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Research Talk + Screening at AAA Annual Meeting in Denver, November 19, 2015

American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, November 18-21, Denver, Coloarado

On November 19th Sabah Haider will present a documentary work-in-progress of her PhD project on foreign fighters in the PLO at the American Anthropological Association conference in Denver in an installation entitled: "“HISTORY MOVES IN SLOW MOTION AND THE FUTURE IS SPEEDING TOWARD US”: PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI VISUAL ECONOMIES AND REPRESENTATIONAL STRATEGIES".

The event will be chaired by Dr. Maryam Kashani (University of Illinois and Washington University in St. Louis) and Dr. Sarah Ihmoud (University of Texas at Austin, Department of Anthropology)

Narrative Description:

Filmmaking in Palestine and Israel has a long history that has been intimately tied to relations of power and visuality. Relationships around land, home, and identity are much contested, but likewise offer a unique challenge to filmmakers and anthropologists who attempt to challenge "familiar" narratives and oppositions, as well as the familiar tropes of "giving voice" and "suffering." In recent years, words like "opaque," "invisible," and "slow­ burning" have been used to describe work being produced in the region. How are visual anthropologists and documentary filmmakers "estranging" the notion of “conflict” and the visual economies (Poole 1997) that both constitute and animate it? This installation considers the “force of the image” in both colonial power and self­ making (Ramaswamy 2014) by examining approaches to conflict, dispossession, resistance, and everyday life in Israeli and Palestinian filmmaking. What role do visual representations­­of both presence and absence­­play in claims to land, nationhood, and history? What alternative political imaginaries and spaces of resistance are opened or performed by Palestinian filmmakers and others who have utilized film to reenvision the Palestinian national project? How do Palestinian filmmakers reenvision freedom in ways that exceed the boundaries of the nation state or struggles to reclaim indigenous land and resources­­the dream space, diasporic locations and other forms of deterritorialized sovereignty? Our two­channel installation begins with two screens presenting: 1) films shot in Palestine before 1948 (made available by the Spielberg Archive), which represent the Palestinian people and the Jewish presence in historical Palestine pre­1948 and in the early period of state formation and 2) Palestinian and Israeli documentaries and ethnographic representations that complicate hegemonic narratives of a “land without people for a people without a land,” beginning with excerpts from Mustafa Abu­Ali’s THEY DO NOT EXIST (1974) and continuing with more contemporary forms of representation (such as the work of Basma Al­Sharif, Kamal Aljafari, and Lia Tarachansky). Posters from the “Visualizing Palestine” collective and recent articles and interviews with filmmakers will be available to further educate members on specific films and commentary and/or analysis of films. The first hour of the installation will be dedicated to the screenings of the films themselves. The final 45 minutes will be dedicated to a roundtable discussion (with visual anthropologist/filmmaker Sabah Haider) and Q&A.

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