In Fall 2013 CMES Director William Granara convened three working groups focused on modern Middle East culture and politics. With participation from students and faculty from across Harvard and beyond, these programs seek to apply their members’ collective expertise in monitoring and interpreting recent and unfolding events in the region, and to take on a leading role in attracting students to the study of the Middle East.
These initiatives are made possible with support from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of the Division of Social Science, and the Donald T. Regan Lecture Fund.
There are lots of contradictions and complexities and difficulties that come with the field of Middle East studies, and it’s our job to help people understand these complexities—not necessarily to solve the problems but to understand how to approach them. These working groups will basically focus on how we receive these events, whether they are artistic expressions or political explosions or whatever they are, and how we articulate them, how we understand them, and how we present them to the public. In that way these programs should be quite dynamic, ready to think about what’s going on as it happens. --William Granara, September 18, 2013