The annual Distinguished Alumni Reception recognizes the accomplishments of an exemplary alum from each of the academic programs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Those honored are nominated by department chairs, faculty and staff, based on criteria that includes professional accomplishments, awards, philanthropy, service and contributions to the college and university community. In Fall 2017, the Cultural Studies program honored Dr. Jaafar Aksikas.
Jaafar is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and Humanities at Columbia College Chicago, where he has chaired both the Cultural Studies Program and the Humanities Division. From 2014 through 2016, he served as the president of the Cultural Studies Association, from 2014 through 2016. He holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from George Mason University and a master’s degree in the humanities from Al Akhawayne University in Ifrane, Morocco. He is the author or editor of numerous books and other publications, including, in 2016, Cultural Studies and the ‘Juridical Turn’: Culture, Law, and Legitimacy in the Era of Neoliberal Capitalism.
His articles have appeared in journals such as Cultural Studies, Reviews in Cultural Theory, Lateral, Mediterranean Politics, and Cultuur en Migratie. He is also Editor of the Cultural Studies and Marxism book series.
Jaafar has taught, researched, and published widely in the fields of cultural studies, critical ethnic studies, media and culture industry studies, critical legal and policy studies, American studies, and Middle Eastern studies. He also serves on the editorial boards of Cultural Studies and Lateral journals. He has received numerous awards, including the George Mason University VISION Award. He is a member of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars. He is the Founding and General Editor of Cultural Landscapes, the Founding Coordinator for Columbia College Chicago’s Cultural Studies Colloquium Series, and he serves as a member of the Illinois Network on Islam and Muslim Societies. He has also worked as a consultant for the legal community and the media on issues relating to Middle Eastern and North African cultures and politics.