Life Makers: A Nonviolent Approach to Transnational Islamic Activism

Contemporary nonviolent movements of Muslim youth around the world are often neglected in the western media and deserve more scholarly attention. Emerging in the affluent urban centers of Egypt, Life Makers is an example of such a movement. The group was spearheaded nearly a decade ago by a charismatic and popular leader, Amr Khaled, through his television programs, lectures, tapes, and speeches. Edina will travel to Egypt this summer to look at Life Makers development from a group of youth following Khaleds teachings, to an international nongovernmental organization and now to its potential as a social movement seeking transformation of Egyptian society. While it is recognized that Life Makers is clearly an organization that focuses on social reform and development of society, Edina will investigate to what extent this goal of transformation implies political and economic change.

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Humanities

Palatial Architecture and the Mitanni Mode of Governance: a Cross-Comparative Analysis of Administrative Centers from Tell Brak, Alalakh, and Nuzi

Matthew hopes to contribute to discussion within scholarship of the Ancient Near East on the study of the Mitanni state, a polity in Upper Mesopotamia that attained international power during the second millennium BCE. He proposes to elucidate one, fairly restricted aspect of the larger question regarding the Mitannian system of governance by comparing recently published information on palatial administrative architecture from a site in the Mitanni heartland, Tell Brak, with the much more extensively documented peripheral sites of Alalakh and Nuzi. Through this cross-comparative study of the three administrative buildings, Matthew proposes to hypothesize potential connections between use of space and structure of empire, and conclude whether the architecture in the periphery was used in the same way, and by the same people, as the Brak administrative center, which can be securely situated in a quintessentially Mitanni framework.

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Humanities

Transitional Justice, Cultural Memory, and Post Colonial Consciousness in Post Khmer Rouge Cambodia

Sun’s project examines how cultural memory and postcolonial consciousness have shaped the notion of justice and reconciliation in post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia. While the newly-established Special Court aims to establish international criminal justice 31 years after the tragic events, whether such justice can redress historical wrongs and bring about reconciliation remains questionable. Therefore an inquiry into the Cambodian social and political imagination, ideological development and notions of national identity and culture becomes appropriate. Through interviews, observations and review of historical evidence, Sun will unearth the non-dominant voice and seek to understand the sentiment regarding the nation’s history of foreign occupation and colonial subjection. The hope is that this research would not only be significant in shaping Cambodia’s memory of its past and future, but that it would elicit informed decisions and creative mechanisms to aid nations arising from violent pasts.

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Humanities