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Building Usable Pasts


Organized by the International Solidarity Action Research Network, this event asks three speakers to discuss what solidarity looks like, how it has been, and how it is carried out through the concept of building usable pasts.

Estibalitz Ezkerra Vegas, “The Aesthetics of Solidarity: The Representation of Suffering in and through Guernica”

Estibalitz Ezkerra Vegas is the ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Scholar at Arizona State University. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, an M.A in English from the University of Nevada, Reno, and BAs in Art History and Journalism from the University of the Basque Country. Her research involves interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to the politics of memory and the representation of conflict in cultural production amid globalization, particularly in the Basque and Irish contexts. She is also interested in postcolonial, indigenous, and migration studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript on the representation of complex histories of violence in Basque and Irish literature from the second half of the 20th and 21st centuries. She is also conducting research on a second book project that analyzes the multi-faceted and sometimes contradictory trajectories of Guernica through its multiple remediations.

Tayseer Abu Odeh, “Edward Said’s Solidarity Aesthetics and the Politics of Absence”

Dr Tayseer Abu Odeh is an Associate Professor at the Al-Ahliyya Amman University (AAU). As a Jordanian-Palestinian writer, translator, and scholar of Comparative and Postcolonial Studies, he grapples with the way in which the secular-religious dichotomy is juxtaposed with the various cultural, hermeneutic, and interpretive implications that make up the dynamic categorization of Islam. Building on the interpretive and Quranic method of Fakher al-Din al-Razi and Ibn Sina’a, he attempts to explore the discursive way in which reason can be reconciled with the scriptural within the Islamic medieval canon and the Islamic modern philosophy and theology. He received his PhD from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2017, where he also taught Comparative Literature, and taught at Middlebury Arabic School in California in 2015.

Annette Lienau, “Transitioning to the 21st century beyond Bandung’s Alliance: Literature and Anti-authoritarianism between May 1998 (Indonesia) and the Arab Spring (Egypt)”

Professor Annette Lienau’s core research uses the legacy of the Arabic language as a lens for comparative studies of post-colonial literature, offering an alternative approach to the often binary (colonial/post-colonial) constructions used in more isolated studies of national literatures. Drawing on an extensive background in comparative Arabic, Indonesian, African, and Francophone writing, her research explores cultural and historical dynamics not fully explained by a single colonial legacy. Her work has been generously supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Social Science Research Council. She was previously awarded a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA, and several competitive grants from Yale University. She was the co-recipient of a Mellon Sawyer Seminar Grant with colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

If you would like to attend, please register through Zoom.

At this event

Anna Bernard

Reader in Comparative Literature and English

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