Faculty Resource Network

The Faculty Resource Network (FRN) at New York University is an award-winning professional development initiative that sponsors programs for faculty members from a consortium of over 50 colleges and universities. The Network hosts lectures, symposia, and intensive seminars, all of which are designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning at its member and affiliate institutions.

After more than two decades in operation, their mission is to foster connection, collaboration, and collegiality through a partnership of colleges and universities dedicated to faculty development. Their programs and events meet the professional development needs of all faculty at our member institutions.

Each year, the Hagop Kevorkian Center cohosts a Faculty Development seminar open to faculty whose institutions are members of FRN.   See the Faculty Resource Network Seminar website for more information about how to apply to take summer network courses.

Sixty million people today are marked as refugees or are internally displaced within their own countries. If they made up a country, it would be the 24th largest in the world. What is driving this migration of people, the largest since World War II? The British-Somali poet Warshan Shire writes:

No one leaves home unless/ home is the mouth of a shark/ you only run for the border/ when you see the whole city running as well [...] I want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark/ home is the barrel of the gun/ and no one would leave home/ unless home chased you to the shore

This seminar will examine why people are fleeing their homes; the networks of smuggling and traffic that have developed around the Mediterranean; the international refugee regime; refugee rights; and the various laws that countries and the European Union have developed to manage refugees and migrants. Greece, among other European nations, has been very visible as a site of this activity, although far larger numbers of migrants and refugees seek safety outside of Europe with far less attention from the media and international actors.

We will consider the choices refugees and migrants must make, the difficulties they face, the losses they suffer, and the achievements that come to define them. Most importantly, we will learn from the artistic, cultural, and non-fiction works of refugees themselves.

While no background or field specialization is required, this course will appeal most to historians, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, and area studies professors. We also will share strategies about teaching the subject of refugees and migrants in the college classroom, drawing partially upon Rochelle and Grace Benton's project "Teaching about Forced Displacement," which generated a number of transferrable classroom activities.

See here for more information: https://blogs.commons.georgetown.edu/rochelledavis/refugee-video-project/

Topics include:

  • Smuggling and Trafficking
  • Human Rights and Refugee Rights
  • Refugees as Aliens and Foreign Bodies
  • Artwork and Cultural Productions

Rochelle Davis is an associate professor of cultural anthropology in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Since July 2013, she has been the academic director of the M.A. in Arab Studies Program. Her most recent research in Jordan and Lebanon has examined both Syrian refugees displaced by the violence in Syria and Iraqi refugees who fled to Jordan and Syria post 2005. She has authored or co-authored a number of reports on this research. Her book, Palestinian Village Histories: Geographies of the Displaced (Stanford University Press), was co-winner of the Middle East Studies Association's Albert Hourani Book Award recognizing outstanding publications in Middle East studies. Her other research interests focus on the role of culture in the U.S. military in the war in Iraq. Her past research has explored Arab and Arab American identity and Palestinian social and cultural life prior to 1948. She has also collected over fifty oral histories of Palestinian Jerusalemites about their lives in the twentieth century.

The religion of Islam has been at the center of political discourse in recent years. Issues of terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the debate over the proposed Park 51 Islamic Center, “the Arab Spring” and the rise of ISIS/ISIL in Iraq and Syria have focused attention on Muslims and their religion. The ways in which Islam has been discussed within the media and certain corners of the academy since the tragic and morally inexcusable events of September 11, 2001, have often been problematic. Over the last decade there has been a veritable explosion of books and articles on Islam, many of which decry what they see as a lack of intellectual debate and moral discourse in the Islamic world. Pundits on cable news networks continually assert that "it is a shame that there are no anti-terrorist, pro-democratic voices within Islam." Muslims are regularly accused of "whitewashing" the negative aspects of their faith by journalists and commentators who have little or no scholarly knowledge of Islamicate culture, history or languages and often no personal experience of the Muslim world. These same opinions are also found in academic circles.

These kinds of opinions are at best rooted in ignorance and, at their worst, in prejudice and hostility. While it is true that there are "fundamentalist" voices within Islam which resist complex and multi-vocal interpretations of the basic sources of the tradition, they do not now, nor have they ever, represented the mainstream of Muslim thought. Islam has always maintained a variety of philosophical, theological and mystical expressions. It is Islam's diversity and ability to adapt to changing historical and cultural circumstances that is one of its primary characteristics and greatest strengths. This remains true today as Muslim intellectuals trained both in the West and in the Islamic world continue to address the complexities of the contemporary world. Among the numerous problems and issues that have drawn the attention of today's Muslim intellectuals has been the rise to prominence of "fundamentalists" and "Islamists" willing to use violence to achieve their goals. "Political Islamism" it must be noted is only one strain of thought in the Muslim world and it is rarely violent. More importantly, it is actively challenged by numerous alternative perspectives. Not only are "traditional" Muslims critiquing and challenging movements like the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS/ISIL as theologically incorrect readings of Qur'an and hadith, but there are also vibrant "progressive" movements which draw upon feminist theory and liberation theology to develop radical new expressions of Muslim piety and political action.

Vernon Schubel is Professor of Religious Studies at Kenyon College where he teaches a variety of courses on Islam, including Classical Islam, Islam in Central Asia and Sufism; and religions of South Asia.

His primary research interest is Islam in Central and South Asia. He spent seven months as a Fulbright scholar in Multan, Pakistan, in 1989, where he conducted research on centers of Sufi pilgrimage and in 1996 he spent seven months of research in Uzbekistan. His book, Religious Performance in Contemporary Islam, was published by the University of South Carolina Press in 1993.

Nurten Kılıç-Schubel is Associate Professor of History at Kenyon Colleges. Her areas of research focuses on Islamicate history, especially political culture, state-building and gender in medieval and early modern Central Eurasia. She has spent significant amounts of time in Turkey and Central Asia, most recently as a Fulbright scholar in Kyrgyzstan in 2010. 

Kilic-Schubel is currently working on two research projects. The first is a book-length project entitled "A State with Many Heads: Culture and State-Building in Early Modern Central Asia." The second explores women's writing and literary culture in early modern Central Asia. She teaches a wide range of courses related to Central Eurasia and the Middle East in both the pre-modern and modern periods including Ottoman Empire, Islamicate World and women and gender in the Middle East.