Each semester, the Haslam Scholars Program hosts two lecture series: Friday Faculty and Global Awareness. The Global Awareness series uses the expertise of faculty from many departments at UT to present students with an in-depth look at a region of the world. This semester, the series focuses on North Africa and features a diverse group of faculty from across the University of Tennessee.
Global Awareness Series
Matt Buehler, History: “Politics and History of North Africa”
Matt Buehler holds degrees in Government from the University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D. and M.A.) and Willamette University (B.A.). Dr. Buehler’s research area is comparative politics with expertise in the politics of the Middle East and North Africa. He has been traveling to the region since 2006, completing over three years of fieldwork and Arabic training in North Africa, Syria, and the Persian Gulf. His main research interests include democratization, authoritarianism, the Arab uprisings, Islamist movements, North African political parties, and Moroccan politics.
In 2013-14, Dr. Buehler held a book-writing fellowship at the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled, Why Alliances Fail: Opposition Coalitions between Islamists and Leftists in North Africa. The book manuscript elucidates the conditions under which opposition parties build stable, enduring alliances to contest authoritarian regimes, marshaling evidence from coalitions between Islamists and leftists in North Africa. While Islamists and leftists forged a solid alliance in Tunisia, which supported democratization, similar pacts in Morocco and Mauritania collapsed, reinforcing authoritarianism. To make its case, the book manuscript draws on two years of fieldwork, original statistical data, and archival research.
Dr. Buehler’s research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Law and Governance, and Terrorism and Political Violence.
Manuela Ceballos, Religious Studies: “People of the Book: Muslims, Jews, and Christians in Morocco”
Manuela Ceballos was born and raised in Medellín, Colombia. In the 2014-2015 academic year, she joined the faculty in the department of Religious Studies as an Islamic Studies specialist. Manuela comes to the University of Tennessee from Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion via the American Southwest, where she has spent the last few years while writing her dissertation. She has also lived abroad in Morocco and France. During the Fall of 2014, Manuela has been teaching a course entitled “Classical Islam” and a seminar on Sufism (Islamic mysticism). In the Spring semester, she will teach a class on Jewish-Muslim-Christian interactions in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia, and another course on modern Islam.
Manuela’s research brings together literary sources in Arabic and Spanish from the Early Modern period that deal with Muslim-Christian encounters in the shifting geographical and communal boundaries that eventually led to the contemporary notions of nationhood and nationality in the Morocco and Spain. Her current project, ‘The Favor of Good Companions:’ Violence and the Formation of Religious Communities in Early Modern Iberia and North Africa, focuses on the role of violence in the formation of religious and political communities as represented in Islamic and Christian mystical texts from the Western Mediterranean. She is also engaged in further research on Islamic notions asylum and hospitality in the context of the mass forced migration that resulted from the so-called Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula. Her article on the writings of the fifteenth-century Sufi reformer and fighter Muhammad ibn Yaggabsh al-Tāzī is forthcoming in the Journal of Religion and Violence. She plans to return to North Africa to continue her research. In December, she will be presenting her work in Alexandria, Egypt.
Manuela is happy to be back in the Southeast and to live close to the mountains. In her free time, she practices Arabic calligraphy and enjoys the company of her family and friends, as well as that of her two very patient cats and lively border-collie mix.
Margaret Anderson, History: “The Algerian Revolution: Terror, Torture, and the End of French Colonial Rule”
I am a historian of Modern France and Empire, with areas of focus in family policy, pronatalism, migration, and settler colonialism. My recent book (January 2015)` examines the ways in which France’s position as an imperial power shaped debates about the French birthrate during the Third Republic (1870-1940). Reacting to demographic studies demonstrating the steady decline in the French birthrate over the course of the nineteenth century, concerned citizens feared that France was headed towards depopulation. Pronatalism, as this political movement came to be known, focused on identifying solutions to this crisis. My book demonstrates that pronatalists believed that it was not enough to encourage French population growth solely within France’s borders; true demographic prowess entailed extensive settlement of the colonies and financial support for French families, both in France and the empire. Viewing the empire as critical to their nation’s regeneration, pronatalists looked to the colonies for solutions as they studied comparatively high birthrates among French colonial settlers, studied population policies introduced in Madagascar, and drew inspiration from the introduction of the family vote in Morocco and Tunisia. My research for this project was funded by the Council for European Studies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the University of Iowa, and the University of Tennessee.
My latest research focuses on the establishment of a wide range of family benefits and social welfare services in colonial Morocco during the Second World War, most notably the Office de la Famille Française (FFO) and the Caisse d’Action Sociale (CAS). The FFO disbursed numerous family benefits (including marriage loans, single income allowances, and prenatal stipends) to qualifying French citizens in the colony. It was funded largely by the family compensation tax, a substantial tax paid by French families with fewer than two children. These benefits were exclusively for the French population in the colony and, after legal reforms in 1944, Algerians residing in Morocco. The CAS administered family allowances in the colony. These were funded by employers and were available to qualifying French citizens and Moroccan subjects. My examination of these benefits and administrative bodies touches on larger questions concerning migration within the French Empire, settler politics in Morocco, questions of race and gender in family policy, and the place of colonial family policy within larger questions of collaboration and resistance during the Vichy period.
In addition to teaching the second half of the Western Civilization Survey, I teach a variety of upper division courses on Modern Europe, Modern France, the French and Russian Revolutions, the Algerian Revolution, and European Imperialism. I am also currently the history department’s honors coordinator.
Douja Mamelouk, Modern Foreign Languages: “Retracing the Steps of the Dream: Return to the House of Origins”
Douja Mamelouk, Ph.D. is currently an Assistant Professor of Arabic and French at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She obtained her Ph.D. in Arabic Language, Literature and Linguistics from Georgetown University in 2010. She completed her Master’s of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies at the American University in Cairo and her Bachelor’s of Arts at Willamette University, Salem, Oregon in French Literature and Political Science.
Her Research Interests are: Tunisian novels by women in Arabic, the literature of the Tunisian Avant-Garde literary group jama‘at that al-suur. Her most recent Publications are: “New National Discourses: Tunisian Women Write the Revolution,” (Alif: Journal of Comperative Poetics, May 2015), “The Monster’s Pretty Face,” translation of short story by Tunisian writer Amel Mokhtar published in the Arab World English Joural, Special Issue on Translation No. 3, May 2014″Temimi, Abdel Jelil,” Dictionary of African Biography, Oxford University Press (2011). She is currently working on her monograph entitled When the Subaltern Speaks: Women Writing Men in Modern Tunisia.
Reda Bensmaia (Public Lecture)
Karla McKanders, College of Law: “Refugee Status at a Cross-Roads in Morocco: Race, Class, Gender and Relief from Persecution”
This lecture will focus on Morocco as a historical country of migration and how the existing regime, in conjunction with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, have attempted to provide legal protection for migrants who are victims of persecution on account of their race, religion, ethnicity, political opinion or social group. The lecture will detail the history of migration patterns and laws protecting refugees in Morocco while engaging in an analysis of how race, class and gender impact access to legal institutions providing asylum seekers relief. The lecture will conclude with a discussion of how issues that asylum seekers in Morocco face portend much needed revisions to the 1951 Convention for the Protection of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol and protection framework. In this context, McKanders will also discuss her collaboration with various international actors to implement a Refugee Legal Aid project in Morocco.
Karla McKanders is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of Tennessee. McKanders is a scholar and practitioner in the field of refugee and immigration law and clinical legal education. She has traveled internationally presenting, researching and working with non-profit organizations to implement programs to ensure the protection of human rights for immigrant populations. Her scholarly writings address issues of access to justice and immigration federalism as she has sought new ways of approaching legislative and executive reforms to the immigration system. In 2011, she received a Fulbright fellowship to lecture in Morocco at the University of Mohammad V. Since her time in Morocco, she continues to collaborate with law professors and nonprofit organizations in the Middle East and North Africa to address implementing clinical legal education and disparities in access to justice for immigrant and refugee populations. Her scholarship is practical and contemplates solutions to contemporary, global access to justice issues.
Nicole Wallenbrock, Modern Foreign Languages:”Is there an Algerian Cinema?”
Nicole Beth Wallenbrock received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College and both her Masters and PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She studies how films depict the complicated relationship of France to North Africa and is presently working on a monograph, “The Franco-Algerian War Through a Twenty-First Century Lens: A Filmic Discourse.” Her publications include: “Almost but not quite eating pork: Culinary Nationalism and Islamic Difference in Millennial French Comedies.” Performing Islam, Intellect (2016). “An apology for French torturers: L’ennemi intime”, in Mark de Valk ed. Screening the Tortured Body: Cinema as scaffold. Palgrave Macmillan (2016).“The Screen Student-prostitute, A Twenty-first Century Discourse: Mes chères etudes (2010), Elles (Suzumowska, 2011), Jeune et Jolie (Ozon, 2013),” French Cultural Studies, Sage (November 2015).