Yemen expert to speak March 28 at McDaniel College

Charles Schmitz, president of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, will discuss the complexities of Yemen’s traditions at a lecture 7 p.m. March 28 in McDaniel Lounge.

Admission is free and open to the public. This lecture is sponsored by the McDaniel Department of Political Science and International Studies. For more information, call 410-857-2290.

Schmitz’s talk titled, “Understanding Contemporary Shari’a: the Transformation of Yemeni Zaydism from Imamate to Republic,” will examine the history of Yemen’s Zaydi community and its modern-day search for Republican principles of justice, democracy and development.

Schmitz’s opinion of Yemen’s political situation refutes theories that emphasize the weakness of the Yemeni state. For instance, he has noted, “the idea that the state can’t control the tribes is false. There’s an articulation of power with the tribes.”

Schmitz is a board member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, which promotes a broader and more nuanced understanding of the diversity of Muslim cultures. Schmitz said he hopes that informing students and faculty of research opportunities through the Center will be helpful to students pursuing Arab Studies here at McDaniel College.

Schmitz teaches at Towson University and has published widely on Yemen’s political and economic identities. He holds three degrees, including a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California at Berkeley.

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