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


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.

For an advance copy of the Viterbo paper contact

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

Columbia Law School building

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