Community Reading Events 2017-2018

Fall semester


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.

Cheikh Lô will be in residency at Lafayette during the week of his concert. Several of his activities are free and open to everyone:

Wednesday, September 27
12:00-1:30 p.m. Lunch and panel discussion with Cheikh Lô, Prof. Wendy Wilson-Fall, and Dr. Ousmane Sene. Brown bag lunch provided. Skillman Library’s Gendebien Room
1:30-2:00 p.m. Yelimane Fall exhibit (see below) walk-through with Skillman Library’s Director of Special Collections Diane Shaw, Cheikh Lô, and Drs. Sene and Wilson-Fall. Skillman Library
7:00 p.m.  Pre-concert talk by Dr. Ousmane Sene, Williams Center for the Arts, Room 108

Thursday September 28
10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon. Discussion with Cheikh Lô moderated by Prof. Wendy Wilson-Fall and hosted by the Muslim Students Association. Using a white tent and carpets, the group will set up a mosque on the Lafayette quad.

An Evening With Aasif Mandvi – Stand-Up Comedy

Tuesday, October 24
8:00 p.m.
Colton Chapel

The activist, actor, writer, and former Daily Show correspondent has mined Islamophobia for comedy gold for years. Known for his satirical spin, Aasif Mandvi provides humorous perspective on the news, daily life, and diversification in the media.

Related links:


Song of Lahore – Film

Wednesday, November 1
7:00-9:00 p.m.
Buck Hall, Landis Cinema
Free with advance ticket

An award-winning documentary that traces The Sachal Jazz Ensemble’s journey from Pakistan to New York’s Lincoln Center and asks whether there is still room for musicians in a society roiled by conflict.

Related links:

Song of Lahore


The Sachal Jazz Ensemble – Concert

Thursday, November 2
8:00 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.


Iman Raad – Lecture

Thursday, November 2, 2017

4:00 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
Room 108
317 Hamilton Street (at High Street)
College Hill, Easton, PA

Iranian artist Iman Raad’s highly contemporary aesthetic marries influences as diverse as traditional Persian miniatures and digital glitch art. As part of his residency at Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute, he will discuss his work and influences in this public lecture.



Skillman Library’s three extraordinary fall exhibitions are now on view. All are free of charge.

Community, Literacy, and Activism in Islamic Africa: The Paintings of Yelimane Fall

The calligraphic art of Yelimane Fall, a Senegalese artist and community activist, whose work reflects a vibrant West African aesthetic featuring large curvilinear Arabic letters, robust forms, and bright colors.

“Breathe for Those Who Cannot”: Remembering Al-Mutanabbi, Street of Booksellers

In March 2007, a car bomb tore through the heart of Baghdad’s historic literary district. Named after a 10th-century Iraqi poet, Abu al-Tayyib Ahmad ibn al-Husayn Mutanabbi, this street on the lip of the Tigris River has been described as Baghdad’s “third lung, where the educated and students breathe.” This exhibit features recent works by book artists wishing to commemorate and celebrate the spirit of the Al-Mutanabbi Street community.

Contemporary Artists’ Books Inspired by Islamic Cultures

Works from Lafayette’s rare book collection selected because of the ways they connect with Islamic cultures. Included are the work of photographers Peter Bogardus, Steve McCurry, and Steven Verona documenting people and events in Senegal, Afghanistan, and Egypt respectively. Egyptian book artist Islam Aly is represented by four small, but highly dramatic works and Senegalese artist Abdoulaye Ndoye by a remarkable, unique volume filled with his invented calligraphy. Other works look at the Muslim immigrant experience in America and the effects of war on Iraqi women. 


Spring semester


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.”

Lalla Essaydi, from Converging Territories series

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


Community Reading Keynote: Author Laila LalamiPresentation

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
7 p.m.

Colton Chapel

Join us for an evening with Laila Lalami, author of this year’s Community Reaading “Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits”.  Dr. Lalami will present a keynote speech at 7pm followed by a book signing.

Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco, a place whose past and present permeate her writing. A novelist, short story writer, and essayist, Lalami is a unique and confident voice in the conversations about race and immigration that increasingly occupy our national attention. Lalami is a regular contributor to publications including The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times Magazine, weighing in on contemporary issues in the Arab

Laila Lalami

world and North Africa. With what Junot Díaz calls “spare elegant prose” and Paul Yamazaki terms “carefully-wrought characters,” Lalami’s fiction confronts the same questions of race, displacement, and national identity that she addresses so eloquently in her essays and criticism.

Her first book, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, was inspired by a brief article buried deep within a French newspaper’s website. It mentioned, in just a few lines, that fifteen Moroccan would-be immigrants had drowned crossing the Straits of Gibraltar. Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits is a collection of short stories about a group of immigrants attempting to escape Morocco for a better life in Europe. Lalami explores the intriguing, sometimes uncomfortable closeness between her own experiences and the lives of these fictional immigrants, while offering up a lens through which to view our own immigration issues.

Lalami speaks on immigration, the Middle East and North Africa, Islam, Muslim women, and Arab uprisings. She also discusses race in America, especially forgotten histories, exploration, and cross-cultural encounters.

For more information on Laila Lalami, please visit


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.


Contact Us

Office of Advising & Co-Curricular Programs
Scott Hall
714 Sullivan Road
Easton, PA 18042

Classes of 2018 & 2019 – Dean Clemence
Class of 2020 – Dean Selena
Class of 2021 – Dean Morris

PHONE: (610) 330-5080
FAX: (610) 330-5711