Department News and Events

Arab Women’s Movements: A Century of Transformations from Within

Edited by: Pernille Arenfeldt, Nawar Al-Hassan Golley

Published by the American University Cairo Press in 2012

Ibtesams book

The Sociology and Anthropology department is pleased to announce that Prof. Ibtesam Al Atiyat has a chapter published in the above new book. The chapter is entlitled: Harvests of the Golden Decades: Contemporary Women’s Activism in Jordan.

The book is a collection of analyses focusing on the ideologies and activities of formal women’s organizations and informal women’s groups across a range of Arab countries. With contributions on Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and the Arab diaspora in the United States. Mapping Arab Women’s Movements contributes to delineating similarities and differences between historical and contemporary efforts toward greater gender justice. Prof. Al Atiyat’s chapter explore the origins of women’s movement in Jordan, traces their development during the past century, and addresses the impact of counter-movements, alliances, and international collaborations within the region and beyond.

$5000 Kettering Foundation for Deliberative Democracy Grant

Prof. Al Atiyat has been awarded $5000 grant to engage deliberative learning teaching techniques in my Women’s and Gender Studies and Arab World Classes. The grant was awarded by the Kettering Foundation for Deliberative Democracy in Dayton Ohio. This project tests the hypothesis that teaching deliberation in the classroom improves student civic engagement, individual leadership skills, academic proficiency, and group decision-making, and helps students become better citizens who make decisions that value the collective good of society.

In classes students will be expected to conduct deliberative issue forums on: Same Sex Marriages and the Role of the US Supporting Democratic Transitions in the Arab World. Students will lead the deliberative forums and draft booklets that can be used for future deliberations on and outside campus. This is however an ambitious pilot testing of the method. Future development of the project will involve taking the student outside campus to local communities and have them experience grass-root democratic practices first hand.

Upcoming Events

None at present.

Archived Events

Human Exceptionalism

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 3:30 – 4:45 p.m., Tomson Hall 280

by Prof. Jonathan Marks

Jonathan Marks is Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he has taught since the beginning of the present millennium, after brief stretches at Yale and Berkeley.His primary training is in biological anthropology and genetics, but his interests are broad.  He received the 1999 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the American Anthropological Association, and served as President of the General Anthropology Division from 2000-2002.  In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  In the last few years he has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Genomics Center in Edinburgh and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.  His most recent book is The Alternative Introduction to Biological Anthropology, from Oxford University Press.  He is also the
author of What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee  and Why I Am Not a Scientist, both published by the University of California Press. Paradoxically, however, he is about 98% scientist, and not a chimpanzee.

Prof Marks is going to defend the position that humans are different from other kinds of species, and thus cannot readily be understood as if they were not different.  Today that is a surprisingly unpopular position to adopt, for it gets you quickly labeled as blinded by either religion or aesthetic chauvinism.  Nevertheless, because human evolution is biocultural, not biological, its processes are fundamentally dissimilar from the processes that have produced other primate species.   Without confronting the cultural aspects of human evolution, one cannot approximate the reality of human origins or human nature.

Sponsered by the Science Conversation program.

Lecture: Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City

Monday, November 12, 2012 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Regents Hall 310

by Dr Mary Patillo

Mary Pattillo is the Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University. Her areas of interest include race and ethnicity, urban sociology, and qualitative methods. She is the author of two award-winning books, Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class, and Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. She co-edited Imprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration, and has published numerous journal articles. Current research projects focus on housing and school choice policies. She is a founding board member of Urban Prep Charter Academies, Inc., a network of all-boys public high schools in Chicago.

Hosted by Multicutural Affairs.

Conversation topic:  Multiracial/Multiethnic Identity

Wednesday, October 31, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Tomson Hall 308

by Professor Maria Kelly

Part of the series of “Cultural Conversations” for students.

On October 30, 1997, the Federal Office of Management and Budget officially posted the revisions to OMB Directive 15 finally granting U.S. citizens the option to indicate more than one race/ethnicity in the approaching 2000 Census.

What did it mean for the many individuals who were finally able to acknowledge their multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural heritage? Sometimes this consideration is a lot more complicated than simply checking boxes on a census form. Family and even peer groups can place cultural expectations on us as we try and navigate our identity. This conversation will invite considerations of what it means to come from multiple backgrounds.

Hosted by Multicutural Affairs.

Lecture: Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians, But Were Afraid to Ask

Friday, October 26, 2012, 5:00 p.m., Black Ballroom, Buntrock Commons

by Doctor Anton Treuer

Part of the Native American Weeks series of events.

Dr. Anton Treuer (pronounced troy-er) is Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University. He has a B.A. from Princeton University, M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is Editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language and author of 9 books: Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, Ojibwe in Minnesota (“Minnesota’s Best Read for 2010” by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress), The Assassination of Hole in the Day, Ezhichigeyang: Ojibwe Word List, Indian Nations of North America, Awesiinyensag: Dibaajimowinan Ji-gikinoo’amaageng (“Minnesota’s Best Read for 2011” by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress), Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales & Oral Histories, Aaniin Ekidong: Ojibwe Vocabulary Project, and Omaa Akiing. Dr. Treuer has sat on many organizational boards, including the White Earth Land Recovery Project, Sanford/MeritCare Health System, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Dr. Treuer has received more than 40 prestigious awards and fellowships from many organizations, including the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Co-sponsored by Sociology/Anthropology Department, Education Department, History Department, Leraas Fund, Associate Dean Social Science Fund, Kloeck-Jenson Fund, ARMS Department, Multicultural Affairs, Social Work Department, and Bruce King.

Lecture: From Dr. King to President Obama: Racial Vision, Racial Blindness, and Racial Politics in Obamerica

Thursday, October 25, 2012, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Tomson Hall 280

by Professor Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

Please also join us on October 25 at 4 p.m. in Tomson 280 for Professor Bonilla-Silva’s keynote lecture, “From Dr. King to President Obama: Racial Vision, Racial Blindness, and Racial Politics in Obamerica.” A Q&A and book signing will follow. This event is free and open to the public.

And if you can’t make either event but want to join the conversation, then no sweat! We’re recording Professor Bonilla-Silva’s faculty colloquium talk and keynote lecture and will send out more information about how you can listen in. (You can also sign up to join a November pedagogy workshop, co-sponsored by CILA and Mapping Ethnic Studies, as a follow up to Professor Bonilla-Silva’s visit. Details forthcoming.)

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva is Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at Duke University. His research has appeared in journals such as Racial and Ethnic StudiesAmerican Sociological Review, and The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science among others. To date he has published five books, including White Supremacy and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era (co-winner of the 2002 Oliver Cox Award given by the American Sociological Association), Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States(2004 Choice Award) (This book appeared in 2006 in second expanded and revised edition and, again, in 2009 with a long chapter examining the Obama phenomenon), and in 2011 State of White Supremacy: Racism, Governance, and the United States (with Moon Kie Jung and João H. Costa Vargas). Professor Bonilla-Silva has received many awards, most notably, the 2007 Lewis Coser Award given by the Theory Section of the American Sociological Association for Theoretical-Agenda Setting and in 2011, the Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award given by the American Sociological Association “to an individual or individuals for their work in the intellectual traditions of the work of these three African American scholars.”

For more information about Professor Bonilla-Silva, please contact Ted Thornhill, assistant professor of Sociology/Anthropology and ARMS, at

Co-Hosted by: American Racial and Multicultural Studies & Sociology/Anthropology
Co-Sponsored by: Mapping Ethnic Studies (An Academic Innovation Grant, Peace Studies, Office of Institutional Diversity, Multicultural Affairs, Africa and the Americas !Hispanic Studies, Political Science, Presente, Romance Languages

Visit by Ester Alvarenga

Monday, October 1, 2012, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Regents Hall 150

Ester Alvarenga is a representative from the Pro-Search organization Asociacion Pro-Busqueda. She experienced the sequel of the Civil War in El Salvador. During this war many children were kidnapped by the Salvadorian army and are still missing. They have been able to reunite some of these children with their original families.  However, the search continues.

Ester will first show a documentary, followed by a brief talk and a Q & A session.

A FaceBook page has been created for Ester’s visit. Please feel free to visit the page at:

Sponsored by: Department of Romance Languages, Hispanic Studies, Department of Sociology and Anthropology,
Department of Social Work and Family Studies, Office for Institutional Diversity, Presente, Student Organization, Department of Political Science

Conversation Topic: Race in Contemporary America: Myths and Realities

Wednesday, September 26, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Tomson Hall 308

by Professor Ted Thornhill

Part of the series of “Cultural Conversations” for students.

A majority of Americans, and most white Americans, believe that the U.S. is a post-racial or color blind society where everyone has the same opportunities to get ahead. Though the evidence in support of this notion is extremely weak, it remains the dominant racial narrative in the U.S. I will begin our conversation by providing some context about the racial status quo in the U.S. I will then facilitate an extended discussion about how and why race still matters. It is my hope that students interested in, confused about, and/or frustrated with matters of race will attend the event, listen to the different voices, learn about themselves and our society, and actively participate in the extended conversation.

Hosted by Multicutural Affairs.


Pictures from the Sociology/Anthropology Department Annual Pizza Party!

Monday, September 24th, 5:00p.m., Holland Hall 307

A perfect opportunity to get to know other Sociology/Anthropology majors, and to chat with the department professors.