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Public Engagement

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Grounded Struggles: Land, Dispossession, and Freedom

Friday, February 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang College 65 West 11th Street Room B500, New York, NY 10003

Please join us for a series of films and discussions on grassroots struggles for land, dignity, the means of subsistence, and self-determination in Brazil, Morocco, Tunisia, Haiti and the U.S. 

In the face of (neo)colonial/(neo)imperial interventions, increased state repression and intensified capital expansion, these grounded struggles shed light on the mechanisms of dispossession as well as cartographies of resistance, solidarity, and transnational connections. 

By forging alternative modes of development that are not predicated on extraction, surplus, or disposability, these movements expand the horizons of how we might imagine and practice new forms of value and social relations to challenge the structures and logics of racial capitalism.

Films:
Landless Moroccans (Dir. Soraya El Kahlaoui, 2017)
Couscous (Dir. Habib Ayeb, 2017)
Strong Roots (Dir. Maria Luisa Mendonça, 2001)

Speakers: 
Anaheed Al-Hardan, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the American University of Beirut and the Arcapita Visiting Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University
Habib Ayeb, Associate Professor at the University of Paris 8 in Saint Denis, France
Mamyrah Dougé-Prosper, Postdoctoral Scholar, Institute of Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean, CUNY Graduate Center
Kamau Franklin, Organizer and Founder of Community Movement Builders, Atlanta, Georgia; former organizer, Jackson Plan, Jackson, Mississippi
Soraya El Kahlaoui, doctoral student in sociology, l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
Maria Luisa Mendonça, Visiting Scholar, Center for Place, Culture and Politics, CUNY Graduate Center

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Program 
1:30: Screening: "Landless Moroccans" followed by Q&A with Director Soraya El Kahlaoui 

3:15: Screening: “Couscous: Seeds of Dignity” followed by Q&A with Director Habib Ayeb 

5.00: Screening: “Strong Roots” followed by Q&A with Director Maria Luisa Mendonça 

6:15-8:00: Closing Panel -- A Conversation: Grounded Struggles as Prospects for International Resistance: Anaheed Al-Hardan; Mamyrah Dougé-Prosper; Kamau Franklin; Soraya El Kahlaoui; Maria Luisa Mendonça

 

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Co-sponsored by:
GLUE (Global, Urban, and Environmental Studies); Anthropology Department; Sociology Department; The Vera List Center; Lang Dean's Office of Global Programs; Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism StudiesStudley Graduate Program in International Affairs

With:
New York University: Kevorkian Center for Near East Studies
CUNY Graduate Center: The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics
Jadaliyya

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Speaker bios and film synopses: 

Anaheed Al-Hardan is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the American University of Beirut and the Arcapita Visiting Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. She is the author of Palestinians in Syria: Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities (Columbia University Press, 2016). Her new research projects examines Arab decolonial theory within the context of south-south philosophies of liberation and decolonization.

Habib Ayeb: born in Tunisia, Habib is a social geographer, activist and filmmaker. He is also a researcher and Associate Professor at the University of Paris 8 in Saint Denis (France). His domains of research are: competition over resources in rural and agricultural areas; poverty and marginalization dynamics and processes; and food sovereignty. He also made other documentaries such as “Gabes Labess” in 2014.

Mamyrah Dougé-Prosper is a Postdoctoral Scholar with the Institute of Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC) at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). Her research focuses on the neoliberal configurations of social movements in the American Global South engaged in the alter-globalization movement. Her doctoral work centered on a coalition of organizations calling for an end to the occupation of Haiti. Dougé-Prosper is concerned with the construction of postcolonial nationalist ideologies and collective identities in relation to race and class, gender and sexuality, education and language, and religion.

Kamau Franklin, Organizer and Founder of Community Movement Builders (Atlanta, Georgia). Kamau Franklin has been a dedicated community organizer for over twenty years, first in New York City and now based in the south. He is a former organizer on the Jackson Plan in Mississippi, and was the first campaign manager for Chokwe Lumumba’s successful mayoral election, in Jackson, Mississippi. For 18 years he was a leading member of a national grassroots organization dedicated to the ideas of self-determination and Malcolm X. He has worked on various issues including youth organizing and development, police misconduct, and creating sustainable urban communities. Kamau has led and developed community cop-watch programs, freedom school programs for youth, electoral and policy campaigns, large-scale community gardens, organizing collectives and alternatives to incarceration programs. 

Soraya El Kahlaoui is currently a doctoral student in sociology at l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales’ in Paris. her doctoral research aims to analyze the forms of appropriation of public space within the framework of the democratization process that has emerged in Morocco since 2011. She is also an activist and has been coordinating solidarity campaigns with prisoners of the Hirak movements in the Rif, Northern Morocco.

Maria Luisa Mendonça is a visiting scholar in the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). She holds a PhD in Human Geography from the Department of Philosophy, Literature and Social Sciences at University of Sao Paulo (USP). She is the founder of Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Network for Social Justice and Human Rights -www.social.org.br) in Brazil and the editor of the book “Human Rights in Brazil,” which has been published annually since 2000. From 2014 until 2016 she was a visiting professor in the International Relations Department of University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). In 2013 she was a visiting scholar in the Development Sociology Department at Cornell University. 

“Landless Moroccans”
A powerful documentary by Soraya El Kahlaoui about the resistance of Douar Ouled Dlim’s residents to their evictions from their homes and land that are situated at the heart of a chic neighbourhood in Rabat. Their struggle against the land grab and the greed of real-estate developers continues today. 2017. 60 minutes
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BeWIy5qEOo

“Couscous: Seeds of Dignity”: Almost self-sufficient in grains until the beginning of the 20th century, Tunisia now imports more than half of its food needs as dependency increases from one year to the next. Habib Ayeb’s documentary focuses on the conditions of cereal and couscous production and demonstrates how the food question is in fact at the heart of human dignity and food sovereignty. 2017. 60 minutes.
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/219816447

“Strong Roots” Directed by Maria Luisa Mendonça, this film documents the struggles of peasants in the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil, which is engaged in a national political campaign to occupy and cultivate unused land. Interviews with several individuals and families are blended with remarkable footage of a mass occupation of unused farmland and subsequent violent confrontations with Brazilian police, vividly illustrating the nature of Brazilian peasants' struggle not only for a piece of land to farm but also for a sense of dignity and justice in their lives. 2001, 41 minutes.

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