Iraqi Exile, Artist, Journalist, and Author Haifa Zangana is Keynote Speaker

Symposium Dates: Nov. 1, 5, 8, 10, & 13, 2007

The Center for Art and Public Policy at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, has announced the topic for its tenth annual Days of Community Symposium, entitled Remembering History/Activating Ourselves-Artists and Civic Agency. Hosted by Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School, the conference will be devoted to exploring the ways by which artists and citizens can make their voices heard. It will take place over five days-November 1, 3, 5, 8 & 13-and feature a keynote address, photo exhibition, panel discussion, documentary screening, and staged reading of a play.

Against the cultural dilemmas of historical amnesia and policy illiteracy, of foreshortened attention and information glut, what sustains the career of a critical idea? How does personal conviction and self-initiative interact with the conventional sense of what is permissible and possible? How does a person’s social location bear on one’s feeling of entitlement to engage the world? When dealing with difficult issues of disruption and violence, what allows for a deeper recognition of pain in the face of calls for instant healing or dismissive apology? These questions and others will be discussed throughout the symposium.

The featured event will be the keynote address by Haifa Zangana, an Iraqi exile, artist, journalist, and author of the new book, City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman’s Account of War and Resistance (Seven Stories Press). After the fall of the Hussein government, Zangana returned to Bagdad to experience first hand the effects of the war. This is her first visit to the United States and corresponds to the publication of her book. The keynote will be delivered on Monday, November 5, at 7 p.m., The Great Hall, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. This event is co-sponsored by the Cooper Union Department of Public Programs.

Days of Community 2007 events are free and open to the public. A complete list of events follows:

Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq - A Gallery Exhibit of Photographic Portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Thursday, November 1st at 6:00 pm
The Gulf & Western Gallery at 721 Broadway
Presented by the Department of Photography and Imaging

The photographs were created by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders for the HBO Documentary Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq. (The documentary will be screened on November 8th.)

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ portraits are in over 25 museum collections, including 700 art-world images in both the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He is a contributing photographer at Vanity Fair, and his photographs appear regularly in publications worldwide. An HBO Documentary Films® Event.

Days of Community Keynote by Haifa Zangana
Monday, November 5th at 7:00 pm
The Great Hall at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Reception and book signing to follow
Co-Sponsored by the Cooper Union Department of Public Programs

The Days of Community will feature a keynote by Haifa Zangana, an Iraqi exile, artist, journalist, and author. After the fall of the Hussein government, Zangana returned to Baghdad to experience first hand the effects of the war. This is her first visit to the United States and corresponds to the publication of her new book, City of Widows (Seven Stories Press).

Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq - A Special Presentation of the HBO documentary
Thursday, November 8th at 6:00 pm
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Film Center at NYU
36 East 8th Street
Co-Sponsored by the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, The Directors Series

In a war that has left more than 27,000 wounded, the documentary looks at a new generation of veterans. Executive Producer James Gandolfini interviews ten soldiers and marines who reveal their feelings on their future, their severe disabilities, and their devotion to America. The documentary surveys the physical and emotional cost of war through memories of their “alive day,” the day they narrowly escaped death in Iraq. An HBO Documentary Films® Event

There Was and There Wasn’t
A pay originally created and produced by the Tisch Drama Department
Saturday, November 10th at 7:00 pm
The Shop Theatre - 2nd floor at 721 Broadway
Co-Sponsored by the Undergraduate Drama Department

“The 24-hour news cycle bombards us with stories and images about Iraq, yet we feel we know next to nothing about this country that our government has intervened in so decisively. Wanting to make a different connection to this subject, we were fortunate enough to meet wounded Iraq veteran Sgt. Mkesha Clayton, who generously shared not only her experiences but also her convictions, loyalties, and, above all, her extraordinary spirit. Secondly, our desire to go beyond what the media tells us about Iraq, but to do so without indulging ethnographic fantasies of “knowing the other,” led us to an Iraqi folk-tale, a story of strange couplings and uncanny births, of bizarre captivities and odd outcomes.” Dramaturgy note Written by Una Chaudhuri, professor of English and drama, NYU

Thinking the Iraq War - Civic Trajectories
Tuesday, November 13th, at 7:00 pm
721 Broadway - room 606
A reception will follow.

A panel discussion convened by Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell will look at the war from the perspective of how citizens get their own voices and views heard in the public domain. The panel includes businessman Richard Vague who wrote an influential unpublished position paper on U.S. foreign policy, Ella Shohat, widely published professor of art and public policy and Middle Eastern studies who comes from an Iraqi-Jewish family, and Christian Parenti, who as an embedded reporter for The Nation wrote an account of the war, The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq (The New Press).

For detailed information, call 212.992.8200; or visit

The Center for Art and Public Policy is the public face of the Department of Art and Public Policy at the Tisch School of the Arts. One of the goals of the Center is to raise critical issues concerning the arts and to host a Day of Community symposium each year for such purpose. The Department of Art and Public Policy, established by the faculty and the Dean of the Tisch School, is an interdisciplinary initiative that includes faculty and students from the 13 departments of Tisch. The Department embodies the School’s recognition that young artists and scholars need an opportunity to incubate their ideas outside of the safe haven of the academy, in a dialectic with real-world problems.

Press Contact

Richard Pierce
Richard Pierce
(212) 998-6796