American Corner Innsbruck

    Talk by Prof. Khalid Bekkaoui on “Muslim Discovery of America”

    Monday, November 3, 2014, 10.15 am, HS 3 Humanitis Building

    In his lecture, LFUI guest professor Khalid Bekkaoui did a survey of North African discovery of the New World. He looked at the experience of Muslim slaves in seventeenth- and eighteenth- century America and the cultural encounters of traders, diplomats, and professional performers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He also analyzed how traveling to America has impacted their cultural and identity and perception of the world as well as the contribution of these Muslim expatriates to the making of America. He placed a special focus on Oriental women’s transatlantic journeys and the implication of that on Islamic womanhood.

    Professor Bekkaoui surprised his audience with stories about female Moroccan artists who made a career in the US already from the time of the Early Republic onwards. One spectacular case is that of Eva Vouletti, who balanced on the not yet finished Brooklyn Bridge (then still called East River Bridge) in 1909. In a newspaper article it says that "[Vouletti] won the other day the honor of being the first of her sex to achieve the perilous feat of traversing the slender, swaying footpath connecting the towers of the new east river bridge." 

    Prof Bekkaoui is a guest Professor at the University of Innsbruck, American Studies Department and is staying until the middle of December in order to help work on the ESCAE project. He will also be holding some more lectures and talks, in which the ACI hopes to be involved in.

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