Scholar Activist Series

In the Fall of 2020, DISC began a series that engaged Duke alums who were active in Middle East, Islamic Studies, Gender Studies, and Muslim life during their time on campus.  We asked the invited speakers to talk to the personal, intellectual, academic, and spiritual trajectory through life, Duke, and graduate school.  Although virtual, we had a lively series of four speakers who were willing to wrestle with what scholar activism is, who they are as scholars, and what they are currently working on.  Each talk is available to view below and we are thrilled to continue this series into Spring 2021 and possibly beyond.

Fall 2020

"The Ink of a Poet: Writing & The Art of Transforming the Wretched as Sacred" with Antonio López, PhD Candidate at Stanford University

Born and raised in the East Palo Alto, CA Antonio López received his B.A. in Global Cultural Studies and African & African-American studies from Duke University. He's received scholarships to attend the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, the Home School, Tin House Summer Workshop, the Key West Literary Seminar, and the Vermont Studio Center. He is a proud member of the Macondo Writers Workshop, a CantoMundo Fellow, and a 2019 Adroit Summer Mentor. His nonfiction has been featured or is forthcoming in PEN/America, The Latino Book Review, and Insider Higher Education, and his poetry in BOAAT, Hayden's Ferry Review, Adroit Journal, Puerto del Sol, Huizache, Tin House and elsewhere. He was runner up for the inaugural Palette Poetry Spotlight Award of 2019 and the recipient of the 2019 Katherine Bakeless Nelson Award in Poetry for the 2019 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. He received his Masters in Fine Arts (poetry) at Rutgers-Newark. As a 2018 Marshall Scholar, he received a Masters in Philosophy in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford, where he was also poetry editor of the Oxford Review of Books.


"Navigating Afro-Arab Studies in Graduate School" with Razan Idris, PhD Candidate at University of Pennsylvania

Razan Idris is a Sudanese-American third-year PhD student in History at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies histories of blackness in Afro-Arab communities on the African continent and in diaspora. For her current project, Razan has been exploring black identity at the religious institute of al-Azhar in Egypt since 1800. Razan is also the curator of the online #SudanSyllabus open project, collecting resources on Sudanese social, cultural, and intellectual history. 


"Rednecks, White Muslims: Whiteness & Religious Normativity in the American South" With Zachary Faircloth, PhD Candidate at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Zachary Faircloth is a PhD student at UNC Chapel Hill in the Department of American Studies. Previously, he studied Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University and holds a Master's degree from the University of Florida from the Department of Religion. His work focuses on the entanglement of race and religion, rurality in the US South, and Critical Ethnic Studies. He is originally from Horry County, South Carolina.


“Chronopolitical Assemblages: How Gender Reassignment Makes Racial Genus in Modern Iran” with Dr. M. Shadee Malaklou, Assistant Professor at Berea College

M. Shadee Malaklou is a critical race and gender and sexuality studies scholar with expertise in Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks (1952). Her research argues that gender and sexuality are produced as identity and type through the exclusion of black people from Euro-American discourses of modernity—or, from its social and political construction of time (i.e., its chronopolitics). This research contributes significantly not just to the study of racial blackness but also to how we understand how the non-black subaltern. In addition to writing for academic journals, she regularly publishes think pieces, most recently, in The ConversationalistThe Feminist Wire, and CounterPunch (and here) and periodically contributes to Always Already: A Critical Theory Podcast as the Frantz Fanon correspondent. In addition to her appointment at Berea College, Malaklou serves as visiting faculty in the Centre for Expanded Poetics at Concordia University in Montreal. She received her PhD in Culture and Theory and graduate certificates in Critical Theory and Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of California, Irvine and her BA in Cultural Anthropology and Women's Studies from Duke University.