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.