Monday, May 31, 2010

The University of Chicago Arabic Circle with CrossTalk

The City of Jenin: How we can understand modern Palestinian and Israeli history

This lecture outlines the framework in which we think about the Palestinian / Israeli Conflict and presents an historically based exegetical paradigm through which we can understand how historical reality is imagined and continually shapes the present. The West Bank City of Jenin can be seen as a synecdoche for the Conflict and can help us understand how the Conflict lives and evolves. As a city, it represents a variety of identities and ideas for both Israelis, Palestinians, and the rest of the world. These powerful ideas have shaped the actions and strategies that various participants in the Conflict have employed and therefore have helped to shape the Conflict in a surprisingly tangible manner. The horrific Battle of Jenin in 20o2 during the Second Intifada demonstrated how the city had been imagined by Israelis, Palestinians, and the world. By examining the perceived realities of this battle, we can apply an understanding of the urban environment and contradicting realities to understand how Palestinian / Israeli relations will continue to evolve in the future.