The CMES Spotlight Series features presentations on current research by the faculty and students that constitute our diverse scholarly community across departments, initiatives, and programs at UCSB. All events will be held via zoom. Links to register for our webinars will be posted a week before the events.

Fall 2022

October 14, 9 am PDT

The Native Other: Language, Race, & Religion

a CMES graduate fellows panel

James Altman (Global Studies), How the Soviet Response to the Nationality Question Went Global

Gokh Alshaif (History), Leaving the Margins: Lessons from an Oceanic Yemen and its Muhamasheen

Noosha Uddin (Political Science), Labor Migration in a Low-Carbon Future: Evidence from Oil-Rich States in the Arabian Gulf

Discussant: Adrienne Edgar (History)

Click here to register for the webinar.

2021-22 Events

October 12, 5 pm PST



Ajib and Gharīb: Coptic Icons in their Islamic Context

Heather Badamo (History of Art and Architecture)

Discussant: Reem Taha (Comparative Literature)


Click here to register for the webinar.


November 5, 9 am PST

Shaping Self, Shaping Other: a CMES graduate fellows panel

Amy Fallas (History), Death of a Prime Minister: The Assassination of Boutros Ghali and the Origins of Egyptian Sectarianism, 1906-1911

Wael Hegazy (Religious Studies), Online Islamic Rituals and their Impact on Shaping the Muslim Communities

Ibrahim Mansour (History), Sufism, Philosophy, and the Reverberations of Power in Medieval Islamic Thought

Richard Nedjat-Haim (Comparative Literature), The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa: The Politics of Performance

Rachel Winter (History of Art and Architecture), The 1976 World of Islam Festival in Hindsight: Finding the Contemporary

Discussant: Dwight Reynolds (Religious Studies)

Click here to register for this webinar.

January 11, 5 pm PST

Guantanamo at 20: What We Haven’t Learned from This Debacle

Lisa Hajjar (Sociology)

Discussant: Gehad Abaza (Anthropology)

Click here to register for this webinar.

image credit: Steve Mumford

February 22, 
6 pm PST

Saladin Commemorated: Palestinian and Jewish/Israeli Myths, 12th–21st Centuries

Daniella Talmon-Heller (Ben Gurion University)

Discussant: Stephen Humphreys (History)

Click here to register for this webinar.


February 25, 9 am PST

Infrastructure, Architecture: a CMES graduate fellows panel

Ali Derafshi (History of Art and Architecture), Memāri-e Irāni in California: Iranian and Persian-inspired Architecture in the Land of Sunshine

Samira Fathi (History of Art and Architecture), Architectural Patronage and Urbanization of Isfahan, 1700-1834

Anthony Greco (History), “The Greatest Irrigation Canal on Earth:” Muhammad Effendi Ismail’s Image of Infrastructure, Asyūṭ, 1900.

Tina Guirguis (Global Studies), Potty Politics: Toilets for the People?

Alice Kezhaya (Global Studies), Beirut’s EDL Building & Electricity Infrastructure’s Racializing Order

Discussant: Charmaine Chua (Global Studies)

Click here to register for this webinar.

April 14,  5 pm PST

Curating the Middle East

Shiva Balaghi (Area Global Initiative)

Discussant: Soha Saghazadeh (Film and Media)

Click here to register for this webinar.


Image credit: Pouran Jinchi artwork on view in Glitch, an exhibit at Tahrir Cultural Center, AUC.

April 23 – 24


April 29, 9 am PDT

Making, Breaking, Transgressing the State: a CMES graduate fellows panel

Gehad Abaza (Anthropology), “‘We Built it Bit by Bit’: Exile, Homemaking, and State Formation in Abkhazia”

Sarp Kurgan (Global Studies), “The Making of an Opposition: A Comparative Analysis on Turkish Progressive Thought and Intellectual-State Relations in the Middle East, 1930-1980”

Sergey Saluschev (History), “The ‘Strange’ Insurrection of 1866 and the Abolition of Slavery in Abkhazia”

Mesadet Sozman (Global Studies), “Kemalism’s New Woman: Women Intellectuals at the Intersection of Nationalism and Conservatism in 1935-46”

Leila Zonousi (Global Studies), “The New Middle Eastern Intellectual Diasporas in North America: Migrations from Iran, Egypt, and Turkey in the 2010s”

Discussant: Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky (Global Studies)

Click here to register for webinar.

May 5, 5pm PDT

Book Discussion: Alaa Abd El-Fattah’s You Have Not Yet Been Defeated

A panel discussion with Sanaa Seif (filmmaker & activist), Sharif Abdel Kouddous (journalist), Laila Shereen Sakr (Film & Media), and Paul Amar (Global Studies). 

* This is an in-person event at Wireframe Studio, 1410 Music Building, UCSB. Audience members must bring masks and wear them for the duration of the event.

Co-sponsored with Wireframe Studio and Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies. More info here.

May 10,

5 pm PDT

(Mis)/(Dis)Representation of Arabic Language in Israel

Rawia Hayik (Visiting Scholar UCLA; Senior Lecturer, Sakhnin Academic College for Teacher Education, Israel)

Discussant: Sherene Seikaly (History)

Click here to register for webinar.