Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
by Laila Lalami

Community Reading

Ongoing

Each summer, Lafayette invites the entire community—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our neighbors in Easton and surrounding areas—to read a work of literature that we will explore together throughout the upcoming academic year.

The choice for summer 2017 is Laila Lalami’s acclaimed 2005 debut novel, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.

From the publisher:

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco. As four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain, author Laila Lalami asks, What has driven them to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger? There’s Murad, a gentle, unemployed man who’s been reduced to hustling tourists around Tangier; Halima, who’s fleeing her drunken husband and the slums of Casablanca; Aziz, who must leave behind his devoted wife in hope of securing work in Spain; and Faten, a student and religious fanatic whose faith is at odds with an influential man determined to destroy her future. Sensitively written with beauty and boldness, this is a gripping book about what propels people to risk their lives in search of a better future.

“A dream of a debut, by turns troubling and glorious, angry and wise.” —Junot Diaz

Gain a little insight on the story from the author herself, add this novel to your summer reading pile, and then join us throughout the 17/18 academic year for multidisciplinary events that will provide a context for us to delve into the book’s themes together, as a community.

 

Events

Cheikh Lô & The Niguel Band

Cheikh Lô & The Ndiguel Band

CONCERT

Wednesday
September 27, 2017
8 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
317 Hamilton Street (at High Street)
College Hill, Easton, PA

“Cheikh Lô has a voice that can move from a prescient whisper to a searing gut cry… an eclectic composer and arranger who tries new ideas on every song” (NPR). Conveying a laidback funk within the rippling polyrhythms of Senegal’s signature mbalax, he cross-pollinates with Ghanaian high-life, Jamaican reggae, and Afro-Cuban beats that keep his band’s talking drums particularly chatty. With a gentle, high tremolo or sudden bass-line plunge, Cheikh Lô implores listeners to embrace peace, love, and steadfast spirituality; one needn’t be fluent in Wolof or Bambara to be carried away by his captivating voice.

Tickets available from July 1 at the Williams Center for the Arts.

The Sachal Jazz Ensemble

The Sachal Jazz Ensemble

CONCERT

Thursday
November 2, 2017
8 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
317 Hamilton Street (at High Street)
College Hill, Easton, PA

In defiance of years-long Taliban influence on local culture, Pakistan’s classical masters preserved their music and improvisational techniques underground, emerging in 2011 with an ambitious recording covering Western jazz standards on traditional instruments. The Sachal Jazz Ensemble’s angle on Paul Desmond’s “Take Five” went viral, earning them world-wide recognition and an invitation from Wynton Marsalis to perform at Lincoln Center. In this cross-cultural, genre-bending concert, works by Mancini, Brubeck, and Grusin converse with practices from a cradle of civilization on sitar, flute, sarangi, and tablas—truly the quintessence of “world music.”

Tickets available from July 1 at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Lalla Essaydi

Lalla Essaydi

Gallery Show

February 3 – April 7, 2018

Williams Center Gallery
Williams Center for the Arts
317 Hamilton Street (at High Street)
College Hill, Easton, PA

Lalla Essaydi isn’t afraid to appropriate Orientalist imagery from the Western painting tradition in order to invite viewers to reconsider the Orientalist mythology. Her sumptuous explorations of the image of woman in Islamic society address the complex reality of Arab female identity from the unique perspective of personal experience. As Essaydi puts it, “In my art, I wish to present myself through multiple lenses—as artist, as Moroccan, as traditionalist, as liberal, as Muslim. In short, I invite viewers to resist stereotypes.”

Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity

Ping Chong + Company
Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity

Theater

Friday
February 9, 2018
8 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
317 Hamilton Street (at High Street)
College Hill, Easton, PA

With stark simplicity and a narrative that feels remarkably relevant to the moment, Beyond Sacred stages the personal and complex stories of young Muslim New Yorkers at a time of increasing Islamophobia. Created by Ping Chong + Company, this interview-based theater production illuminates the daily experiences of individuals who reflect a wide range of Muslim identities, yet share the commonality of coming of age after 9/11 and of being the “other” in America. A poignant new work, and “a lesson in human understanding, drawn from real lives” (The New York Times).

Tickets are available from July 1 at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Niyaz

Niyaz
The Fourth Light Project

Concert

Wednesday
April 11, 2018
8 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
317 Hamilton Street (at High Street)
College Hill, Easton, PA

A heady blend of acoustic and electronic, East and West, poetry and politics, Niyaz’s richly textured arrangements, sweeping choruses, and velvety vocals—courtesy of front woman Azam Ali—take inspiration from Sufi poetry, Middle Eastern folk music, and the musicians’ experiences as 21st-century global citizens. It’s “Los Angeles meets New Delhi meets Tehran,” notes NPR, yet The Fourth Light Project is a world unto itself—a modern-day global trance experience, featuring one of the first female whirling dervishes and hypnotic body-mapping projections that respond to sound and movement in real time.

Tickets available from July 1 at the Williams Center for the Arts.

About

Building Bridges and Amplifying Voices Within Contemporary Muslim Cultures

Lafayette College and the Williams Center for the Arts embark on a multidisciplinary project that explores a variety of Muslim artistic expressions.

Tapestries: Voices Within Contemporary Muslim Cultures features mainstage performances at the Williams Center and related programs throughout campus that focus on arts and culture with roots in Muslim-majority regions of the world. In shared experiences between artists and audiences, Tapestries offers opportunities for all of us to increase our knowledge and understanding, engage with new cultural and artistic forms, and cultivate a sense of global identity.

We invite everyone—students; faculty; staff; residents of Easton, the Lehigh Valley, and the surrounding areas; travelers just passing through—to join us for concerts, plays, gallery exhibitions, films, lectures, roundtable discussions, and more. Events will be added continually throughout 2017 and 2018 and announced on this website as details become available. Please join us!

Tapestries is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Building Bridges: Arts, Culture, and Identity, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic ArtRead more about the Building Bridges program here.