New Directions in Palestinian Studies aims to shape scholarly works in this field through annual workshops, an endowed post-doctoral fellowship, and a book series with the University of California Press. The thematically organized workshops bring together emerging and established scholars to take stock of research trends, identify promising new questions and sources, and encourage networking across academic and research institutions. Academic knowledge production on Palestine and the Palestinians has long been shaped by an ongoing and deeply internationalized colonial encounter, by the symbolically and religiously saturated place of the “Holy Land” in the global imaginary, and by the persistent struggle for freedom and self-determination by Palestinians despite the massive ruptures they have experienced since the late nineteenth century. For a variety of reasons, the field of Palestine and Palestinian studies has undergone a transformation over the past two decades. It has rapidly grown quantitatively and qualitatively, with new lines of inquiry pushing in several new directions simultaneously. The first two symposiums — “Political Economy and the Economy of Politics,” (March 2014) and “Political Culture and the Culture of Politics,” (March 2015)— generated a great deal of discussion and led to numerous collaborations.
This year’s meeting will be a small and closed workshop based on brief position papers (of about 1200 words) on the broad topic “Approaches to Research on Palestine and the Palestinians.” The position papers are reflections on how the participants’ work relates to this topic, answering such questions as: What are the larger intellectual and political stakes of your own scholarship? What lines of inquiry would you suggest that NDPS explore over the next few years? What thematic workshop would you consider leading and who would you include? For example, some of the themes that informed the last two symposiums include the issue of exceptionalism; the promise and limitations of the settler colonial paradigm; zones of visibility and invisibility in historical narratives; the question of archives, and its relationship to research on Israel and Zionism.
Panels are organized around the themes put forward in the pre-circulated position papers. Participants will have ten minutes to contextualize their position paper, followed by a discussant and then open discussion. The workshop will take place on Friday, March 4 and the morning of Saturday, March 5, 2016.