Dr. Khaldun Bshara, director of Ramallah’s RIWAQ, will give a lecture focusing on the history of architecture in Palestine since the days of early human settlement under the title Marvels of Despair: Heritage in Palestine Between “Falafelization” and Globalization.
Heritage in Palestine, because of its dialectical relation to identity, has endured a double-bind relation to Palestine; in one hand the heritage suffers what I refer to as "falafelization" and means the double alienation of Palestinians from their heritage through destruction, confiscation, expropriation and appropriation by the colonial processes since 1948. On the other hand, Palestinians, official and non-official bodies, have been preoccupied by making Palestinian heritage global. Globalization entails the alienation of Palestinians from their heritage via commodification processes or through universalization of the local. While the colonial processes mentioned above advanced rapidly, the national globalization project (which includes the World Heritage Listing and drafting of charters and the use of euro-centric heritage rhetoric to talk about the local) has been hindered by the many colonial and non-colonial measures. The division of Palestinian Territories in post-Oslo era, the absence of national legal framework for protection, and the lack of public awareness of heritage led to loss of huge portion of heritage in Palestine. This intervention claims that as far as Palestinians do not recognize heritage as modes of life and as modes of knowledge production at the local level, Palestine heritage would undergo further "falafelization," and would risk also the loss of the trans-national global dreams.
Dr. Khaldun Bshara is an architect, restorer and anthropologist. He is currently the Director of Riwaq Centre, Ramallah, Palestine where he has worked since 1994 in documenting, protecting and restoring built Palestinian heritage. He received his B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from Birzeit University (1996) and his MA in Conservation of Historic Towns and Buildings from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium (2000). Interested in refugees, space and memory, he joined the University of California, Irvine on a Fulbright Scholarship where he obtained his MA in Anthropology in 2009 and his PhD in 2012. Bshara carried out many architectural design and architectural restoration projects in Palestine. He is also the editor of Riwaq’s Monograph Series on Architectural History of Palestine (2010-present), and the author and co-author of number of books and articles. His most recent publications are “The Ottoman Saraya: All that Did Not Remain” (2017); “Biennales in Palestine: Thinking Art and Making Art” (2017); “The Structures and Fractures of Heritage Protection in Palestine” (2016).