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Transcending Nationalisms

A public conversation with Reza Aslan, Nathalie Handal and Sholeh Wolpé, moderated by Jordan Elgrably, followed by a reception and a concert with Niyaz.

Saturday, June 30, 2007
4:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Fowler Museum Auditorium
308 Charles E. Young Drive, North
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Can art and culture bridge the Middle East and the West? Writers, editors and musicians create a culture jam to blur the divide.  Writers and editors of major anthologies featuring work from and about the Middle East discuss the role of literature in moving Western consciousness away from the terrorists and fanatics towards the cultural heritage of that region. To what extent can such anthologies play a role in bringing about a more balanced sense of shared humanity, and how can they contribute to the ongoing dialogue now taking place between the East and the West?

There is an emerging international literary voice that is suggestive of a powerful and sustained interest in Middle Eastern cultures, and in the culture of its worldwide diaspora. It is a voice that is diverse and complex, shaped by the forces of immigration, exile, political upheaval, and revolution. Reza Aslan, Nathalie Handal and Sholeh Wolpé present the case for culture and discuss the important conciliatory role such anthologies can play in the present political climate.

Reza Aslan is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam (Random House, 2005) and Editor in Chief of the upcoming Norton Anthology of Modern Literature of the Muslim World.

Nathalie Handal is a poet, playwright and editor of The Poetry of Arab Women and co-editor of the forthcoming Norton Anthology of the Contemporary Poetry of Eastern World.

Sholeh Wolpé is a poet, translator and editor of the forthcoming anthology Iconoclasts and Visionaries.  Her books include The Scar Saloon and Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad.

Jordan Elgrably (moderator) is co-editor of the forthcoming Iconoclasts and Visionaries and author of the forthcoming book, Politics of the Word.

Niyaz, a Persian-Indian world music ensemble, features three prominent musical artists Azam Ali, Loga Ramin Torkian, and Carmen Rizzo

The program is organized by Levantine Cultural Center and the Fowler Museum-UCLA, with support from UCLA's Center for Near Eastern Studies and PEN Center. Additional sponsorship by Shari Rezai, Diane Shammas and Hamid Mosavi.

Panel discussion and public forum, 4-6 pm, food/drink reception, 6-7 pm, Niyaz concert 7:30 pm.

Log on to  for more info and advance tix, or call 310.657.5511.

Parking - UCLA Lot 4 - $8.00 per car.

Cost : Panel Only - $15, $10 for students, Full program - $30 general admission, $25 for CNES faculty and students

Levantine Cultural Center310-657-5511

Sponsor(s): , Fowler Museum at UCLA, The Levantine Cultural Center, PEN West

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