Dance Performance & Great Conversations: Banafsheh Sayyad with Poet Andrew Harvey

Banafsheh Sayyad has blazed a unique trail in contemporary dance. Born in Iran, and based in California, her original dance style draws on flamenco, tai chi, and Gurdjieff Movements, and blends Persian dance’s sensuality with the rigor of Dervish whirling. In her new work, In Love Comes With a Knife, Banafsheh interprets five stages of the soul’s journey to its union with the Beloved. Her movement marries serenity and passion, as does Jallalidin Rumi’s vision; and is accompanied by recitation of Rumi by mystic scholar and Rumi translator, Andrew Harvey. Discussion on the relationship between dance/movement and poetry to mystic tradition, and collaboration between dancer and poet to follow the performance. This evening celebrates the highly anticipated release of Banafsheh’s DVD, In the Fire of Grace, with Andrew Harvey which will be available for purchase.

“Part whirling dervish, part flamenco femme fatale, sensuous and audacious, Banafsheh’s dance is a mesmerizing foray into the body as trance mechanism; a DNA strand, supple, fluid and noble, come to life.” Los Angeles Times

View an excerpt of Banafsheh in performance of Mud & Glory.

This evening celebrates the highly anticipated release of Banafsheh’s DVD, In the Fire of Grace, with Andrew Harvey which will be available for purchase.

The award-winning work of Iranian-born dancer and choreographer Banafsheh Sayyad communicates the universal message of Mysticism through an interplay between trance and directed movement. Banafsheh draws from her extensive background inPersian danceand Sufi ritual, Tai Chi and Flamenco to present a new form that is rooted in tradition, “fusing ancient forms with a postmodern punch” (Los Angeles Times). She holds an MFA in Dance from UCLA where she taught Persian dance and is a recipient of the prestigious James Irvine Foundation grant in Dance.Her work has been presented in North America, Europe and Australia where she has gained tremendous audience and critical acclaim. Banafsheh also teaches workshops internationally. www.namah.net

Andrew Harvey is an internationally acclaimed poet, novelist, translator, mystical scholar, and spiritual teacher. Harvey has published over 30 books including Hope, Son of Man (Tarcher/ Putnam) and The Return of the Mother (North Atlantic Books). Harvey is a Fellow of All Souls College Oxford from (1972-1986) and has taught at Oxford University, Cornell University, The California Institute of Integral Studies, and the University of Creation Spirituality, as well as, various spiritual centers throughout the United States. He was the subject of the 1993 BBC film documentary, The Making of a Modern Mystic. He is founder of the Institute for Sacred Activism in Oak Park, Illinois, where he lives. www.andrewharvey.net

Great Conversations Series

The Great Conversations series invites thinkers to choose people from other disciplines who are of intellectual and inspirational interest to them in an attempt to enlarge the scope of our understanding of the production of knowledge. The series is meant to offer a paradigm of comparative experiences, where other forms of knowledge can better enrich consciousness of the self.

Great Conversations is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

About 3rd i NY

3rd I New York’s monthly film/video/media/conversation salon is designed by local filmmakers and cultural producers to showcase the works of independent media makers and intellectuals of South Asian, Central Asian, and Arab descent. Providing alternative forums for these voices, who often have few venues to showcase their work and whose cultures and histories are often demonized or misrepresented in mainstream media, not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing discussion. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor.

Great Conversations: Tahrir – An Epicenter of the Arab Consciousness with Actor Khaled Abol Naga and Professor Joseph Massad

Screening of Footage to be followed by a Discussion

Egyptian actor and film maker Khaled Abol Naga was one of the millions who gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the January 25th revolution. In this public presentation, Khaled Abol Naga will share his experiences of those momentous days, where he filmed rare, unreleased footage for his upcoming documentary TAHRIR el TAHRIR, as well as his reflections on the transformations currently unfolding in the Arab world and beyond.

Khaled Abol Naga is one of the leading actors in Egypt and the Arab world. Among his critically acclaimed films are Mowaten we Mokhber we Haramy (Citizen, Detective and Thief) 2001, Sahar El Layali (Sleepless Nights) 2003, for which he was awarded Best Actor at the Damascus International Film Festival and in Paris from the Institute du Monde Arabe film festival. He also won the Egyptian Oscar in 2004. His films Yom El Karama (Dignity Day), Hob El Banat (Girl’s Love), Harb Italia (Italian War), Malek wa Ketaba (Heads and Tails), and Banat West El Balad (Downtown Girls) were released in 2005. In 2006, he starred in The Game of Love and Civic Duty. In 2007 and 2008, his work in Kashf Hesab gained much critical attention. He also acted in an action thriller drama for the first time in Agamista, and in the comedy Habibi Naeman (Sleepy Lover). In 2009, he appeared in Wahd Safer (One-Zero), Heliopolis, and in Microphone in 2010.

Abol Naga is a juror in many international film festivals and in addition to his work for stage and film, he is an activist for children’s and human rights, and has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2007. He has also hosted local and pan-Arab television and radio talk shows since 1999.

Joseph A. Massad is associate professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University. He is the author of Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan; The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians and Desiring Arabs.

Great Conversations Series

The Great Conversations series invites thinkers to choose people from other disciplines who are of intellectual and inspirational interest to them in an attempt to enlarge the scope of our understanding of the production of knowledge. The series is meant to offer a paradigm of comparative experiences, where other forms of knowledge can better enrich consciousness of the self.

Great Conversations is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

About 3rd i NY

3rd I New York’s monthly film/video/media/conversation salon is designed by local filmmakers and cultural producers to showcase the works of independent media makers and intellectuals of South Asian, Central Asian, and Arab descent. Providing alternative forums for these voices, who often have few venues to showcase their work and whose cultures and histories are often demonized or misrepresented in mainstream media, not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing discussion. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor.

Great Conversations — Revolution: Telling the Tale, Ahdaf Soueif and Omar Robert Hamilton

Revolutions of the people or mass upheavals are almost impossible to categorize. They capture a collective sentiment, or a large structure of feelings and attitudes that are more than just an event in the making, for it embodies an inventory of historical and civilizational traces that make such a turning point, an epistemic break, possible. It cannot be pigeon-holed, and one can speak about it only in metaphors-and metaphor is the kind of thing that is never itself.

Revolutions are youthful and are about large questions of human dignity, shared romanticism, questions that one cannot imagine tired scholarship and localized expertise of social science and area studies are capable of entirely addressing. It is the work of fiction that is best related by a raconteuse such as Ahdaf Soueif. More than that, revolutions are also a family affair with all its perceptible care and tenderness, secrets, triangulation and tensions-if anything that one can venture as revolution’s ubiquitous characteristic it is the reckoning with an ancien regime. In homage to this narrative, Alwan will host a conversation moderated by Amy Goodman between Ahdaf Soueif and her son Omar Robert Hamilton, both of whom were in Tahrir Square, Cairo, participating throughout, filming and disseminating information, and have since been writing about it all, but have never had the opportunity between themselves for a reflective encounter.

Ahdaf Soueif is known for the bestselling novel, The Map of Love, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1999 and subsequently translated into more than 20 languages. She is also the author of the massive In the Eye of the Sun and the short story collections Aisha and Sandpiper – later amalgamated into I Think of You. A political and cultural commentator with a special interest in Palestine, she writes for various newspapers in the West and the Arab world. Her seminal article, “Under the Gun: A Palestinian Journey,” was originally published in The Guardian and then printed in Soueif’s 2004 collection of essays, Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground. Soueif has also translated Mourid Barghouti’s I Saw Ramallah from Arabic into English. Born in Egypt, Soueif hás a PhD in Linguistics from the U.K. and is the recipient of three honorary DLitts from British universities. In 2008 she founded the U.K. charity, Engaged Events, which initiated the annual Palestine International Festival of Literature (PalFest). PalFest 08, 09 and 10 took place in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, al-Khalil, Nablus and Jerusalem. Ms Soueif lives in Cairo and London. Her website is www.ahdafsoueif.com

Omar Robert Hamilton is a film-maker and the producer of the Palestine Festival of Literature. He is currently in pre-production on his third short, Though I Know the River is Dry, a crowd-sourced fiction film that will shoot in Palestine this May. His first, When I Stretch Forth Mine Hand, an experimental film made in collaboration with Suheir Hammad’s poetry screened at fifteen international festivals. His second, Maydoum, recently premiered in competition at the 2010 Dubai International Film Festival, and stars Khalid Abdalla (United 93, the Kite Runner). He flew to Cairo to take part in, and document, the Revolution and is now in America for a month working with the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.

Amy Goodman, Host of Democracy Now!

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 900 television and radio stations in North America. Goodman is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award. Her latest book, Breaking the Sound Barrier, proves the power of independent journalism in the struggle for a better world. She co-authored the first three bestsellers with her brother, journalist David Goodman: Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times (2008), Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People Who Fight Back (2006) and The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them (2004). Goodman has received the American Women in Radio and Television Gracie Award; the Paley Center for Media’s She’s Made It Award; and the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship. Her reporting on East Timor and Nigeria has won numerous awards, including the George Polk Award, Robert F. Kennedy Prize for International Reporting, and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award.

Sharif Abdel Kouddous is Senior Producer and correspondent for Democracy Now! He spent three weeks covering the Egyptian revolution on the ground in Cairo. Sharif has reported from Baghdad during the Iraq war, New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Haiti in the days after the January 2010 earthquake.

Great Conversations Series

The Great Conversations series invites thinkers to choose people from other disciplines who are of intellectual and inspirational interest to them in an attempt to enlarge the scope of our understanding of the production of knowledge. The series is meant to offer a paradigm of comparative experiences, where other forms of knowledge can better enrich consciousness of the self.

Great Conversations is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

About 3rd i NY

3rd I New York’s monthly film/video/media/conversation salon is designed by local filmmakers and cultural producers to showcase the works of independent media makers and intellectuals of South Asian, Central Asian, and Arab descent. Providing alternative forums for these voices, who often have few venues to showcase their work and whose cultures and histories are often demonized or misrepresented in mainstream media, not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing discussion. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor.

Great Conversations: Medha Patkar in conversation with David Harvey “Land-grab, Law, and Capitalism

Moderated by Biju Mathew

followed by

Talk by Medha Patkar

MEDHA PATKAR, renowned Indian social activist,founder member of theNarmada Bachao Andolan(NBA; Save the Narmada Campaign) since 1989, and founder convenor of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1991 and served as a commissioner for the World Commission on Dams between 1998-2001. The NBA’s historic resistance to the Sardar Sarovar and other large and medium dams on the river Narmada in India are well documented and have fundamentally challenged the destructive paradigm of development espoused by big dams and unsustainable industrialization. With her immense dedication and commitment to struggles for justice and equitable and sustainable development, she has inspired generations of Indian activists, leading indigenous peoples’, workers’ and peasants’ struggles for rights to land, livelihood and ecologically sustainable development.

DAVID HARVEYis the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). A social theoristof international standing, he is widely known for his critique of global capitalism and neoliberal development. He has significantly helped bring back social class and Marxist methods as serious methodological tools; his explanation of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ has found resonance among left circles across the world grappling with neoliberal politics. His writingsare widely appreciated internationally and in India. His close associations with activist groups and concerns like the ‘Right to the City’ movement in New York and othersmake his analyses particularly relevant to questions of right to housing, gentrification, dispossession and other neoliberal malaises.

Event is free and open to all. Chai and snacks will be served. RSVP Required. Please reply to

Kasturi :732-604-3803

,kasturi@cantab.net

Siddhartha :503-914-8425,siddhartha.mitra@gmail.com

Facebook event:http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=160866293975013

Co-Sponsors

Association for India’s Development – New York Chapter

Sanhati

South Asia Solidarity Initiative

The Center for Place Culture and Politics (CUNY)

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The Great Conversations Series

The Great Conversations series invites thinkers to choose people from other disciplines who are of intellectual and inspirational interest to them in an attempt to enlarge the scope of our understanding of the production of knowledge. The series is meant to offer a paradigm of comparative experiences, where other forms of knowledge can better enrich consciousness of the self.

Great Conversations is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

 

Great Conversations – Transnational Torture: Law, Violence, and State Power in the U.S. and India, with Jinee Lokaneeta and Ahilan Kadirgamar

The conversation will start off by situating the discourse on torture in the United States in a larger context of debates on law and violence in liberal democracies. Then we focus on three other themes from Jinee Lokaneeta’s book, Transnational Torture: Law, Violence, and State Power in the United States and India, that have implications for understanding torture and state violence in Sri Lanka and India: Colonial Continuities, Exception and the Norm, and the interventions of human rights groups.

The permanence of extraordinary laws such as Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), and Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in India, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in Sri Lanka has to be understood in relation to the British colonial interventions. Colonial policies introduced a “rule of law” alongside spaces for extraordinary acts enabling postcolonial states to implement repressive policies. The use of torture, custodial deaths, and disappearances in South Asia has to be addressed in this context.

The justification of diluted safeguards in extraordinary laws often relies on a distinction between a temporary exceptional legislation to address terrorism and a well protected routine criminal justice system. In India, it appears as if the exception or state of emergency has emerged either during particular periods (1975-77) or in certain areas more than the other (Kashmir and North East for example) but in Sri Lanka, the state of emergency has been existing for decades. The question is how do these specific histories help understand this distinction made between norm and exception and the integral relation between the two.

The human rights movements in both the countries have emerged in response to state violence but over time, groups such as Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) and University Teachers for Human rights (UTHR) have been forced to address the violence of non state actors such as the Maoists and LTTE. How have they addressed the issue of human rights and human dignity particularly since the non state actors in question claim to represent the people fighting for social transformation and autonomy?

About the Book

Evidence of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and harsh interrogation techniques at Guantánamo Bay raise the question: has the “war on terror” forced liberal democracies to rethink their policies and laws against torture? Transnational Torture focuses on the legal and political discourses on torture in India and the United States—two common-law based constitutional democracies—to theorize the relationship between law, violence, and state power in liberal democracies.

Analyzing about one hundred landmark Supreme Court cases on torture in India and the United States, memos and popular imagery of torture, Jinee Lokaneeta compellingly demonstrates that even before recent debates on the use of torture in the war on terror, the laws of interrogation were much more ambivalent about the infliction of excess pain and suffering than most political and legal theorists have acknowledged. Rather than viewing the recent policies on interrogation as anomalous or exceptional, Lokaneeta effectively argues that efforts to accommodate excess violence—a constantly negotiated process—are long standing features of routine interrogations in both the United States and India, concluding that the infliction of excess violence is more central to democratic governance than is acknowledged in western jurisprudence.

Jinee Lokaneeta

Jinee Lokaneeta is an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Drew University, New Jersey. Her areas of interest include Law and Violence, Human Rights, and State Violence in democracies. She has published in journals such as Studies in Law, Politics and Society; Economic and Political Weekly; Theory and Event; and Law, Culture, and Humanities. She is also a member of South Asia Solidarity Initiative, which is an organization based in the United States that stands in solidarity with progressive social movements and democratic politics in South Asia and in the US. Prior to coming to the US, she taught Political Science at Kirorimal College, Delhi University, India.

 

Ahilan Kadirgamar

Ahilan Kadirgamar is an activist with the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum, a member of the South Asia Solidarity Initiative in New York , a contributing editor for Himal Southasian and blogs on Kafila. He is interested in the political economy of South Asia and writes on questions of state and society in Sri Lanka in forums such as the Economic and Political Weekly, The Sunday Island and the newly formed Sri Lankan social justice magazine dissenting dialogues.

The Great Conversations Series

The Great Conversations series invites thinkers to choose people from other disciplines or areas of study who are of intellectual and inspirational interest to them in an attempt to enlarge the scope of our understanding of the production of knowledge. The series is meant to offer a paradigm of comparative experiences, where other forms of knowledge can better enrich consciousness of the self.

Great Conversations is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Great Conversations – Two Wings Without a Body: Many Pakistans, Warring Histories featuring Saadia Toor in conversation with Naeem Mohaiemen

Saadia Toor talks with Naeem Mohaiemen about the many versions of post-1947 Pakistani history, including the unresolved legacies of the 1971 rupture of Pakistan and birth of Bangladesh. This event marks the New York launch of Saadia Toor’s new book: The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan.

While Toor and Mohaiemen are both active members of pan-South Asian activist networks in New York and have overlapping areas of research, they present their research in different spaces: Toor in the academy and Mohaiemen in the museum. Their discussion will focus on the history of nation-state projects from the Pakistan and Bangladesh context– especially through the prism of the personal and political within post-1947 border demarcation, ideology invention and left movements.

Saadia Toor is Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. A native of Lahore, she has a twenty-year history of activism among feminist and left circles in Pakistan. Her new book, The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan, comes out of this personal history, and is inflected by her interest in exploring the relationship between culture and power. Born in 1971, the year of the separation of East Pakistan and birth of Bangladesh, Toor grew up in a truncated Pakistan defined by a historical amnesia regarding its shared past with Bangladesh, and a categorical refusal to acknowledge the brutal state violence visited upon ordinary people during the genocide of 1971.

Naeem Mohaiemen uses essays, photography, and film to explore histories of the international left and failed utopias. Chapters from his ongoing project on the 1970s ultra-left, “The Young Man Was”, were shown at Frieze Art Fair (London), Sharjah Biennial (UAE), MUAC (Mexico City), Finnish Museum of Photography, etc. Other museum projects include “Kazi in Nomansland” (part of Lines of Control), which looks at three country’s claim to poet Nazrul Islam. Publications include Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism (Drishtipat), “Flying Blind: Waiting for a real reckoning on 1971” (Economic & Political Weekly), and “Islamic Roots of HipHop” (Sound Unbound, MIT Press). Excerpts from his work featured in Granta (Pakistan Issue) and Rethinking Marxism. shobak.org

About the Book

The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan(Pluto Press), by Saadia Toor, tells the story of Pakistan through the lens of the Cold War, and more recently the War on Terror, to shed light on the domestic and international processes behind the global rise of militant Islam.

Unlike existing scholarship on nationalism, Islam, and the state in Pakistan, which tends to privilege events in a narrowly-defined ‘political’ realm, Saadia Toor highlights the significance of cultural politics in Pakistan from its 1947 origins to the contemporary period. This dimension allows Toor to explain how the struggle between Marxists and liberal nationalists was influenced and eventually engulfed by the agenda of the religious right. Timely and unique, this book is a must for anyone who wants to understand the roots of modern Pakistan and the likely outcome of current power struggles in the country.

Copies of the book will be available for sale.

http://www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?K=9780745329918&

Great Conversations Series

The Great Conversations series invites thinkers to choose people from other disciplines who are of intellectual and inspirational interest to them in an attempt to enlarge the scope of our understanding of the production of knowledge. The series is meant to offer a paradigm of comparative experiences, where other forms of knowledge can better enrich consciousness of the self.

Great Conversations is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

About 3rd i NY

3rd I New York’s monthly film/video/media/conversation salon is designed by local filmmakers and cultural producers to showcase the works of independent media makers and intellectuals of South Asian, Central Asian, and Arab descent. Providing alternative forums for these voices, who often have few venues to showcase their work and whose cultures and histories are often demonized or misrepresented in mainstream media, not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing discussion. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor.