February 21, 2018

Al-Tikriti Speaks at NYC’s LaGuardia Community College

New York City’s LaGuardia Community College hosted Associate Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti at a Nov. 2 career planning event titled “Between the World and Me.” Al-Tikriti, former vice president of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders USA, spoke to LaGuardia student and faculty audiences twice in the day, joining panels that also featured Rashida Bumbray Shabazz, a curator and choreographer and the senior program manager at Open Society Foundations for the Arts Exchange, and Prof. Mark Kovic, associate program director for the occupational therapy doctorate program at Midwestern University and a practitioner with extensive service projects in Central America.

During the morning, the three panelists spoke about how their identities and intellectual trajectories shaped their careers and resulted in impactful ethical engagement in global affairs. This session aimed to connect the panelists’ work to current events, and highlight how the relationship between the global citizen and ethical action can help guide LaGuardia students in their personal lives and career paths.

After the morning panel, Dr. Al-Tikriti spoke about the importance of a humanities education for his humanitarian career in front of Prof. Ece Aykol’s comparative literature class.

In the afternoon panel, the same three participants moved from the theoretical to the more practical aspects of careers that place global engagement and experience at the center. Planned in conjunction with LaGuardia’s Office of Student Affairs and Center for Career and Professional Development, the two panels provided students insight and advice on course selection, career planning and ethical professional practices.

Al-Tikriti Presents Paper at Budapest Workshop

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a paper titled “Registering Slavery, Takfīring Enemies, Tasting Death: Şehzade Korkud’s (d. 1513) Contributions to Ottoman Religio-Political Policies.” It was presented at the “(Re)thinking Ottoman Sunnitization, ca. 1450-1700” workshop, held on August 25-26, at Budapest’s Central European University (CEU).  The workshop is part of the OTTOCONFESSION Project, which is supported by a European Research Council (ERC) grant, and jointly administered by both Prof. Derin Terzioğlu of Istanbul’s Boğaziçi Üniversitesi and Prof. Tijana Krystić of CEU.

Prof. Al-Tikriti’s paper summarized the contributions of Korkud to Ottoman religious identity in the early 16th century. This paper should next be turned into a chapter in the workshop proceedings, with an exploration of Korkud’s sources and their intellectual lineages.

Here is a link to the Ottoconfession Project Website.

The project summary: “How and why did the Ottoman Empire evolve from a fourteenth-century polity where “confessional ambiguity” between Sunnism and Shiism prevailed into an Islamic state concerned with defining and enforcing a “Sunni orthodoxy” by the early sixteenth century? How did the Ottoman Sunni notions of “orthodoxy” subsequently evolve during the 17th century? Recent historiography attributes the growing concern with “orthodoxy” in the Ottoman Empire to the rise of the rival Shii Safavid Empire beginning in the first decade of the sixteenth century. However, the OTTOCONFESSION project is based on the premise that the evolution of Ottoman discourse on Sunni orthodoxy can be understood only in a longer perspective that spans the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries and that it was shaped by religio-political dynamics not only among the Ottoman and Safavid Muslims, but also among Christian communities in the Ottoman Empire and in Europe as well. The project sets out to demonstrate that although the polarization between Sunni and Shii Islam on the one hand, and Catholic and Protestant Christianity on the other, resulted from the dynamics specific to the Turco-Iranian world and Europe, respectively, the subsequent processes of confession- (and in some cases state-) building were related and constitute an entangled history of confessionalization that spanned Europe and the Middle East. The project will investigate the evolution of confessional discourses in the Ottoman Empire in both community-specific and entangled, cross-communal perspectives between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries by focusing on a) the agents and strategies; b) textual genres; and c) sites of confessionalization.”

Prior to the workshop Prof. Al-Tikriti rode the rails from Budapest to Bucharest to Sofia before taking a bus to Istanbul and then spending three weeks in rural Turkey preparing for these august proceedings.

Al-Tikriti Joins MSF Association Event in Portland

As part of his duties as vice president of MSF / Doctors Without Borders USA, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti joined an MSF Association open board meeting, hub gathering and Association retreat in Portland, Oregon. The event took place Feb. 3-4 and consisted of two days of reflective sessions on operations, human resources, labor policy, institutional racism and other issues of associative interest.

Al-Tikriti Joins MESA Panel Discussion on Ottoman Seas

On Friday, Nov. 18, Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti served as the discussant for the second of two panels titled “Ottoman Seas,” which took place in Boston at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference. As the panel discussant, Al-Tikriti placed the panel papers within the context of the field, critiqued the papers’ content and structure, and provided additional perspective on the arguments presented. This panel attendance was supported by a CAS Dean’s Office Faculty Supplemental Grant. On the way home from the conference, on Monday, Nov. 21, Al-Tikriti served as a grant reviewer for this year’s Fulbright-IIE research competition, at the Institute for International Education, in New York City.

The MESA conference panel announcement, presented below, can be reached here: https://mesana.org/mymesa/meeting_program_session.php?sid=f90e0e7f8bf5a54af89ee6e278d01a39.

Panel Summary: “Ottoman Seas” is a two-panel session that explores how the Ottomans imagined, constructed, and interacted with maritime space. As with every early modern empire, the limits of Ottoman territories were characterized by a degree of fluidity, more akin to flexible markers (Stuart Elden, The Birth of Territory). Much more so in the case of maritime realms, territorial ownership and control were regularly negotiated and reconstructed. Trying to avoid generalizations and blanket statements about big spatial units such as the Mediterranean, the session shifts attention to the specific components of the Ottoman seas: the Black Sea, the Adriatic, the Marmara Sea, the Aegean archipelago or the North African coast. Bringing together scholars who work on different facets of maritime interactions in these areas, we invite them to consider how maritime spaces were both geographically- as well as ideologically defined Ottoman entities. Participants will explore Ottoman seascapes on the basis of eyewitness accounts, collective experiences of sailors, pirates and statesman, as well as cartographical and architectural evidence. Enquiring into the military, economic and cultural nature of the Ottoman imaginations of the empire’s liquid frontiers, we aim to bring together studies of primary sources, and construct empirical and theoretical arguments building upon and contributing to, existing literature.

Paper Titles:

Panel Participants:

Palmira Brummett, Brown University, Chair.

Christine Isom-Verhaaren, Brigham Young University, Presenter.

Nabil Al-Tikriti, University of Mary Washington, Discussant.

Murat Menguc, Seton Hall University, Organizer; Presenter.
Joshua White, University of Virginia, Presenter.
Sona Tajiryan, University of California at Los Angeles, Presenter.

Fauquier Schools Consider Turkish Language Courses (Fauquier Now.com)

Al-Tikriti Joins Panel Discussion on Migration

In his capacity as Vice President of MSF / Doctors Without Borders USA, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti joined a three-person panel to discuss global migration issues and MSF’s involvement in rescuing refugee populations in Philadelphia on Thursday, Nov. 10. Stephen Figge of MSF USA Communications led the panel discussion, and the other panelist was Mark Leirer, an American nurse who was recently on one of the three MSF rescue ships.  The discussion was preceded by a donor event, and the screening of a documentary film on European migration. The entire event took place at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and was part of the concluding run of MSF USA’s “Forced From Home” Exhibit, which was staged in New York, Queens, Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia between September and November.

Previously, Al-Tikriti took his entire “History of Genocides” Freshman Seminar class to the exhibit when it was staged in Washington. For further information on the exhibit, which next should tour the West Coast in 2017, see: http:\forcedfromhome.com.

Al-Tikriti Monitors Montenegro Parliamentary Elections

On Oct. 11-18, Nabil Al-Tikriti, associate professor of Middle Eastern history, served as an election monitor for the Montenegro parliamentary elections. Joining eight other Americans in the U.S. delegation, Al-Tikriti worked as an OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) STO (Short Term Observer) in several rural villages and a provincial capital in the mountains, Mojkovac. His observation partner was a Russian diplomat based in Slovenia. For more information on these Belarus elections, and OSCE’s support of these elections, please see: http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/montenegro/245866.

In the course of his visit, Al-Tikriti also spent two days at the coastal town of Budva, where the OSCE observers carried out preliminary briefings, and spent a day surveying polling stations (see picture) while exploring several Montenegro churches, cemeteries and national parks.

Prof. Al-Tikriti surveys polling stations in Tara Canyon, Montenegro

Al-Tikriti Participates in Smithsonian Institution CRI Workshop

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti participated in the Integrating Humanitarian Response and Cultural Heritage in Disasters workshop on Oct. 6-7.  Sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution’s Cultural Rescue Initiative (CRI), the workshop was held at the National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C.

On the first day, Al-Tikriti joined 26 other officials and experts in following presentations on cultural heritage protection in conflict and disaster zones, both domestic and international (including two presentations on efforts underway in Syria). On the second day, he provided a 15-minute response to the previous day’s presentations and discussions, before joining the other participants in deliberative breakout sessions.

Invited because of both his prior work on the looting of Iraqi manuscript collections following the 2003 Anglo-American-Australian invasion and his ongoing work with MSF/Doctors Without Borders USA, Al-Tikriti joined officials and representatives from the Smithsonian Institution, State Department, U.S. Institute of Peace, FEMA, American Red Cross, World Bank, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service, National Guard, the Rose Museum at Brandeis University, George Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania to provide a variety of perspectives on potential institutional, legal and communication structures in the field of cultural rescue in the years to come.

Al-Tikriti Serves in Iraq and Ethiopia, Leads International Migration Workshop

During this past summer, Associate Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti carried out several activities while continuing to actively serve as a member of the Board of Directors of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders USA.

Prof. Al-Tikriti stands in front of armored car of President 'Abd al-Karim Qassim (d. 1963)

Prof. Al-Tikriti stands in front of the armored car of President ‘Abd al-Karim Qasim (d. 1963).

For three weeks in May and June, Al-Tikriti assisted MSF’s coordination team in Baghdad, Iraq, during the nearby launching of the Falluja siege and recapture campaign. Before returning to the U.S., he then participated in MSF France’s General Assembly in Paris.

Upon return to the U.S., Al-Tikriti chaired a panel on International Migration which he had earlier assembled and organized for the 2016 MSF USA General Assembly, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Panelists included Apostolos Veizis of MSF Greece, the Istanbul-based immigration rights activist Şenay Özden, MSF USA’s own MaryJo Frawley, and Els Debuf of the International Peace Institute. In the course of this assembly, Al-Tikriti was elected MSF USA’s 2016-2017 Board Vice President by his colleagues on the Board of Directors.

In late June and July, Al-Tikriti conducted an administrative mapping exercise while serving as Country Representative Assistant for a cross-sectional initiative in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During that same period, he met with several colleagues at the University of Addis Ababa’s Department of History.

While completing his MSF reporting in Turkey with his family, Al-Tikriti was interviewed about the post-coup situation in that country by Katrina Dix of The Free Lance-Star, which resulted in the article, “UMW History Professor Caught Up in Turkey Tension,” on July 21, 2016.

Local professor caught up in Turkey tensions (The Free Lance-Star)