December 14, 2018

Al-Tikriti Speaks at MESA Book Prize Panel

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti spoke about the selection process, and introduced two of the five book award winners for the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Book Prize panel, entitled: Celebrating Scholarship: MESA Book Award Winners Discuss Their Work.”

The book prize committee was chaired by Prof. Heather Sharkey of the University of Pennsylvania, while other committee members included Profs. Laleh Khalili of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Yaseen Noorani of the University of Arizona, and Nancy Stockdale of the University of North Texas. The competition logistics were managed by Sara Palmer of MESA.

For this competition, each committee member received roughly 127 books in April-May of 2018, and took charge of nominating 3-4 texts out of 25 books assigned to them by mid-June. In the second round, all committee members evaluated for final prize consideration the resulting 20 or so texts, by mid-August.

As the MESA website explains further, the following scholars received commendations and/or prizes:

Fatima Mernissi Book Award Winner: Attiya Ahmad, George Washington University: Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait. Duke University Press, 2017

Nikki Keddie Book Award Co-winner, Orit Bashkin, The University of Chicago: Impossible Exodus: Iraqi Jews in Israel. Stanford University Press, 2017

Nikki Keddie Book Award Co-winner, Kevan Harris, University of California, Los Angeles:  A Social Revolution: Politics and the Welfare State in Iran
University of California Press, 2017

Albert Hourani Book Award Winner, Alireza Doostdar, The University of Chicago: The Iranian Metaphysicals: Explorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny, Princeton University Press, 2018.

Albert Hourani Book Award Honorable Mention, J.R. Osborn, Georgetown University: Letters of Light: Arabic Script in Calligraphy, Print, and Digital Design. Harvard University Press, 2017.

 

 

Al-Tikriti Presents Paper, Joins Book Prize Panel at MESA Conference

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a paper entitled “The Imam’s Cut: Ghaza’ Norms in the Ottoman Age of the Caliphate on Sunday, November 18. The presentation took place on a panel titled Ruler of the East and the West: Notions of Universal Rule in Early Modern Ottoman History, 1400-1800” in San Antonio at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference.

The paper abstract was: “At some point between June 1509 and his death in February 1513, the Ottoman royal Şehzade Korkud completed an Arabic legal manual attempting to clarify what he considered doctrinally correct allocation of human and material plunder in a theater of war. Entitled Hall ishkal al-afkar fi hill amwal al-kuffar (A Solution for Intellectual Difficulties Concerning the Proper Disposal of Infidel Properties), the text appears to have had two primary purposes: to rationalize property allocation among victorious participants in the ghaza’ military economy, and to define licit sexual relations with concubines and captives.

Korkud’s text can be read as an attempt to fit an evolving imperial law of war into older shari‘a norms of conquest administration. While the manual’s legal scholarship falls squarely within the Shafi‘i tradition of siyar (campaign rules) literature, at the time it provided a fresh synthesis of older rulings answering to particularly Ottoman concerns.

One of the key claims Korkud made was the decisive role agents of the imam must play in adjudicating, taxing, and allocating both human and material plunder. Ensuring that the imam’s fifth is properly administered, implicitly by Ottoman state officials, provided a religio-political case for imperial control over the ghaza’ economy, as well as over other issues related to the laws of war and taxation. In light of caliphal titulature periodically floated during Bayezid II’s reign, Hall ishkal al-afkar predicated itself on Ottoman justifications for universal rule as the caliphal authority.

Demonstrating the continuing relevance of such siyar campaign literature, in 2013 a small Istanbul press, ISAR, published a scholarly introduction, full Turkish translation, and complete facsimile of Hall ishkal al-afkar. With this paper, I shall attempt to situate this text within its broader Ottoman and Islamic context, as well as suggest possible connections between this text and recent allegations of regulated sexual slavery by Da‘sh in Iraq and Syria.”

The panel summary was as follows: “It is commonly assumed that Ottoman sultans did not deploy the title ‘caliph’ with any efficacy or intent until the reign of Abdülhamid II (d. 1918), whose interest in the title was diplomatically motivated. Recent studies have demonstrated, however, that there is a much longer and richer history to the notion of caliphate, in its mystical-theological sense, as part and parcel of Ottoman political thought.

This panel aims to investigate early modern Ottoman notions of caliphate as an expression of Ottoman political ambition for universal rule. Caliphate, or the notion of divinely ordained rule, was employed by Ottoman authors to argue universal supremacy synchronically and diachronically.

Synchronically, the notion of universal caliphate served to claim superiority over contemporary polities. Diachronically, the same concept was employed to compare the Ottomans with preceding Islamic dynasties, intimating both enduring permanence and culmination.

The panel engages with Ottoman political writing on the concept of divinely ordained universal rule in two key ways. First, we aim to show that the Ottoman dynasty grappled with the notion of caliphate from early on. From bolstering claims to superiority over their archenemies, the Safavids, to regulating the realm of law and legitimacy, the title ‘caliph’ had a lot to offer to the Ottoman authorities in the early modern period. Second, and more significantly, we locate an intellectual territory beyond the administrative-pragmatic uses of the title ‘caliph’. Ottoman discussions of caliphate comprised sophisticated discussions about the nature of divine authority and its relation to sacral authority framed in rich mystical, philosophical, and ethical traditions. This panel aims to acknowledge the historical dynamism of the Ottoman notions of caliphate, while showing that questions of caliphate and of divine legitimation were never the realm of the political center exclusively. They were simultaneously the realm of the mystic, the theologian, and the ‘ulama.”

Panel Participants’ List:

Middle East Report Published Al-Tikriti Article on Battle of Mosul

On June 18, 2018, the Middle East Report (MER) published an article Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti submitted, entitled “Civilians in Mosul’s Battle of Annihilation.” This article was partially informed by Prof. Al-Tikriti’s service as MSF / Doctors Without Borders USA Vice-President in 2016-17, when he attended presentations on violence and participants’ conduct during the 2016-2017 Battle of Mosul.

Article Abstract: “Understanding the course of events and identifying the participants in the battle of Mosul is a difficult task. What is certain is that all parties neglected the fate of civilians and were unable to provide proper emergency medical relief. An examination of the battle is crucial to understanding the evolution of international humanitarian law in conflict zones. ”

MER Issue #286 Article Link: https://www.merip.org/mer/mer286/civilians-mosuls-battle-annihilation.

Publication Date: June 2018
Citation: Al-Tikriti, Nabil. “Civilians in Mosul’s Battle of Annihilation.” Middle East Report (MERIP) 286 (2018): 28-30

For the full article, see: https://www.academia.edu/37114216/Civilians_in_Mosuls_Battle_of_Annihilation.

Middle East Report Publishes Al-Tikriti Interview on EU Migration Policy

On June 18, 2018, the Middle East Report (MER) published an interview Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti completed with MSF / Doctors Without Borders colleague Aurélie Ponthieu on European Union migration policy. This interview was informed by Prof. Al-Tikriti’s May 2015 service with MSF colleagues on the Bourbon Argos, who rescued over 1,000 individuals from Mediterranean waters.

Interview Abstract: “European policies on refugees and asylum seekers are increasingly restrictive. Borders are effectively being pushed off-shore, extending the problems of border management as far south as possible. Aurélie Ponthieu explains the effects of these measures, including crowded refugee centers on the Italian and Greek borders, deplorable conditions in Libyan detention centers and fewer rescues at sea. Ponthieu, the Coordinator of the Forced Migration Team in the analysis department of Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Belgium, was interviewed by Nabil Al-Tikriti.”

MER Issue #286 Link: https://www.merip.org/mer/mer286.

Nabil Al-Tikriti Lectures at Virginia Tech – SPIA

On 19 April, Associate Professor of History Nabil Al-Tikriti spoke at Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), in Alexandria, VA.  The topic presented was the global humanitarian system and its impact in the Middle East and other zones of crisis.  Attendees included both Virginia Tech SPIA graduate students and undergraduate students associated with both Prof. Ariel Ahram‘s class on Global Security (GIA 5514), and the Washington Semester program.

Prof. Al-Tikriti has worked since 1988 in field development and humanitarian relief programs for Africare, Plan International, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) / Doctors Without Borders in over a dozen countries in Africa and the Middle East. He also served on the MSF / Doctors Without Borders USA Board of Directors in 2011-17, and as Vice President in 2016-17.

Al-Tikriti Joins Middle East Studies Book Prize Committee

On Feb. 19, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti agreed to join the 2018 Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Book Prize Committee. For this service, the five committee members must review a total of approximately 125 books for three prizes:

The Albert Hourani Book Award was established in 1991 to recognize outstanding publishing in Middle East studies. The award was named for Albert Hourani to recognize his long and distinguished career as teacher and mentor. The winning book recognizes the very best in Middle East studies scholarship.

The Nikki Keddie Book Award was established in 2017 to recognize an outstanding contribution on religion, revolution, and history/society. The annual award was named for Nikki Keddie to recognize her long and distinguished career as a scholar and teacher.

The Fatima Mernissi Book Award was established in 2017 to recognize an outstanding contribution to studies of gender, sexuality, and women’s lived experience. The annual award was named for Fatima Mernissi to recognize her long and distinguished career as a scholar and as a public intellectual.

Book submissions are due April 1, and the committee will be continuing reviews throughout the summer months.  The remaining members of the 2018 MESA Book Committee include: Professor Heather Sharkey (Chair, University of Pennsylvania), Professor Laleh Khalili (School of African and Oriental Studies), Professor Yaseen Norani (University of Arizona), and Professor Nayareh Tohidi (California State University, Northridge). MESA’s Sara L. Palmer will serve as the Book Awards Coordinator.

For more information about the MESA Book Prize contests, see: http://mesana.org/awards/book-awards.html.

Al-Tikriti Joins Fulbright Liaison Scholar Workshop

On 16 February, Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti attended a Fulbright Scholar Liaison (FSL) workshop at the Institute for International Education (IIE) in Washington, DC. In the course of this workshop, IIE informed and prompted guest FSL attendees from throughout the nation on various Fulbright programs, and related initiatives to internationalize campuses.

Issues addressed in the course of this workshop included the following, which might be of interest to the UMW community:

  • Fulbright Scholar Program for eligible faculty members
  • Fulbright Scholar in Residence (SiR) Program
  • International Education Administrator (IEA) Seminars
  • Fulbright U.S. Student Program
  • Fulbright Specialist Program
  • Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF) speakers list
  • Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) possibilities for guest lecturers
  • Institutional membership in IIE
  • Individual membership in the Fulbright Association
  • Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program
  • Pre-Departure Orientations on applicant campuses
  • Placing foreign graduate students at U.S. TESL programs

The primary Powerpoint presentation made at the workshop can be accessed here: https://www.cies.org/document/power-point-fulbright-scholar-program-workshop

If colleagues would like to hear more about this workshop, or explore certain potential initiatives further, please do not hesitate to contact Professor Al-Tikriti.

Al-Tikriti speaks at UC San Diego and Soka University

On Dec. 1, Prof. Nabil Al-Tikriti of the Department of History and American Students spoke to students at the University of California-San Diego about his experiences as a relief worker, the ideals of medical humanitarianism, and the challenges faced by medical NGOs. The next day, Al-Tikriti spoke to students and faculty about the same topics at Soka University in Los Angeles. Speaking in his own capacity, Al-Tikriti’s talks were informed by his experiences over the past 27 years working in field operations with Catholic Relief Services and MSF/Doctors Without Borders, which he additionally served as an MSF USA board member from 2011 to 2017, and as vice president in 2016-17. This board and officer service ended this past July.

Al-Tikriti speaks on Panels at Capitol Hill, Smithsonian and MESA Conference

On November 16, Middle East History Associate Professor Dr. Nabil Al-Tikriti spoke on a panel sponsored by the Council for American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). Entitled “The Situation in Mosul,” the panel took place at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.  Introduced by CAORC Executive Director Rick Spees, Prof. Al-Tikriti joined Drs. Alda Benjamin, Eric Davis, and Katharyn Hanson to discuss recent developments in Northern Iraq. For his part, Al-Tikriti spoke to perceptions of a tripartite Iraq in U.S. foreign policy circles, how that perception has come to color reality on the ground, and current humanitarian realities in and around Mosul.

On November 17, following a brief and informal discussion with certain CAORC colleagues on the same topic at the State Department, Prof. Al-Tikriti  joined another panel to speak on Northern Iraq at the Ripley Auditorium of the Smithsonian Institution. Sponsored by The Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TARII), and devoted to the memory of Prof. Peter Sluglett (d. 2017), this panel was entitled Narratives of Co-Existence and Pluralism in Northern Iraq.” In the course of this event, Dr. Katharyn Hanson of TARII provided opening remarks, Dr. Peter Wien of UMD / TARII provided speaker introductions, and both Profs. Dina Khouri (GWU) and Nelida Fuccaro (NYU Abu Dhabi) offered special remarks in honor of Peter Sluglett. During the panel, Prof. Al-Tikriti was joined by Drs. Orit Bashkin (Chicago), Alda Benjamin (U. Pennsylvania), Arbella Bet-Shimon (U. Washington), and Michael Sims (U. Washington, ABD). Topics covered during this panel included Da’esh, Yazidis, Iraqi Christians, Iraqi Jewry, and regional policy realities.

Finally, on November 18, Prof. Al-Tikriti joined a roundtable at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference in Washington, DC, entitled “Usurpation: The Untold Stories of the Iraq War, 2003 to the Present.” Organized by Dr. Afaf Nash (USC), here Prof. Al-Tikriti joined Drs. Nash, Nadje al-Ali (SOAS), Nada Shabout (U. of North Texas), Jeffrey Spurr (Independent Scholar), and Saleem al-Bahloly (Johns Hopkins) to discuss the longer term legacies of the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.

Prof. Al-Tikriti’s contribution to the roundtable was entitled “Familial and Personal Journeys With US Foreign Policy on Iraq.” In this discussion, he discussed the impact of recent developments in Iraqi history on his extended family in Mosul, Tikrit, and Baghdad. He then discussed his interactions with U.S. foreign policy in Iraq since 1990, and how such interactions affected his career and politics. He closed by discussing his prior research on the effects of the 2003 invasion of Iraq on state institutions, cultural patronage, and education.

For full roundtable presentation abstracts, see: https://mesana.org/mymesa/meeting_program_session.php?sid=3dc087f387ac8cc9778d8db808166ad3.

Nabil Al-Tikriti Serves as MSF Home Exhibit Guide in Portland

On 13-23 October, Prof. Nabil Al-Tikriti served as a volunteer guide with the MSF/Doctors Without Borders USA Forced From Home exhibit in Portland, OR. This interactive exhibit is traveling to six Western cities this fall: Boulder, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, Oakland, Santa Monica (Nov. 10-21), and traveled to six Eastern cities last fall: New York, Queens, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, and Pittsburgh.

MSF USA Forced From Home ExhibitIn this exhibit, participants engage with the issue of the 65 million displaced persons worldwide, including 40 million refugees. Complete with a 360 degree video dome and six information stations, participants decide which items they might bring with them should they be displaced from their homes.

In the course of this exhibit, Prof. Al-Tikriti spoke briefly on the KATU News at Four show (at 2:25 here): https://cision.criticalmention.com/bits/wordplay/#/uuid=13dc5a25-c1a9-4047-8972-40142b333db0&channelId=8149&minTime=20171018230000&maxTime=20171019000000&token=7e34ac0d-c71f-4799-97e9-475cb307f8aa&keyword=&slim=1

For more information on the exhibit as it travels around the country, see: http://www.forcedfromhome.com/.