ACLA seminar - Palestine/Israel: The Vocabulary of the Conflict and its Circulation

Ella Elbaz's picture
Call for Papers
March 7, 2019
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Jewish History / Studies, Literature, Middle East History / Studies
Dear all,
We invite submission of proposals to participate in our seminar titled "Palestine/Israel: The Vocabulary of the Conflict and its Circulation" that will take place in the American Comparative Literature Association's annual meeting. We welcome scholars of all ranks, both comparatists and national specialists, from all disciplines of the humanities. The deadline for submission through the ACLA website is Sept. 20. 
Please see a more detailed description of the seminar here and at the end of this email. Feel free to contact us for more information. 
Many thanks and best regards,
Ella Elbaz.
PhD Candidate, Department of Comparative Literature, 
Stanford University
Na'ama Rokem
Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
University of Chicago

Palestine/Israel: The Vocabulary of the Conflict and its Circulation
The purpose of this seminar is to create a conversation between Palestinian and Israeli cultures, which raises the question of the possibilities and impossibilities of the operation of comparison as a methodology. To what extent can we generate and discuss a shared set of metaphors and images that circulate within each culture and between the two and what might we learn through such an endeavor. We invite scholars of cultural production generated in the orbit of the conflict writ large, to reflect on common themes (such as exile, return, diaspora, memory, at-home-ness) as they intersect but also as they rise in separate, disparate, and even disconnected circumstances. By bringing together comparative and non-comparative research done in theater, visual arts, literature, history, music, and cinema we hope to crystalize the specific conditions in which images, terminologies and styles transfer from one culture to another. The questions we ask concern both the common grounds and the particularities of post-48 Israeli and Palestinian cultures: What are the spaces that allow interaction versus those that are disconnected (for example, the city of Haifa versus the Palestinian diaspora in the Arab world)? What is unique to each of these spaces in how it constructs cultural communication? Which ideas, forms, and imagery transgress geographical limitations and reach the other side of the conflict regardless to location? What are the key terms and metaphors that are common to both cultures in narrating their history and experience and in what ways are these terms represented differently (for example, exile)? How can we analyze and account for the commonalities found in places that do not invite knowing, understanding and accessing the cultural objects of the ‘enemy’? How can the rhetoric and the methodology of comparison account for the unequal power relations folded into - and sometimes obscured by - the term ‘conflict’?

We are interested on the one hand in circulation and translation between Hebrew and Arabic, and on the other hand in the cultural spheres in which the two develop a similar vocabulary despite the lack of exchange.

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