Islam, The Public and Private Spheres
5 to 7 December 2002, New York, United States


The distinction between public and private is one of
society's most crucial and contested issues. Islam, one
of the world's most populous religions, is also, at least
in the West, perhaps the most misunderstood. This
conference explores the diversity of Islamic societies
worldwide, probing their varying conceptions of privacy
as a way of illuminating how these societies resemble
and differ from each other and our own, at a time when
this understanding is of critical importance.

Conference Program:

Session 1: Keynote Address     6:00 - 7:30 p.m
Understandings of public and private in Islamic societies.
Speaker: Moshen Kadivar

Session 2:  Islamic Law:  Boundaries and Rights:
Case Studies     9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
How are questions of boundaries and rights negotiated in
states governed by Sharia?  How do these negotiations
compare with those in predominantly Muslim states
governed by civil law, or possibly Islamic communities in
the diaspora?
Speakers: Baber Johansen, Brinkley Messick, Roy
Mottahedeh, Frank Vogel
Moderator: Talal Asad

Session 3: Individual, Family, Community and State:
Case Studies     1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
What is the concept of the individual?  How are
distinctions between public and private articulated within
and across the boundaries of individual, family,
community and state?
Speakers: Juan Cole, Nilufer Gole, Mehrangiz Kar,
Saba Mahmood
Moderator: Leila Ahmed

Session 4:  Media and Information: Case Studies
6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Who determines what and how information is made
public?  What is the role of the media in civil society and
its impact on privacy?
Speakers: Geneive Abdo, Jon Anderson, Hafez al-Mirazi,
Hassan Mneimneh
Moderator: Kian Tajbakhsh

Session 5: Representations of Privacy in Literature and
Film: Case Studies 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
How are the concepts of privacy and the private sphere
interpreted and represented in literature and film?  Art
imitating life/life imitating art?
Speakers: Hamid Dabashi, Assia Djebar, Azar Nafisi,
Orhan Pamuk
Moderator: Farh

Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: