Mon, 10 May 2021 17:00 - 18:00 British Summer Time (UTC+1)
A research seminar by Dr. Greg Burris, hosted by the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh.
About this Event
The department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh is delighted to host Dr. Greg Burris in this talk, part of our spring 2021 research seminars. The seminar is open to all and FREE.
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Abstract: Dreams, cinema, and Palestine: these three subjects are not so easily disentangled. To quote a resident of Lebanon’s Bourj el-Barajneh refugee camp, “I haven’t seen a movie in a very long time! … But I saw Palestine. Praise be to God! I saw it twice. How beautiful it is—like a dream, a movie!” Palestinian cinema has often been celebrated for its role in the resistance movement. While I do not deny this function, I want to make a case for those films—and, for that matter, a case for those dreams—that are not focused solely on resistance. Drawing upon Ghassan Hage’s notion of “the unoccupied,” I argue that dreams and cinema can sometimes reveal unoccupied spaces in the world around us, even in occupied Palestine. While resistance is not replaced by the unoccupied, it is hard to imagine resistance breaking out of dominant frameworks without it. Indeed, it is precisely through the unoccupied that one begins to conceive of alternative ways of being and to imagine other worlds—worlds that exist somewhere beyond the horizon of the Zionist present. This is demonstrated in two documentary films: Mohammad Malas’ The Dream (1987) and Mais Darwazah’s My Love Awaits Me by the Sea (2013). Whereas the former film documents the dreams that haunt Palestinians at night, the latter investigates those dreams that follow them throughout the day. Through these dreams, both films stage an encounter with the unoccupied.
Speaker’s bio: Greg Burris is Associate Professor at the American University of Beirut and the author of The Palestinian Idea: Film, Media, and the Radical Imagination (Temple University, 2019). His other writings on film, culture, and politics have appeared in such publications as Bright Lights Film Journal, CineAction, Cinema Journal, Film International, The Guardian, Jadaliyya, Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies, Middle East Eye, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and the anthologies Futures of Black Radicalism (Verso, 2017), Global Raciality: Empire, PostColoniality, DeColoniality (Routledge, 2018), and Reel Gender: Palestinian and Israeli Cinema (Duke University, forthcoming).