The Palestine Seminar (GSF 648)

The Palestine Seminar (Spring 2024), convened by Dr. Frances S. Hasso, includes an open-access syllabus, five live-streamed panels (produced and published as podcast episodes after completion), a film series at Duke University, a day-long in-person and livestreamed conference on 28 February 2024 titled "Concrete Imaginings: Building a Liberated Palestine" (published as podcast episodes after completion), and an in-person public lecture on 3 April 2024 at Duke by the Palestinian writer Adania Shibli. Duke Middle East Librarian Sean Swanick co-created an in-progress Subject Guide on Palestine to accompany The Palestine Seminar.
Hasso is Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, History, and Sociology at Duke University. She is a widely published scholar of the Arab world and Palestine, most recently Buried in the Red Dirt: Race, Reproduction and Death in Modern Palestine (Cambridge 2022) and “Beyond the Treatment Room: The Psyche-Body-Society Care Politics of Cairo’s El-Nadeem” in Signs: Journal of Women and Culture in Society (2023, Vol. 49:1).
She is grateful to GSF staff, students, and colleagues as well as academic units, individuals, and groups throughout Duke and in the Durham community who helped make The Palestine Seminar possible through their labor and support, including Duke Academics and Staff for Justice in Palestine. She especially appreciates the guest artists, scholars, and practitioners who agreed to participate in the seminar and the dedicated and enthusiastic Duke students who enrolled in it. Sina Rahmani of The East is a Podcast is generously producing post-facto and posting recorded panels and conversations.
Department of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Department of African & African American Studies, Asian American and Diaspora Studies Program, Department of History, International Comparative Studies Program, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Program in Literature, Duke Human Rights Center @FHI, Department of English, Provost Initiative on the Middle East
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Louis Allday, Ilan Pappe, Jumana Manna
Light green background poster with 5 livestreamed conversations on Palestine Seminar

Jan. 31, 2024, 2:00 pm
A Conversation with Historian and Writer Louis Allday of Liberated Texts

Dr. Louis Allday is a writer, editor and historian. He completed his PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His PhD research focused on British cultural and educational propaganda in the Arab Gulf states and Britain's attempts to stop the spread of Arab nationalism to the region and ensure its continued dominance over it.

Louis Allday Audio Episode, The East is a Podcast

Feb. 7, 2024, 2:00 pm
A Conversation with historian and sociologist Ilan Pappé on Erasing, Burying, and Excavating History

Professor Pappé obtained his BA degree from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the D. Phil from the University of Oxford. He founded and directed the Academic Institute for Peace in Givat Haviva, Israel between 1992 to 2000 and was the Chair of the Emil Tuma Institute for Palestine Studies in Haifa between 2000 and 2006. He taught at Haifa University between 1984 and 2006. He is currently a Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies, and a Fellow at the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in the UK. He is a widely published scholar of Israel, including as a settler-colonial project in historic Palestine.

Ilan Pappé Audio Episode, The East is a Podcast

Feb. 14, 2024, 2:00 pm
A Conversation with filmmaker Jumana Manna on Storytelling, Remembering, and Forgetting

Jumana Manna is a Palestinian visual artist and filmmaker. Manna's work explores how power is articulated, focusing on the body, land and materiality in relation to colonial inheritances and histories of place. Through sculpture, filmmaking, and occasional writing, Manna deals with the paradoxes of preservation practices, particularly within archaeology, agriculture and law. Her practice considers the tension between the modernist traditions of categorisation and conservation and the unruly potential of ruination as an integral part of life and its regeneration. Jumana was raised in Jerusalem and lives in Berlin.

Jumana Manna Audio Episode, The East is a Podcast


Health in Palestine: A Livestreamed Conversation with Palestinian Health Professionals
April 10, 2024, 2:00 pm

Collage of 5 headshots of 4 women and one man
Razzan Quran, Rantia Sabbah, Aisha Saifi, Mary Turfah, 'Ayed Yaghi

Livestream information and details here.

Razzan Quran is a Palestinian and co-founding member of the Tala’at Feminist Collective – Ramallah chapter, and a member of the Palestine Global Mental Health Network. Razzan is currently a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at George Washington University, received her counseling training at the Palestine Counseling Center and held therapy with Palestinian and Syrian refugees in refugee camps across Beirut, Lebanon in Fall 2019. Prior to this, Razzan was the Regional Organizer in the US South with United Students Against Sweatshops while completing studies in Memphis, TN, relying on the decolonial and feminist mentorship of black, feminist and indigenous organizers to connect experiences and life in Palestine with the settler colony on Turtle Island.

Rantia Sabbah is a Palestinian Fulbright scholar with a master's degree in Developmental Psychology and Early Intervention Specialization from Case Western Reserve University. She received her BA in Psychology from Birzeit University. She gained professional training and experience in applied behavioral analysis through working with children with developmental disabilities. She is professionally trained to provide therapy in a clinical setting and has worked with troubled teenagers in the only juvenile center in Palestine. She also worked as a Psychosocial Support Facilitator for communities most vulnerable to Israeli settler violence. 

Aisha Saifi is a Palestinian feminist activist, nurse, community midwife and health consultant in Palestine. She also holds an MA in Social Work. She has over 30 years of experience working in Palestine, including cancer awareness campaigns, health and bodily education, combating early marriages, family planning, prenatal/postnatal nutrition, and youth, family and couples counseling. She is also part of networks that inform and lobby the Palestinian legislative council on various laws and policies relevant to women’s rights and civic and political participation in Palestinian society.

Mary Turfah is a medical student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, whose family is from the border between Lebanon and Palestine. She completed her M.A. in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University, where her thesis project focused on trauma memory and the margins of the Nakba. Her writing explores medicine's hand in advancing and addressing sociopolitical harm. She recently interviewed Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah for Mondoweiss about the role of the physician in liberation struggle, and our obligation, when confronted with the logic of elimination, to remain committed to life. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Mondoweiss, The Baffler, Protean, and elsewhere. She starts her surgical residency in July.

‘Ayed Yaghi is Director of the Gaza Branch of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS). Trained as a urologist, Dr. Yaghi started working in PMRS in 2003 and holds an MA in Public Health from Al-Quds University. He has advocated for health as a human right in Palestine, and called for an expansion of what we define as health to include psychosocial and political factors, including freedom from occupation. He has written academic papers, given interviews, and appeared before international bodies including the UN Human Rights Council, to advocate on behalf of his people, including during the 2014 assault on Gaza, the Great March of Return, the acute phase of the covid-19 pandemic and most recently since the Israeli assault on Gaza.

April 17, 2024, 2:00 pm
A Panel on Literary Gaza with writers of poetry and fiction from Gaza, Palestine

Green and Red poster for Palestine film series- Tantura




Tuesday, February 6, 2024 @6:30 pm Palestine Film Series, "Tantura" (2022) by Alon Schwarz





A magical substance Film Poster




Tuesday, February 13, 2024 @6:30 pm Palestine Film Series, "A Magical Substance Flows Into Me" (2016) by Jumana Manna




Wedding in Galilee Palestine Film Series



Tuesday, February 20, 2024 @6:30 pm Palestine Film Series, "Wedding in Galilee" (1987) by Michel Khleifi






Gaza Ghetto, Palestine Film Series




Tuesday, March 19, 2024 @6:30 pm
Palestine Film Series, "Gaza Ghetto: Portrait of a Palestinian Family, 1948-1984" (1985) by Joan Mandell




Concrete Imaginings - Heba Zaqout painting

Untitled 2022 by Heba Zaqout, artist and fine arts teacher, martyred 13 October 2023 with two of her children in Gaza.

Concrete Imaginings: Building a Liberated Palestine

An In-Person and Livestreamed Conference
Podcast Recordings Below
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

PANEL 1: 12:00-1:30

“The Urgency of Anti-Imperial Feminism: Lessons from Palestine”

    Walaa Alqaisiya, Ca' Foscari University of Venice (via Zoom)
This talk maps the epistemic, political, and moral grounds informing the urgency of anti-imperial feminism that Palestine brings into sight. Combining decolonial and Third-Worldist Marxist theoretical approaches, the first part of the talk unpacks the functionality of gender to the onto-epistemic foundations of Zionist settler colonialism under US-led imperialism. The second part discusses how the centering of the Palestinian national question redefines the moral and political parameters of feminist and queer mobilisation. In doing so, the last part shows the limitations and tensions that post-structural feminist and queer approaches carry, when dealing with the question of liberation, violence, and development in global South contexts, such as Palestine.

“Christian Zionism, Displacement, and the Role of Travel”

    Jennifer Kelly, University of California, Santa Cruz (via Zoom)
A central tenet of Falwell’s Moral Majority, founded in 1979, was unequivocal support for Israel and, by 1983, he began his first of many “Friendship Tours to Israel,” which included meetings with government officials and tours of Israeli military installations. Today, Christian Zionism tours follow this template, pairing pilgrimage with celebrations of Israel’s sustained displacement of Palestinians. At the center of displacement in Jerusalem, for example, is a biblical theme park—run by settlers—planned for Silwan that comprises a cable car, a seven-story Jewish cultural center on Wadi Hilweh land, and shopping centers and homes for settlers. And, during this current genocidal war on Gaza, Christian Zionists across the U.S. are once again eagerly seeing Israel’s destruction of Gaza as a sign of end times and calling for unchecked Israeli control over all of Palestine. In this paper, I show not only how tourism is never a thing apart from colonial state violence, but also how tourism is part of the fabric of a U.S. Christian Zionism that both enables and facilitates Palestinian displacement.

Recording of Panel I, The East is a Podcast

PANEL 2: 1:45-3:15

"Queer Threads: Activist Fashion in Palestine" 

   Roberto Filippello, University of Amsterdam  
In this presentation I sketch the contours of the formation of an activist fashion scene across Palestine in the face of material challenges that the infrastructures of the occupation pose to the production and circulation of clothes. I theorize the creative practices of Palestinian fashion designers and image-makers as makeshift acts of collective disidentification with the ecocidal, racist, and queerphobic Zionist enterprise, and argue that “queer decolonial fashion practices” offer a model of creative activism wherein environmental ethics, anti-racism, and queer claims are fundamentally interconnected. Conjoining Gramscian analytical categories and queer epistemologies from the South, I highlight how sartorial praxis and embodiment figure in the imagination of Palestinian youth.

“Laboratories of Speculation: Rethinking Jericho, ‘the City of the Moon’”

   Ronak K. Kapadia, University of Illinois Chicago (via Zoom)
Critical queer feminist study has lovingly brought renewed methodological attention to long-forgotten, once-inhabited sites, archives, geographies, and histories, which can be newly reanimated for the service of contemporary collective social life. One such instance in present-day Palestine has been the international art, writing, and research residency called el-Atlal (“The Ruins”) co-founded by Karim Kattan, Victoria Dabdoub, Rebecca Topakian, and Céleste Haller from 2014-2019 in the town of Jericho, the “oldest city in the world.” Given its historical heritage and complex station in the local imagination, Jericho is a generative utopian site for enacting new incubatory spaces for alternative political and aesthetic possibility in the dystopian here and now. If Palestine, and the Palestinian people subject to Israeli rule, have long served as one of the foremost paradigmatic “laboratories” for the development of late modern settler security states and their fabrication of new technologies of policing, maiming, and killing perfected on Palestinians under siege, this talk explores how we might reimagine an archetypal “Palestine” instead as an experimental site of decolonial fantasy and creative freedom, one that also portends the ends of the conjoined US/Israeli settler security states and their forever wars on terror.

Recording of Panel 2, The East is a Podcast

PANEL 3: 3:30-4:15

“Seeing Palestine, Not Seeing the Palestinians: Gaza in the British Pathé Colonial Lens”

   Shahd Abusalama, Lebanese American University (via Zoom)
My presentation will critically engage with the representation of the Palestine question in general and Gaza refugees in particular by British Pathé, which, as a leading media institution of the British Empire, was also a dedicated advocate of Zionist ambitions and Jewish settlement in Mandate Palestine. While presenting corresponding reels, I will interrogate Pathé’s discursive strategies in representing the 1947-48 Nakba (Arabic: catastrophe), the 1956-7 Israeli occupation of Gaza, and Israel’s subsequent occupation of Gaza beginning in 1967, exposing its ideological framing of the Palestinian people as either “terrorists” or “helpless victims” and the glorification of the newborn state of Israel. I argue that British Pathé provided a consolidating hegemonic discourse on Palestine-Israel that prevails to this day in mainstream Western political, media, and academic discourse to shield Israel and its allies from responsibility.

PLENARY: 4:15-5:00 P.M.

Recording of Panel 3, The East is a Podcast


Dr. Shahd Abusalama (she/her) is a Palestinian scholar activist and artist, born and raised in Jabalia Refugee Camp, northern Gaza. Due to the displacement facing her family in Gaza, she will be based between London, Barcelona and Beirut in 2024. She recently started a visiting scholarship at the Lebanese American University, exploring the gendered representation of Beirut protests during the 17 October Revolution. Her Ph.D. from Sheffield Hallam University explored the historical representations of Gaza and its refugees in documentary films. It will be published by Bloomsbury this year, under the title Between Reality and Documentary. She is the author of the “Palestine from My Eyes” blog, which was published as a book in ltaly in 2013. She co-founded Hawiyya Dance Company in 2017 which showcases Palestine’s folkloric Dabke and music to UK audiences and beyond to amplify antiracist causes.
Dr. Roberto Filippello (he/him) is Assistant Professor of Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam. He is currently working on his first monograph, provisionally titled Dressed for Dissent: Decolonial Fashion and the Queer Struggle for Palestine. Prior to joining the University of Amsterdam, he was a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia and the recipient of a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowship co-sponsored by the University of Melbourne and Sapienza Università di Roma. He works across the fields of Critical Fashion Studies, Queer Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies. His research investigates how fashion has been used across various historical contexts, in particular in the Mediterranean and Middle East and North Africa regions, to shape spaces of political expression and community formation.
Dr. Ronak K. Kapadia (he/him) is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and affiliated faculty in Art History, Global Asian Studies, and Museum & Exhibition Studies at the University of Illinois Chicago. His interdisciplinary research engages critical ethnic studies, transnational queer and feminist studies, visual culture and performance studies, and critical studies of US empire and the national security state. Kapadia’s first book, Insurgent Aesthetics: Security and the Queer Life of the Forever War (Duke University Press 2019) was awarded the 2020 Surveillance Studies Network Best Book Prize. Insurgent Aesthetics theorizes the queer world-making power of contemporary art responses to US militarism in the Greater Middle East. It examines the race-radical queer feminist visions, sensations, and freedom dreams of transnational South and Southwest Asian visual art and aesthetics in the context of contemporary US global state violence and its forever wars of security and terror in the Greater Middle East. Kapadia is co-curator of the 2023 Veteran Art Triennial, co-editor of the forthcoming Surviving the Long Wars: Creative Rebellion at the Ends of Empire and at work on a second solo book project, Breathing in the Brown Queer Commons, which examines queer and trans migrant futurisms in visual culture and performance art to develop a critical theory of healing justice and pleasure in the wilds of ecological chaos and US imperial decline.
Dr. Jennifer Lynn Kelly (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Feminist Studies and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research broadly engages questions of settler colonialism, U.S. empire, and the fraught politics of both tourism and solidarity. Her first book, Invited to Witness: Solidarity Tourism Across Occupied Palestine (Duke University Press, 2023), is a multi-sited interdisciplinary study of solidarity tourism in Palestine that shows how solidarity tourism has emerged in Palestine as an organizing strategy that is both embedded in and working against histories of sustained displacement. Her next project, co-edited with Somdeep Sen (Rothskilde University) and Lila Sharif (Arizona State University), is Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Palestine for the Detours Series at Duke University Press. She is also a founding collective member of the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism and UCSC’s Faculty for Justice in Palestine chapter.
Dr. Walaa Alqaisiya is a Marie Curie Global Fellow working across Ca' Foscari University of Venice (Italy) and Columbia University (USA). She received her PhD in Human Geography from Durham University (UK) and worked as a Teaching Fellow in Gender, Sexuality and Conflict at the Department of Gender Studies, London School of Economics. Her book Decolonial Queering in Palestine (Routledge 2023) engages how Palestinian queer politics and aesthetics challenge the complex web of gendered, sexualised, and racialised constituents in the Zionist settler-colonial project whilst offering future imagining of free Palestine beyond the Oslo historical impasse. Her Marie Curie Fellowship extends her work on settler colonialism, decoloniality and gender whilst bringing an ecological dimension to these fields. The project draws on Turtle Island and Palestine locales of Indigeneity to examine comparable historical and political processes of settler colonial ecocidal violence and the value of Indigenous ecologies. 
Image of Adania Shibli

Literature Through Silence:
A Lecture by Adania Shibli

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

5:00-6:30 pm (ET)

East Duke 201, Nelson Music Room

Duke University

Free Tickets Required through Duke Box Office

Adania Shibli (Palestine, 1974) has written novels, plays, short stories and narrative essays. She has twice been awarded with the Qattan Young Writer's Award-Palestine - in 2001 on her novel Masaas (Al-Adab, 2002; translated as Touch, Clockroot, 2009), and in 2003 on her novel Kulluna Ba’id bethat al Miqdar aan el-Hub (Al-Adab, 2002; translated as We Are All Equally Far from Love, Clockroot, 2012). Her latest is the novel Tafsil Thanawi (Al-Adab, 2017, translated as Minor Detail, Fitzcarraldo Edition/UK, and New Directions/USA, 2020), which was shortlisted for the National Book Award in 2020, and in 2021 it was nominated for the International Booker Prize. Shibli is also engaged in academic research and teaching as a guest professor at various universities, mostly in Birzeit University, Palestine.

Organizations (12), Listed in Order of Founding

UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
“We provide assistance and protection for registered Palestine refugees.” Founded 1950
Palestine Red Crescent Society
“The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is an officially recognized independent Palestinian National Society. It enjoys legal personality and is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The Society, which operates in Palestine and the diaspora, is guided by the Geneva Conventions and the Movement’s Fundamental Principles, i.e. Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.” Founded 1968
Middle East Children’s Alliance
“Amidst the ongoing attack on Gaza, MECA team and partners are providing emergency assistance to families who have fled their homes to seek shelter with relatives as well as procuring emergency medical supplies for hospitals and clinics. Beyond donating, we urge you to TAKE ACTION to stop the genocide in Gaza: 1988
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme
“Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) is a non-profit civil organisation which was established in 1990. Working in the fields of Mental Health and Human Rights, we strive to improve the Palestinian community’s mental health through providing clinical, social, research and training services in addition to gathering support and advocating for the rights of women, children, and victims of violence and human rights violations.” Founded 1990
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund
“PCRF is the primary humanitarian organization in Palestine, delivering crucial and life-saving medical relief and humanitarian aid where it is needed most.  Access to essential resources like food, clean water, and healthcare is severely limited.” Founded 1991
Electronic Intifada
“Your donation directly supports our powerful, independent reporting that shapes the way mainstream media, influential commentators, educators and activists talk about Palestine and act for justice.” Electronic Intifada directly pays writers and journalists in Gaza, produces a daily set of stories, maintains a listserv, and produces a regular podcast. Founded 2001
Al Kamandjâti
“AK was created by the internationally-renowned viola and bouzouq player Ramzi Aburedwan. Ramzi grew up in the Al Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, a camp his family was forced to relocate to in 1948. Like many other Palestinian children, his childhood was greatly marked by the violence of the occupation and by the first Intifada (1987-1992). He founded Al Kamandjâti Association in 2002 in France, where he was studying music, to provide music education to Palestinian children, and to strengthen their appreciation for Palestinian culture and identity…. [The organization] sends music instructors to Al Kamandjâti in Palestine for one or two school years, facilitates music studies in Europe for talented Palestinian students, and sends instrument makers and repairmen to Palestine to repair the instruments and to transmit their know-how to Palestinian children. A prominent Al Kamandjâti network was also established early on in Italy, by Nicola Perugini and Marco Dinoi.” Founded 2002
Excellent research-based news and analysis in Palestine and the US and the organization pays researchers, writers, and other journalists in Palestine. Founded 2006
Palestine Legal
“We provide legal advice, Know Your Rights trainings, advocacy and litigation support to college students, grassroots activists and affected communities who stand for justice in Palestine. Palestine Legal also monitors incidents of suppression to expose trends in tactics to silence Palestine activism.” Founded 2012
European Legal Support Center
“The ELSC defends and empowers advocates for Palestinian rights across mainland Europe and the United Kingdom through legal means.” Founded 2019
Ghassan Abu Sittah’s Children Fund
“This Fund is dedicated to the children of Gaza: providing medical attention to the children who need it the most and helping to relieve the medical sector in Gaza. The first initiative for the Fund, under the expert guidance of Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah, is the transportation of critically injured children with their caretakers from Palestine to Lebanon, where they can receive the best possible medical, psychological, and social care, before returning home to Palestine where they will continue their recovery.” Founded 2023
Care for Gaza
This group has been extremely effective at using donations to deliver food and care packages in Gaza. Founded 2023 for Palestine Donations