Humanitarian Danger and Palestinian Life in Gaza

Ilana Feldman, Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs, George Washington University

The Anthropology Department; Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies Department; and Center for the Humanities invite you to join us for a talk presented by anthropologist and historian Ilana Feldman.

Ilana Feldman is Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs at George Washington University. Her research has focused on the Palestinian experience, both inside and outside of historic Palestine, examining practices of government, humanitarianism, policing, displacement, and citizenship. She is the author of Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917-67 (2008), Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza under Egyptian Rule (2015), Life Lived in Relief: Humanitarian Predicaments and Palestinian Refugee Politics (2018) and numerous related articles, for which she has conducted ethnographic and archival research in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt.

This talk will explore the multiple forms of humanitarian danger that are confronting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The massive humanitarian crisis caused by Israeli bombardment and siege of Gaza is a clear danger. The healthcare system has been decimated by attack, starvation is looming as a product of the restriction on entry of food and fuel, the vast majority of the population has been displaced, and a significant portion of its buildings (both public buildings and homes) are destroyed or damaged. It is only possible to understand, and respond to, this overwhelming threat by also understanding how “humanitarianization” is repeatedly used as a weapon against Palestinians. The talk will situate today’s humanitarian dangers within a longer historical context in which Gazans have repeatedly confronted such dynamics.  This talk will be co-hosted with the Center for the Humanities and the Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies.