ACCUTE conference

ACCUTE Congress 2018 Plenary Speakers: Jahan Ramazani and Zarqa Nawaz

Jahan-at-torii-gate-2016Jahan Ramazani, “Gathering Linguistic Diversities: The Poem, the World, and Translation.” 3:30pm, Saturday May 26th, 2018 (Room TBA) Co-sponsored by CACLALS & ACCUTE

Jahan Ramazani is University Professor and Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since receiving his PhD at Yale in 1988. He is writing a book on poetry in a global age. His five previous books are Poetry and Its Others: News, Prayer, Song, and the Dialogue of Genres(2013); A Transnational Poetics (2009), winner of the 2011 Harry Levin Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association, awarded for the best book in comparative literary history published in the years 2008 to 2010; The Hybrid Muse: Postcolonial Poetry in English (2001); Poetry of Mourning: The Modern Elegy from Hardy to Heaney (1994), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Yeats and the Poetry of Death: Elegy, Self-Elegy, and the Sublime (1990). He is editor of The Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Poetry (2017); a co-editor of the most recent editions of The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry (2003) and The Norton Anthology of English Literature (2006, 2012, 2018); and an associate editor of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (2012). He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEH Fellowship, a Rhodes Scholarship, the William Riley Parker Prize of the MLA, and the Thomas Jefferson Award, the University of Virginia’s highest honor. In 2016, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

 2017 author photo Nawaz2.jpgZarqa Nawaz, “How to write a sitcom about Muslims – very carefully!” 3:30 pm, Sunday, May 27th, 2018 (room TBA) Co-sponsored by ACCUTE, CACLALS, ACQL, CSSR

Zarqa Nawaz is a Canadian writer, humourist, journalist, broadcaster, and filmmaker. She lives in Regina. She is a passionate advocate for women’s rights in the Muslim community and an important spokesperson for her faith beyond that community. Nawaz received a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Toronto. Rejected from medical school, she completed a second degree in journalism at Ryerson University in 1992 and went on to create several short comedy films that focused on Muslim issues in Canada. She worked as a journalist with CBC Radio, CBC Newsworld, CBC Television’s The National, and CTV’s Canada AM, and was an associate producer of several CBC Radio programs including Morningside. Her 1992 radio documentary The Changing Rituals of Death won multiple awards at the Ontario Telefest Awards. After taking a summer film workshop at the Ontario College of Art & Design, she began working as a filmmaker, using comedy to explore the relationships between Muslims and their neighbours in contemporary Canada. She has described the goal of her production company, FUNdamentalist Films, as “putting the ‘fun’ back into fundamentalism.”

When the National Film Board of Canada approached her to take on a more serious project, she produced the ground-breaking 2005 documentary Me and the Mosque, about controversies around Muslim women’s segregation in worship. It premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival and screened on Vision TV and CBC. This film ultimately inspired the television series Little Mosque on the Prairie. Set in the fictional town of Mercy, Saskatchewan, and filmed in Ontario and Saskatchewan, this sitcom was broadcast for six seasons between 2007 and 2012. It was the first television series about a Muslim community living in the West. Through it, Nawaz explored the cultural landscape for this religious minority in a post-9/11 Canada.

Nawaz’s best-selling comedic memoir Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, published in 2014, explores what it was like to grow up as a Canadian of Muslim faith. In a review, The Telegraph (UK) concluded that “her story will resonate with all independent-minded children of conservative immigrants, pulled between cultures and often falling foul of both,” and the Publisher’s Weekly assessment concluded that her memoir addresses important questions, “but always with a humorous and light touch, deftly balancing obvious commitments to her religion, her country, and her family with an irreverent approach to the status quo.” The book was a shortlisted nominee for the 2015 Stephen Leacock Award.

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