The Modern Europe Colloquium presents Carolyn J. Dean (Yale) and Omnia El Shakry (Yale), on “Witnessing Catastrophe in the Modern Middle East and Modern Europe: A Discussion”
Location: HQ (Humanities Quadrangle), Rm 107, 320 York St.
The Modern Europe Colloquium is generously sponsored by the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund; the European Studies Council of the Yale MacMillan Center
The violence of current war between Israel and Hamas has invited historians to think through its implications via historical parallels. The conflict’s deep and complex roots—which include European imperialism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia—also mean that efforts to understand them necessitate dialogue between historians of different geographies. This event will bring together Professor Omnia El Shakry (Yale)—a specialist in race, religion, gender, and sexuality in the modern Middle East—and Professor Carolyn Dean (Yale)—a specialist in gender, sexuality, and genocide studies in modern Europe—for a conversation about modes and meanings of witnessing catastrophe, both historically and contemporarily.
Bio: Carolyn J. Dean is the Charles J. Stille Professor of History and French at Yale University. She is a historian of modern Europe with a focus on the twentieth century whose work explores the intersection of ideas and culture, most recently in the context of genocide. Her latest book, The Moral Witness: Trials and Testimony after Genocide (Cornell, forthcoming 2019) traces the history of the witness to genocide, tracking the changing representation of violence over the last hundred years and demonstrating how the cultural meaning of genocide was distinguished from war and imperial conquest. She is the author of five other books that focus on the historical and cultural representation of victims, most recently Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust (Cornell, 2010) and The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust (Cornell, 2004). She has also written extensively about gender and sexuality in France and on the intellectual history of French theory. She held the John Hay Professor of International Studies at Brown University, where she taught before coming to Yale in 2013, and has been the recipient of several fellowships, including an ACLS and a Guggenheim, among others. In 1996 she was awarded Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Council for the Advancement of Support of Education.
Omnia El Shakry, Professor of History at Yale University, specializes in the intellectual and cultural history of the modern Middle East, with a particular emphasis on the history of the human and religious sciences in modern Egypt. El Shakry is the author of The Arabic Freud: Psychoanalysis and Islam in Modern Egypt (Princeton University Press, 2017) and The Great Social Laboratory: Subjects of Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Egypt (Stanford University Press, 2007). She is also the editor of Understanding and Teaching the Modern Middle East (University of Wisconsin Press, 2020) and Gender and Sexuality in Islam (Routledge, 2016). Her work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Stanford Humanities Center. El Shakry received her BA in Psychology from the American University in Cairo, an MA in Near Eastern Studies from New York University, and her PhD in History from Princeton University. Prior to coming to Yale, she taught for twenty years in the History Department at the University of California, Davis.