CARGC Book Talk: Greg Burris, American University of Beirut

The Palestinian Idea: Film, Media, and the Radical Imagination
Palestinian Film Cover
11 Nov 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Slought, 4017 Walnut Street
Open to the Public

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About the Book

Is there a link between the colonization of Palestinian lands and the enclosing of Palestinian minds? In his book, The Palestinian Idea, Greg Burris argues that it is precisely through film and media that hope can occasionally emerge amidst hopelessness, emancipation amidst oppression, freedom amidst apartheid. The author employs the work of Edward W. Said, Jacques Rancière, and Cedric J. Robinson in order to locate Palestinian utopia in the heart of the Zionist present. He analyzes the films of prominent directors Annemarie Jacir (Salt of This SeaWhen I Saw You) and Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now) to investigate the emergence and formation of Palestinian identity. Looking at Mais Darwazah’s documentary My Love Awaits Me by the Sea, Burris considers the counterhistories that make up the Palestinian experience—stories and memories that have otherwise been obscured or denied. He also examines Palestinian (in)visibility in the global media landscape, and how issues of Black-Palestinian transnational solidarity are illustrated through social media, staged news spectacles, and hip hop music. 

"A deeply felt, brilliantly conceived, meticulously crafted book, The Palestinian Idea breaks new ground in how we understand vision, space, and identity. Greg Burris's work is an important contribution to Arab and global media studies." —Marwan M. Kraidy, Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative Insurgency in the Arab World 

 "Greg Burris has written the book so many people have been waiting for—and he's done it in sharp and readable prose. Situating Palestine in relation to various global revolutionary movements and animating Palestine's own revolutionary identity, Burris has managed the rare feat of producing scholarship that is both timeless and topical. By so thoroughly and imaginatively exploring the idea of Palestine, he illuminates exactly how real Palestine is." —Steven Salaita, author of Israel's Dead Soul

About the Speaker

Greg Burris is a film and cultural theorist whose work focuses on race, media, and emancipatory politics. He is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the American University of Beirut, and his writings have appeared in such publications as CineActionCinema JournalThe Electronic IntifadaFilm QuarterlyThe GuardianJadaliyyaMiddle Eastern StudiesQuarterly Review of Film and Video, and the anthologies Futures of Black Radicalism and Global Raciality: Empire, PostColoniality, and DecolonialityThe Palestinian Idea: Film, Media, and the Radical Imagination is his first book.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania and Slought.

Lunch begins at 11:45. Space is limited, RSVP to

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