes about it regularly in The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Huffington Post, and is also the author of “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation.”

Lecture: Iran, the New Geopolitical Balance in the Middle East, and Implications for Latin America – Monday, April 30th, 2012

Zidane Zeraoui will be giving a lecture at noon next Monday (April 30th) in 336 Ingraham Hall concerning the new geopolitical situations in the Middle East and how this affects Latin America.  This lecture should be of interest to anyone studying either Latin America or the Middle East and will be a fascinating synthesis of these two regions that are commonly thought to be (mostly) independent of one another.

For more information see the attached poster.  Zidane Zeraoui Poster

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.

Lecture on Persian Empire – Monday, April 30th, 2012

April 30, 2012
3:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M., 212 University Club Building
Matt Waters
Classics and Ancient History, UW-Eau Claire

Of Lies and Bizarre Tales: Ctesias and the Persian Empire

The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 550-330 BC) at its height stretched from the Danube to the Indus and from the Himalayas to the Sahara. The Greek Ctesias served as a doctor to the Persian king Artaxerxes II (reigned 404-358 BC) and wrote an extensive history of the Persian Empire, the Persica, to his time. Only fragments of this work survive, scattered in various ancient authors and in a severely-truncated epitome by the Byzantine patriarch and scholar Photius (9th century AD). Ctesias’ work has been largely marginalized in light of the fundamental problems of reliability with the extant account. As recent work has emphasized, however, such criticism often stems from a misguided approach to what his work may offer us. This seminar will discuss some preliminary observations based on analysis of Near Eastern influences on Ctesias’ work.

Matt Waters is a UW-System fellow, Professor of Classics and Ancient History at UW-Eau Claire. He received his Ph.D. in Ancient History (Near Eastern and Greek) from the University of Pennsylvania. His main research interests are Achaemenid history and Greek historiography. He was the winner of the Greenfield Prize from the American Oriental Society in 2006 and has been awarded fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies as well as Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies and Loeb Classical Library Foundation. Recent published work includes numerous articles on various aspects of first millennium BC history, especially Greek-Persian relations. Other works in preparation include a survey of Achaemenid Persian history (Cambridge U Press).