Wed, Oct 03 | Thos. Moser Freeport Showroom + Gallery

Saudi Arabia: Past and Present - SOLD OUT

There has been no shortage of headline news from Saudi Arabia in 2018. Women are driving. Movie theaters are opening. And yet, human rights activists continue to be jailed and foreign diplomats expelled. Join us as we explore the fascinating and complex country of Saudi Arabia.
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Saudi Arabia: Past and Present - SOLD OUT

Time & Location

Oct 03, 2018, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Thos. Moser Freeport Showroom + Gallery, 149 Main St, Freeport, ME 04032, USA

About The Event

The World Affairs Council of Maine, in collaboration with Thos. Moser, is pleased to present "Saudi Arabia: Past and Present."

There has been no shortage of headline news coming from Saudi Arabia in 2018. Women are driving and attending sporting events. Movie theaters are opening. The new crown prince met Oprah and is being lauded as "revolutionary." And yet, human rights activists continue to be jailed, foreign diplomats expelled, and women required to seek male permission for medical treatments. Will Saudi Arabia fund Tesla? Will Saudi Aramco go public? Is the new crown prince a modern visionary or a ruthless dictator?

Bates College Professor Loring M. Danforth will open the evening with a presentation on contemporary Saudi culture offering a perspective that is much more nuanced and complex than those that circulate in American media. His talk will cover the role of Islam, the position of women, religious extremism and the impact of globalization and consumerism on traditional Saudi culture. Danforth uses modern Saudi art to explore these cultural themes. He has traveled to Saudi Arabia twice in the last six years.

We'll then step back in time as former Bates College Professor and furniture maker Thomas Moser recounts his family's journey to Saudi Arabia in 1965 where he taught English at present-day King Fahd University. His year-long stay in Saudi Arabia ended with an epic journey, with his wife Mary and three of their four sons, from Saudi Arabia through Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran in a VW bus refurbished by Tom. Mary Moser will also join the discussion to share her insights from the perspective of a young mother living in Saudi Arabia over 50 years ago.

Join us at 6:00 p.m. for beer, wine, and light hors d'oeuvres at the Thos. Moser Showroom & Art Gallery in Freeport. Enjoy the studio's current art exhibit "Barter, Barter, Emerson: The Painters From Maine" on display through October 28th. The program begins at 6:30 pm.

Cost: $15 for WAC members; $25 for nonmembers

Professor Danforth and Thomas Moser will have their books available for purchase at the event:

  • “Legacy in Wood,” authored by Thomas Moser with Donna McNeil, published by Down East Books (2015);
  • "Crossing the Kingdom: Portraits of Saudi Arabia,” authored by Loring M. Danforth, published by Univ. of California Press (2016);
  • "Phantom Punch: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia," authored by Loring M. Danforth and Dan Mills, published by Bates College Museum of Art (2017).

Loring M. Danforth is Charles A. Dana Professor of Anthropology at Bates College, where he has taught since 1978. Much of his career has been focused on modern Greece. He is the author of several books on modern Greek religion, history and politics.

Danforth received a B.A. from Amherst College in 1971 and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1974 and 1978. Danforth won a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for College Teachers and Independent Scholars, and was a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship. His books have been featured on the CHOICE lists. Danforth received the 2013 Kroepsch Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In 2012 Danforth led a group of Bates College students on a month long educational program in Saudi Arabia. This experience led to the publication of Crossing the Kingdom: Portraits of Saudi Arabia (University of California Press 2016). In 2016 Danforth returned to Saudi Arabia to conduct research for an exhibition of contemporary art which he co-curated with Dan Mills, Director of the Bates College Museum of Art. This exhibition, which was entitled Phantom Punch: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia in Lewiston, took place at the Bates College Museum of Art in late 2016 and early 2017.

Thomas Moser is a furniture maker and designer, author, co-founder and owner (with his wife Mary) of the Thos. Moser company. Tom was born in Chicago and both his parents died when he was still in his teens. He dropped out of high school and joined the Air Force. After serving four years, Moser took advantage of the G.I. Bill and in 1957 enrolled at State University of New York at Geneseo. During his freshman year, Tom married his high school sweetheart, Mary Wilson. Together they built their first house and restored antiques to earn spending money.

After graduation in 1960, Moser taught high school in Ann Arbor and went on to receive his Ph.D. in speech communication from the University of Michigan and Cornell. He then taught at state colleges in Michigan and New York before spending a year in Saudi Arabia at the College of Petroleum and Minerals. After a year at the University of Maine Orono, Tom accepted a job at Bates College in Lewiston, as an associate professor of speech, a position he held for six years.

In 1972, Moser took a one-year leave of absence to start a business crafting and selling wooden furniture. The company now operates six showrooms in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, D.C., and San Francisco. The flagship showroom is in Freeport, Maine. Tom and Mary now live on Dingley Island in Harpswell and have four grown sons all of whom have worked in the business.

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