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Factoring Asymmetry into the Equation:

On Juxtaposing Palestinian and Israeli Literatures

Journal of Arabic Literature 55 (2024): 126–153

This article addresses a discursive problem with the study of Palestinian literature alongside Israeli literature: by focusing on the intersections between Hebrew and Arabic literatures, scholars have created a hybrid that precludes comparison between two separate entities. This article surveys the theoretical and political drawbacks of this approach and then moves to theorize Palestinian literature outside its pairing with Israeli literature as a global multilingual literary system that is major yet non-hegemonic. I suggest that Palestinian literature can be informed by theories of world literature, on the one hand, and inform world literature about the way diasporic literature moves in the world, on the other hand. Last, I discuss the novel Tafṣīl thānawī by ʿAdanīyah Shiblī in order to demonstrate a possible expansion of the grounds of comparison once a work of Palestinian literature like this one is read beyond its dialogue with Israeli culture.

Documenting the Unarchivable:

Minor Detail and the Silence of Sensory Memory

Journal of Postcolonial Writing 59:5 (2023): 607-619. 

This article is a close reading of Adania Shibli’s Tafṣīl thānawī (2017), focusing on the novel’s poetic techniques of narrating Palestinian history. I show how, in order to break away from the reliance on perpetrators’ testimonies and to recover lived-knowledge, Shibli creates a repository of unverifiable, seemingly negligible details that ultimately construct the historical event as a continuous phenomenon that therefore can be studied via present reality, not only the authoritative archive. Privileging description over action, Tafṣīl thānawī does not simply embody the voice of the colonized, but challenges what we deem worth documenting and inserts into the historical discourse the sights, smells, and sounds of undocumented experiences. As such, Shibli provides an alternative method of documenting the past, one that classifies the unarchivable: sensory experiences and the vanishing landscape.

The Future of Temple Mount: Imagined Possibilities in Contemporary Palestinian and Israeli Art

Dibur, Literary Journal 6 (2018): 7–17

This article analyzes two contemporary video artworks—one by the Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour and one by the Israeli artist Yael Bartana—in an attempt to better comprehend contemporary visions of the future in the arts of this region. I focus on the chronotope of Temple Mount, or al-Haram al-Sharīf, as a study case that assembles many of the most essential themes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the future of the land is contemplated through the ways in which this indivisible holy site can be shared by the two nations. Through a reading of the two artworks and their commonalities—both suggest dispossession, relocation, and commodification as alternatives to the current conflicted situation—I ask whether these works exit their own cultural and political zeitgeist and therefore open up new possibilities or whether they are, rather, exemplary of our times, in which we find a growing tendency to depict the future as hopeless. 

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