Topic: Neglected Histories, New Odysseys, and the Cultural Work of Fantasy: A Conversation with Saladin Ahmed and Ausma Zehanat Khan

When: Thursday, March 12, 6:30 pm

Where: Student Center, Room 310, Eastern Michigan University

Speakers: Saladin Ahmed and Ausma Zehanat Khan

Saladin Ahmed is an award winning comic book, science fiction, and fantasy writer, as well as a poet and active twitter user. His comic novels include Black Bolt; Abbott, a paranormal thriller comic centered on investigative reporter Elena Abbott in ’70s Detroit; and Marvel’s Exiles, featuring a Bahamian Blink, a Valkyrie, and a Baby Wolverine all traveling through time trying to save the multiverse. His 2012 fantasy novel Throne of the Crescent Moon (described as “Lord of the Rings meets The Arab Spring”) is set in the medieval Muslim world and involves the aging ghul hunter Doctor Adoulla Makhslood and his assistant, Raseed bas Raseed — a Dervish warrior sworn to a holy path — charged to defeat a dark sorcerer. Ahmed’s widely-published poetry has been included in Post Gibran: Anthology of New Arab American Writing and Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream. Born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan, Ahmed attended Henry Ford Community College before transferring to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After receiving a B.A. in American Studies, Ahmed earned an MFA at Brooklyn College and an MA in English from Rutgers University. He currently lives in Michigan with his wife and twins.

Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of mysteries and fantasies. Her critically acclaimed mystery series figures the Pakistani-Canadian inspector Esa Khattak and his partner Rachel Getty, solving crimes that involve Human Rights violations, such as the mysterious death of a war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, in The Unquiet Death, or, in her most recent novel A Deadly Divide, a mass shooting at a Mosque in Quebec and the after-effects of a rising tide of Islamophobia in both the province and the nation. In an effort to increase readers’ understanding of the historical and political context her mysteries, Khan supplements them with brief postscripts, providing historical background and suggestions for further readings.

As an author of fantasy, Khan has produced three novels in her prospective Khorasan Quartet, involving the Companions of Hira, a group of heroic women who use their magical power to defeat an oppressive, patriarchal regime. Khan has also written a non-fiction book, Ramadan, for middle-grade students, and served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine to address a target audience of young Muslim women. Khan holds a Ph.D. in international human rights law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. She practiced immigration law in Toronto and has taught international human rights law at Northwestern University, as well as human rights and business law at York University. She is a long-time community activist and writer, and currently lives in Colorado with her husband.

Pre-Dialogue Reception

When: Thursday, March 12th, 4:30-5:30

Where: Student Center 310


Past Dialogues

2019- “Stand Whose Ground?” Indigeneity, Migrancy, and Sovereginty with Jodi A. Byrd and Shailja Patel.

2018 – “Environmental Futures” with speakers Ursula Heise and Rob Nixon

2017 – “Temporalities of Crisis and Condition” with speakers Lisa Lowe and Mimi Thi Nguyen

2016 – Homi K. Bhabha and Claudia Rankine

2015 – “After Post-Structuralism?” with speakers Nancy Armstrong and Jonathon Elmer

2014 – “Thinking Bodies” with speakers Laura Otis and Jay Clayton.

2013 –“The Queer Commons” with speakers José Esteban Muñoz and Samuel Ray Delany, Jr.

2012 -“Nonhumans: Ecology, Ethics, Objects” with speakers Jeffrey J. Cohen and Timothy Morton

2011 – “Failing to be Subjects: On Queerness and Negativity” with speakers Lauren Berlant and Jack Judith Halberstam

2010 – “Globalization Now: Flows and Limits” with speakers Crystal Bartolovich and Paul Smith