02/24/13 — WCC offering free lecture series on Middle East history

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WCC offering free lecture series on Middle East history

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 24, 2013 1:50 AM

Films like "Argo" and "Zero Dark Thirty," as well as the Showtime series "Homeland," are increasingly popular because they reflect the current climate of what is happening in the Middle East.

But what led up to those depictions?

Officials of the Foundation at Wayne Community College hope an esteemed list of speakers secured for a lecture series next month will help answer that.

The free series, "The Future of the Middle East -- What's Next?" will be held on Monday evenings, March 4, 11, 18 and 25 at 7 p.m. in Room 101 of the Walnut Building at WCC.

The March 4 speaker will be Dr. Sarah Shields, a UNC-Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term professor of history and author who teaches courses on the modern Middle East, the history of Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the development and consequences of nationalism and borders in the region.

She will introduce the late Ottoman Empire, the first World War and the League of Nations mandate system providing the background for some of the current issues facing that part of the world.

March 11's lecture will focus on the impact of religious and cultural diversity in the region, and will be presented by Dr. Anna Bigelow.

An associate professor of Islamic studies at N.C. State University, she won the outstanding junior faculty award from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2009 and also wrote a book on the study of a Muslim majority community.

Dr. Timothy McKeown, a professor of political science at UNC-Chapel Hill, will discuss determinants of American foreign policy since 1943, at the March 18 session.

The last installment, on the implications of the Arab Spring, will be explored by Dr. Akram Khafer, an alumni distinguished university professor at N.C. State University, where he is professor of history and director of Middle East studies. He has also completed a PBS documentary on the history of the Lebanese community in North Carolina.

Registration is not required for the event.

For more information, call 919-737-7017.