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University of Arizona Professor Dr. Aomar Boum to Lecture at Kent State about Jewish Culture and Societies in the Sahara

Posted Sep. 19, 2011

Kent State University’s Department of Pan-African Studies presents Dr. Aomar Boum, who will speak about Jewish culture and societies in the Sahara. His lecture, titled “Saharan Jewry: History, Memory and the Politics of Identity,” takes place Monday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. in room 214 of Ritchie Hall. The lecture follows a reception that will be held at 6 p.m. on the first floor of Ritchie Hall.

The lecture and reception are free and open to the public. Boum will be available to Kent State students and faculty on Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 10:45 a.m. to noon at an informal gathering hosted by Hillel at Kent State.

Boum’s appearance at Kent State is co-sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program, with further support from the Department of History, the Office of Global Education and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“This is an opportunity for professors and students alike to learn more about the diverse cultures of North Africa,” said Wendy Wilson-Fall, chair and associate professor of Kent State’s Department of Pan-African Studies.

Boum is an assistant professor of Near Eastern studies, religious studies and Judaic studies at the University of Arizona. In 2006, he earned a Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona, with a minor in history and a minor in Near Eastern studies. Boum is currently the vice president of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies.

“We need to be informed about the Sahara because it is important historically and in the current political climate,” Wilson-Fall said. “It is of immediate importance to everyone.”

Boum was born and raised in the oasis of Mhamid, Foum Zguid (Providence of Tata, southern Morocco). He earned a master’s degree from Al-Akhawayn University and a bachelor’s degree from Cadi Ayyad University, both in Morocco.

Boum’s main research explores how different generations of Moroccan Muslims remember, picture and construct Moroccan Jews, Jewishness and Judaism. Boum’s research revolves generally around the Middle East, along with North, West and Sub-Saharan Africa. His interests include Moroccan history, ethnic and religious minorities, Islamic movements, Moroccan politics, Islam, migration, traditional Islamic and modern education, Arab media and youth movements.

Boum has published a number of articles on the history and historiography of the Jewish communities of Southern Morocco, Jewish-Muslim interfaith dialogue, representation of Jews in Moroccan museums, Jewish migration in the context of Arab nationalism and Zionism, and the Alliance Israelite Universelle in rural Moroccan communities.

For more information, visit the Jewish Studies Program website at www.kent.edu/cas/jewishstudiesprogram or the Pan-African Studies website at www.kent.edu/cas/pas.