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Arab American History and Culture Symposium

Date: 10/25/2013

Time: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Location: 120 Elmer L. Andersen Library

Cost: Free


Historical documents, family letters, personal narratives, and many types of ephemera -- the study of any ethnic group is dependent upon the collection and interpretation of all these types of information. For Arab Americans, the collection of such material is gaining importance as third and fourth generations seek to understand their American pasts. The IHRC Archives began their collection of Arab American materials over a decade ago and the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, which opened in 2005, is dedicated to documenting Arab American history and culture.

The Arab American History and Culture symposium brings these two organizations together to celebrate the creation of the Little Syria Exhibit, to reflect on the state of Arab American studies in the academic context, and to deepen awareness of Arab American history and culture and the importance of preserving the documents and other items that can connect us and future generations to both the past and present. The symposium will take place on Friday, October 25, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 


9:00 AM - Arab American Studies: Critical Perspectives
Introduction: Nabil Matar, University of Minnesota

9:30 – 10:30 AM - Keynote: Gregory Orfalea, Westmont College
"The Figs at the Top of the Tree: An Arab American Writer's Search for Person and Place"


10:45 – 11:45 AM - Keynote: Evelyn Alsultany, University of Michigan
“Arabs and Muslims in the Media after 9/11”

Lunch break [provided for speakers only]

1:30 – 2:15 PM - Archival tour with Daniel Necas, IHRC

2:30 – 4:00 PM - Documenting Arab American History
Devon Akmon, Director, Arab American National Museum
Daniel Necas, Archivist, Immigration History Research Center and Archives
Charlotte Albrecht, Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in Women's Studies, Denison University

4:00 – 4:10 PM - Lana Barkawi, Mizna

4:30 – 5:30 PM - Guided "Little Syria" Exhibit Tour with Devon Akmon, AANM

8:00 PM - Concert with Syrian oud master Essam Rafea, in partnership with Mizna. Concert details and tickets for purchase here.

If you would like to attend the Arab American History and Culture symposium, we request that you please RSVP by October 17, 2013 at https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8059671695. Reservations for the October 24 opening reception not required and we invite you to join us there as well.

More information on the “Little Syria, NY: An Immigrant Community’s Life and Legacy” exhibit can be found here.



  • Name: Immigration History Research Center
  • E-mail: ihrc@umn.edu
  • Sponsored by: Religious Studies, Immigration History Research Center, Immigration History Research Center Archives, Friends of the Libraries, University Libraries, Global Studies, Arab American National Museum, Mizna, English, Philosophy

Disability Options:

To request disability accommodations, please contact the Immigration History Research Center at 612-625-4800.

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