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April 12, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU hosts Islamic Research Symposium

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Sami Hermez, who received his doctorate in anthropology from Princeton University, held a post-doctoral fellowship at St. Antony's College, University of Oxford and currently serves as a professor of ccontemporary and international issues at the University of Pittsburgh, will deliver the keynote address when Slippery Rock University hosts the 2013 annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on Islamic Studies April 13.

The 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. event will be in the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center. Hermez will deliver the luncheon address.

Undergraduate students from universities in the region, including SRU, Pittsburgh University, Carnegie Melon University and Seton Hill University will present their papers in three concurrent sessions. Fifteen papers will be presented.

Hermez was a visiting research fellow at Berlin's Zentrum Moderner Orient and the Collaborative Research Center, Humboldt University. He has taught at Mount Holyoke, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the American University of Beirut.

He has worked for the United Nations Capital Development Fund and its Development Program, Human Rights Watch and the Peace Corps.

His work has broadly focused on the relationship between violence during war and civil war and its subsequent impact on politics and everyday life.

His dissertation focused on "Living Everyday in Anticipation of Violence in Lebanon." He examined the issues from an anthropological perspective using ethnographic fieldwork to gather his data and evidence.

The bulk of his fieldwork invovled living in countries in several world regions, including the Middle East, Cyprus, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, the Philippines, Russia, the U.S. and Yemen. Other areas covered by his research include anthropology of the state; war and ethics; narrative, history and memory; legal anthropology; nationalism; globalization and migration; Arab identity; conflict resolution; and sectarianism, among others.

Hermez's current and future research includes a project that focuses on transnational labor law and the global trade of domestic workers to the Middle East.

Among his recent publications are "Activism as 'Part-time': Searching for Commitment and Solidarity in Lebanon" in "Cultural Dynamics" and "From Feuds to Statehood: Dignity as a Political Emotion in Lebanon" at the American Anthropological Association 2011 Annual Meeting.

In 2011, he was interviewed by BBC Radio and Al-Jazeera International.

On the curricular side, Hermez's research interests are reflected in the courses he has taught, including "Anthropology of Violence" and "Reading Other Cultures," among others. He has also taught conversational Arabic. He recently taught "Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology: Living the Law: Seminar in Political and Legal Anthropology" and "Arab Revolutions and Social Movements" for the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

The symposium is sponsored by SRU's Middle East Studies Center, College of Business, Information and Social Sciences, International Services and the department of professional studies and interdisciplinary programs.

Ahmad Khalili, associate professor of professional studies and interdisciplinary programs, the program organizer.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.