Looking for inspiration as you #stayhome? The NYU AbuDhabi Institute talks are now available online

With people around the world staying home and maintaining physical distance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Institute has shortlisted five of their previous talks for the public to access online.

From talks of the ambiguity of humor in Egyptian politics and a reflection on culture, to the evolution of falconry and astronomical discoveries, these talks are all accessible via The Institute’s YouTube channel.

Notable speakers in these talks include Nobel Laureate in Literature Wole Soyinka; Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University Jessica Winegar; and Founder of Al Kamda Falcons Mohammed Kamda, among several others.

These talks are now available on The NYUAD Institute’s YouTube channel; they include:

The 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright, poet, and political activist. Born in 1934, he is considered among contemporary Africa’s greatest writers and a global artist and scholar. Soyinka has published more than 90 works and remains active in international, artistic, and human rights organizations. In this conversation, he reflects on culture and tradition, creativity and power, as well as activism and the artistic process. He ruminates on ‘Renaissance Next Time? Africa at the Crossroads’ exploring the themes of the world in Africa and Africa in the world.

Speaker: Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate in Literature

This talk examines how humor in 21st-century Egypt is both a form of subversive political action and a mode of hegemonic cultural expression that reinforces certain social hierarchies. Examples from before, during, and after the 2011 uprising demonstrate how important humor is in understanding the revolution and how it faltered.

Speaker: Jessica Winegar, President, Middle East Section, American Anthropological Association; Professor of Anthropology, Northwestern University

The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of the 21st century, but Western politics continues to approach it through the lens of 20th-century history. References to the New Deal, World War II, the Manhattan Project, Bretton Woods, and the Marshall Plan abound. This talk examines the enduring power of that framing and its limits in addressing our contemporary global crisis.

Speaker: Adam Tooze, Director of the European Institute; Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History, Columbia University

It would be virtually impossible to make a study of modern Emirati culture without uncovering the popular mythologies surrounding falcons. Falcons and falconry are essential and visible cornerstones of cultural identity in the Emirates. How did they get there? And, perhaps more importantly, where are they going? Can such ancient practices resist the relentless, hyper-modernization of our way of life? This talk examines how the practice has evolved, and what its next iteration may be.

Speaker: Mohammed Al Kamda, Founder of Al Kamda Falcons

Recent astronomical discoveries have revealed a mysterious Universe where most of the mass and energy exist in some invisible form. All the matter that we see may only amount to a small fraction of the whole Universe. While we think we know how to detect most of the cosmic mass, both visible and dark, we still don’t know what it is! What bizarre Universe do we live in? This talk addresses the quest, which led to the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics at Queen’s University, to solve one of the most exciting puzzles in physics today.

Speaker: Stéphane Courteau, Professor and Coordinator of Graduate Studies, Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Relativity, Queen’s University

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