Room Booked: Uni Place_4.211
Date(s): Wed 14 Feb 2018 - Wed 14 Feb 2018
Time: 15:00 - 17:00
Beyond Jasmine Gates: A Palestinian Family's Life Story against Erasure
This project is an oral history of a Palestinian family, tracing its experience from 1967 to the present day. Members of this family have experienced military occupation, imprisonment, assassination, home demolition, restrictions on movement, forced migration, and other forms of political violence. Some of them have been involved in Palestinian resistance to Israeli military occupation, participating in attacks against Israelis and Palestinian collaborators. While being mindful of this political violence and situating the oral history in such a context, my aim in this project is to tell a story of the nuances of rural life within these events, to capture the longue duree of social change, and to highlight everyday experiences and the way events and the mundane intertwine to produce people’s lives.
Importantly, this project is an experiment to push the limits of ethnography. Its written form is creative nonfiction rather than traditional ethnography. Thus, this talk will focus on writing ethnography and what it means to write creative nonfiction as an anthropologist. How can we tell the story of a family’s life under occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism using the tools we learn as anthropologists? To this end, I explore the enduring question of representation and voice. And ask: how can we transform our data to forms that present themselves to greater audiences without sacrificing theory and critique? And how do we play with stories told to create stories written? This talk will include a reading of draft chapters from the book.
Sami Hermez, PhD, is Assistant Professor in Residence of Anthropology at Northwestern University in Qatar. He obtained his doctorate degree from the Department of Anthropology at Princeton University. His recently published book with UPenn Press, "War is Coming: Between Past and Future Violence in Lebanon" (2017), focuses on the everyday life of political violence in Lebanon and how people recollect and anticipate this violence. His broader research concerns include the study of social movements, the state, memory, security, and human rights in the Arab world. He has held posts as Visiting Scholar in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University, Visiting Professor of Contemporary International Issues at the University of Pittsburgh, Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Mt. Holyoke College, and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Lebanese Studies, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. At Northwestern in Qatar he teaches classes in anthropology that include topics such as violence, gender, and the anthropology of Palestine.