May 9: Wendy Pearlman book talk at the Seminary Co-op

CMES is partnering with the Seminary Co-op Bookstore to host Northwestern University's Wendy Pearlman on Wednesday, May 9, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. Pearlman, a professor of political science, will discuss her book We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria. A Q&A and signing will follow.

Event information and RSVP:

About the book: Reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled is an astonishing collection of intimate wartime testimonies and poetic fragments from a cross-section of Syrians whose lives have been transformed by revolution, war, and flight.

Against the backdrop of the wave of demonstrations known as the Arab Spring, in 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. The government’s ferocious response, and the refusal of the demonstrators to back down, sparked a brutal civil war that over the past five years has escalated into the worst humanitarian catastrophe of our times.

Yet despite all the reporting, the video, and the wrenching photography, the stories of ordinary Syrians remain unheard, while the stories told about them have been distorted by broad brush dread and political expediency. This fierce and poignant collection changes that. Based on interviews with hundreds of displaced Syrians conducted over four years across the Middle East and Europe, "We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled" is a breathtaking mosaic of first-hand testimonials from the frontlines. Some of the testimonies are several pages long, eloquent narratives that could stand alone as short stories; others are only a few sentences, poetic and aphoristic. Together, they cohere into an unforgettable chronicle that is not only a testament to the power of storytelling but to the strength of those who face darkness with hope, courage, and moral conviction.

About the author: Wendy Pearlman is the Koldyke Outstanding Teaching Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University, where she specializes in Middle East politics. She is the author of three books, "We Crossed A Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria" (HarperCollins, 2017), "Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement" (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and "Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada" (Nation Books, 2003).