A World Not Ours is an intimate, humorous, portrait of three generations of exile in the refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh, in southern Lebanon. Based on a wealth of personal recordings, family archives, and historical footage, the fils is a sensitive and illuminating study of belonging, friendship and family.
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?
Ghost Hunting. A film by Raed Andoni.
Screening and Q&A with the director and Professor James Schamus.
Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room, Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University
Director Raed Andoni places a newspaper advertisement in Ramallah. He is looking for former inmates of the Moskobiya interrogation centre in Jerusalem. In his ad he asks that the men should also have experience as craftsmen, architects or actors. After a casting process that almost feels like role play, he arranges for a replica of the centre’s interrogation rooms and cells to be built to scale inside a hall – under close supervision from the former inmates and based on their memories. In this realistic setting the men subsequently re-enact their interrogations, discuss details about the prison, and express the humiliation they experienced during their detention. Using techniques that are reminiscent of the so-called ‘theatre of the oppressed’ they work together to dramatise their real-life experiences. Their reconstruction brings long repressed emotions and undealt with trauma to the fore. Working on the film takes its toll on the men – both physically and mentally. The director also appears in front of the camera; not only is he creating a stage for his protagonists, he is also coming to terms with his own fragmented memories of imprisonment in Moskobiya thirty years previously.
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?
This day-long event is the second of a three-piece series that focuses on the movement of people across and along the Mediterranean and the emergence, re-signification, and use of sites of memory. Bringing together a mix of panelists from the humanities and social sciences, the day will include work by the following scholars:
Alessandra Ciucci (Columbia University)
“Music, Sound, and the Ethical Horizon of Migration across the Mediterranean (Morocco-Italy)”
Yannis Hamilakis (Brown University)
“The New Nomadic Age: Archaeologies of Forced and Undocumented Migration”
Lorenzo Pezzani (Goldsmiths, University of London)
“Forensic Oceanography: documenting and contesting the death of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea”
Giovanna Fiume (U. degli Studi di Palermo)
“An unexpected site of religious memory: las càrceles secretas (the secret prisons) of the Holy Office in Sicily”
Respondents will include Diane Bodart, Daniel Hershenzon, Pier Mattia Tommasino, Konstantina Zanou, Naor Ben-Yehoyada, and Seth Kimmel.
Organized by Seth Kimmel and Naor Ben-Yehoyada.