A Day in the Life: Memoirs from the Middle East
Author: Tam Rankin, Middle East Studies Center
Posted: August 8, 2013

In cooperation with the Multnomah County Library, the Portland Center for Public Humanities, and the Portland State University Department of English, the Portland State University Middle East Studies Center has received a generous Public Program Grant from Oregon Humanities, a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to support A Day in the Life: Memoirs from the Middle East. This book club series aims to dispel common stereotypes of people of the Middle East by exploring literature from the region. Through interactive and participatory book club discussions, readers will engage with the text, with experts and authors, and with each other to explore the diversity of daily life in the Middle East and to consider both the similarities to and differences from our own lives in Oregon.

A Day in the Life will launch in September 2013 with three events that will provide theoretical grounding for the book club, including the exhibition, A is for Arab: Stereotypes in US Popular Culture; screenings of the film, Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People; and a panel discussion on Memory, Authenticity and the Genre of Memoir. Over the next nine months, the Multnomah County Library will host six book club sessions, which will be facilitated by a scholar, expert or author. Oregon Humanities Public Program grant funding will support travel, accommodation and honoraria for humanities experts to lead discussions of the selected literature.

Any views, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect the views of Oregon Humanities or the National endowment for the Humanities.

The Portland State University Department of English offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses to meet the needs of students with a diversity of interests, and academic and professional backgrounds. The department offers courses in literature, rhetoric, composition, and critical theory and emphasizes intertextual and cross-disciplinary inquiry represented by many cultures and historical periods.

The Portland Center for the Public Humanities (PCPH) coordinates, promotes and supports rigorous humanistic inquiry into the languages, histories, and ideas that both shape our ways of life and offer a means of positively transforming them. PCPH’s mission is to connect the scholarly community of PSU with the city, and its programs have focused on topics vital to public life. PCPH programming has examined topics such as sustainability and the humanities; the prison industrial complex; Holocaust and genocide studies; and religion and secularism.

The Portland State University Middle East Studies Center promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages and religions of the Middle East. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI program, the Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library.