Palestinian Studies

2017 Workshop

The Politics of Archives and the Practices of Memory

Palestinian Studies

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.

“The Politics of Archives and the Practices of Memory,” is the theme of the fourth annual meeting of NDPS, to be held March 3-4, 2017. The central question is: What does it mean for the colonized, the disenfranchised, and the displaced to produce narratives through archival and memorial practices? Other theoretical, empirical, and comparative questions follow. How are archives and memories produced, assembled, and mobilized in settler colonial contexts? In what ways are archives and memories sites of struggle and appropriation, and looting? How can we theorize archives and memory from perspectives critical of state-centric political configurations and conventional concepts of sovereignty? 

An archive fever has been coursing through the Palestinian body politic for two decades now. What explains this phenomenon and how has it been shaped by the information technology revolution? How have artistic and social media interventions reconstructed the archival and the memorial as sites for research? In what ways can one analyze novels, poetry, and other forms of literature as forms of memory and archives without instrumentalizing these literary genres? 

No other territory has received as much attention from institutions, individuals, and movements associated with the Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. How have the archives and memories they generated throughout the centuries shape our understandings of Palestine and the Palestinians? Also foundational is the absence of a Palestinian state archives? What are the political and intellectual stakes in working with state sanctioned Ottoman, Arabic, Hebrew, and English language archives? Could the absence of a Palestinian state archives be a liberating force rather than an obstacle to constructing emancipatory narratives? As a colonial encounter in a post-colonial world, the fate of Palestine and the Palestinians has long been internationalized. How have the archives of non-governmental and international organizations, such as the United Nations, shaped narratives about Palestine and the Palestinians?