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Berlin: Mi 14.06.2017 Enduring Catastrophe? Palestinian Refugees in Syria between 1948 and the Nakba of Today

When: Wednesday, 14 June 2017, 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm

Where: Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

Anaheed Al-Hardan
(American University of Beirut, Visiting Fellow at BGSMCS)
Chair: Refqa Abu-Remaileh
(Berlin, EUME Fellow 2016/17)

One hundred thousand Palestinians fled to Syria after being expelled from Palestine upon the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Integrating into Syrian society over time, their experience stands in stark contrast to the plight of Palestinian refugees in other Arab countries, leading to different ways through which to understand the 1948 Nakba, or catastrophe, in their popular memory.

This talk follows the evolution of the Nakba—the central signifier of the Palestinian refugee past and present—in Arab intellectual discourses, Syria’s Palestinian politics, and the community’s memorialization. It sheds light on the enduring relevance of the Nakba among the communities it helped create, while challenging the nationalist and patriotic idea that memories of the Nakba are static and universally shared among Palestinians. Her study also critically tracks the Nakba’s changing meaning in light of Syria’s twenty-first-century war.

Anaheed Al-Hardan is an assistant professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies at the American University of Beirut and a Visiting Fellow of the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies at the Freie Universität Berlin. She serves on the advisory board of the Palestinian Oral History Archive at the American University of Beirut and is a policy member of al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. She is the author of the award winning Palestinians in Syria: Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities (Columbia University Press, 2016), joint winner of the 2016 Academic Book Award at the London Palestine Book Awards. Her new research project examines Arab decolonial theory within the context of south-south philosophies of liberation and decolonization.

Enduring Catastrophe? Palestinian Refugees in Syria between 1948 and the Nakba of Today