Round Table: Women, Gender and Sexuality Issues in the Mediterranean” on Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Speakers and Topics:

Speaker: Ryme Seferdjeli, Department of History, University of Ottawa

Title: “Constructing Gender, Sexuality and Nation: The State and Women’s Sports in Boumediène’s Algeria, 1965-1978″

Speaker: Dina Salha, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa

Title: “Queer politics of Negotiation: Lebanese Helem and political dissensus

Abstract:LGTBQ rights in the Middle East have been increasingly at the forefront of political and intellectual debates in the past few years with the public mobilization around Human Rights issues. Based on an ongoing research project, this presentation analyzes critically the social, cultural, and political value of the non-profit organization “HELEM ” (Arabic acronym stands for “”Lebanese Protection for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders” and it also means ‘dream’ or ”rêve”)on public discourse and contention in public life in negotiating and combatting homophobia in the Middle East and particularly in Lebanon.Moreover, as a voice for LGTBQ rights, HELEM acquired a status amongst the Arab LGTBQ diasporic community in Canada and established its chapter in Montreal in 2004 and obtained legal status in Quebec.  Framed by the controversies of theoretical perspectives on Modernity, Post-Colonialism, and Agency, and evaluating its trans-regional connections and influence, the analysis explores HELEM’s role in political dissensus and in providing an intermediary space for the existence of more fluid identities dealing with the ambivalence of belonging.

Speaker: Elia Eliev, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Thorneleo University.

Title: “Queer Studies & Curiosities in Postwar Lebanon & Contemporary Visual Art

Abstract: Over the past decade, scholarly works have examined, on the one hand, discourses of violence, militarization and hegemonic masculinity in times of war in the Arab world. On the other hand, scholars have examined the plurality and diversity of men in relation to social practices of the Arab cultures. Within the continuity of these discussions on masculinities, there has been little discussion concerning non-heterosexual or queer representations of masculinities in the Arab world, with only a few exceptions such as Massad, 2007; Moussawi, 2007; McCormick, 2011. Therefore, this paper addresses the representations of queer masculinities as artistically expressed and negotiated in the video“How I Love You” (2001) by internationally acclaimed Beirut-based artist Akram Zaatari. The video features several young self-identified queer Lebanese men who open lyspeak about their sexual identity in the face of criminality and social taboo o fhomosexuality in Lebanon. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that integrates criticalart theories and queer theory, I examine how Zaatari employs visual queer strategies,such as (dis) identification and opacity within the larger sociocultural context of post-civil war Lebanon, as well as within existing feminist and contemporary art discourses onthe body, identity, and performativity. By closely examining visual representations of sexual practices, primarily among queer men in Lebanon, this paper sheds new light on the little recognized socio-spatial artistic queer expressions in Lebanon. This paper contributes to furthering scholarship in the disciplines of critical masculinity studies, gender studies, and practices and theories of global contemporary art—especially performative practices of video art. By examining local, queer visual representations of masculinities, we may open a liberal discussion on the process of masculinization, and to elaborate on its future artistic trends both in the Arab world and in Western countries.



The Serata Abruzzese Fundraising Dinner

On 17 November 2017, for Stem Cell Research at The Ottawa Hospital was a rousing success.Thank you for the wonderful outpouring of support from the Italian community of Ottawa and to the Ottawa community at large.I am privileged to announce that given your generosity, theMediterranean Research Group at the University of Ottawa will donate the sum of $3275.00 towards Stem Cell Research The Ottawa Hospital.A truly magnificent gesture which would have been impossible without the moral support and physical work of many people, most of which donot wish to be named. Nevertheless, I wish to thank Meghan Mack,Development Officer, Community Engagement at The Ottawa Hospital;Dr. Lothar Heubsch and the Bone Marrow Transplant Team at TheOttawa Hospital; Comites Ottawa; Laurysen Kitchens; CentroAbruzzese Canadese Inc.; Associazione Pratola Peligna di Ottawa;Associazione Molisani di Ottawa; Associazione Rapinese di Ottawa;Associazione Roccamontepiano S.R.; Patrica Social Club; Tele30; TheNational Congress of Italians Canadians (National Capital District); theindefatigable Radamis Zacky, and all the student help.A sincere and heartfelt thanks to our special guests, Chef DomenicoSantacroce, his wife Antonella Di Cristofaro, Head Chef FrancoRanallo, Nonna Dora, Signora Ranallo. Their continuing friendship is afulcrum of strength for me.Their brand of food and culture is a winning mixture for the VallePeligna. As ambassadors of Abruzzo, they are spreading the wordworldwide that se vuoi vivere felice devi vivire quassu’!A salute to Chef Rocco Vizzari and the kitchen staff of Villa Marconiwithout whose professional demeanor this event would not have beenpossible. A final shout to Domenic Ricci, a pillar of Villa Marconi, andGiuseppe Castrucci, longtime friend and confidant. They never say die,nor do I.