English Seminar: Critical Relationality: Relational Histories between Europe and the Middle East Since 1987
Isabelle Hesse, ‘Critical Relationality: Relational Histories between Europe and the Middle East Since 1987’
Abstract: This paper gives an overview of my current book project which traces an important shift in how German and British culture have engaged with the conflict in Israel/Palestine since the 1987. The first Palestinian Intifada (1987-1993) significantly changed international perceptions about the power dynamics at the heart of this conflict, including challenging ideas about Israeli victimhood and legitimising Palestinian demands for self-determination. Together with the rise of comparative genocide studies in the 1980s, the first Intifada paved the way for discussions about comparative memories and histories, particularly those juxtaposing Jewish memories of the Holocaust with other memories of suffering. My book examines British and German literature, TV drama, and film which emphasise relationality between different contexts (Israel, Palestine, Germany, and the United Kingdom) and their histories, including through the use of humour to decrease the distance between European audiences and the Middle East, libidinal relationships to examine the relations between Europe and Israel/Palestine, and crossing physical and imaginary borders to challenge the idea of Israeli and Palestinian histories as separate. By exploring relationality as a trope but also as a methodology, I aim to uncover and theorise how the power relations between Europe and the Middle East are expressed but also challenged in works from outside Israel and Palestine.
Biography: Dr Isabelle Hesse is Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Sydney. Her research is situated at the intersection of Jewish, postcolonial, and Middle Eastern studies and examines the cultural and political links between Europe and the Middle East. She is also interested in postcolonial literature and theory, Palestinian and Israeli literature and film, and the role of the Holocaust, Israel, and Palestine in twentieth- and twenty-first century culture. Her first book The Politics of Jewishness in Contemporary World Literature was published by Bloomsbury in 2016. Her research has also been published in Textual Practice, New Formations, and Studies in Travel Writing, amongst others and she has a forthcoming article with Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics.
This event will be held online via Zoom. Email us for the Zoom login details.
University staff and students can join the event in Woolley Common Room, Level 4, John Woolley Building (A20).
Contact: Liam Semler (firstname.lastname@example.org).