Back to All Events

A CONSTITUTION FOR A NON STATE, Or How to Do Things with Law. Palestine 1993-2015

  • Columbia Law School 435 West 116th Street New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)



In the scholarship on post-Oslo Palestine, critical legal research has generally neglected the internal (Palestinian Authority-PA) legislation, as compared to the attention given to international law and Israeli legislation and legal practices. Most of the work on Palestinian Constitutional-making and, more generally, law and legal practices tends towards a de-contextualized, normative analysis or legal exegesis, which fails to show the complex ways in which Palestinian legal production has contributed to the re-articulation, consolidation, and legitimization of some classic colonial patterns: namely, the non-sovereign status of Palestinians, authoritarian forms of domination, and the division/fragmentation of colonized subjects.

Emilio Dabed, Columbia University Palestine  Law Fellow, Fall 2015 & Spring 2016

Emilio Dabed presented the introductory chapter of his book which situates and contextualizes the above arguments, and engages with some ideas related to self-reflexive research in Palestine: What does it mean for a Palestinian-Chilean jurist, socialized and trained as a lawyer under Pinochet's dictatorship, to do research on law in the West bank more than 100 years after the departure of his ancestors from Beit Jala, Palestine, to Chile? If, as it seems inevitable and necessary to admit, in the course of our research we are making theoretical and methodological choices, observing, analyzing, and representing things from 'somewhere'; if we recognize that not only the social reality that we seek to understand is historically and spatially situated, but also that the researcher's viewpoint is situated; if, in definitive, the methodological and theoretical choices of any research might be influenced by the conditions in which the researcher was nurtured, socialized, and intellectually built, should we -and how does one- account for this 'subjective' dimension in one's work?

Introduction by Rashid Khalidi