Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance: The Language of Exile


Location: Virtual Event

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Elias Khoury, born in Beirut, is the author of thirteen novels, four volumes of literary criticism, and three plays.   He was awarded the Palestine Prize for Gate of the Sun, which was named Best Book of the Year by Le Monde Diplomatique, The Christian Science Monitor, and The San Francisco Chronicle, and a Notable Book by The New York Times. Khoury’s Yalo, White Masks, Little Mountain, The Journey of Little Gandhi, and City Gates are also available in English. Khoury is a Global Distinguished Professor of Middle Eastern and Arabic Studies at New York University, and has taught at Columbia University, the Lebanese University, the American University of Beirut, and the Lebanese American University. As Though She Were Sleeping received France’s inaugural Arabic Novel Prize.

susan abulhawa is a novelist, poet, essayist, scientist, mother, and activist.  Her debut novel Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury, 2010), translated into 30 languages, is considered a classic in Anglophile Palestinian literature.  Its reach and sales has made abulhawa the most widely read Palestinian author.  Her second novel, The Blue Between Sky and Water (Bloomsbury, 2015), was likewise an international bestseller.  Against the Loveless World (Simon & Schuster, 2020) was out in August.  She is also the author of a poetry collection, My Voice Sought The Wind (Just World Books, 2013), contributor to several anthologies, political commentator, and frequent speaker.  Abulhawa is the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, a children's organization dedicated to uplifting Palestinian children.  She is also co-chair of Palestine Writes, the first North American Palestinian literature festival.

This conversation will be moderated by Hana Morgenstern, University Lecturer in Postcolonial and the Middle East Literature at Cambridge University and a Fellow at Newnham College and by Hilary Rantisi, Associate Director of the Religion, Conflict and Peace Initiative and Senior Fellow at the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School.  This event is co-sponsored by the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative at Harvard University,  

Dr. Hana Morgenstern is a scholar, writer, and translator. She is University Lecturer in Postcolonial and Middle East Literature at Cambridge University and a Fellow at Newnham College. Dr Morgenstern is co-director of the Documents of the Arab Left and the Revolutionary Papers projects and co-convener of the Archives of the Disappeared seminar. She is currently at work on a book manuscript titled, Literary Infiltrators: Anticolonial Collaboration in Palestine/Israel. 

Hilary Rantisi, Associate Director of the Religion, Conflict and Peace Initiative and Senior Fellow at the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School.  She has over a decade and a half of experience in institution building at Harvard. Previously, she was Director of the Middle East Initiative (MEI) at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She received her Master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining Harvard, she worked with civil society organizations in Israel-Palestine, which focused on religion, politics, and grassroots mobilization efforts in Jerusalem. She co-edited Our Story: The Palestinians in 1999, and has been an active public speaker on issues pertaining to the Middle East region. Hilary is a native Arabic speaker.  

Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Global Middle East and North Africa is a bi-annual symposium and lecture series that focuses on the study of literatures that have been shaped by histories of territorial and linguistic politics, colonialism, military domination and gross human rights violations. The initiative grapples with the constructed nature of history; reimagines American and global history from the position of suppressed voices; and examines how minoritized writers and scholars have historically innovated literary production and theory in the process of responding to systemic violence. 

We dedicate this series to all of the people around the world whose lives have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and who have long battled the social, spiritual, physical, and material injustices that the pandemic has further exacerbated. It is our hope that these conversations will be a small source of light and solidarity through the double pandemic of racism and COVID.

Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance, launched by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, is co-sponsored by the College of Arts & Letters, the Keough School of Global Affairs and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Kroc Institute faculty members Asher KaufmanEbrahim MoosaAtalia Omer, and Ernesto Verdeja also serve on the advisory board for the series. In addition, the advisory board includes College of Arts and Letters faculty members Alison RicePerin Gürel,  La Donna ForsgrenOlivier MorelErnest Morrell, and Mark Sanders.  This initiative would not have been possible without the contributions of advisory board member Chana Morgenstern, Lecturer in Postcolonial and Middle Eastern Literatures, Faculty of English, Cambridge University.  

Other events in the series will take place on January 15 and April 9.

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