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University of Iowa News Release

 

Feb. 21, 2007

Note: A workshop on the opportunities and challenges of conducting research in the Middle East and featuring Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor Juan Cole -- originally scheduled for 3 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26 - will be postponed and merged with the workshop "Developing Centers for Islamic, Middle Eastern and Arabic Studies" from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28 in the International Commons, Room 1117 in the University Capitol Center. Cole is a leading scholar on the modern history of the Arab world and professor of history at the University of Michigan.

Ida Beam Scholar To Discuss Iraq And Future Of America Feb. 28

Juan Cole (left), a leading scholar on the modern history of the Arab world and professor of history at the University of Michigan, will visit the University of Iowa Feb. 25 to March 1 as an Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor. Cole's visit will include several public events, including a lecture "The Iraq Crisis and the Future of America," at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, in 1505 Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences.

"This is a rare opportunity for students, faculty, staff and the public to visit with someone who has first-hand insights and who has devoted their entire career to promoting a better understanding of the region," said Vicki Hesli (right), director of the UI Middle East and Muslim World Studies scholarly group and political science professor in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The UI Office of the Provost sponsors the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program. The UI Middle East and Muslim World Studies scholarly group and UI International Programs are also sponsoring Cole's visit. Additional support for Cole's visit comes from the UI Departments of History, Political Science and Spanish and Portuguese and the UI International Writing Program.

For more than two decades, Cole has taught and written extensively about the modern history of the Arab world as well as Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia.  With a command of Arabic, Persian and Urdu, Cole brings together extraordinary expertise to provide a uniquely broad perspective on histories and cultures that have for too long been studied in isolation from one another.

Hesli notes that National Public Radio, among other major media outlets, have tapped into Cole's expertise and in-depth understanding of the current conflicts in the Middle East on a regular basis.

Based at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor since 1984, Cole has been a pioneer in Middle Eastern Studies. From 1992 to 1995 he directed the university's Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, one of the largest and top-ranked Title VI Centers of its kind.  More recently, he served for five years as the editor of the field's flagship journal, The International Journal of Middle East Studies.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, Cole has worked to translate his academic expertise into public knowledge through such projects as his award-winning blog, "Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion," his more recent "Library of Americana Translation Project," and his regular contributions to the print and broadcast media. He has written extensively, including his books "Modernity and the Millennium: The Genesis of the Baha'i Faith in the Nineteenth-Century Middle East," "Colonialism and Revolution in the Middle East: Social and Cultural Origins of Egypt's `Urabi Movement," and "Shi`ism and Social Protest." His current research focuses on Shi`i Islam in Iraq and Iran, as well as on the jihad or "sacred war" strain of Muslim radicalism, including al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Additional events include;

-- Monday, Feb. 26, 3 to 4:30 p.m. - Public workshop: "The opportunities and challenges of doing research in the Middle East and balancing politics and scholarship in a contentious field," in 15 Schaeffer Hall.

-- Tuesday, Feb. 27, noon - Iowa City Foreign Relations Council luncheon: "Relations between Iran and the United States." Cole will be the featured speaker at the luncheon catered by Oasis Falafel. The program is presented with the support of Baldes, Leyden and Associate and East Central Charitable Trust and takes place at Rockwood Fellowship Hall, Congregational Church, 30 North Clinton Street. Reservations are required and must be received by noon, Monday Feb. 26. Contact Marianne Weiss at Marianne-weiss@uiowa.edu or 319-335-0351 for more information.

-- Wednesday, Feb. 28, 3 to 4:30 p.m. - Public workshop: "Developing Centers for Islamic, Middle Eastern and Arabic Studies," in the International Commons, Room 1117, University Capitol Centre.

For more information, visit http://intl-programs.uiowa.edu/academic/memws/events.shtml. For special accommodations, contact Vicki Hesli at 319-335-2356 or mailto:vicki-hesli@uiowa.edu.

The UI established the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program in 1978-79 based on a bequest from the late Ida Beam of Vinton, Iowa, who willed her family farm to the UI Foundation. The proceeds from the farm's sale enabled the UI to establish a fund that brings top scholars in a variety of fields to the university for lectures and discussions.

International Programs enables University of Iowa students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all University constituents access to vital international knowledge.  For more information, visit http://intl-programs.uiowa.edu/ or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois J. Gray, 319-384-0077, lois-gray@uiowa.edu; Program: Vicki Hesli, 319-335-2356, vicki-hesli@uiowa.edu; Writer: Kelli Andresen.