This is the story of the Lewis Affair at the American University of Beirut (then the Syrian Protestant College). When Professor Edwin Lewis mentioned Charles Darwin in the course of a commencement address, there were drastic ramifications, including faculty resignations, student suspensions, the first student protest in the Arab World, a subsequent drop in student enrollment, and the imposition of a Declaration of Principles on AUB faculty members. It represents a momentous event in the history of the American University of Beirut, and its reverberations were felt in intellectual circles throughout the Arab world. A foreword by former AUB president John Waterbury outlines how the issues underlying the Lewis Affair, including the controversy generated by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, the struggle between conservative and liberal elements of academia, and the question of academic freedom, remain pertinent to this day.
This Is the Time. This Is the Record of the Time is a hybrid anthology of commissioned art and written works on the subject of capturing time and temporality, representing a collaboration between the American University of Beirut Art Galleries and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. There is a common perception that time is accelerating. The need to pause, slow down, and regain ground has become a necessity, to grasp our “Runaway World," as Anthony Giddens aptly terms it. Critically evaluating this precious commodity, time, with thoughts grounded philosophically, historically, and in terms of media theory allows for a more in-depth discussion on the perception of time and how the act of recording it affects its perception and treatment. The experience of time is mediated by the technologies that record it. Quoting the introduction, “Thinking about Time: Proposition" by one of the editors, Angela Harutyunyan (p. 23), the book proposes “that to think time and to experience the time of thinking makes oneself out of joint with time or, rather, with the notions of temporality that dominate our epoch."