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Lecture on Muslim Cultural Identity and the Narrative Arts at College


DATE: October 31, 2008

CONTACT: Lisa Saunders

(845) 574 - 4244



Lecture on Muslim Cultural Identity and the Narrative Arts at Rockland Community College


Suffern, NY - The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) presents its second lecture in its Fall '08 "Human Diversity & Pedagogy" lecture series at Rockland Community College.


Kavitha Rajagopalan, author of the book, "Muslims of Metropolis: The Stories of Three Immigrant Families in the West," will present "Cultural Identity and the Narrative Arts" on Tuesday, November 4, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 4 - 6 p.m. in the Technology Center Ellipse (Room 8180). Prior to the afternoon lecture, light refreshments will be served. A discussion session will be held at the conclusion.  Admission is free and open to the public.


"Muslims of Metropolis"is anarrative nonfiction examination of migration, integration and identity formation in three Muslim immigrant families – a Palestinian family from Jerusalem to London, a Kurdish family from Turkey to Berlin, a Bangladeshi family from Dhaka to New York City. Rajagopalan’s research involved policy analysis, in-depth interviews and social immersion, media monitoring, and took her to Germany, the U.K., the Palestinian Territories, India, Syria, and Turkey.


The presentation will introduce the participants to the philosophy of narrative arts (film, literature, television), to the concepts of cultural narrative and collective identity formation, and to the experiences and identities of Muslim immigrants in the West.


Rajagopalan was a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in political science, through which she studied political identity and lobby formation in Berlin’s Turkish community in 2000. In 2003, she was awarded the Foreign Language and Area Studies scholarship by the U.S. Department of Education to deepen her research on South Asian Muslim societies. In 2004, she was named a John J. McCloy Journalism Fellow with the American Council on Germany, researching Kurdish minority identity in Germany, focusing on religious subcommunities such as the Yezidi and Alevi, linguistic and regional sub-identities, and intracommunity political divergences. For the past four years, Kavitha has worked in the financial services industry. She received her Bachelor’s degree in international relations theory from the College of William & Mary and her Master’s of International Affairs in International Media and Communications from Columbia University’s School of International and Political Affairs.


For more information, contact Dr. Nancy Leech, Professor of English and Co-Chair of CETL at (845) 574-4426 or June Powell at (845) 574-4332. For more information about Rockland Community College, visit



Rockland Community College, a unit of the State University of New York, is located 25 miles northwest of NYC. The majority of its students transfer to four-year colleges, and many find immediate employment upon earning their associate's degree or certificate. The College also offers others, from preschoolers to senior citizens, the opportunity to simply learn something new. Quality a price you can afford.

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