2007, Sat, Dec 08

Presentations, talks, discussions

Weekend I

DI/VISIONS. Culture and Politics of the Middle East: Weekend I

DI/VISIONS. Culture and Politics of the Middle East: Weekend I

DI/VISIONS examines the cultural and political binarisms that are characteristic of the prevailing views on the region. Over two weekends, the House of World Cultures will be a forum for talks and discussions with intellectuals and artists working in a variety of fields. The conventional vocabulary used to describe the region will acquire a new meaning through a comparative, multidisciplinary and multimedia analysis of contemporary sources, forms of language and mechanisms of both the crisis and resistance.

4-6 p.m.

Exil and Return in Israeli and Palestinian Discourse: between Division and Coexistence

What is the appropriate formula - and process - that would lead to a form of co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians that does not follow the logic of partition and does not perceive the other as a colonial or demographic danger?

Presentation: Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin. A round-table discussion with Meron Benvenisti, Sari Hanafi and Nadim Rouhana

7-9 p.m.

The Political Division of Space: Confessionalism, Walls, Regional and Urban Re-mapping

How did modern forms of sectarianism emerge that divide countries like Lebanon, Iraq or Palestine into rival sects? What is the relation of these divisions to the ways in which social and political problems are addressed and camouflaged, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Palestine and elsewhere?

Presentation: Ussama Makdisi. The Modernity of Confessionalism. A round-table discussion with Mona Abaza, Sinan Antoon, Meron Benvenisti, Emmanuelle Demoris and Ussama Makdisi

>>> Sunday, 09 December 2007, from 4 p.m.: Film screenings and discussion more...


Mona Abaza is a professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo, where she does research on religious networks between the Middle East and Southeast Asia and on changes in consumer culture. Her latest publication is ‘The Changing Consumer Cultures of Modern Egypt’ (Leiden/Boston, 2006).

Sinan Antoon, a poet, author and filmmaker, was born in Baghdad. He went into exile in 1991. In 2004, he returned to Iraq and filmed ‘About Baghdad’, a documentary about the life of his fellow compatriots following the US invasion. He teaches at the Gallatin School, New York, and has co-published countless publications, including the Middle East Report.

Meron Benvenisti is an author, political scientist and cartographer. He was the deputy mayor of Jerusalem from 1971 to 1978. Benvenisti is a critic of Israel’s Palestine policy and advocates a binational solution to the Middle East conflict. Recent publications include ‘Sacred Landscape: Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948’ (UC Press, 2002). He lives in Jerusalem.

Emmanuelle Demoris is a French filmmaker, author and critic. After she completed her studies, she worked at the Parisian film academy FEMIS as an actress and theatre director. She then began making her own films. Demoris writes as an author and critic for the biannual Cinéma magazine. She lives in Paris.

Sari Hanafi a sociologist and author, teaches at the American University in Beirut. He was director of Shaml, the Palestinian diaspora and refugee-centre in Ramallah, and is considered an expert on the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to Palestine. Together with Linda Tabar, he wrote ‘The Emergence of a Palestinian Globalized Elite’ (London, 2000).

Historian Ussama S. Makdisi occupies the chair for Arabic studies of the Arab-American Education Foundation at Rice University in Houston. His publications include ‘The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon’ (UC Press, 2000). He lives in Houston and Beirut.

Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin is a lecturer in Jewish history at Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva. He is one of the most prominent advocates of a binational solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin and is a member of the research program ‘Europe in the Near East – the Near East in Europe’. His publications include ‘Orientalism, Jewish Studies and Israeli Society and Exile et Binationalisme’ (Paris, 2007). Raz-Krakotzkin lives in Jerusalem.

Nadim Rouhana is a Palestinian social psychologist teaching at the Institute for Conflict Resolution at George Mason University in Arlington. In his book ‘Palestinian Citizens in an Ethnic Jewish State: Identities in Conflict’ (Yale UP, 1997), Rouhana examines the situation of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel.