‘Al-Mutanabbi Street’ symposium at IUPUI features reading by novelist Randa Jarrar

Award-winning novelist Randa Jarrar will conclude the fall Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series with a presentation at the Herron School of Art & Design Basile Auditorium as part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Symposium at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Jarrar’s reading at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 is free, but registration is required .

Jarrar grew up in Kuwait and Egypt and moved to the United States after the first Gulf War. Her first novel, “A Map of Home,” was published in half a dozen languages and won a Hopwood Award and an Arab-American Book Award. Barnes and Noble Review named it one of the best novels of 2008.

In 2010, the Hay Festival and the Beirut UNESCO’s World Capital of the Book named Jarrar one of the Beirut 39 — the 39 most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40. Her work, which includes short stories and essays, has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Utne Reader, Salon.com, Guernica, The Rumpus, the Oxford American, Ploughshares and Five Chapters.

IUPUI is hosting the inaugural Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Symposium on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 at University Library, 755 W. Michigan St. In conjunction with Jarrar’s reading and the symposium, Herron is exhibiting its “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” collection.

On March 5, 2007, in the middle of the Iraq war, a car bomb killed dozens and injured more than 100 people. The bomb also devastated al-Mutanabbi Street, a busy avenue of cafés and bookstores that had served as a meeting place for generations of writers and thinkers.

In response to the attack, San Francisco bookseller Beau Beausoleil rallied a community of international artists and writers to produce “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here,” a collection of letterpress-printed broadsides (poster-like works on paper), artists’ books (unique works of art in book form) and an anthology of writing focused on expressing solidarity with Iraqi booksellers, writers and readers.

“Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” includes 260 artists’ books, a publication titled “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad’s ‘Street of the Booksellers,’” plus 130 broadsides — one for every person killed or injured in the 2007 bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street.

The Herron Art Library at IUPUI will serve as one of only three repositories in the world — and the only U.S. location — to permanently host the complete Al-Mutanabbi Street collection. The symposium is the first of three biennial conferences IUPUI will sponsor to explore the themes and implications of the collection through papers, panels, posters and presentations.

Visitor parking for Jarrar’s reading is available in the North Street Garage, 819 W. North St.; the Vermont Street Garage, 1004 W. Vermont St.; and the Sports Complex Garage, 875 W. New York St.

The reading is co-sponsored by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute in collaboration with the Reiberg Family and several IUPUI academic units: Herron School of Art & Design, the IU School of Liberal Arts, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Office of Academic Affairs, University College and University Library.

Frederick Douglass scholars, IUPUI to celebrate publication of Douglass’ ‘The Heroic Slave’

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Frederick Douglass

INDIANAPOLIS — University scholars from the U.S. and Europe will gather at an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis event next month celebrating a new publication of an “underappreciated gem” – a novel authored by famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The Frederick Douglass Papers Edition, a documentary editing project of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, will host the conference, “Frederick Douglass’s ‘The Heroic Slave’ and the American Revolutionary Tradition” on Oct. 9 and 10. The conference takes place in conjunction with the Second Annual Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Public Lecture.

The two-day event will observe and assess the significance of the Frederick Douglass Papers’ publication of the first scholarly edition of “The Heroic Slave” by Douglass (1818-95), a runaway slave who became an internationally recognized orator, reformer, journalist and diplomat.

“I am very excited that the forthcoming symposium will generate public attention for this underappreciated gem in early African American literature,” said John R. Kaufman-McKivigan, editor of the Frederick Douglass Papers. “Douglass’ achievements as an orator, autobiographer and political leader are well-remembered but not his important accomplishment as a fiction writer.”

“The Heroic Slave” was inspired by the actions of Madison Washington, a cook on a ship sailing to New Orleans. Washington led an 1841 slave rebellion on a ship that then sailed instead to the Bahamas, allowing 128 slaves to find freedom.

The Douglass Papers’ publication of the book received funding as part of a $52,060 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Conference presenters will provide special insights and tools to educators to help them better explain Douglass’ life and times to their modern-day students, Kaufman-McKivigan said.

The Oct. 9 conference sessions will take place at The Tower, 850 W. Michigan St., on the IUPUI campus. The Oct. 10 sessions, along with the Second Annual Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Public Lecture and Workshop, will meet at the Jewel Center, 3333 N. Illinois St.

Robert S. Levine, professor of English at the University of Maryland, will deliver the Oct. 9 keynote address, “Heroic Slaves: Madison Washington and ‘My Bondage and My Freedom,’” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at The Tower.

V.P. Franklin, chair and professor of history and education at University of California Riverside, and editor of the Journal of African American History, will deliver the second conference keynote address, “The Power to Define: History, Scholarship, and Social Change,” from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Jewel Center.

Symposium sponsors include the IU School of Liberal Arts, the IUPUI departments of English and history, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, the IUPUI Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Indiana Humanities and the Africana Studies Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Additional conference details, including a complete syllabus, bios of speakers and online registration, are available on the conference website. For additional information, email douglass@iupui.edu.

Open Society Foundations Invites Applications for Social Justice Photography Projects

logoThe Open Society Documentary Photography Project is accepting applications for photography projects that can be used as tools for social change.

The foundation’s Audience Engagement program supports projects that address a pressing social justice or human rights problems and provide concrete ways for photographers, organizations, and their target audiences to create positive social impact. Projects that inspire audiences visually, create meaningful interactions with an existing body of photographic work, and use photography as the basis for programming that moves people beyond the act of looking and directly involves them in activities or processes that lead to social change are encouraged.

Beginning this year, the program offers two tracks of support for individuals at different phases of their audience engagement projects:

1) Project Development: Grantees will receive funding to attend an Open Society–organized retreat in December 2014. The event will be designed in collaboration with Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program, whose nationally recognized workshops provide participants with essential practical tools and strategies to help them move their project and career goals forward. Attendees will become part of a larger Audience Engagement grant cohort, with opportunities to connect both during the conference and after.

2) Project Implementation: Grantees will receive grants of up to $30,000 to execute (or continue executing) their projects as well as attend the December retreat.

Proposed projects should include partnerships between photographers and organizations recognized as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Each project partner should have the skills and track record to realize the project and must commit time and resources to implement it.

See the Open Society Foundations Web site for eligibility and application guidelines.