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A. Al-Azraki

Assistant Professor and Playwright

amir al-azraki

aaliazraki@uwaterloo.ca

Education

PhD in Theatre Studies York University
TESOL Certificate York University
TASOL Diploma Education Canada College

Courses taught:

  • Introduction to Arabic I
  • Introduction to Arabic II
  • Intermediate Arabic I
  • Intermediate Arabic II
  • Arab Culture
  • Migration, diaspora, and exile: Muslim narratives
  • ESL 129R Written Academic English
  • ARB 1010, Introduction to Modern Standard Arabic, York University
  • ARB1000, Arabic for Beginners, York University
  • ARA 312, Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic, University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Modern Drama, University of Basra, Iraq

Research Interests:

My primary areas of research interest are Comparative Literature (Arabic and English), Forum Theatre and social change, drama in Education and Language Pedagogy.  I am principally interested in the representation of political violence in modern Arabic and English drama. 

Teaching Philosophy:

I believe that learning is an experiential and reciprocal process in which students develop a capacity for self-direction and self- generation of ideas, and also they learn through action, experience and exploration mediated in a collaborative and cooperative educational setting.

My role in student learning lies in the following: 

  1. motivating students to examine their ideas and explore new ones; 
  2.  facilitating  communicatively to construct a collaborative learning experience in the classroom;
  3.  providing opportunities for students to interactively express their opinions in multiple ways;
  4.  guiding them to a variety of resources and experiences;
  5.  making sure that my classroom is a safe and comfortable place

To engage in the afore-mentioned activities I utilize interactive dramatic and theatrical techniques (such as role-play/role-reversal, image theatre, narration, games etc.) which help to create a suitable environment to exchange and analyze concepts productively and to effectively negotiate knowledge among students. Such techniques engage the senses, emotions, imagination, and the intellect by enacting the subject matter and making it memorable, meaningful and intellectually entertaining. However, using such an approach is not without its risks. My experience and training in this field allow me to negotiate these risks carefully adapting to the context and course content, and also combining with techniques from other teaching methods such as group discussion, debate, multi-media, as well as online and external resources.

Publications:

Contemporary Plays from Iraq: An Anthology. In collaboration with James Al-Shamma, and prefaced by Marvin Carlson. Methuen Drama (Bloomsbury), London, UK, scheduled for release in January 2017.

The Birth of Modern Iraqi Theatre: Church Drama in Mosul in the Late Nineteenth Century. In collaboration with James Al-Shamma. ArabStages, Vol.2, No.1 (Fall 2015), Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications.

Courage: A Monologue on Bullshit. Book Wings Project. Iowa City, USA. March, 2014.

The Politics of Change and Theatrical Interactivity in the Theories of Bertolt Brecht, Antonin Artaud and Augusto Boal. University of Basra, Majala al-Adab, January 2012.

Banking Collapses: Transforming the Learning Environment in Iraq through Forum Theatre. Reimagining Research for Reclaiming the Academy in Iraq: Identities and Participation in Post-conflict Inquiry. Sense, Rotterdam, South Holland, NL, 2012. 

Clash of the Barbarians: The Representation of Political Violence in Contemporary English and Arabic Language Plays about Iraq (Doctoral Dissertation).  York University, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2011.

The Politics of Violence in John Arden’s and Harold Pinter’s Selected Plays. Mustansirya University, Majala Kulia al-Tarbia al-Asasiya, Baghdad, Vol.11, 2011, pp. 69-86.

Translation of Kasim Matrood’s Savage Ritual, http://www.masraheon.com/old/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6461&sid=34cf09621db084f345e63d04e7abe3d4, 2011

The Politics and Theatricality of Ashura Rituals in Iraq. Baghdad University, Majala al-Adab, Issue 93, May 2010, pp. 34-71.

Stuck & Judgment Day. First Choice Books, Victoria, BC, Canada, 2008.

Ashley Plays. Common Plants, <http://www.yorku.ca/gardens/html/>, 2008.

Conference & Workshop Presentations

University of Massachusetts Joiner Center, Theatre and Social Change. Boston, MA, US, June 25, 2014.

University of Massachusetts Joiner Center, The Death of the Educator in Iraq: Towards A Terror of Ignorance. Boston, MA, US, June 26, 2014.

York University, Home and Land, Transnationalism, Identity and Arab Canadians (ACANS): Waiting for Obama: The Forgotten Black in Iraq. Toronto, ON, Canada, March 6, 2014. 

University of Massachusetts Joiner Center, Responding to Upheavals in the Arab World: The Role of the Playwright in Time of Crisis. Boston, MA, US, June 28, 2013.

University of Massachusetts Joiner Center, Writers Workshop: Modern Drama and War. Boston, MA, US, June 18, 2012.

freeDimensional: Training on Consultancy in Cases of Artists in Danger. Toronto, ON, Canada, July 15, 2011.

TCG National Conference: What If…We Could Bridge the Divides? The Role of Theatre in Iraqi-US Reconciliation and Unsafe Expressions: Protecting Artists from Violence and Control. Los Angeles, CA, US, June 18, 2011.

FOOT Performing Back, University of Toronto Graduate Centre for Study of Drama: Dramatizing Political Violence: Contemporary Iraqi Drama after the 2003 War. Toronto, ON, Canada, February 5, 2011. 

Utilizing Drama Techniques to Enhance Arabic / English Teaching to Iraqi Teachers, Istanbul, Turkey, May 2010.

Productions & Performances

Cultural Consultant, Becoming Burlesque, written and directed by Jackie English, 2017.

Playwright, The Widow. SummerWorks Festival, Toronto, August 2014.

Playwright, Waiting for Gilgamesh: Scenes from Iraq. Fort Point Theatre, Boston, June 2014.

Playwright and performer, Courage: A Monologue on Nonsense. MiST Theatre, University of Toronto, March 2014.

Playwright with Jessica Litwack, The Land. Fort Point Theatre Channel, Boston, May 2013.

Playwright, Notorious Women. Hybrid Theatre Works, NY, USA, June 2011, UMass, Boston, June 2013.

Playwright, Stuck. Golden Thread Theatre Company, San Francisco, Nov. 2012.

Playwright, Lysistrata in Iraq. Hybrid Theatre Works, New York, US, June 2011.

Playwright and Director, Stuck. University of Basra, Iraq, March 2009.

Performer, What Keeps Mankind Alive. University of Basra, IRAQ, March 2009.

Dramaturge Consultant, Waiting for Godot. Modern Times Stage Company, Toronto, March 2008.

COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS

Author, Trainer and Director, Rehearsals for Change: Exploring Augusto Boal’s Techniques of Forum Theatre, A collaboration between the KW_ACT (Kitchener-Waterloo Arab Canadian Theatre) and the Kitchener-Waterloo community.