Adriana Qubaia put together an Arabic language podcast documenting the roundtable discussion at this year’s Summer School. Listen to it here:
Nach mehr als 20 Jahren Osloer Prozess und der Durchsetzung eines neoliberalen Entwicklungsmodells in den besetzten palästinensischen Gebieten ist eine vielfache Krise in Palästina mittlerweile offensichtlich. Diese führt unter anderem dazu, verstärkt nach Alternativen zu suchen, die die Besatzungsmacht grundlegend herausfordern soll. Selbstbestimmung als umfassender sozialer, politischer, kultureller und ökonomischer Prozess steht dabei im Zentrum der Debatten.
Was aber kann das praktisch bedeuten? Inwiefern können landwirtschaftliche Kooperativen in den besetzten Gebieten ein zentrales Element einer Widerstandsökonomie in Palästina darstellen? Wie können Ideen von Ernährungssouveränität mit alternativen Entwicklungsansätzen trotz eines kolonialen Besatzungsregimes realisiert werden?
12. November 2018, 18:30 Uhr
Volkskundemuseum, Laudongasse 15-19, 1080 Wien
Nur Arafeh, Policy Fellow bei Al-Shabaka, Ramallah, Palästina
Helmut Krieger, Institut für Internationale Entwicklung, Universität Wien
Philipp Salzmann, Politikwissenschafter sowie Aktivist bei FIAN Österreich und der Bewegung für Ernährungssouveränität
Brigitte Reisenberger, FIAN Österreich
Die Veranstaltung findet in englischer Sprache statt. Flüsterübersetzungen ins Deutsche werden angeboten.
For more information visit the VIDC website.
Despite the Arab world being predominantly associated in Europe with jihadism, war and refuge, its activists, intellectuals and artists are rarely seen or heard here. This applies even more to feminist and gender-critical initiatives from the Arab world. With European stereotypes of patriarchal societies and anti-Muslim racism, women’s political views, alternative narratives, and perspectives from Arab societies are often silenced and with them their hopes, doubts, assessments, and analyses.
The diversity of feminist and gender-critical initiatives in times of crisis and war is the starting point of this panel discussion. Questions which will be discussed with activists and academics from different generations are: how do various feminist and gender-critical initiatives assess their developments in recent years? How do these actors relate to the respective authoritarian, repressive state? What is the relationship between Islamic and so-called ‘secular’ women initiatives? How important is this line of division? How can a common ground for basic political demands be found for the entire region? Which conflicts between feminist, women’s and gender policy actors in Europe are necessary and what kind of cooperation is possible?
Time and location | Monday, 15 October 2018, 19:00 – 21:00
Central Library Vienna – Am Gürtel, Urban-Loritz-Platz 2a, 1070 Vienna
freelance journalist, Tunisia
Institute of Women’s Studies, Birzeit University, Palestine
Cairo University and Women and Memory Forum, Egypt
Chair | Helmut Krieger, University of Vienna/VIDC
Welcome | Magda Seewald, VIDC
Languages | English and German with simultaneous interpretation
Registration | email@example.com
*The text of this post is reproduced from the VIDC’s website. Copyright of the featured image lies with © Mona Abaza
In July, the second summer school of the APPEAR project Rooting Research in the Palestinian Context II took place at the University of Vienna. Continuing the discussions of the first summer school in Beirut in 2017, the participants further engaged with the overall question of what it means to change perspectives of knowledge production in/on Palestine and Palestinian communities in their different localities.
The summer school was mainly held in Arabic with English translation and was joined by more than 15 colleagues from the West Bank, Jordan and Lebanon as well as by various students and academic staff from the University of Vienna and Klagenfurt.
The participants from the Gaza Strip were not able to exit Gaza in time, due to the ongoing closure and occupation policies by the Israeli and restrictions by the Egyptian authorities. Out of five participants, just Ali Abuzaid, project coordinator at Al-Azhar university could reach Vienna participants.
The first two days started with the presentations of preliminary results of the ongoing research projects of the participants of the fieldworkers and MA training program. Topics like the effects of renting apartments to Syrian refugees in Burj Barajneh camp in Lebanon, alternative models of tourism and other income generating projects in the West Bank, the difficult living conditions of Palestinians from Gaza in Jordan, as well as social media as a space for youth activism portrait the multiple contexts from which these research topics have been developed and investigated. The summer school also provided space to engage with epistemic and methodological challenges the colleagues face during their research processes.
The importance of the political, social and economic context of the different research topics was repeatedly negotiated in various sessions. Ali Abu Zaid, project coordinator from Al Azhar University, joined the summer school via Skype and talked about research challenges in Gaza between internal divisions and the ongoing siege. Manal E’Mar, project coordinator from the Community Development Center in Zarqa, reflected on possibilities and limitations of research and community work in Palestinian camps in Jordan.
How particular knowledge can not only be linked to different (colonial) power relations on the ground, but also to research on resistance was a central question throughout the summer school. Furthermore, how research results could be directly communicated and reported back to the various Palestinian communities in the different localities in and outside Palestine, was one of the main challenging debates throughout the workshop led by Ayman Abdul Majeed. He additionally reflected on lessons learnt in the last years of the APPEAR project in researching in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the diaspora.
Building on the various presentations, Helmut Krieger together with the participants reflected on the linkages between politics and research, the power relations inherent in so called objective and subjective research processes, on possibilities of engaged research and it’s constant negotiation with Palestinian communities. He raised the question which kind of knowledge can and needs to be produced in times of crisis of the Palestinian movement, imperialism and colonialism?
The analysis of these power structures also made it necessary to point to racist structures within the global development industry, which was tackled by Beatriz Gomez from the University of Vienna in her workshop Racism and Knowledge in Development Contexts.
On Thursday, the summer school started with two presentations that focussed on historical perspectives of knowledge production in the context of crisis and revolution. Kassem Sabah, director of Mousawat, analysed biographies and writings of three Islamic intellectuals – Ibn Taymiyyah 1263-1328), Abdelrahman El Kawajbi (1855-1902) and Sayyed Qutb (1906-1966).
Klaudia Rottenschlager from the University of Vienna and Maya Zebdawi from the Lebanese University discussed the history of the PLO Research Center in Beirut between 1965 and 1982. They provided a framework to discuss the rich historical knowledge and particular research strategies that have been produced by an earlier generation of researchers and focussed on the legacies of the establishment of Palestinian Studies during this specific time.
Lena Meari, director of the Women’s Studies Institute at Birzeit University, connected these historical perspectives with her ongoing research and engagement with female Palestinian political prisoners. She shed light on the intertwinement between epistemological positions, ontological assumptions, political sensibilities, decolonial methodologies and liberatory knowledge production in the context of settler colonialism in Palestine. Meari discussed practical as well as theoretical challenges of her ongoing research process which provided the participants with first hand insights of such a complex field of studying resistance within the colonial prison system.
A roundtable discussion on critical perspectives and engaged research in imperial and colonial times was opened up to the public on Thursday evening. It provided a unique opportunity for students and other colleagues living in Vienna to personally engage with the different project partners from Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine and to discuss limits as well as possibilities of conducting joint research as academics, NGOs and activists. How such critical perspectives can be connected to emancipatory political and social struggles not only in the Global South but also in Europe, has to be constantly negotiated through building up trust and networks between different communities.
The last day of the summer school was dedicated to future perspectives, not only for the APPEAR project but also of alternative development and resistance in Palestinian communities. After a concluding ceremony at the University of Vienna, the participants enjoyed their last evening together at the Prater area in Vienna.
A podcast of the public roundtable discussion was produced by Maiada Hadaia and can be accessed here:
Eine Welt im Ohr Radiosendung über die Summer School zu “Critical Perspectives and Engaged Research in the Palestinian Context”. Hier geht es zur Sendung.
Gestaltung und Moderation | Maiada Hadaia (Verantwortlich für den Sendungsinhalt)
Am Podium und in Interviews
Ass. Prof.in Dr.in Lena Meari, Direktorin des Instituts für Women Studies, Birzeit Universität
Kassem Sabah, MA, Direktor Mousawat, Libanon Manal E’mar, Koordinatorin Women’s Program, Community Development Center, Jordanien
Ayman Abdul Majeed, MA, Projektkoordinator ROOTDEVPAL, Center for Development Studies, Birzeit Universität
Hada el-Aryan, MBA, APPEAR Stipendiatin ROOTDEVPAL, Birzeit Universität
Weitere Teilnehmende an der Summerschool.
Gast | Dr. Helmut Krieger, Projektkoordinator ROOTDEVPAL, Sozialwissenschafter, wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Internationale Entwicklung, Universität Wien, und Konsulent beim Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC).
Musik | Mario – Orient Experiment, Sonic Ahmed – mashkenka, Snowflake _ ccMixter – Peace Around the World _ditto ditto feat. Freedom People, CHRISS ONAC – Belle Vision. Nachzuhören auf Jamendo, eine Community für freie, legale und unlimitierte Musik, die unter Creative Commons Lizenzen veröffentlicht wurde.
Project member Klaudia Rottenschlager spoke about our project on the Austrian public radio Ö1. Listen to the show “Gender an der Uni: Über ein Projekt in Palästina” (in German) on Feminism, Islam and the institutionalisation of Women’s and Gender Studies in the occupied Palestinian territories. This is the second time we got featured on the program Welt im Ohr. Listen to the previous show here.
Date | 25th of June, 6.30 pm
Venue | Seminarraum IE, Department of African Studies, University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 2, Court 5.1., A-1090 Vienna
Accessibility | The event takes place on the ground floor. There are accessible toilets, but no step-free access to them (2 steps).
Description | Approximately 300.000 Palestinians are living in Area C which contains – under international law illegal – around 135 Israeli settlements and 100 settlement outposts. The zone makes up more than 60 percent of the West Bank and is under administrative and military control by Israel, including law enforcement, planning and construction. Everyday life has become extremely difficult for Palestinian communities in Area C who are facing an increase of demolition and eviction orders by the Israeli authorities and restriction of their movement due to closed military zones and settler violence.
Susiya is one of many villages that resist these policies of slow expulsion since years and has been successful in drawing international attention to their case.
Nasser Nawaja will talk about his experiences in organizing local and international support for his village, documenting settler violence and developing strategies of everyday resistance against the expulsion of Palestinian communities of their land.
The event is hosted by the Vienna based research cluster of the APPEAR project Rooting Development in the Palestinian Context and will be held in English and Arabic.
Moderation | Klaudia Rottenschlager
Among the general attitude of pessimism and even remorse that a European audience cultivates towards the Arab Spring, Tunisia often stands out as the supposedly successful exception. The research cluster in Vienna invited activist Hiba Tlili to discuss the revolution in Tunisia seven years in and the discontents of this apparent triumph.
In her analysis, various social movements maintain an effort towards radical change in an otherwise restoratory and counter-revolutionary context. Tlili emphasized that the new Tunisian government, consisting of Nidaa Tounes and the Ennahda, have formed a political landscape that gave up on the radical demands of the revolutionary movement started in late 2010.
After a summary of the main events and political actors in the country, Tlili presented some of the key moments in recent protest and social movement history. Recurring examples were the anti-corruption movement “Manich Msamah | I don’t forgive!” and ” “Fech Nestanew | What are we waiting for?”, an anti-austerity movement against the implementation of IMF conditionalities. Both have been leading points of crystallization for youth’s desire for change and managed to push their way into a Tunisian public with innovative communication and protest tactics. Another important example was the experience of reclaiming land and establishing a cooperative in the town of Jemna as well as continuous protests, strikes and blockades against energy grabs of Western energy corporations in the South of Tunisia, such as the protests in Kamour 2017.
The event and the ensuing debate highlighted some of the core contradictions in the present political conjuncture. Despite continuing isolated, but numerous, protests and the ability of new social movements to include popular elements like football culture, a deepening of the revolution was not possible. Some of the analytical entry points offered to explain the limits of the revolutionary movements were the hesitance of the leadership of oppositional parties and unions, the class composition of the movements, and the relationship between secular or communist activists and Islam or Islamic elements of progressive movements.
Despite the ongoing celebration of Tunisian exceptionalism in Western publics, the stability of the counter-revolution is far from guaranteed and the government maintains a fear of popular mobilizations which it often meets with forms of repression familiar from the old regime.
For more information on recent developments in Tunisia, see Ines Mahmoud’s article in Jacobin Magazine.
After more than 20 years of the Oslo process and its dominant development model, the multiple crises in Palestine lend urgency to the exploration of alternatives to the status quo. This special issue contributes to current debates on alternative development and ‘resistance economy’ by discussing the significance agricultural cooperatives have in the occupied Palestinian territories and linking their experiences to the food sovereignty approach.
What kind of alternative development is envisaged by agricultural cooperatives in Palestine in response to neoliberal development models of economic growth and the Israeli occupation? How can community-based agricultural cooperatives initiate processes of alternative development in Palestine?
The authors of this issue contribute to a better understanding of the multiple (development) crises in Palestine and analyse cooperatives’ experiences and strategies from academic as well as activist perspectives.
Editor | Helmut Krieger
Nurturing Alternative Development: Agricultural Cooperatives in Palestine
A Food Regime Perspective on Palestine: Neoliberalism and the Question of Land and Food Sovereignty within the Context of Occupation
Ayman Abdul Majeed
Conceptual and Methodological Approaches to Reading the Realm of Cooperatives in Occupied Palestine
Alternative Development: A Response to Neo-Liberal De-Development in a Gender Perspective
“Resistance Economy”: A New Buzzword?
“Protecting Our Lands and Supporting Our Farmers” (Interview with Philipp Salzmann)