The University Student Union's Beach Auditorium seats about 236 people. On Thursday, October 16, Professor Juan Cole brought in a full house; only standing room was left 10 minutes before the lecture began. Professor Cole was at California State University, Long Beach for his seminar on "ISIL In Iraq: Fundamentalist Takeover or Urban Ethnic Revolt?"
Cole, a History Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, wrote The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East. He was even selling his book at the seminar for a discounted price, just for attendees.
The Middle Eastern Studies Program organized the event, with the help of the History Department and the History Students' Association. It was sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts.
Although some students may have only been attending the event for class participation, Professor Cole kept the crowd entertained and laughing with his witty remarks.
He gave in-depth background information on ISIL, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Levant is a part of the Eastern Mediterranean, which is comprised of a number of countries. This should not be confused with ISIS, which is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Although ISIS and ISIL have been everywhere in the news lately, many people are only familiar with their public executions of American journalists. Professor Cole did a great job of shedding light on what is really going on with ISIL.