Re-reading the conference proceedings from the 2004 conference in Cairo that Mounira Soliman and I helped to organize, I am struck by a few key themes that merit revisiting: First, many who participated at the conference expressed their concerns about the destabilizing potential of cultural comparison between the U.S. and Arab settings. Eight years later, as we meet today in the context of the “Arab Spring,” it seems clear that such concerns were well-founded. However, I am doubtful that the fostering of cultural comparison by American Studies educators in the Arab university– something that I strongly urged at that time – played a significant role in fomenting the profound changes that we now see taking place in Arab society. Teaching cultural comparison in these challenging times is merely a modest service that American Studies educators can provide to their respective communities and universities, helping students to ask the right questions and think more deeply about what is happening in the world.
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Arab Spring and Its Implications for American Studies in Arab Universities: First Interdisciplinary American Studies Conference
“Kant’s Mochlos: The Destination of American Studies in the Arab University,” in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Arab Spring and Its Implications For American Studies, Edited by Amine Moumine. Casablanca, Morocco: U.S. Embassy & Casablanca University
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Arab Spring (2010-)--Cross-cultural studies; Area studies--Comparative method
Subjects - Names (LCNAF)
Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804--Influence
This paper was delivered in Marrakesh, Morocco at Plenary Lecture 5 at “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Arab Spring and Its Implications for American Studies in Arab Universities: First Interdisciplinary American Studies Conference,” Hassan II Mohammedia/Casablanca University. December 7, 2012.