Imagining Palestine as an Act of Resistance
Prof. Tahrir Hamdi

Saturday 24 February 2024  | 6 PM | Main Building

What does imagining Palestine mean? It is an anticipatory endeavor whereby Palestinian defiance and hope in a future, independent Palestine is just as strong, if not stronger, than Israel’s brutal aggression and oppression.

The idea of “imagining” is itself an essential form of resistance. Imagining Palestine represents a resistant discourse that counters not only the brutal Zionist occupier but also the discourses of those who accept an imperialist-imposed defeatist status quo and cannot imagine a free Palestine from the river to the sea. Imagining a decolonized and de-zionised Palestine also means to imagine a decolonized identity, a Palestinian community in exile and under occupation that is tied together by what Edward Said calls a Web of Affiliations, such as “photographs, dresses, the rituals of speech and custom, and others”. Thus, Palestinian art, storytelling, poetry, history and sumud all represent imaginings of Palestine, which are conscious acts of resistance and defiance.

The act of imagining involves the constant process of reconfigurations and reformulations of Palestinian national and cultural collective identity. Examples of these imaginings of Palestine include the work of Edward Said, Ghassan Kanafani, Mahmoud Darwish, Mourid Barghouti, Naji Al Ali, Radwa Ashour, Al-Ashiqeen band and Abu Arab, as well as the exhibitions of Darat al Funun.

The talk will be in English.

Prof. Tahrir Hamdi is the President of Arab Open University/Jordan, and professor of anti-colonial and resistance literature. Her book entitled Imagining Palestine: Cultures of Exile and National Identity, published by Bloomsbury, won the Palestine Book Award (2023). She also won the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation Prize in 2020 for the best researcher in the Arab world in the humanities. She is an assistant editor of the journal Arab Studies Quarterly, which was founded by Edward Said and Ibrahim Abu Lughod in 1979. Prof. Hamdi is also an associate editor of the new journal Janus Unbound. Her research work revolves around resistance literature, anti-colonial theory and the importance of place and space in literature. She published articles on Edward Said, William Butler Yeats, Mahmoud Darwish, Mourid Barghouti, Saadi Yousef, Ghassan Kanafani, Naji Al Ali, Palestine, Ireland and Iraq. Her current research interests include decolonizing education in the Global South, the complexities of place/space—historical/temporal, geographical and imaginative—within the anti-colonial and resistance spheres.