Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Adi Ophir – Israel/Palestine – the Exception, the Example, and the Rule

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room

Registration is closed.

Presented by Adi Ophir, Mellon Visiting Professor of Humanities and Middle East Studies. 

Palestine in general, and "the occupation" in particular have often been understood as a blatant exception to existing rules and historical patterns, but also as their paradigmatic example. Following a brief survey of some instances in which Palestine is presented as either an exception to the rule of its paradigmatic instantiation, I will argue that “the occupation” has become a synecdoche for Palestine, and as such serves critical scholars today as a show case in which the exemplary demonstration of the rule meets its paradigmatic exception. With this observation in mind I will question the unusual status of “the occupation” as a privileged site for critical studies and theory as well as academic and non-academic activism and ponder the reasons that have made “the occupation” a popular object of knowledge and a no less popular site of leftist activism.

Adi Ophir is professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University and a visiting professor at the Cogut Center for the Humanities and the program for Middle East Studies at Brown University. Among his recent works: The One State Condition, co-authored with Ariella Azoulay (Stanford University Press 2012), Divine Violence: Two Essays on God and Disaster (Hebrew 2013); Goy: Israel’s Multiple Others and the Birth of the Gentile, co-authored with Ishay Rosen-Zvi (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

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Center for Middle East Studies