ALIF Lecture Series presents “Modernity in Islamic Tradition”
A Lecture by Dr. Florian Zemmin
University of Bern, Switzerland
Wednesday, February 6 at 4 PM in Room 30
Moroccan Judaism: A Lecture & Documentary Screening by Yona Abeddour
Wednesday, November 1 @ 6:30 in ROOM 30 of the ALC/ALIF
Youness (Yona) Abeddour, born in Fez, has been working to promote a better understanding of the pluralistic identity of Morocco. He holds a master’s degree in Cultural Studies, completing a thesis on “The Representation of Moroccan Jews in Moroccan Cinema.” He researches the history of Moroccan Judaism and makes documentary films. Today he lives between Israel and France, where he’s doing a Ph.D. in anthropology at Ben Gurion University and the University of Lyon on the topic of Moroccan Jewish Identities in contemporary France and Israel.
“A Culture in Danger” (2011)
What was once a key part of Moroccan culture and society is now on the way to being forgotten. There is much confusion and even resentment caused by the massive Jewish immigration to Israel and many people now confuse terms such as Judaism and Zionism. This confusion and lack of information has caused many people to forget or to even look negatively on a people who were once their neighbors and a culture that is even now intricately a part of their own. This film seeks to resolve the confusion and to educate people about this history of a culture which cannot be separated from Moroccan culture as a whole.
“My Neighbor…the Jew”
“My Neighbor…the Jew” highlights Muslim-Jewish relations in Morocco. Muslims in Morocco talk about their Jewish neighbors in a very nostalgic manner, and Jews remember Muslims as good neighbors and friends. The Jewish interviewees are strongly attached to their roots and history in Morocco, which they are not willing to give up. The title accentuates the concept of “neighbor,” which echoes the message of the documentary. The neighbor in both Islam and Judaism, as well as in the Moroccan culture, is almost hallowed. The Hebrew Bible says “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18). There is a Hadith narrated by the Prophet of Islam that states “The best neighbor in Allah’s estimation is the one who is best to his neighbor” (Al-Tirmidhi, Number 1287), and the famous Moroccan proverb “Choose your neighbor before your house.”
This lecture, organized by the ALC-ALIF Cultural Heritage Club, is free and open to the general public.
ALC ALIF Heritage Club: “Sacred Geometry, The Cosmic Order”
Lecture by Aiysha Amin
Monday, October 16 @ 6:15
ALC, Room 30, 2 Rue Ahmed Hiba, Fes Ville Nouvelle
“Allah created the heavens and the earth is True (proportions): verily in that is a Sign for those who believe” (29:44)
Through understanding the symbolism of Sacred Geometry we can begin to discover how the Divine wishes itself to be known; as the natural world is a product of the Divine imagination. Discover how geometry can also serve as the prism of interconnection and alignment with nature. The appreciation of the symbolism behind this beautiful language will also give students a better understanding of why Islamic Art has adopted it through the ages as a form of expression and bringing beauty and much needed joy into our world.
The sessions will be exploring the Divine order of nature and creating a better understanding of the fundamental patterns that shape our world and existence. Students will have the opportunity to engage in creative pattern making and four fold geometric construction.
Aiysha graduated from The Princes School of Traditional Arts in 2013. She received training in many different forms of traditional disciplines, and the language that connects them all, such as sacred geometry, islimi or arabesque designs etc. After graduating she set out to travel for a year to several countries as a personal spiritual pilgrimage in order to connect with different intentional Sufi communities. It was during this time that she travelled to Saudi Arabia with her spiritual guide.
The journey opened up many vistas of understanding and more importantly brought to the surface pertinent questions pertaining to faith, spirituality, ritualistic practice and in general how we view and our relationship with the Sacred.
Aiysha’s recent collection which she has been working on for a year and a half deals with these themes and ideas; in an age in which the ‘sense’ of the Sacred is being lost, and only a few fragmented traces of origins of Sacred history and sites remain.
Alongside this deeply personal project Aiysha works for the Greensville Trust (Liverpool, England) where she has been curating an exhibition called The Prophetic Relics for the last two years.
“Ray Charles: the Genius”
Lecture by John Edward Hasse
Monday, September 18 at 6 PM
ALIF Villa Residence, 28 Rue Mohammed Diouri
Ray Charles overcame racism, poverty, and blindness to gain worldwide acclaim as a singer, songwriter, pianist, and arranger. As a lad, he had ears like a sonic sponge, absorbing everything from blues to country & western music. Infusing rhythm and blues with the fervor of down-home gospel music, he helped pioneer the genre called “soul music.” His unique voice and passionate style made him one of the most beloved musicians of our time. With his genius for fusing gospel, rhythm and blues, soul, blues, jazz, country, rock, and pop, Charles became one of the most innovative and influential talents in American music. He wrote such enduring songs as Hallelujah, I Love Her So and What’d I Say, and made every other song his own—popular standards (Georgia On My Mind; Baby, It’s Cold Outside), rock hits (Eleanor Rigby), crossover country songs (You Are My Sunshine; I Can’t Stop Loving You), and a stirring interpretation of America the Beautiful. Music curator John Edward Hasse tells about acquiring Ray Charles’s Ray-Bans and Braille keyboard for the Smithsonian. And Hasse illuminates Ray Charles’s unique life story and illustrates—with analysis, anecdotes, photos, and video clips—his enduring contributions to American culture.
John Edward Hasse is a museum curator, author, speaker, and leader in his field. For 33 years, he served as Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where he curated exhibitions on Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Ray Charles, and founded the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and Jazz Appreciation Month, now celebrated in all 50 states and in 40 countries. He is former Chairman of Smithsonian Music. He is author of an acclaimed biography, Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington, with a Foreword by Wynton Marsalis, and editor of Jazz: The First Century, with Forewords by Quincy Jones and Tony Bennett. Hasse is co-author of Discover Jazz and co-producer of Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology. He is a contributor to The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and eight encyclopedias. As an expert on 20th century American music, he has been interviewed in The New York Times, on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, PBS, CNN, BBC, and many other news outlets. Hasse also served as the principal advisor to the U.S. Postal Service on its stamp series Legends of American Music that began with Elvis Presley. He earned a B.A. Cum Laude from Carleton College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University, two Honorary Doctorates, and a Certificate in Business Administration from The Wharton School. He has received two Grammy Award nominations and two ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in writing about music. Active in cultural diplomacy for the US State Department, Hasse has lectured on leadership, the arts, and music in 20 countries on six continents.
ALIF Lecture Series Presents
“Cultural Encounters and Colonial Legacies: Morocco in American Writings”
A lecture by Hamid El Mountassir
Wednesday, July 12 at 6:15 p.m. In Room 30
The present lecture is an attempt to approach the dynamics/politics of cultural encounters in relation to Morocco, which has been associated with different forms of representation in the American cultural context since the beginning of the twentieth century. The depiction of the nature of this series of encounters is analyzed through a wide range of texts including travel writing, fiction, and ethnography. Writers such as Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Claude McKay, Anais Nin, Paul Bowles, Elizabeth Fernea, and Rachel Newcomb have constructed ambivalent discourses in their representation of otherness.
This lecture is open to the general public
“Ramadan Customs in Morocco”
A lecture by
at the ALIF annex
Monday, June 6th at 6:15 p.m.
How do Moroccans observe the holy month of Ramadan? What does this month mean for them? What are its religious and social implications? How does it affect the daily routine of the society? What is the Ramadan etiquette? What code of conduct is expected of non-Muslims during this month? These are some of the issues that this lecture will attempt to address.
This lecture is open to the general public