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Crossing Colonial Lines: Laws, Violence, and Roadblocks to Palestinian Political Expression

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Palestinians have been fragmented into different political statuses under Israeli rule. While Palestinian activists assert that they share a single common struggle, obstacles inhibit their ability to speak to each other and as a collective. Drawing on ethnography, this talk enters the distinct environments for political expression and action of Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship and Palestinians subject to Israeli military occupation in the West Bank. It also examines the environment of expression of Palestinians in Gaza, with attention to how Israel's blockade impacts expression and ethnography alike. Palestinian struggles illuminate how expression is always grounded in place—and how a people can struggle together for liberation even when they cannot join together in protest.

Bishara Headshot

Amahl Bishara is Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department at Tufts University, and affiliate faculty in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora. She is the author of Crossing a Line: Laws, Violence, & Roadblocks to Palestinian Political Expression (Stanford 2022), about different conditions of expression for and exchange between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank, and 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. She also writes about popular refugee politics in the West Bank, attending to struggles over and through media, water, space, and protest. Working with youth at Lajee Center, in Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, she has co-produced two bilingual children’s books, The Boy and the Wall (2005) and The Aida Alphabet Book (2014). She is director or co-director three documentaries, including “Take My Pictures For Me” (2016). She is currently president of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association, and she serves on the editorial boards of The Journal of Palestine Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and American Ethnologist.

Bishara Flier