News

Announcing the sixth recipient of the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Award in Palestine Studies, Sobhi Samour

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University is pleased to announce the sixth recipient of the Ibrahim Abu Lughod Award in Palestine Studies, Sobhi Samour. The award recognizes and seeks to foster innovative scholarship on issues related to Palestine and Palestinians. Sobhi will spend the 2017 Spring Semester at Columbia University working on a book project based on the dissertation he completed in the Department of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

Informed by a comparative political economy framework, his book project situates the Palestinian economy as determined by two intersecting forces - settler colonialism and neoliberalism. While scholarly analyses of Israeli domination and Palestinian self-rule have increasingly employed both categories and produced valuable insights, an analytical framework constructed by their dialectical relations and theoretical communalities has yet to materialize. The project aims to fill this gap and produce a comparative and interdisciplinary political economy of neoliberal self-rule under settler colonialism. Understood as strategies of class/race based forms of social engineering and population management, the research seeks to identify structural nodes of their intersection and show how the social and economic reproduction of Palestinian society is determined by settler colonialism and neoliberal logics of capitalism, governance and aid. It uses the concept of a 'surplus population' to theorize how both forces jointly contain, control and govern Palestinians within the realm of the economy. In broader terms, the book project challenges the sui generis approach with which Palestine (and Israel) continues to be analyzed and opens up possibilities of comparative research across indigenous communities subject to neoliberal forms of self-rule under conditions of settler colonial expansion.

Sobhi is currently a researcher at the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS), Ramallah and has previously worked with UN development agencies in Geneva and Timor-Leste. He was born in Beirut and grew up in Germany where he also received his undergraduate training in economics before moving on to study at Birzeit University and obtaining an MSc degree in Political Economy of Development from SOAS. Among his publications are a co-edited special issue on Palestine in Settler Colonial Studies and co-authored critique of neoliberalism in the Palestinian Authority.

News of previous IAL fellows:

Lena Meari (Spring 2012) teaches in the Department of Social and Behavioral Science and the Women's Studies Institute at Birzeit University. She recently published "Reconsidering Trauma: Towards a Palestinian Community Psychology" in the Journal of Community Psychology (2015) and co-edited a book, Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance (2015 Zed Books).

Leena Dallasheh (Fall 2012) is assistant professor of history at Humboldt State University. She recently published "Troubled Waters: Citizenship and Colonial Zionism in Nazareth" in the International Journal of Middle East Studies (2015).

Mezna Qato (Spring 2014) is a Research Fellow at King's College, Cambridge and was just awarded both a Whiting Fellowship to work on a series of essays and a Yaddo residency in summer 2016 for her creative work.

Omar Tesdell (Spring 2015) is assistant professor of geography at Birzeit University. He recently published "Territoriality and the Technics of Drylands Science in Palestine and North America," in the International Journal of Middle East Studies (2015).

Areej Sabbagh-Khoury (Fall 2015) worked on her book manuscript, Colonization Practices and Interactions at the Frontier: Ha-Shomer Ha-Tzair Kibbutzim and the Surrounding Arab Villages at the Margins of the Valley of Jezreel/Marj Ibn 'Amer, 1936-1956. Her most recent publication is the second volume of the co-edited book, The Palestinians in Israel: A Guide to History, Politics, and Society (2015). She was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University for 2016-2017.

The Nakba Files

Adalah and the Center for Palestine Studies (CPS) at Columbia University are pleased to announce the launch of The Nakba Files, a new website that will serve as an online space for researchers and practitioners to explore new approaches to law in Israel/Palestine.

The Nakba Files site went live on Nakba Day, May 15, which commemorates the dispossession of the Palestinian people through the establishment of the state of Israel.

The new site is part of The Nakba & The Law Project, an ongoing collaboration between Adalah and CPS that began in 2013. The project treats the Nakba not only as an important historical event, but also as a theme to analyze ongoing colonial policies and practices in Israel/Palestine.

Part notebook, part case file, part seminar, the Nakba Files will serve as a forum to explore the various dimensions of how the Nakba and the law come together, combining original research with occasional commentary on current legal developments in Israel/Palestine and forums for highlighting new scholarship. Legal practitioners, human rights activists, academic researchers, and others will regularly contribute commentary to the site.


Israel/Palestine, North America, and Australia between Analogies and Generational Segregation


Tuesday, April 5, 16:15-18:00

Columbia Law School building

(Jerome Greene Hall, Case Lounge, 7th Floor).

Taking analogy as both its mode and object of inquiry, this paper examines the intersection of analogies, resistance, and generational segregation (the large-scale separation of children from adults) from three complementary perspectives. First, inspired by an analogy-filled academic textbook the Israeli authorities have barred Palestinian prisoners from reading, the paper advances an analogy between the removal of Indigenous children to boarding schools in the United States and Canada, Australia's Aboriginal "stolen generations", and the recent separation of Palestinian children from their adult counterparts in Israeli custody. Through this resistant analogy, key parallels are highlighted: the deleterious effects of (allegedly benevolent) generational segregation; the invocation of law and children's best interests; the severance of unwanted intergenerational influences; the targeting of children due to their presumed plasticity; the use of separation to govern adults; and links between generational segregation, "national security", and incarceration. Second, in an attempt to ensure such analogies fulfill as much of their critical potential as possible, the paper self-reflexively investigates what certain framings of them, and of their surrounding debates, potentially exclude or obscure. Specifically, the paper challenges prevalent assumptions about the relationship between analogy and similarity; demonstrates the need for a broader critique of some of the norms and assumptions at the heart of child law and policy, beyond these contexts of generational segregation; and discusses the potential and limitations of different framings of two interrelated categories that often underpin such analogies: "colonialism" and "settler colonialism". Finally, the discussion turns to the place similar analogies have already occupied, and the resistance they have instigated, across a range of legal, political, and cultural discourses concerning Israel/Palestine, North America, and Australia over the past two centuries.

The paper will be circulated in advance and presented as part of this year's Critical Race Theory Workshop Series, organized by Kendall Thomas. Zeina Jallad, a Palestinian human rights lawyer and currently a J.S.D. candidate at Columbia, we be the discussant.

The workshop will take place onTuesday, April 5, 16:15-18:00, at the Law School building (Jerome Greene Hall, Case Lounge, 7th Floor).

For an advance copy of the Viterbo paper contact bmm23@columbia.edu

Kamal Aljafari: Unfinished
Balconies in the Sea


Filmmaker Kamal Aljafari talks to Nathalie Handal (CPS faculty member) about the poetry of memory, and displacement in Palestine.
Aljafari will be screening his film Recollectin at the Journalism School on Monday February 22 and will deliver a master class on Tuesday February 23.
To attend either event, please click here for more information:
Photo courtesy of Giampiero Assumma

In Kamal Aljafari's new film Recollection, freedom is experienced in "the sound of the ocean...the echo you can hear outside but recorded from inside the wall. Life buried beneath, inside the sea." As the images move slowly, other times brusquely, from a silhouette to a shadow, a sliver of the port city Jaffa to another, the sound moves us into the present unearthing a past. We begin to see the ruins as breathing bodies. We see the place Palestinians have lived in and have been exiled from. And gradually we are bought face-to-face with history, with destruction. The phantoms stare at us. The filmmaker "frees the image," an act he calls "cinematic justice."

Recollection is epic. In an impeccable pas de deux between what's seen and unseen, the Palestinian filmmaker creates a symphonic visual experience. He dives into the crevices of memory, inquires violence, observes stillness.

The film displays the ferocity of occupation and how it's transfigured in Israeli culture, and in this case more specifically, the cinematic one. To make the film, Aljafari watched every Israeli film shot between the 1960s and 1990s, the majority of which excluded Palestinians. They were, as he affectingly says, "uprooted in reality and in fiction," explaining that these films used Jaffa because it provided them with "history and narrative." His film is a witness. In Recollection, he "removed the Israeli actors and gave the stage and space to the people unintentionally filmed in the background [Palestinians]." He says, "I could have worked years on it, not only because I enjoyed removing the actors but because I felt I was doing something magical, that's only possible in cinema." The film is visceral, and makes us question what torments a man without a country.

Aljafari was born in al-Ramla, and raised in Jaffa, where his mother is from. The city plays center stage in his three films, which have received numerous awards and accolades for their artistry. Recollection has garnered praise around the globe from Argentina to Torino. Film expert and Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University writes that Kamal Aljafari is a "visionary artist...the chronicler of the inchronicable." The Argentinian film critic Luciano Monteagudo lauds: "It is very rare to find in today's cinema a film so original in its conception, so personal in its political commitment, and so inventive in form as Recollection."

Like the Italian cinema masters Pier Paolo Pasolini and Michelangelo Antonioni, Aljafari's films challenge our perceptions, transport us to poetic realms and move us. They encompass image and sound crafted with precision. His cinematic language is one built on the alphabet of the sea and its ruins, dream-like ricochets, where silence is storm and soliloquy. Stillness sculpts the complexities of what's split in displacement and exile, memory and the heart.

If "Jaffa is the sea," Kamal Aljafari is its waves. I'm reminded of that when we leave Zazza, a cafe on Schonleinstrasse in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin, where the interview is conducted. As we walk towards a small bridge, accompanied by the metallic winter skies. Reach the frozen canal, see a few hovering birds. The sea nowhere, the sun absent. I wonder how a filmmaker deeply rooted in a Mediterranean city survives the interminable opaque clouds. When I turn to ask him, I realize wherever he is, Jaffa is present.

After seeing Recollection, viewers want to go back and experience the images again, walk through them, rediscover them, listen to them more judiciously, look at them more deeply, feel them more intensely. Images that amplify our sense of what it means to exist, and what it means to see and be seen.

-Nathalie Handal for Guernica

Click here to read the full article



2nd Annual Palestinian Film Festival in Santiago, Chile
Muestra de Cine Palestino de Santiago
December 10-13, 2015 at Cineteca Nacional de Chile

The Center for Palestine Studies (CPS) at Columbia University in collobration with the Center for Arab Studies at the Unviersity of Chile are proud to present the second annual Palestinian Film Festival in Santiago, Chile at Cineteca Nacional (Centro Cultural La Moneda). This four-day festival will feature iconic works from Palestinian cinema, which has emerged as a globally influential artistic force. This festival is sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia University, the Center for Arab Studies at the University of Chile, and the Cineteca Nacional.

For more information click here: Muestra Cine Palestino.


CPS faculty member Natahalie Handal features in Poetry in Motion®!

"Lady Liberty" by Columbia professor Nathalie Handal is currently being featured in Poetry in Motion® in New York City. Poetry in Motion is a joint project of the MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design and the Poetry Society of America. Under this program, New York City Transit posts poems as posters in New York City subways, buses, taxis, and on MetroCards. And the Transit Museum uses the Poetry in Motion poster on products ranging from coffee mugs, journal books, magnets, postcards, and tees. Revenue from sales go to support their educational and exhibition programs. Poems featured are read by more than 7 million commuters daily.

From Nathalie Handal:

I started writing "Lady Liberty" while riding the 1 train from Columbia University, where I teach, to Times Square. It was shortly after my brother's son was born here and I wanted him to see New York through the eye's of our family - his fathers old-school version and my sister's funky version, mixed with how I see the Big Apple, a place that somehow keeps you grounded while constantly introducing you to new magic. I travel a lot and each time I return from a different country, I find a slice of that place in NYC. The world lives together here, and creates a divine song. All its versions electrify me. The Statue of Liberty, a French American symbol of freedom, beauty and unity has always been particularly special to me, a New Yorker and a Parisian.

Nathalie Handal's recent collections include The Republics, lauded as "one of the most inventive books by one of today's most diverse writers"; the bestselling The Invisible Star; the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucia; and Love and Strange Horses, which The New York Times says "trembles with belonging (and longing)." Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, the Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing,and an Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. She is a professor at Columbia University and writes the literary travel column The City and the Writer for Words without Borders.



Amer Shomali in discussion with Michael Moore on The Wanted 18



Lila Abu-Lughod in Cairo - A Settler Colonialism of Her Own: Imagining Palestine's Alternatives

Lila Abu-Lughod, CPS faculty associate and Professor of Anthropology and Women's and Gender Studies at Columbia, will be delivering the Edward Said Memorial Lecture at The American University of Cairo this week.

To honor the memory of the late Edward Said, Professor Abu-Lughod will give a talk titled "A Settler Colonialism of Her Own: Imagining Palestine's Alternatives," that will reflect on Palestine's current impasses and imaginatively explore future possibilities through the experiences of unexpected places and peoples. Building on emerging debates on settler colonialism and indigenous politics, she will ask how such comparisons may illuminate the challenges we face today and crystallize for us what we might — or might not — want for Palestine and Palestinians.

Saturday October 31, 2015
6:00PM
Oriental Hall
AUC Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt



The Center featured in the Huffington Post

By Ronald Tiersky
October 22, 2015

Those interested in Palestine/Palestinians and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict should note the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University. The Center runs a series of events throughout the year, the calendar is accessible at the website address above. A few days ago one such event brought together two distinguished Palestinian-origin novelists, Ms. Suad Amiry and Ms. Susan Abulhawa. This was a literary event but with a Palestinian-oriented audience it could not help but spread into a discussion of history and politics.

Read the full article here.


Welcoming Visiting Artist, Amer Shomali

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University is pleased to announce the arrival of Palestinian filmmaker Amer Shomali as a visiting artist in residence at the Center for Palestine Studies and School of the Arts through December 31, 2015.

Amer Shomali is a Palestinian multidisciplinary artist, using painting, digital media, films, installations and comics as tools to explore and interact with the Palestinian sociopolitical scene focusing on the creation and the use of Palestinian revolution iconography. He holds a Master's degree in Animation from the Arts University Bournemouth in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor's degree in Architecture from Birzeit University. He was born in Kuwait in 1981, and is currently based in Ramallah, Palestine.

Shomali's artistic work has been featured at many exhibitions around the world including France, Belgium, Greece, Tunisia, Germany and Canada. Shomali moves smoothly between various artistic practices and forms. His academic background in architecture and animation is coupled with an interest in and increasing knowledge of the Palestinian visual heritage compounded by an expressive boldness that enables him to engage with different media and methods.

In 2014, Shomali completed the documentary The Wanted 18, co-directed with Canadian director Paul Cowan, about the efforts of the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour to establish an independent dairy industry during the First Intifada. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The idea for The Wanted 18 began in Shomali's boyhood, spent largely at a Syrian refugee camp, where his main escape had been reading comic books, one of which dealt with the story of the Beit Sahour cows. The Wanted 18 was named Best Documentary from the Arab World at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Best Documentary at Carthage Film Festival. Tunis, 2014, and the Best Documentary at Traverse City Film Festival 2015.

The Wanted 18 will be screened at Columbia University on Wednesday November 11, 2015 at 7PM.

More details available on our Upcoming Programs page.



Call for Applications!: The Sixth Annual Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Palestine Studies at Columbia University

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University's Middle East Institute is pleased to announce the 2016-17 Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Award in Palestine Studies.

This post-doctoral fellowship seeks to recognize and foster innovative and ground-breaking scholarship on issues related to Palestine and Palestinians. The award will support a scholar working on a book project in any field of the humanities or social sciences. The Fellow will spend one semester at Columbia University in New York, pursuing her or his research and writing, and participating in the intellectual life of the Center for Palestine Studies. Previous IAL fellows include Lena Meari, who spent Spring 2012 working on her book, Interrogating "Painful" Encounters, an ethnographic, historical, and philosophical study of the encounter between Palestinian political activists and interrogators from the Israeli General Security Service. Leena Dallasheh spent Fall 2012 working on her book manuscript entitled Contested Citizenship in Nazareth: Palestinians' Transition from the Mandate to Israel. Mezna Qato, the third IAL Award recipient, spent Spring 2014 working on a book project, a social history of the Palestinian educational experience in Jordan. Omar Tesdell, spent last Spring 2015 working on a book project based on his dissertation, Shadow Spaces: Territory, Sovereignty, and the Question of Palestinian Cultivation, a spatial history of Palestinian environmental and agricultural practice. The current fellow Areej Sabbagh-Khoury is working on a book project based on her dissertation research, Colonization Practices and Interactions at the Frontier: Ha-Shomer Ha-Tzair Kibbutzim and the Surrounding Arab Villages at the Margins of the Valley of Jezreel/Marj Ibn 'Amer, 1936-1956.

The international competition is open to all post-doctoral scholars who share the mission of the Center for Palestine Studies to advance the production and circulation of knowledge on Palestinian history, culture, society, and politics through outstanding scholarship. The one-semester fellowship at Columbia carries a stipend of $25,000 and the status of post-doctoral research fellow or visiting scholar, as appropriate.

This award has been made possible by the generosity of Abdel Mohsin Al-Qattan, through the A.M. Qattan Foundation, in honor of his friend, the Palestinian scholar and intellectual, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (1929-2001). Their close friendship began in the aftermath of the nakbah of 1948 and evolved into a shared commitment to justice for Palestinians to be realized in part through support for excellence in higher education and scholarship. In later years, upon the establishment of the A.M. Qattan Foundation in Palestine, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod helped found the Qattan Centre for Educational Research and Development; one of the Foundation's core programs.

The application deadline is February 15, 2016. More details and application information for 2016-17 are available on the Fellowships page.


Welcoming Visiting Scholar, Abdul-Rahim Al-Shaikh

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University is pleased to host the recipient of the Fulbright Visiting Senior Scholar Award for the academic year 2015-2016, Abdul-Rahim Al-Shaikh. The award provides an opportunity for Palestinian professors residing in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza to lecture and/or do research at institutions in the United States.

Abdul-Rahim Al-Shaikh is a poet and academic born in Jerusalem to a Palestinian refugee family from Ramlah. He is an associate professor of philosophy, and cultural and Arab studies at Birzeit University. AlShaikh's work is focused on cultural representations and the politics of Palestinian identity, in addition to his works on Arab poetry, art criticism, and translation.

As a Fulbright Scholar, he will spend the 2015-1016 academic year at the Center for Palatine Studies-Columbia University working on his project The Palestinian Living Cemetery. Given the theoretical paradigm shift from bio-power to necro-politics throughout the last decade, his research aspires to instigate scholarly interest in the highly subversive spatio-temporal epitaphs of the Palestinian cemetery. Situated at the heart of the intersection between necro-politics and necro-semiotics, his project utilizes the conception of the cemetery as both a heterotopia and a heterochronia, 'within' which people are capable of both deconstructing and re-constructing not only their geography, but also their history. After building a comprehensive photo-archive of epitaphs from Palestinian cemeteries (within and outside historic Palestine), Al-Shaikh's current book aspires to establish a methodic taxonomy by which he can study the "Sub-terrain Nakba," that is, the concealed features of the political, social, and cultural histories of modern Palestine.

Al-Shaikh earned his Ph.D. in Middle East and Arab Studies at the University of Utah, after which he conducted his postdoctoral research in cultural mobility in near-eastern cultures at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Since 2004, he has been a fellow at both Muwatin-The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy and the Institute of Palestine Studies. He is the author of: Sharon's Golden Heart: A Mythical Trial (2007), Palestinian Textbooks: Issues of Identity and Citizenship (2008) and The Biography of Gabi Baramki and His Odyssey at Birzeit University 1929-2012 (2015). He translated Hussein Barghouthi's autobiography al-Daw' al-Azraq (The Blue Light) into English (2003), and Oz Shelach's Picnic Grounds (2010) into Arabic. He has published three collections of poetry: Ash Wheels (1998), City Remnants (2003), and Departing Narratives (2012). His forthcoming book is titled: The Columbus Syndrome and the Veiling of Palestine: A Genealogy of the Israeli Politics of Toponymy of the Palestinian Landscape 1856-2015 (by the Institute of Palestine Studies, 2015).



Call for Papers: Mada al-Carmel's Second Conference for Palestinian PhD Students

Mada al-Carmel - Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa - will hold its second conference for Palestinian PhD students on April 15-16, 2016 in Haifa. The conference aims at supporting Palestinian PhD students to present their research, to provide them with research tools that enable them to participate in scientific and professional conferences, and to strengthen their writing and presentational abilities in Arabic. In general, it aims to provide a common ground that allows Palestinian students to interact, network, and exchange expertise among each other as well as with senior academic experts known for their research experience and social responsibility.

Mada's first conference for Palestinian PhD students took place in August 2011. The two conferences are organized within the framework of PhD activities that Mada al-Carmel carries out, which primarily attempt to expand the critical perspectives of Palestinian PhD students and guide their scientific writing and professional development, in order to enable them to pursue their future careers. The first conference included 17 presentations by PhD students studying at different local and international universities; the presentations were organized within 4 sessions constituting different topics from humanities, social sciences, and law; and several Palestinian professors and academics participated as chairs or commentators. It is important to note that the second conference will take place on two consecutive days and, in addition to the student's presentations, will constitute of workshops, meetings with Palestinian academics, and cultural activities that promote cooperation and networking.

PhD students as well as Palestinian PhD graduates (who have earned their doctor title within the past three years) in the fields of humanities, social sciences, and law, from local and international universities are invited to send an application by 30 October, 2015 to Dr. Manar Mahmoud via email at the following address: manar@mada-research.org

Applications should include the following:

1. A Summary of the PhD dissertation or paper abstract (up to 500 words)
2. A copy of the student's CVM

Selected candidates will be notified by 30 November, 2015

Mada al-Carmel will assist in covering hosting expenses and will partially cover transportation expenses for those travelling from abroad, if needed.



"Hannibal in Rafah"

A Forensic Reconstruction of One Day in the 2014 Gaza War
A presentation by Eyal Weizmann

On Monday, September 21, the Israeli architect and theorist Eyal Weizman (Goldsmiths, University of London), gave a lecture entitled "Hannibal in Rafah: A Forensic Reconstruction of One Day in the 2014 Gaza War." Weizman described the innovative techniques that he and a team of researchers used to assist Amnesty International in its recent investigation of the Israeli military's mass bombardment of the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Through a detailed analysis of thousands of videos and photographs taken by Rafah residents as well as satellite imagery -- including time codes, the angle of shadows, the shape of plumes of smoke, and other spatio-temporal clues -- Weizman and his colleagues were able to reconstruct a detailed chronology of the bombing of Rafah.

Click here for the full report.



CPS presents the Buenos Aires Palestinian Film Festival
August 13-19, 2015 at BAMA Cinearte

The aesthetic roots of Palestinian cinema are deeply embedded in the history of Palestinian dispossession, political fragmentation, exilic experiences, and diasporic longings... Palestinian cinema as a result is the meandering topography of a nation dreaming and interpreting its dreams in open-ended, contingent, and yet enabling gestures (Hamid Dabashi).

Following in the footsteps of other Palestinian international film festivals in London, Boston, Madrid and Santiago, the purpose of the Buenos Aries Festival is to engage Latin American audiences with filmic depictions of Palestinian history and cultures.

The Center for Palestine Studies (CPS) at Columbia University presents its first Palestinian Film Festival in Buenos Aries. The festival from August 13-19, 2015 will feature iconic works from Palestinian cinema, which has emerged as a globally influential artistic force.

The program includes the screening of four feature films and three short films, with subtitles in Spanish, together with a series of lectures by special distinguished guest Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Professor Dabashi is a renowned film expert, and the founder of Dreams of a Nation, a Palestinian Film Project, which is dedicated to preserving and safeguarding Palestinian cinema. Dabashi has organized Palestinian film festivals both in Palestine and the United States and is on the advisory board of a number of other Palestinian film festivals worldwide. His edited volume, Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema was the first major multi-author treatment of the subject.

This festival is sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies, Programa Sur Global at Univeridad Nacional de San Martin, in collaboration with Buenos Aires Mon Amour (BAMA) and Centro Cultural de la Cooperacion Floreal Gorini.

For more information and the full program click here: Muestra Cine Palestino.





CPS Academic Year Review 2014-2015

Click below to download a copy of the Center for Palestine Studies' 2014-2015 Academic Year Review of programming, fellowships, and initiatives.

CPS Academic Year Review



Across Infrastructures of Restriction: Bringing Palestinian Photography from a Refugee Camp to an American University

By Amahl Bishara
May 15, 2015

In a gallery outside the Alumnae Lounge at Tufts University hung 26 photographs, including of youth standing around a fire blazing next to the Israeli separation wall at night; an elderly woman's portrait taken in a shard of mirror; girls on an amusement park ride in t-shirts emblazoned "Free Palestine;" a man lying in a hospital bed with a bloodied face, a bullet still bulging from his temple. Inside, our guest on November 6, 2013, was a Palestinian photographer from Aida Refugee Camp, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. His name is Mohammad Al-Azza, the same man whose bloodied image hung on the wall outside. He is the director of the media unit at Lajee Center, a youth organization where he teaches photography and documentary filmmaking to young Palestinian refugees. At 23 years old, Al-Azza was barely older than the undergraduate students in the audience that evening...

Read the full article here


Citizenship and Nationality in Israel/Palestine
A Teachers' Workshop

On June 20, 2015, the Center for Palestine Studies (CPS), Middle East Institute (MEI), and the Open University Project hosted 23 teachers for a workshop on Citizenship and Nationality in Israel/Palestine led by Columbia Law Professor Katherine Franke .

The day-long workshop focused on the challenges of establishing a state in 1948 that committed itself to be both Jewish and democratic; the status of the Palestinian minority in such a state; and the critical differences between a "homeland," a "nation," and a "state".

The workshop was based on an Open University curriculum designed by Katherine Franke, Director of the Open University and Professor of Law at Columbia University. Drawing on comparisons with the US legal system and establishment of the United States as a nation-state, Franke provided an overview of the issues at hand, offering teachers tools that will allow them to go back to their own classrooms and teach a unit on Israel/Palestine.

CPS and MEI at Columbia University are committed to offering K-12 teachers and college-level instructors the tools to both understand and teach critical issues of dispossession, belonging, and citizenship in the context of Palestine/Israel. Many of the issues that arise in this context could be productively integrated into the K-12 and college-level curricula.





Announcing the fifth recipient of the Ibrahim Abu Lughod Award in Palestine Studies, Areej Sabbagh-Khoury

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University is pleased to announce the fifth recipient of the Ibrahim Abu Lughod Award in Palestine Studies, Areej Sabbagh-Khoury. The award recognizes and seeks to foster innovative and ground-breaking scholarship on issues related to Palestine and Palestinians.

Areej Sabbagh-Khoury is an associate researcher and the Academic Coordinator of the Political Participation Project of Palestinians in Israel at Mada al-Carmel - The Arab Center for Applied Social Research. She will spend Fall 2015 at Columbia University working on a book project based on her dissertation research, Colonization Practices and Interactions at the Frontier: Ha-Shomer Ha-Tzair Kibbutzim and the Surrounding Arab Villages at the Margins of the Valley of Jezreel/Marj Ibn 'Amer, 1936-1956. Her research has focused on Ha-Shomer Ha-Tzair, the left wing of the Labor Zionist movement, and their interactions with the Arab villagers in the densely populated frontiers of Bilad al-Ruha, on the western border of Marj Ibn 'Amer. At the ideological level, Ha-Shomer Ha-Tzair espoused comradeship among nations and bi-nationalism, seeking coexistence with the Arab population in Palestine. By examining the practices of the Kibbutzim of this movement and the contradiction between its ideology and its practices, Sabbagh-Khoury illuminates the limits of coexistence in the Zionist form of settler colonialism. While for her dissertation, she mostly examined Zionist and kibbutz sources, for her book she expands her research to utilize Palestinian sources and investigate Palestinian perceptions of their "neighbors." Accounts of these interactions, within their community with members of the kibbutz, will examine how relations with settlers effected the collective Palestinian society during the Nakba. Her book offers a special reading of the history of Zionist colonization as a unique case of settler colonialism, while the scholarly literature primary addresses Zionist ideological currents in Palestine and the competition among them, she examines the settler colonial practices as an accentuation that the Nakba did not begin with the events of 1948, but rather was coextensive with the ongoing Zionist colonization process.

Sabbagh-Khoury completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. She contributed to several book chapters and articles, among them "Palestinian Predicaments: Jewish Immigration and Refugees Repatriation." She also co-edited The Palestinians in Israel: A Guide to History, Politics, and Society in two volumes, the first was published in 2011 and the second is forthcoming in 2015 (both published by Mada al-Carmel, in English, Hebrew and Arabic). Her most recent publication is a co-authored article in Settler Colonial Studies; "Settler Colonial Citizenship: Conceptualizing the Relationship between Israel and its Palestinian Citizens." She has received several awards and grants for her research, among them the Fulbright Post-doctoral Scholar Award.

This award has been made possible by the generosity of Abdel Mohsin Al-Qattan, through the A.M. Qattan Foundation, in honor of his friend, the Palestinian scholar and intellectual, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (1929-2001). Their close friendship began in the aftermath of the Nakba of 1948 and evolved into a shared commitment to justice for Palestinians to be realized in part through support for excellence in higher education and scholarship. Sahar Huneidi and the Abu-Lughod Family generously offer additional support to the fellowship.


Announcing the second recipient of the Palestine and Law Fellowship, Emilio Dabed

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University is pleased to announce the 2015-2016 recipient of the Palestine & Law Fellowship, Emilio Dabed. The Fellowship is designed to both deepen the scholarly understanding of the complex ways in which law and legality are implicated in Palestine, and to provide a supportive environment for scholars of Palestine to conduct research. The Fellow will participate in the rich interdisciplinary environment of the Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia Law School, and Columbia University more generally.

Emilio Dabed is an assistant professor and the director of the Human Rights and International Law Program at Al-Quds/Bard College in Jerusalem. Dabed will spend the 2015-2016 academic year in residence at Columbia. He is a lawyer, specializing in constitutional matters, and holds a Ph.D. in Political Sciences from the Institut de Sciences Politiques, and IREMAM-CNRS (Institut de Recherche et d'Etudes sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman-Centre National de Recherche Scientifique), Aix-en-Provence-France, on the constitutional process in Palestine. His latest research and publications look at the relations between legal and discursive practices, on the one hand, and political and social changes, subjectivity, and identity formation on the other.

Dabed's research and book will focus on a historical deconstructive analysis of legal-constitutional-institutional developments in Palestine under Oslo. This work intends to examine two issues. First, the socio-political context unfolding during the Oslo process and its influence on PA law-making and legal praxis, with a specific focus on the evolution of the Palestinian Basic Law and the constitutional regime between 1993 and 2014; and, second, the substantive impact that law-making/text, and legal discourse and practices of the PA have had on identity-formation, political subjectivity, sources of social and political legitimacy, and subsequently on the Palestinian struggle itself. Dabed argues that notwithstanding the failure of the Oslo process and the elusory nature of the autonomy it conferred, the consolidation of self-rule has had complex, deleterious consequences for Palestinian emancipation. While reflecting the Palestinian colonial condition and its political parameters, the dynamic of institutionalization has in a real, lived sense shifted the terms, means, and aspirational horizons of Palestinian politics. His research explores the ways in which law-making and legal praxis and discourse are deeply implicated in this process. In other words, he examines the post-Oslo legal-constitutional order both as a transcript of a shifting Palestinian context and as itself productive of new social reality. His book intends to offer an original study documenting the political history of legal-constitutional developments in Palestine from 1993-2014, and to contribute to a wider scholarship on constitution-making under occupation. More broadly, the work aims to shed light on the role that juridical phenomena play in sociological and anthropological questions, and on the disciplinary powers of law and the discourse of (human) rights in contemporary Palestine.



Mohanad Yaqubi masterclass at Palestine Cuts - 29 Apr, 2015

From The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture

Palestinian director Mohanad Yaqubi, AFAC Grantee for his feature documentary film Off Frame: A Journey through militant cinema, will deliver a Master Class on Palestinian Militant Cinema on Friday May 1st at Columbia University's Palestine Cuts, a new space for emerging and established filmmakers and video-artists to present and discuss their work in an engaging and encouraging environment.

Drawing on recently found film rushes, rare documentary footage and clips of Third Cinema, Yaqubi will introduce the audience to a fascinating and often neglected world that engages with the depth of Palestine's film-making history, its role in shaping Palestinian identity, and its ties to the wider Third Cinema movement. The closed session will consist of screening a fine cut version of "Off Frame", and a discussion with Yaqubi who will be coming from Ramallah to launch this initiative.

Read full article here.



Comparative Settler Colonialisms

On April 8-10, 2015, the Center for Palestine Studies hosted a three-day conference on Comparative Settler Colonialisms, co-sponsored by the Heyman Center for Humanities.

Day 1: Keynote Address
April 8, 2015,
Department of Anthropology

Franz Boas Seminar by Ghassan Hage, Future Generation Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory, University of Melbourne

Talk Title: On Exterminability: The Affective Culture of Settler-Colonialism Today


Day 2: Comparative Settler Colonialisms Workshop

April 9, 2015,
Barnard College

This all-day workshop consisted of three papers, each of which dealt with the question of settler colonialism and/or indigeneity from a different regional perspective: Palestine, North America, and the Pacific Islands.

The papers were presented by Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (The Hebrew University), Dean Saranillo (New York University) and Mark Rifkin (UNC-Greensboro), and were workshoped by Robert Nichols (University of Minnesota), Lori Allen (SOAS), and Alyosha Goldstein (University of New Mexico).

In broad strokes, the workshop posed the following questions: In what specific ways do historical, ideological or temporal distinctions matter to how we think settler-colonialisms comparatively? How does "indigeneity" emerge as a recent framework of analysis and operate within Palestine, and how well does the concept travel across different historical and geographical domains? What does this new appropriation and operation of "indigeneity" do to those individuals and causes who have deployed the concept in national and international fora for longer periods and within different historical trajectories?

In addition to providing in-depth and substantive discussion of the presented papers, the workshop sought to serve as the beginning of a long-term intellectual project that will promote dialogues on settler colonialisms across both geographical divides and theoretical and political gulfs

Day 3: Workshop on "Representations of 'Indigeneity' in Settler-Colonial Contexts: The Case of the Naqab Bedouin"

April 10, 2015,
Knox Hall

A workshop organized by Dr Sophie Richter-Devroe (University of Exeter and Visiting Scholar at Columbia University), Prof Lila Abu-Lughod (Columbia University), Dr Mansour Nasasra (Kenyon Institute, Jerusalem) and Richard Ratcliffe (Oxford University) took place on 10 April 2015 as part of a series of events on settler colonialism at Columbia University, New York.

The workshop on the Naqab Bedouin was funded through the AHRC project "Gender and Settler Colonialism: Women's Oral Histories in the Naqab" and co-organized by the Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia University and the European Center for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter.

The Naqab Bedouin have a long history of being spoken for and represented through various discursive frames in different activist, policy and/or scholarly circles. It is, of course, mainly the Israeli settler-colonial regime that dominates the politics of representation in and of the Naqab, but Palestinian nationalist agendas, international funding priorities, the Israeli tourist industry, pressures for policy relevance and impact in academia, as well as NGO advocacy and international solidarity activism also play increasingly significant roles. This workshop aimed at contextualising and critically discussing the various ways in which the Naqab Bedouin have been and are being represented, paying particular attention to more recent, often claimed to be 'indigenous' or 'decolonising,' discourses.



Toxic Ecologies of Occupation

Brian Boyd, Hamed Salem, Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins

From EviroSociety

Brian Boyd: In June 2012, with a small group of Palestinian colleagues, I entered the Wadi en-Natuf in Palestine for the first time since 2000. In June 2000, it looked like this:

Since 2000, I have been involved in an archaeological project centered in and around the small (population 4,500) Palestinian town of Shuqba in the West Bank (Ramallah and Al-Bireh district). Shuqba gives its name to a large cave in the nearby Wadi en-Natuf, a river valley that runs close to the town. This cave was excavated by the British archaeologist Dorothy Garrod in 1928, during the turbulent early years of the British Mandate. Garrod is a central figure for women's involvement in the history and practice of archaeology. At Shuqba she worked with a team composed primarily of young Palestinian women from the local area, a choice that was unusual for both the date and the region. Garrod subsequently became the first woman professor at the University of Cambridge (1939-1952) and was instrumental in securing admission for women students to the university in 1948. Her pioneering archaeological fieldwork at Shuqba laid the foundations for the prehistory of the entire Levant region and left a complex series of scientific research questions into what has become known in the (still lingering) old cultural-historical archaeological terminology as the "Natufian culture" (ca. 10 to 13 thousand years ago), named after the Wadi en-Natuf at Shuqba. This is when and where archaeologists have traditionally located the earliest origins of agriculture, sedentism, and subsequent plant and animal domestication, as well as the very beginnings of those profound environmental and ecological changes wrought by human occupation, now referred to as the Anthropocene. After Garrod left Palestine in 1928, no further archaeological work was carried out at Shuqba until 2000, when Zoe Crossland (now in the Anthropology Department at Columbia University) and I undertook preliminary investigations in the cave and its wadi with a view to renewed fieldwork and the testing of some of Garrod's key research propositions using modern techniques (Boyd and Crossland 2000). The Second Intifada (from 2000) resulted in further delays, until new fieldwork finally began in 2012 in collaboration with Professor Hamed Salem and a small team of undergraduate and graduate students from Birzeit University, the largest university in the Palestinian territories. I emphasize this point because in 2012 I was asked by security, on leaving Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, "Are there universities in the West Bank?"

Read full article here.





Star Palestinian playwrights exercise "Permission to Narrate"

From The Electronic Intifada by Sarah Irving

Three plays by major contemporary Palestinian playwrights will be performed as staged readings on consecutive nights in New York this month, under the title "Permission to Narrate."

Hosted by Columbia University's Center for Palestine Studies and curated by playwright and poet Ismail Khalidi, the plays, according to organizers, "embody the contemporary Palestinian playwright's use of art to resist historical, political and geographic erasures."

The sequence of plays starts on 25 March with Amir Nizar Zuabi's I am Yusuf and This is My Brother, which was staged in 2010 at London's Young Vic Theatre. Zuabi is one of the founders of Haifa's Shiber Hur Palestinian theater company and his plays about Palestine and Syria have been widely performed and published.

Read full article here.


Permission to Narrate: Three Nights of Palestinian Plays

March 25, 26, and 27, 2015, 7:30PM
Earl Hall Theater,
2980 Broadway,
Columbia University

The Center for Palestine Studies invites you to staged readings of three plays that embody the contemporary Palestinian playwright's use of art to resist historical, political and geographic erasures.

For more information click here.


Putting Palestine On The Map...And The Soccer Jersey

From Remezcla.com by Ismail Khalidi

As you enter through its main gate under a pair of fluttering Palestinian flags, the Cisterna municipal stadium looks like any run-down soccer field in the West Bank or the Jordan Valley. The parking lot is unpaved and the cars entering for the afternoon game send up yellow clouds of dust. The stadium itself is simple and small, an outdated concrete bowl that officially holds 12,000 people (though, according to statistics, rarely more than a few thousand), most of whom sit on concrete bleachers that encircle the pitch. The concentric rows of stone bleachers even seem to conjure the ancient terraced slopes of Palestine, where for millennia farmers have sculpted the hillsides to cultivate olive trees and other sturdy crops in the dry Mediterranean climate. Here and there sprigs of grass inch through cracks in the dilapidated concrete and stone as a couple hundred of us settle in to brave two hours of scorching heat for the afternoon match.

The team that calls Cisterna home takes the field in uniforms adorned with the Palestinian flag (and its colors of red, black, green and white) and a prominent gold map of historic Palestine emblazoned across the front of their jerseys. The players, for their part, look like your average Palestinians, as do the fans, some of whom are already taunting the opposing team's players with witty asides and double entendres before the opening whistle. Cigarette smoke, a given at any Palestinian gathering, lingers over certain sections as vendors walk back and forth hawking Palestine-themed paraphernalia. Meanwhile, a group of five young kids plays soccer along the aisles, using an empty plastic bottle as their ball. At half-time Arabic music blares through a tinny PA system. Taking it all in, one could perhaps take comfort in the fact that, despite the hardships of living under military occupation, it's apparently still possible for Palestinians to find a modicum of normality, if only for 90 minutes of soccer.

Read full article here.

Ismail Khalidi is the curator of the Center for Palestine Studies staged reading series "Permission to Narrate: Three Nights of Palestinian Plays" at Earl Hall, March 25-27, 2015.


Call for Applications: Palestine & Law Fellowship
2015-2016
Columbia University Inaugural Annual Fellowship in Palestine & Law

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University's Middle East Institute is pleased to announce the 2015-16 Palestine & Law Fellowship. The Center seeks applicants for a residential Fellowship in "Palestine & Law" for the 2015-2016 academic year. Interested applicants should propose a course of research and scholarship relating to a range of domestic, regional or international legal issues concerning Palestinians and/or Palestine. Topics may include the legal implications of the Nakba; the Israeli occupation of Palestine; the legal status of the Palestinian state; property issues, from possession to dispossession; the legal status of the refugee; employment of legal means to suppress Palestinian activism, in Israel and elsewhere; and regimes of imprisonment, to name only a few illustrative examples. The Fellowship is designed to both deepen the scholarly understanding of the complex ways in which law and legality are implicated in Palestine, and to provide a supportive environment for scholars of Palestine to conduct research. The Fellow will participate in the rich interdisciplinary environment of the Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia Law School, and Columbia University more generally. Applications are welcome from individuals with a diverse range of backgrounds, traditions, and scholarly interests. Applicants should hold a law degree, Ph.D., or similar qualification.

The level of funding is individually determined based on candidates' needs and the Program's ability to meet them. The Fellow will receive a modest living stipend plus benefits, library access, and office space.

Application deadline is extended to March 15, 2015. More details and application information for 2015-2016 are available on the Fellowship page.



Call for Applications: The Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Palestine Studies at Columbia University

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University's Middle East Institute is pleased to announce the 2015-2016 Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Award in Palestine Studies.

This post-doctoral fellowship seeks to recognize and foster innovative and ground-breaking scholarship on issues related to Palestine and Palestinians. The award will support a scholar working on a book project in any field of the humanities or social sciences. The Fellow will spend one semester at Columbia University in New York, pursuing her or his research and writing, and participating in the intellectual life of the Center for Palestine Studies. Previous IAL fellows include Lena Meari, who spent Spring 2012 working on her book, Interrogating "Painful" Encounters, an ethnographic, historical, and philosophical study of the encounter between Palestinian political activists and interrogators from the Israeli General Security Service. Leena Dallasheh spent Fall 2012 working on her book manuscript entitled Contested Citizenship in Nazareth: Palestinians' Transition from the Mandate to Israel. Mezna Qato, the third IAL Award recipient, spent Spring 2014 working on a book project, a social history of the Palestinian educational experience in Jordan. The current CPS fellow, Omar Tesdell, is working on a book project based on his dissertation, Shadow Spaces: Territory, Sovereignty, and the Question of Palestinian Cultivation, a spatial history of Palestinian environmental and agricultural practice.

The international competition is open to all post-doctoral scholars who share the mission of the Center for Palestine Studies to advance the production and circulation of knowledge on Palestinian history, culture, society, and politics through outstanding scholarship. The one-semester fellowship at Columbia carries a stipend of $25,000 and the status of post-doctoral research fellow or visiting scholar, as appropriate.

This award has been made possible by the generosity of Abdel Mohsin Al-Qattan, through the A.M. Qattan Foundation, in honor of his friend, the Palestinian scholar and intellectual, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (1929-2001). Their close friendship began in the aftermath of the nakbah of 1948 and evolved into a shared commitment to justice for Palestinians to be realized in part through support for excellence in higher education and scholarship. In later years, upon the establishment of the A.M. Qattan Foundation in Palestine, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod helped found the Qattan Centre for Educational Research and Development; one of the Foundation's core programs.

Application deadline is February 20, 2015. More details and application information for 2015-2016 are available on the Fellowship page.


Annoucing the fourth recipient of the Ibrahim Abu Lughod Award in Palestine Studies, Omar Imseeh Tesdell

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University is pleased to announce the fourth recipient of the Ibrahim Abu Lughod Award in Palestine Studies, Omar Imseeh Tesdell. The award recognizes and seeks to foster innovative and ground-breaking scholarship on issues related to Palestine and Palestinians.

Omar Imseeh Tesdell is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Birzeit University. He will spend Spring 2015 at Columbia working on a book project based on his dissertation, Shadow Spaces: Territory, Sovereignty, and the Question of Palestinian Cultivation. A spatial history of Palestinian environmental and agricultural practice, the book explores the relationship between the work of cultivation and claims to land. Cultivation in the conventional sense is understood to be an abstract concept that allows institutions like the state to deploy technologies of control, whether through law, coercion, or agricultural development. Yet generally overlooked is an understanding of cultivation as the longstanding concrete practice of farmers to uphold collective claims to land. In contrast to a self-evident concept of cultivation, the practice of cultivation thus emerges as a flashpoint to consider the question of territory and sovereignty. As such, the book offers a spatial history of cultivation in Palestine and develops a theoretical understanding of it as constituted by both colonialism and oppositional political community arrayed around it.

Two works emerging from his research are forthcoming in edited volumes, one entitled “Land and the Question of Palestinian Cultivation” in New Directions in Palestinian Studies, and another entitled “On Naming and Being” in Being Palestinian: Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in the Diaspora from Edinburgh University Press. Tesdell completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Geography at the University of Minnesota in 2013. His research has been supported by the Arab Council for Social Sciences (ACSS), Social Science Research Council (SSRC), Palestinian American Research Center (PARC), and the University of Minnesota.

This award has been made possible by the generosity of Abdel Mohsin Al-Qattan, through the A.M. Qattan Foundation, in honor of his friend, the Palestinian scholar and intellectual, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (1929-2001). Their close friendship began in the aftermath of the Nakbah of 1948 and evolved into a shared commitment to justice for Palestinians to be realized in part through support for excellence in higher education and scholarship.



PALESTINE'S SOUTH AFRICA MOMENT?
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement

On December 2, 2014 CPS hosted a founder of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Omar Barghouti, who spoke to a packed audience. In addition to remarks by Professors Nadia Abu El-Haj and Rashid Khalidi, the other main speaker of the evening was CPS faculty member and world renowned scholar Mahmood Mamdani. Professor Mamdani spoke in comparative terms about the history of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and the implications of this history for Palestinian activism.

Omar Barghouti, Palestinian Human Rights Activist & Co-founder of the BDS Movement

Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert H. Lehman Professor of Government, Columbia University



The Heyman Center for the Humanities in association with The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University

On October 20, 2014, Professor Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice Emeritus at Princeton University delivered The Annual Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture. Entitled, "The Palestinian Future After Gaza," the talk focused on the present reality and future direction of the Palestinian struggle.

Read more about Professor Richard Falk and The Annual Edward W. Said Memorial lecture here, and watch the entire lecture below.




IN COLLABORATION | COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THE ARTS, CENTER FOR PALESTINE STUDIES & THE HARLEM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

On September 10, 2014, the US Premiere of Children of the Light opened the 9th Annual Harlem International Film Festival (Hi) following on the heels of its sold out World Premiere screening in Monaco.

At 82, Tutu is a moral icon and father of modern day South Africa who continues to fight on as a tireless advocate for justice and equality for people in every corner of the globe. "One day he is standing up against the oil sands deal in Canada; next he is calling for human rights for the people of Palestine; then he is stating that he cannot worship a homophobic god."

Read more about Archbishop Emeritus Desmund Tutu's support of the Palestinian people here.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies and School of the Arts at Columbia University.




Hany Abu-Assad's short film, "A Boy, A Wall, and A Donkey," was one of the Palestinian productions featured at the International Harlem Film Festival.

Announcing the first recipients of the Palestine and Law Fellowship, Suhad Bishara and Jamal Nusseibeh

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University is pleased to announce the first recipients of the inaugural Palestine & Law Fellowship, Suhad Bishara and Jamal Nusseibeh. The Fellowship is designed to both deepen the scholarly understanding of the complex ways in which law and legality are implicated in Palestine, and to provide a supportive environment for scholars of Palestine to conduct research. The Fellow will participate in the rich interdisciplinary environment of the Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia Law School, and Columbia University more generally.

Suhad Bishara is a senior attorney and the Head of the Land and Planning Unit of Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. She has litigated numerous constitutional rights cases before the Israeli Supreme Court concerning the land rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). She is an Editor of Makan - Adalah's Journal of Land, Planning and Justice, and she co-authored a report entitled "Nomads Against Their Will", in 2011 about the State of Israel's attempt to expel Arab Bedouin citizens of the state from their village in the Naqab (Negev) desert.

Bishara's research project will focus on challenging the applicability of the rule of law and constitutional protection on the Palestinian citizens of Israel by examining the case of the unrecognized Palestinian Bedouin villages in the Naqab (Negev) desert in southern Israel. Due to the lack of recognition, these villages lack basic infrastructure and services, and the residents live under constant threat of home demolition and eviction orders. She will examine whether and how today's judicial policy towards the unrecognized villages, is a continuation of the historical, judicial policy used in Palestinian land confiscation cases in the aftermath of the Nakba in 1948 and through the 1950s, when the Israeli judicial system suspended the rule of law and constitutional protections. Bishara will also investigate the connection between the past and the present by examining the contribution of the law and the judiciary to the continuation of the Nakba on territorial matters in Israel.

Dr. Jamal Nusseibeh is an Assistant Professor of Law at Al Quds University (AQU) in Jerusalem, where he developed and taught courses on Human Rights Law and on Domestic and International Arbitration. He also devised and taught a course on Jerusalem for graduate students enrolled in AQU's Jerusalem Studies program, analyzing the city from a legal and political perspective. From Fall 2010 until 2013, he also served as Vice President of AQU, in which capacity he was responsible for managing the legal and development strategy of the University in Jerusalem, navigating the unique legal and political challenges faced by what is one of two remaining major Palestinian institutions in the city.

Nusseibeh obtained his initial degrees from the Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in Paris, and worked as speechwriter and aide to the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council before going to England to study postgraduate law at City University and become a Barrister, as a Queen Mother Scholar at the Middle Temple. He obtained his LL.M. (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar) and J.S.D. (Joseph V. Heffernan Fellow) from Columbia University, with a dissertation entitled International Economic Dispute Settlement: Morality and Authority in Investment Arbitration and at the WTO . Nusseibeh is interested in questions of law, morality, sovereignty and authority, and the multiple novel interactions of these concepts in the Palestinian context. At CPS, he plans to write specifically on Jerusalem, using the course he developed at AQU as a framework for an empirical analysis of the city, and relying in part on his practical experience of the University's struggle to survive in Jerusalem as a case study of the complexities of long-term occupation and the increasingly dire situation in Jerusalem in the years since Oslo. He will be looking at questions such as how people do, and are supposed to, behave in the absence of (acceptable/accepted) law and (acceptable/accepted) sovereignty, and whether there may be practical solutions to improve the situation for persons (people, institutions) in the absence of macro-level political decision-making (is this a transitional justice situation, or is it no longer transitional?). By re-viewing Jerusalem empirically, he hopes also to reach some normative/prescriptive conclusions as to how Palestinians (and others?) in and from Jerusalem can/ought to interact with the multiple (quasi-) legal/political systems that vie for control over their lives.



Santiago Palestine Film Fest Concludes with Resounding Success

Sunday marked the last day of the inaugural Palestine Film Festival in Chile sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies, the Columbia Global Center in Santiago, the Center for Arab Studies at the University of Chile, and hosted at Cineteca Nacional de Chile.

The Festival brought together a showcase of Palestinian and Chilean artists including musician Ana Tijoux, iconic Chilean Palestinian filmmaker Miguel Littin, and Claudia Aravena Abughosh, Palestinian Chilean video artist.

The program featured the screening of 13 films, 7 of them feature films, 12 of which premiered for the first time in Chile. Opening night on June 23 kicked off with introductions by Columbia's Vice President for Columbia Global Centers and Global Development Safwan Masri, Columbia's Dean of the School of the Arts Carol Becker and María Eugenia Góngora Díaz, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Chile.

For the full program click here: Muestra Cine Palestino.





CPS presents the first annual Palestinian Film Festival in Santiago, Chile
June 23-29, 2014 at Cineteca Nacional de Chile

The Center for Palestine Studies (CPS) at Columbia University presents the first annual Palestinian Film Festival in Santiago, Chile at the Cineteca Nacional (Centro Cultural La Moneda). This weeklong festival, which runs from June 23 to 29, 2014, will feature iconic works from Palestinian cinema, which has emerged as a globally influential artistic force.

CPS, in collaboration with the Columbia Global Centers Latin America (Santiago), the Center for Arab Studies at the University of Chile and the Cineteca Nacional, will present a comprehensive selection of Palestinian cinema. Following in the footsteps of other Palestinian international film festivals in Madrid, London and Boston, the purpose of the inaugural Santiago Festival is to engage Latin American audiences with filmic depictions of Palestinian history and culture.

This year’s Festival is focused on the theme of cinema and exile. The program includes the screening of eight feature films and five short films; twelve of these films will be premiered for the first time in Chile.

The impressive list of films include emblematic works by internationally renowned directors and artists like Michel Khleifi, Elia Suleiman, Hany Abu Assad, Mona Hatoum, Annemarie Jacir and Cherien Dabis, and documentary filmmakers Nasri Hajjaj , Azza El- Hassan and Omar Shargawi, along with emerging young artists the likes of Basma Alsharif , Larissa Sansour, and Mahdi Fleifel.

Omar (2013), nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film after great success at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and at several other international festivals, will be shown on opening night on June 23, 2014. Waleed Zuaiter, the film’s producer and actor who plays Agent Rami will open the Festival with a discussion after the film’s screening.

Moreover, one of the most important Palestinian directors, Michel Khleifi, director of Zindeeq (2009), which premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival, will participate. At its inaugural event in October 2010, the Center hosted Khleifi for the New York premiere of his film.

Cherein Dabis, director and alumna of the Columbia University Film School, will also participate in the Festival for a discussion after the screening of her film Amreeka (2009).

The festival will also feature panel discussions by Professors from the Center for Arab Studies at the University of Chile who will discuss the central theme of the festival: “cinema, exile and occupation.

For more information and the full program click here: Muestra Cine Palestino.


CPS Academic Year Review 2013-2014

Click below to download a copy of the Center for Palestine Studies' 2013-2014 Academic Year Review of programming, fellowships, and initiatives.

CPS Academic Year Review


CPS Faculty Professor Rashid Khalidi Honored for Excellence in Publishing

From Columbia College News

The Academic Awards Committee of the Columbia College Student Council has announced the winners of the 2014 Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching and the 2014 Lionel Trilling Book Award.

The Lionel Trilling Book Award, given to a member of Columbia's faculty whose book was published in the previous year, will be presented to Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies and Literature in the Department of History, for his book Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S has Undermined Peace in the Middle East (2013).

Read the full story here.

CPS Faculty awarded 2013 MEMO Palestine Book Awards

November 19, 2013--In London last week, the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) Palestine Book Awards granted Rashid Khalidi the 2013 Academic Prize for his recently released, Brokers of Deceit: How the US Undermined Peace in the Middle East.

MEMO awarded the 2013 General Prize to Penny Johnson and Raja Shehadeh for Seeking Palestine: New Palestinian Writing on Exile and Home with contributions by CPS Faculty Lila Abu-Lughod, as well as Rema Hammami and Suad Amiry, who were featured in a Center for Palestine Studies event on Seeking Palestine in March 2013. Raja Shehadeh also delivered this year's Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture.

Congratulations to all the prize winners!

Read the full story here .

Embarrassing, Contrary, Unpleasant:
An Introduction to Judith Butler and Cornel West in Conversation

Professor James Schamus, Columbia University, New York
30 October 2013

Good evening, and thanks Lila. Let me briefly lay out the format for tonight's event, meditate a bit on some of the questions its title might suggest to our speakers, and commence with a first question. Let us begin by acknowledging that this was a very hot ticket - more on that in a second - and that tonight we are in, to borrow a phrase both from Israeli jurisprudence and from Judith Butler's recent work, a lot of absent-presences. So while we will solicit questions to supplement and continue tonight's conversation, we're going to do so virtually, in the hope that those of you not sitting with us in Low Library will feel the connection we here certainly feel with you.

So if you'd like to join the conversation, tweet your question to @CUpalestine using #edwardsaid or post to our Facebook Event page Judith Butler and Cornel West, in Conversation, by the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University. Operators are standing by; and in about 45 minutes to an hour or so one of them will discreetly hand me a stack of questions and comments and, if and when the opportunity arises and the conversation finds a lull, I will share them with you. If, however, the conversation feels like it can continue uninterrupted, I'll hold fire, and ask your forgiveness in advance if we entertain few if any questions.

So, some preliminaries to an initial question, prompted by the sub-title of tonight's event: "Palestine and the Public Intellectual: Honoring Edward Said." I'd like briefly to break down some of the constituent parts of that title in preface to the conversation it announces.

First, Honoring Edward Said. This evening takes place as one of a wonderful number of events commemorating Edward Said, and as such it prompts if not begs the question as to the uses and reasons for those commemorations, honorifications, memorializations and celebrations. A couple of weeks ago in Lerner Hall Edward Said was remembered; last week his memorial lecture was delivered; and tonight he is honored. It is appropriate, under such circumstances, to ask whether and how his memory is working, and how it should be working, and for whom it should be working.

One use, of course, arises from the simple conjunction of the name Edward Said with the word Palestine. And here, I feel the need to try to articulate a specific and particular sense of excitement about tonight's conversation. Let's face facts, each of tonight's interlocutors, alone, is, to use the language of celebrity (which raises its own questions but also feels somewhat appropriate tonight), as I said before, a hot ticket. But together, in conversation, present, to each other, Judith Butler and Cornel West make this feel like a moment, an event. And the territory, occupied or otherwise, where they come together is, not just figuratively, Palestine. Tonight it feels as though, unlike perhaps in Edward Said's day, it is not the question of Palestine that is invoked. Rather, it is Palestine that is asking the questions; indeed, Palestine is demanding answers.

Then we have this word "public." What is a public, or, to ask the question another way, what do publics do? (And what is the public doing here tonight?) Unlike proletariats, peoples, communities, and masses, publics exist mainly to...have opinions. Or, perhaps we could say that the "public" in these neo-liberal times serves as a notional value or subject that provides the site for the production, management, circulation, and consumption of the idea or representation of "their" opinions.

For Said, though, the word public always held out the promise of its Enlightenment origins, as the site of public reason, as a place where genuine truths can emerge. That's why, for Said, there is no need for the category of "public" intellectual - for the intellectual is, by his definition, always public, someone who publishes, who comes into being as such by making representations to a public. As Said writes in his wonderful volume Representations of the Intellectual, "There is no such thing as a private intellectual" (12). The intellectual, he says, "is an individual endowed with a faculty for representing, embodying, articulating a message, a view, an attitude, philosophy or opinion to, as well as for, a public" (11).

To, as well as for. The intellectual represents, paradoxically teaching her public, something, in a sense, the public already knows but just doesn't know that it knows - teaching it, in the Saidian version, the unknown truth about what it really is. The Saidian intellectual plays a strange role, one that requires the intellectual to come into being wholly in relation to the public, but to not be the public, or part of the public - to be a representing representation. For Said, the intellectual stands outside, and mainly, again with a nod to his enlightenment heritage, because, as Said writes, the intellectual's speech is always "on behalf of universal principles" (11). That is, the intellectual speaks on behalf of that which is not particular to a public, on behalf of that which cannot be contained within any particular public, but which is somehow essential to the idea of any public insofar as it is a public.

The weight of that universal burden, unmoored from an actually situated public home, makes the intellectual anything other than the usual expert sent out to manage the public through his or her expertise: Said's intellectual paradoxically maintains the social prestige and authority of the intellectual class, but is, as he puts it, "...someone who cannot easily be co-opted by governments or corporations, and whose raison d'etre is to represent all those people and issues that are routinely forgotten or swept under the rug" (11).

And here you see another, paradoxical dialectical leap in Said's thinking - the "public" that the intellectual is to represent to the public is actually the abjected, the forgotten, the oppressed, that is to say outsiders, those who have been relegated to a space outside the public sphere. Paradoxically, in order for the intellectual to play the role of intellectual to the public, she must mimic the abject state of these outsiders, but now from a position of authority if not of power.

Heavy burdens to bear, which is no doubt why Said constantly references the intellectual's, well, crankiness: "Least of all," he writes, "should an intellectual be there to make his/her audiences feel good: the whole point is to be embarrassing, contrary, even unpleasant" (12). It is as if, for Said, the repulsion felt by the proper public for those habitually abjected and excluded must, if only as a moment of negative pleasure, be felt also in the presence of the intellectual. Intellectuals may represent the public, and represent to the public, but the process required in order to make these representations is a fundamentally antagonistic one, making the representations themselves by definition incongruous and dissonant.

I think I speak on behalf of tonight's public, when I say how excited I am to be here to listen in on what I know will be, in honor of Edward Said, a truly embarrassing, contrary and unpleasant conversation. And let's start it by asking, as we have asked about what memorializations do, what publics do, what intellectuals do, and what Palestine does, a simple question you need entertain only by ignoring it: What, exactly, are we doing here tonight?

1 Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual, New York: Vintage, 1996.

2 For an interesting exploration of these issues, see Danielle Ranciere and Jacques Ranciere, "The Philosopher's Tale: Intellectuals and the Trajectory of Gauchisme," in Jacques Ranciere, The Intellectual and his People, London: Verso, 2012, pp. 74-100.

Two Weeks In Palestine: My First Visit

Michael Taussig, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University

Thursday June 17, 2013: I pretty well stopped eating in Palestine, not because I wasn't offered food at every turn, but because the intensity ate me alive. It was like I was breathing different air on a different planet where the customary laws of gravity and physics no longer existed. Except it wasn't just the harsh reality of physics-of land occupation and check-points and the permits required for any and everything-but the even harsher reality of things harder for me to pin down. Paranoia? Yes. Anxiety? Yes. But these terms are too obvious yet not quite right, anyway. Above all what threw me was the patience and calm in the midst of choppy seas that in an instant could become a gale inside and outside. Was it that things seemed calm, but shouldn't? Or was it that people spent a lot of time making calm, if you see what I mean, and that this was a sort of national pastime, a gargantuan cultural feat, "making calmness." (Compare with the agitated frenzy I always hear about in Israel) Or is it that no matter how bad a situation, people adapt and life continues in its steady and unsteady rhythms, as it must for the 40 year old man I met in the subterranean market in Hebron selling spices at the same stall all his life and who has never seen the sea, holding my arm, eyes burning, when I tell him I am from Sydney. Although it is quite close, he has never seen the sea because he doesn't have a permit to travel the necessary roads. But the spices need to be gathered from the dusty hillsides, the customers expect it, and he has to live, sea-less as it may be. Twenty meters away Jewish settlers are said to pour garbage and even urine down into the marketplace from their houses which not so long ago were the homes of Palestinians whom, by and large, Israelis insist on calling "arabs" as if the very word PALESTINE does not exist, is not allowed to exist, and yet for all of that non-existence very much exists-as a taboo word threatening thought itself and, indeed, the very writing of this diary. Never have I felt the use of names and words to be so precarious.

Continue reading Taussig's Two Weeks in Palestine here.