Studies in National and International Development


National and International Development

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Performing Confrontation: the Materiality of the Separation Wall and Resistance to it

Date: Thursday November 16, 2017
Venue: Mackintosh-Corry Hall, D214
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Speakers: Amahl Bishara, Anthropology, Tufts University

Israel’s separation wall should be seen as part of Israel’s settler-colonial project, operating with a necropolitical logic. In Aida Refugee Camp, the eight-meter separation wall lies within about 15 meters of homes. The wall not only prevents movement into Israel—its purported purpose—it also has intensified the militarization of Aida Camp and cut people off from nearby Palestinian areas. The Israeli army conducts regular raids of Aida Camp, arresting youth, shooting at them, and throwing tear gas at residences. Local resistance to the wall thematizes this very physical sense of threat. Youth in the camp have expended great amounts of energy and taken significant risks to bust holes in the wall, even though the army quickly repairs them. This paper examines this resistance to the wall as practice and performance.

Performing Confrontation: the Materiality of the Separation Wall and Resistance to it

Amahl Bishara is an associate professor of Anthropology at Tufts University whose research revolves around settler colonialism, expressivity, place, and media. She is the author of Back Stories: U.S. News and Palestinian Politics (Stanford University Press 2013), an ethnography of the production of U.S. news during the second Palestinian intifada. This book won the Middle East Section honorable mention for the 2015 book prize. She directed or co-directed the documentaries Degrees of Incarceration (2011) and Take My Pictures For Me (2016). During 2017, she is an ACLS Burkhardt Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. There, she is writing a book on the different conditions of expression for and exchange between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank.