Civilization? What’s Up with That?

When and Where

Thursday, April 21, 2022 10:00 am to 11:30 am


Adam Benkato, University of California Berkeley
Katherine Blouin, University of Toronto
Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Institute for Advanced Study
Suleyman Dost, Department for the Study of Religion/Department of Historical & Cultural Studies
Heba Mostafa, University of Toronto


The ongoing “freedom convoys” and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have led to a substantial flow of public Orientalism, as well as to the normalized and conspicuous use of the words “civilization” and “civilized” (with or without “the West” or “Western”).  Drawing from this highly historicized present moment, this panel will gather scholars working at the intersection of Ancient, Early Medieval and Islamic History. Together, we will reflect on questions such as: What are the ancient roots of the notion of “civilization”? How does the reality of the period spanning from the so-called ‘Classical’ past to the early Islamic period disrupt this narrative? What can teachers of ancient to medieval and Islamic History contribute to shifting popular Eurocentric, Orientalist, and Islamophobic narratives? And how can scholars working at the intersection of Antiquity and Early Islam best contribute to public conversations about, and the prevention of, the rise of White supremacy, fascism, and ethno-nationalism?

The panelists include the DSR's assistant professor Suleyman Dost.

→ Details and registration


Everyday Orientalism, Institute for Islamic Studies