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January 13, 2009

Columbia University & CUNY - Call for Papers

"Crisis States: The Uncertain Future of Israel/Palestine"
Graduate Student Conference, 9-10 April 2009

The Columbia University and City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center departments of Anthropology jointly invite you to submit abstracts for Crisis States: The Uncertain Future of Israel/Palestine, a graduate student conference to be held in April 2009 in New York City.

Social science research on Israel/Palestine has tended to view the
relationship of Palestinians and Israelis as one characterized by the occupation and resistance to it. Anthropology, in particular, has produced valuable studies of Israelis and Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza that have focused largely on the micro-practices of everyday life on the one hand, and on the logics and effects of institutions of national politics on the other. As a result of this trend, the study of Israel/Palestine often focuses on these relationships within, although generally critical of national and historical narratives of geographical Palestine.

It is often said in popular representations of the region that it is now, too late, to establish a two-state solution; that recent developments (or non-developments) have closed off possibilities for peace. In other words, political realities and the future possibilities that they imply, including but not limited to the increasingly desperate circumstances of Palestinians in Gaza or the construction of the separation wall, settlements, and the infrastructure of closure?may now demand attention in new ways. Therefore, in order to supplement existing analyses, we ask: what have large concepts and forces like capitalism, geopolitics and global economics, colonial histories, and nationalism brought to the study of this conflict? What have they obscured? How are these processes and categories constituted and contested at multiple national, regional and international scales, and what have recent transformations in economic and political circumstances revealed about academic claims about Israel/Palestine? What are the temporal dimensions of the conflict, its historiography, and its peace process?

Any future resolution of this conflict will have to deal with certain political histories, global, ideological, and temporal processes that operate in multiple ways and in relation to multiple processes that are perpetually shifting and unfolding. Some of these are ongoing and others have emerged at staggered intervals with, for example, the establishment and collapse of Oslo, accusations of high-level corruption in the Israeli government, Israel's recent war with Lebanon, or with the end of the second intifada and Hamas victory in the 2006 elections and takeover of Gaza. What forms of political or proto-political organization might be emergent in what has been called a non-state or a "failed state?" How are we to understand the role of institutions and infrastructures that seem to mediate between local,global and national realms and how are they constituted by and through various scales? What theoretical tools might be required to recognize and evaluate them in the Palestinian context, and in terms of the peculiar and ambiguous ?stateless? political organizations in the West Bank, Gaza, and in their relationship to Israel?

The purpose of this conference is to begin a multidisciplinary dialogue about the study of Israel/Palestine that is attuned to and expands the frame for analyzing the extent to which these territories are defined by the dialectic of occupation and resistance to it. We seek to create a forum for the discussion of alternate possibilities for understanding global and local
processes, sensibilities and ontologies in the contemporary economic and political climate. The organizers hope that this workshop will bring together graduate students across the social sciences in order to identify recent theoretical approaches to Israel/Palestine that will help engage with ongoing dialogues within and about this conflict. In doing so we hope to supplement the social sciences' long-term commitment to the study of resistance, occupation, and national politics.

Suggested topics of discussion include:
o Infrastructure
o Political Economy
o Global Economics
o Geography
o Separation and closure as defined in multiple ways: political, economic, Zionist, or otherwise.
o Rethinking the binary between Oppressor and Oppressed
o Governance
o Religious Theology, Thought, Sensibilities and Practice
o Islamic, Jewish, and Christian political movements
o Time and Temporality
o History, Narrative, and Historiography
o The State
o Humanitarianism and Development
o Production of Nature and the Environment
o Law and Jurisdiction
o Urbanism
o Approaches focusing on materiality and/or post-Humanist Approaches

The conference will take place between the CUNY Graduate Center and Columbia University, on 9-10 April 2009. We are in the process of inviting faculty respondents to student papers and organizing faculty panel discussions and a keynote address. We invite students across disciplines but particularly in anthropology, geography, sociology, history, economics and political science to submit abstracts of 250 words to both organizers (Sophia Stamatopoulou-
Robbins scr60@columbia.edu and Kareem Rabie kareemrabie@gmail.com ). The deadline for abstract submissions is January 30, 2009. We will notify those selected by mid-February 2009. Please include your affiliation. We are currently working to secure funding for student travel, so please indicate whether or not you can afford to travel on your own or have access to funds from your home institution.

Posted by kpfister at January 13, 2009 03:44 PM

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