Event Recordings

Missed one of our MEDLI (formerly APTLI) events? Browse some of our recorded events from the past!

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MEDLI Guest Lecture: Iranian Theatre Speech with Ali Mansouri (7/25/2023)

Speaker bio: 

Ali Mansouri is an Iranian playwright and director pursuing a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies at UW-Madison.

Event abstract: 

This lecture will explore different types of traditional Iranian performances such as Naqqāli, Ta’zieh, Puppet, and Comic shows. Additionally, we will analyze how these traditions have been interpreted in modern times by Iranian theatre artists.

MEDLI Lecture: Traditional Miniature Art and its Modern Interpretation with Murat Palta (summer 2023)

Event abstract: 

The lecture will be centered around Ottoman miniature, traditional medieval art, and Palta’s rendering of this artwork from a contemporary perspective. Palta will explain his working methods as well as his ties with popular culture and how he relates this as a language in his body of work. We will meet in 115 Ingraham Hall for the event.

MEDLI Lecture: Traditional Miniature Art and its Modern Interpretation with Murat Palta

The lecture will be centered around Ottoman miniature, traditional medieval art, and Palta’s rendering of this artwork from a contemporary perspective. Palta will explain his working methods as well as his ties with popular culture and how he relates this as a language in his body of work. This article is a great review to the topics Palta discussed: https://www.mysterytribune.com/turkish-artist-murat-palta-recreates-cult-movie-scenes-as-ottoman-miniature-art/

Murat Palta

After graduating from Graphic and Design department of Dumlupınar University in 2012, he started to work in various advertisement agency in Istanbul.

In 2013, he attended Miniature and Illumination Art workshop in Tlemcen (Algeria), and participated in different international art festivals such as Nour Festival of Arts in London and Cinephiliac: Art Transcending Technology & Motion, in Philadelphia.

Palta had his first solo exhibition titled “Murat Palta: Cult Hollywood movies as Ottoman miniatures” in City Museum of Bagnacavallo (Bagnacavallo, Italy) in 2014. His second show, “Depictions of White Screen” (2015) opened at x-ist. In 2015, Palta’s works took place in a group show titled “Kitsch ou pas kitsch” in ICI (Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris, France) and in a solo show in Savina Gallery (St. Petersburg, Russia).

Among the international art fairs Palta participated are Art Dubai 2016, Contemporary Istanbul 14, 15 & 16.

He also participated in the group shows titled “x-tension” (Office 4200, Bursa, 2015) and “Variations on An Andalusian Dog” (x-ist, 2015).

MEDLI Lecture Series: Gamze Canli, “How did military coups shape politics and education in Turkey: A historical overview from 1960 to 1998”

MEDLI Lecture: Problems of Authoritarianism and Underdevelopment in Muslim-Majority Countries with Dr. Ahmet Kuru

Ahmet T. Kuru will talk about his new book “Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison” (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Why do Muslim-majority countries have high levels of authoritarianism and low levels of socio-economic development in comparison to world averages?
Kuru elaborates an argument about the ulema-state alliance as the cause of these problems in the Muslim world from the eleventh century to the present. Criticizing essentialist, post-colonialist, and new institutionalist explanations, Kuru focuses on the relations between intellectual, economic, religious, and political classes in his own explanation.

Link for book’s website: https://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/comparative-politics/islam-authoritarianism-and-underdevelopment-global-and-historical-comparison?format=PB

Resources for attendees:

Video on book https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlx98gDA9y4&list=PLtoVEQO2iwNtOymVhfS9pMeP5z7WrYTFz&index=2

Article summary of the book  https://journals.tplondon.com/ijor/article/view/982/865

Co-sponsors: APTLI, IRIS NRC, Middle East Studies Program (MESP), Wisconsin Intensive Summer Language Institutes (WISLI)

Dr. Ahmet Kuru

Ahmet T. Kuru is Porteous Professor of Political Science at San Diego State University. Kuru received his PhD from the University of Washington and held a post-doc position at Columbia University. He is the author of award-winning Secularism and State Policies toward Religion: The United States, France, and Turkey (Cambridge UP, 2009). His 2019 book, Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison (Cambridge UP) received the American Political Science Association’s International History and Politics Section Award. His works have been translated into Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Persian, and Turkish.

Website link: ahmetkuru.sdsu.edu

Speaker photo: https://politicalscience.sdsu.edu/people/faculty/kuru_a.html

MEDLI Lecture: Baha’ AbuShanab, Palestinian Filmmaker

Palestinian Filmmaker Baha’ AbuShanab will be discussing his film experience and filmmaking in Palestine in this lecture. His documentary, The Living of the Pigeons, will be covered. The film is “A haunting glimpse of the surreal early morning hours and the daily experience of “rush hour” for Palestinian workers at the Israeli Checkpoint 300, which separates Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank from Jerusalem.”

Baha’ AbuShanab

Baha’ AbuShanab is a film production graduate from Dar Al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, Palestine. Before this, he received his Associate Diploma in Documentary Film Production from the same University College in 2015. During his six years of studies, he produced several film projects, including “The Living of the Pigeons” an award-winning 16-minute documentary that portrays the harsh experience of Palestinian workers crossing an Israeli checkpoint near Bethlehem to reach their workplaces inside Israel. The documentary was screened in more than 32 film festivals worldwide, including in France, the USA, Italy, Germany, UAE, and Palestine. Baha’ currently works as a freelancer and plans to obtain his master’s degree in filmmaking.

MEDLI Lecture: Salim Abu Jabal, Palestinian Filmmaker

Movie Feature: Roshmia by Salim Abu Jabal


An elderly Palestinian refugee couple in a final standoff with the israeli authorities to maintain their lifestyle in Roshmia; the last natural valley in Haifa. Yousef and his wife Amna, who originally descents from the Gypsies of Palestine, have lived in a shack all alone in their eighties since 1956 in what seems to be a life of serenity; far away from the loudness of modern life. Life remains peaceful in Roshmia until the israeli authorities endorse a new road project and order to confiscate their land, demolish the shack and throw them out. A friend of the couple tries to secure a compensation from the municipality but the shack is Yousef’s home that he insists on keeping; living in bliss and comfort as ever, however the negotiations continue and tension grows among the three. Furthermore, and besides the physical displacement and despair they are nearly facing, Yousef and Amna are about to go on separate ways.


Trailer: www.vimeo.com/113942189

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RoshmiaTheFilm

IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt4302612

Twitter: www.twitter.com/RoshmiaTheFilm

Salim Abu Jabal

Salim Abu Jabal is an award winning filmmaker born in the Occupied Golan Heights. He studied theatre and Arabic literature at the University of Haifa, and scriptwriting. He worked as a journalist and film critic in various newspapers and then pursued a career in TV and cinema.  Since then, he produced and directed several films, series and programs and was best known for his roles as casting director and producer of renowned award-winning films.

In 2005, Salim founded a travelling film festival ‘Films from behind the wall’ that specialized in Palestinian cinema from the West Bank and Gaza. In 2013, he founded a Cinema Club dedicated to the dissemination of art house and independent cinema in Haifa, Ramallah, Gaza, Bethlehem and Jenin.

His first feature ‘Roshmia’ (2015) won 13 awards around the world. It was awarded “Special Jury Prize” at Dubai Int’l Film Festival, “Golden Oasis” at Gabes Int’l Arab Film Festival, “Grand Prize” at Festival Int’l Cinema Tetouan, “Best Documentary, Open Eyes Award” at MedFilm Festival Rome, “Special Jury Prize” at Algeria International Cinema Festival and other awards. This documentary was screened at IDFA 2015.

MEDLI Friday Feature: Persian Dance with Niosha Nafei Jameli

Niosha will introduce a few simple, fundamental and popular moves of Persian Modern and Pop dance and then will go over a few different styles of Persian dance from different regions of Iran.

Niosha Nafei Jameli

Niosha Nafei-Jamali founded Niosha Dance Academy in 1992. The academy produces, performs, and preserves traditional and contemporary dance from the Iranian/Persian cultural diaspora.

Providing a wide range of classes for inspired individuals and dancers across the world, Niosha Dance Academy is world renowned and performs on the stage across national and international venues. Through the language of dance and movement, Niosha Dance Academy shares the beauty and heritage of Iranian culture with an expanding global community.

Our goal is to share the beauty of dance, focusing on providing the ultimate platform for aspiring dancers to receive structured training in various styles of traditional and modern Persian dance.

Niosha Dance Academy is dedicated to bringing dancers and audiences together to enrich, engage, educate, and change lives through the experience of Iranian dance.

For more information visit Niosha’s website: www.niosha.com

MEDLI Lecture: Reading Middle Eastern and North African Voices in Translation- What Literature can teach us in a Global Pandemic with Esra Taşdelen

In this talk, Dr. Tasdelen will draw from prominent examples of works by Middle Eastern and North African authors writing in Arabic and Turkish to show how reading translated literature will help shape our understanding of the world in a global pandemic and the new reality we have been facing in the past year. Through looking at translation as an act of creation, she will point out to the ways in which languages and stories traverse the globe, and how studying the region through its languages and literatures can expand our worldview in unique ways.

Esra Taşdelen

A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Esra Tasdelen received her B.A. degree in Social and Political Sciences at Sabanci University in 2003. She received her M.A. degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago in 2005 and her Ph.D degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 2014. Her dissertation, “Literature As A Mirror Of History: A Comparative Study Of The Historical Fictions of Ahmet Hikmet Müftüoğlu (1870-1927) and Jurji Zaydan (1861-1914)” is a comparative analysis of the relationship between literature and history in Modern Turkish and Modern Arab literatures. She has most recently taught at North Central College and the University of Chicago, and in Fall 2021 she will be joining the faculty of the College of Dupage.

Among her areas of research interest are Late Ottoman Intellectual History (Late 19th – Early 20th Centuries), Modern Turkish Literature, Modern Arabic Literature, Print Capitalism in the Middle East, Translation Theory, Comparative Literature, Turkish Nationalism and Arab Nationalism.