Anthropologist Susan Slyomovics takes the helm of CNES a year after her arrival at UCLA. Her current research focuses on human rights in the context of Morocco and Algeria's reparations commissions and the French colonial infrastructure in North Africa.
Susan Slyomovics (Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures) assumes the directorship of the Center for Near Eastern Studies effective July 1, 2007. Slyomovics earned her PhD in Near Eastern Studies and Folklore at UC Berkeley in 1985. She previously taught at Brown, New York University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she also chaired the Anthropology Department. Her most recent publication is The Performance of Human Rights in Morocco (2005). She is the editor of The Walled Arab City in Literature, Architecture and History: The Living Medina in the Maghrib (2001) and, with Suad Joseph, of Women and Power in the Middle East (2001). Slyomovics was the recipient of the Middle East Studies Association's Albert Hourani Book Award and the Chicago Folklore Prize in 1999 for her book, The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village. She has also been honored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and the Guggenheim, Mellon, and Ford Foundations.
Since coming to UCLA in 2006, Slyomovics has been busy with teaching and research. She was awarded a grant from the Office of Instructional Development to produce innovative digital resources, and funds from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research to convene a conference to reconsider the work of anthropologist Clifford Geertz in Morocco. Her current research focuses on human rights in the context of Morocco and Algeria's reparations commissions and the French colonial infrastructure in North Africa.
As CNES Director, Slyomovics intends to pursue an active agenda to promote North African studies, gender studies, visual anthropology and museum exhibitions, films from the Middle East and North Africa, popular culture, and Middle East communities in the United States.
A Thousand and One Nights / Alf Layla wa Layla
This Comparative Literature course created by Slyomovics focuses on the cycle of tales commonly known as The Arabian Nights, and examines the history of its translation, contemporary Arabic oral performances of the tales, the emergence of vernacular languages vis-à-vis Classical Arabic, and Western appropriations of the tales in music, film, and novels (Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov, Disney, Poe, Barth). The course has sections in English and in Arabic. Slyomovics received a grant from the UCLA Office of Instructional Development to develop a website for the course, which was showcased at the May 10 presentation on Digital Innovation at UCLA.