A talk with Leila Farsakh, Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts, UMass Boston.
Introduced by Gil Anidjar, Professor and Chair of Department of Religion, Columbia University.
This talk re-examines the extent to which the struggle for a Palestinian state was a viable or futile effort for the Palestinian national movement and as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Do the notion of partition and the claim to a State constitute the only vehicles for any national group, be it Israelis or Palestinians, to have “the right to have rights,” as Hannah Arendt argued? Can the quest for self-determination be protected otherwise, especially in view of present regional and International developments?
This talk reflects on a decade of research, contingent, accidental, and unconsciously autobiographical, to explore archival practices and the writing of history. It recounts my experience of stumbling across family papers that carried the story of Naim Cotran as a “man of capital.” I detail Naim’s consumerism, his financial investments and property, and his land dispute with his brother, and then trace his experience of dispossession after the Nakba as a refugee in Lebanon. What happened to a man of capital who survived the catastrophe of 1948? What allows an archive to survive that event? What stories does it record and what does it render invisible?
A conversation with Reem Fadda, Emily Jacir, and Beshara Doumani
Moderated by Lila Abu-Lughod and Brian Boyd, Columbia University
Jerusalem Lives was the title of the inaugural exhibition (opened August 2017) at the new Palestinian Museum in Birzeit. We are pleased to bring to Columbia Reem Fadda, the internationally recognized curator of Jerusalem Lives, Emily Jacir, a leading Palestinian artist whose work was featured, and Professor Beshara Doumani, Brown University, an historian who was instrumental in setting the course for the Palestinian Museum. They will explore the challenges to current politics of this innovative and hard-hitting exhibit that brought together artists, scholars, and community groups inside and outside of the museum. Why Jerusalem now? And what can this ambitious new cultural institution in Palestine do and be? Can the Museum connect a people and vitalize community? In the context of Israeli rule and a scattered nation, how will it work with other Palestinian cultural and community projects to educate local and international publics, preserve heritage, document Palestinian pasts and presents, articulate political aspirations, and spark the imagination of justice?