The Institute for Palestine Studies
in collaboration with
The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs
Cordially invites you to
The Annual Constantine Zurayk Memorial Lecture
Eco-criticism in Palestine:
Landscape, Power, Resistance
Professor Saree Makdisi
Friday, May 5th, 2017
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Issam Fares Institute - Auditorium
AUB (Green Oval)
This lecture will explore what we might think of as greenwashing, which can be seen to play an integral dual role in Israel’s material reinvention of the Palestinian landscape. For on the one hand, at a material level, it enables the literal dis-appearance of an indigenous Palestinian landscape by covering it over; on the other, at a metaphorical or ideological level, it simultaneously elides and justifies this dis-appearance by disguising it in eco-friendly language. The affirmation of eco-consciousness thus serves as the flip-side of the destruction of the Palestinian landscape; that is, the affirmation of greening is inseparable from the denial of the enduring Palestinian claim to the land; indeed, it is the very form that denial takes. But this greenwashing has its limits. The remnants (often including intact houses) of Palestinian villages still haunt Israel’s forests and national parks. Ancient cactuses tended by Palestinians and supposedly eradicated by Israeli afforestation have sprouted again in between the new trees. Israel’s heavily monocultural European pine forests—the perfect symbols of the monocultural state project they were planted to represent—are poorly adapted to the local environment and, ecological disaster zones that they are, have proved vulnerable to drought and wildfire. This landscape of ruin and covering have played an important role in both Israeli and Palestinian literature and can be seen in many ways as an encapsulation of Zionism’s larger conflict with the Palestinians.
Professor Saree Makdisi received his BA in English and Economics from Wesleyan University in 1987 and his PhD from the Literature Program at Duke University in 1993. Makdisi’s teaching and research are situated at the crossroads of several different fields, including British Romanticism, imperial culture, colonial and postcolonial theory and criticism, and the cultures of urban modernity, particularly the revision and contestation of charged urban spaces, including London, Beirut and Jerusalem. He has also written extensively on the afterlives of colonialism in the contemporary Arab world, and, in addition to his scholarly articles, has also contributed pieces on current events to a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the London Review of Books. His most recent book is Reading William Blake (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He is also the author of Making England Western: Occidentalism, Race, and Imperial Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2014); Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation (Norton, 2010); William Blake and the Impossible History of the 1790s (University of Chicago Press, 2003); and Romantic Imperialism (Cambridge University Press, 1998). He is presently working on two new books: London’s Modernities (on the mapping and unmapping of London from the nineteenth century to the present), and Palestine and the Psychogeography of Denial (on the ways in which the affirmation and landscaping of certain values—tolerance, democracy, eco-consciousness—have played key roles in denying the Palestinian presence in and claim to Palestine).
Note: Lecture will be in English