Palestinian Ethnography at Home and in Diaspora

Six members of Insaniyyat participated at the American Anthropology Association Conference of 2017 in Washington DC. Organized by Aseel Sawalha, the panel, tiled Palestinian Ethnography at Home and in Diaspora, covered key sites of Palestinian daily life in the region, demonstrating promising new pathways as they bring long running themes about daily life, city life, and life phases, to studies of Palestinians. In her presentation “The Landscape of Bureaucracy: The Case of Kufr Aqab, Jerusalem,” Nayrouz Abu Hatoum discussed how Kofr Aqab, an urban town located on the border of the city of Jerusalem, became a “buffer zone” after the construction of the separation wall and the Israeli policies of separating Jerusalem from the West Bank, exploring the changing relationship of residents to the municipal jurisdiction (embodied in ID cards and tax protocols), and the daily lives of Palestinians living in limbo under occupation. Dina Zbeidy discussed the formation of identities and different senses of belonging among Palestinian residents in Jordan through marriage discourses and practices, in her presentation “Marriage Practices and Discourses among Palestinians in Jordan: Legalities, Space, and Fluid senses of Belonging.” Rami Salameh presented “Political Death and Dying,” on the conclusion of life, extending post-colonial studies beyond daily life to the political mediations of the “colonized Palestinian dead body,” reading three individual instances as indicative of the significance of death in the context of Occupation. Sa’ed Atshan discussed his paper “The Ramallah Debate,” illustrating the debates and opinions regarding leisure activities for Palestinians, questioning what it means to be a “true” Palestinian, and Palestinians’ interaction with expats and foreigners. The panel was concluded by constructive remarks and points for discussion by Rhoda Kanaanah, and questions from the audience.