March 23 Beyond the Land of Palestine: Deserts, Shores, Sea

Prof. Farag Lecture, March 23, 1:30 pm: "Beyond the Land of Palestine: Deserts, Shores, Seas"

Friday March 23, 1:30-3:00 pm
112 Folwell Hall


Lecture abstract:
Palestinian literary discourses are overwhelmingly preoccupied with land, be it in the idyllic remembrances of the verdant, lost Palestinian homeland, or the portrayals of desolate, hostile deserts of exile. Conspicuously absent from these "terracentric" literary discourses is the sea, a fact made all the more glaring given the historical significance of the coast, ports, and fishing in Palestinians' daily lives. This paper examines the curious omission of the sea and its shores from the Palestinian literary record through analysis of canonical texts by iconic Palestinian authors, Ghassan Kanafani and Jabra Ibrahim Jabra. Through the lenses of settler-colonialism and anticolonial cultural production it argues that the loss of the Palestinian homeland and Palestinians' expulsion from it in 1948 transformed the sea, hitherto an integral part of the Palestinian geographic imagination, into an othered, abject space, signifying itinerancy and exile. In doing so, Palestinian terracentric literary discourses ultimately risk ceding the space of the sea and its shores from the nation-space.
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