Woman at Batha, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 2011
"Teaching Photography in Saudi Arabia:
An American Woman's Experience"
Monday, January 30, 2012
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Elmira, NY 14901
This lecture is kindly funded by the Elmira College Arts and Lectures Committee.
Visit The Reinstein Symposium for a full schedule of events.
When Professor Janice Levy was invited to spend the 2010-2011 sabbatical year teaching photography to women at Princess Nora bint Abdulraham University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, she couldn’t possibly anticipate how transformative the experience would be for her and her Saudi students. Being in a nation where culture, custom, and religion dictates every aspect of daily life, Levy was fascinated and extremely challenged. She learned first-hand what women thought about wearing the mandatory long black cloak and veil called an abaya and niqab. She spoke to women about restrictions on their movement – women are forbidden to drive and must be accompanied by a male guardian when traveling. For many, full participation in public life is not an option.
In her presentation, Professor Levy will recount her experiences of living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and teaching photography in a country that, until 2006, had banned photographing in public places. She will also show her work, talk about the difficulties she encountered while photographing in Riyadh, and share some of the extraordinary photographs made by her students.
About the speaker:
Janice Levy is a Professor in the Cinema, Photography, and Media Arts Department at Ithaca College. She also chaired that department from 1998 to 2004. An acclaimed photographer, her work has been exhibited internationally and has been published widely in textbooks, magazines and the web. Levy is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, a Light Work Grant, and is a 1991 recipient of the prestigious National Kellogg Fellowship Award. In 2004, she was among the few finalists for the esteemed Honickmam Book Award with work from her series “Out of Place,” a collection of photographs made in Madagascar.
In January 2010, under the auspices of the Academic Leadership Center, Professor Levy conducted workshops on academic leadership to groups of women from three universities in Riyadh. She returned to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during academic year 2010-2011 to teach photography in the college of Fine Art and Design at Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University.