Center for Contemporary Arab Studies - Center for Contemporary Arab Studies | Georgetown University

Center for Contemporary Arab Studies

The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University directs the nation’s only Master of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS) program. Our rigorous Arabic language training and multidisciplinary approach draw on the expertise of an academically diverse faculty. CCAS also hosts a rich calendar of public events, a Department of Education Title VI-supported outreach program for K-14 educators, and a growing multimedia and publications program.

CCAS News:

Inaugural Year of Interfaith Arts Festival

Inaugural Year of Interfaith Arts Festival

April 17-21, 2007 the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies joined other campus groups to launch the inaugural year of the Children of Abraham Interfaith Arts Festival. Co-sponsors included the Program in Performing Arts, Program for Jewish Civilization, Berkely Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, Campus Ministry, Center for Meditation & Inter-Religious Dialogue, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and Lauinger Library. The week-long series of events was made possible by a generous donation from the Ammerman family in honor of Father Royden B. Davis, S.J. and his pursuit of a more peaceful world through the arts. Each annual celebration aims to bring together performances and artists whose work manifests the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities to create an environment of understanding and peace. This year’s performances included a wide range of traditional and contemporary theater, music, community art and dance. The inaugural celebration boasted a group of prominent artists from a diverse range of cultural traditions. Acclaimed Arab performers included Simon Shaheen and his band Qantara and Palestinian poet Naomi Shihab Nye. As a prelude to his performance, Simon Shaheen led an interactive question and answer session demonstrating the intricacies of the ‘oud, and the way in which he manipulates its sound to fuse them with other musical styles he incorporates into his compositions. Award-winning poet and children’s author Naomi ...
Islamist Politics: Contemporary Trajectories in the Arab World

Islamist Politics: Contemporary Trajectories in the Arab World

This year's annual symposium brings together a group of distinguished scholars and specialists from the Middle East, Europe and the United States to explore different dimensions of Islamist politics. Islamist parties and groups have become the most popular political and social movements in the Arab World. But despite the media attention and policy focus on radical and violent groups, the most popular and influential Islamist movements in the region have received relatively less attention. From Morocco to Iraq and beyond, these groups have had the greatest impact on the region‰Ûªs politics and are likely to have the greatest influence on its future. This two day symposium will explore different dimensions of Islamist politics in the Arab world and the wider Middle East. Panels will explore subjects such as the development of Islamist political thought; social welfare provision, social networks and Islamist politics; Islamist groups as political opposition; Islamist participation in elections and parliaments; the convergence of national liberation and Islamist movements; Islamists in power and the West‰Ûªs historical and contemporary relationship with Islamist groups. Please join the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University for what promises to be a fascinating two-day symposium on a timely and important subject. RSVP for Day 1 and/or Day 2. Links to audio transcripts of the symposium can be found at the bottom of this page. March 22, ...
Iraq Remembrance Week

Iraq Remembrance Week

On the morning of March 19, 2007, Red Square was covered with chalk tracings of more than fifty human bodies and large block letters spelling out "Iraq Remembrance 2007," while the names of lost Iraqi civilians and US troops were posted on the walls on large red posters. Iraq Remembrance Week had officially started. In October 2006, Marwa Alkhairo, a first year Arab Studies' student, mobilized a group of her classmates to organize an Iraq Remembrance Week in time for the fourth anniversary of the 2003 Iraq War. The main goal of the Iraq Remembrance initiative was to remember the lives of all those who have been killed as a result of the 2003 Iraq War and current occupation--including Iraqi civilians, US troops, and all other victims of US policy in Iraq. The heart of the effort was to bring awareness to the tragedy that has befallen Iraq and to encourage people in the Georgetown University and larger Washington, DC communities to press the American government for real policy changes in Iraq. Accordingly, the Iraq Remembrance Week Committee's motto came to be "Remembrance-Awareness-Action-Change," implying a cause and effect relationship. The objectives of the remembrance were five-fold: 1) to remember the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War and the continuing human tragedy caused by the US war and occupation; 2) to mourn the ...
Arabic Flashcards

Arabic Flashcards

One of my classmates here in Qatar often asks me, “Why do you know such random words?” She can’t understand how I came to know the Arabic word for “rowing.” It’s true, I never thought to ask Professor Baccouche, before I graduated in 2006, what the word for rowing was in Arabic. While sitting around the CCAS lounge with my classmates, playing our favorite game of “Who can find the most random word in Hans Wehr’s Arabic-English Dictionary?,” that one somehow never came up. I didn’t anticipate that I would spend the summer of 2006 teaching Arabic at the brand new Al-WaHa Concordia Language Village, nor did I anticipate spending the following year studying Arabic at Qatar University. Nor did I anticipate learning the word “tajdiif,” as I tried to teach canoeing in Arabic to American students on a lake in northern Minnesota. (Incidentally, I also learned the words for troublemaker and fingernail polish.) Being the first year of the Al-WaHa Concordia Language Village, our mix of native and non-native-speaking staff had to create everything from scratch. The songs we sang, ranging from those of Fayruz and Amr Diab to self-composed fusHa tunes, was quite amusing. We agreed to teach fusHa (Modern Standard Arabic) and to expose the students to the differences between fusHa and ‘aammiyya (colloquial Arabic) through songs, skits, etc. Staff and native ...
Abu-Lughod counters stereotypes of Arab women

Abu-Lughod counters stereotypes of Arab women

With wire-framed glasses atop her nose, a halo of brown curls framing her face, and her right arm in a sling, Columbia Professor Lila Abu-Lughod captivated a crowd of almost 200 who had ventured out into sub-freezing temperatures on February 15th to hear the noted anthropologist discuss the topic of "Do Muslim Women Have Rights?" as this year's speaker at the Kareema Al-Khoury Annual Distinguished Lecture Series in Arab Studies. The annual lecture is given in honor of Kareema Al-Khoury whose family established the event in 1976 to bring eminent scholars of the Arab world to Georgetown for a public lecture. CCAS Assistant Professor Rochelle Davis gave praise to the Al-Khoury family for allowing the Center to bring forward past speakers at the event, including the likes of Edward Said, Albert Hourani, and Janet Abu-Lughod. Lila Abu-Lughod, a noted Columbia University anthropologist best known for her work in gender studies in the Arab world, framed the evening's discussion through an examination of anthropological approaches and the phenomenon of dictating language through other forms of media and scholarship. She expressed particular interest and concern over the ethical and political dilemmas posed by the construction and the international circulation of what she called "discourses on women's rights." In the discourse present in human rights today, she asked, "what assumptions about the role of secularism and Islam lie ...