Conference - Palestinian Anthropology: Thinking Without a State

Talitha Kumi, Beit Jala

Palestine, June 7-9, 2019

We are delighted to announce the first academic conference of Insaniyyat, The Society of Palestinian Anthropologists, to be held in Beit Jala, Palestine, June 7-9, 2019. The conference brings together research by Palestinian anthropologists and anthropologists who work on Palestine to explore a range of issues under the theme, “Palestinian Anthropology: Thinking Without a State.” Scholars covering a range of generations, locations, and areas of inquiry are invited to explore critical questions facing anthropological practice and knowledge production about Palestine, including:

  • Challenges of conducting fieldwork in Palestine and among Palestinian communities in the diaspora;
  • Strategies for strengthening the field of Palestinian Anthropology, including supporting the work of Palestinian anthropologists;
  • Ways contemporary anthropological research on Palestine has contributed and can contribute to the wider discipline;
  • Critical themes and areas of inquiry within the Palestinian context that deserve greater ethnographic attention;
  • Palestine as an epistemic site for opening critical reflections on indigenous futurity and sovereignty.



Conference Registration Closes on Monday June 3rd at 23:00 /Palestine time.
If you have not as yet registered on-line for the conference we encourage you to do so before registration is closed. There are extremely limited places for individuals arriving at the conference without previously registering.

Conference registration can be accessed through this link.

Note: The names of conference participants are not being posted at this time to avert the risk of denial of entry at border control. A detailed schedule including names of presenters will be announced at the conference’s opening.


Conference Day 1: Friday, June 7th

9:30- 10:30 Registration/Check in

Morning Sessions

10:30-10:50 Opening Remarks
10:50-12:30 Keynote Lecture: Rethinking Sovereignty and the Contradictions of Self-Determination
12.30- 13:30 Lunch

Afternoon Sessions

13:30 -15.20 Session I: Stateless and Besieged Memories: Refugees & Political Generations

  • The 1987 Intifada: Dismembering the Present
  • Embodied Refugee Memory and Affect: Women's Stories from the Intifada
  • Living and Dying in the Humanitarian Condition

15:20-15:30 Coffee Break
15:30- 17:10 Session II: Anthropological Methods and Knowledge Production: Palestine as Epistemic Site

  • Pain, Perception, and Being: Colonized Anthropologists’ Engagement with Field and Knowledge
  • Palestinians as Exemplars of Decolonial Anthropology
  • Writing Against Costume

19:30 Dinner


Conference Day 2: Saturday, June 8th

Morning Sessions

10:00- 11:40 Session III: Religious Registers and Pious Publics: Practices & Resistances

  • Within and Without the State: Zakat Practices in the Recent History of Palestine
  • Ritual Disruption and the Ethnographic Opportunity of Research Among Palestinians
  • Anthropology from a Palestinian Perspective: Reclaiming the Narrative

11:40-13:40 Visit to al-Walajeh community
13:40-15:00 Lunch

Afternoon Sessions

15:00-16.40 Session IV: Spaces and Infrastructure: Dispossession, Contestation, Reclamation

  • Exploring the Potentials of Ethnography in Researching Palestine
  • Everyday Financial Practices in the Absence of State Sovereignty in the West Bank
  • Parenting in 48’ Palestine: Between Neoliberalism and Settler Colonialism

17:30-19:30 Workshop I: Writing a research grant proposal
17:30-19:30 Workshop II: Publishing your manuscript as a book in a North American University Press

19:30 Dinner


Conference Day 3 (Members Meeting): Sunday, June 9th

The purpose of the members meeting is to hold elections and chart horizons of future work. It is open to all registered members of Insaniyyat. To register for membership and participate in the members meeting, please visit this link on our website.

Morning Sessions

09:30-10:30 Session I: Overview and Review: Bylaws, Structure and Activities
10:30- 11:10 Session II: Nominations and Elections
11.10- 12:40 Session III Part 1: Horizons: Review and Establish Working Groups/Develop Action Plans
12:40-14:00 Lunch

Afternoon Sessions

14:00-16:30 Session III Part 2: Reporting back
16:30          Session IV: Conclusions and Feedback


About Insaniyyat

Insaniyyat is an initiative of Palestinian anthropologists that began in 2015. We are devoted to promoting anthropological inquiry among Palestinians, about Palestine, and about its relationship to other locations. We advocate for the development of anthropological knowledge in diverse subfields and related ethnographic research, in ways attuned to social and political justice. Insaniyyat aims to offer anthropological scholarship to various audiences, both local and global, and to provide professional support for Palestinians working in the discipline of anthropology, by promoting their academic research and ethnographic writing, and creating safe spaces for critical discussion in the Arabic language. Finally, Insaniyyat is committed to sharing knowledge about anthropology among Palestinian university students and introducing anthropology to wider Palestinian publics.