Wednesday, 17 November, 1900-2100
J. M. Singe Theatre, Arts Building
Public seminar and book launch: Prof Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Launch of Ronit Lentin, Co-Memory and Melancholia: Israelis Memorialising the Palestinian Nakba
Co-memory and melancholia
Israelis memorialising the Palestininan Nakba
The 1948 war that led to the creation of the State of Israel also resulted in the destruction of Palestinian society when some 80 per cent of the Palestinians who lived in the major part of Palestine upon which Israel was established became refugees. Israelis call the 1948 war their ‘War of Independence’ and the Palestinians their ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe. After many years of Nakba denial, land appropriation, political discrimination against the Palestinians within Israel and the denial of rights to Palestinian refugees, in recent years the Nakba is beginning to penetrate Israeli public discourse.
This book explores the construction of collective memory in Israeli society, where the memory of the trauma of the Holocaust and of Israel’s war dead competes with the memory claims of the dispossessed Palestinians. Taking an auto-ethnographic approach, Ronit Lentin makes a contribution to social memory studies through a critical evaluation of the co-memoration of the Palestinian Nakba by Israeli Jews.
Against a background of the Israeli resistance movement, Lentin’s central argument is that co-memorating the Nakba by Israeli Jews is motivated by an unresolved melancholia about the disappearance of Palestine and the dispossession of the Palestinians, a melancholia that shifts mourning from the lost object to the grieving subject. Lentin theorises Nakba co-memory as a politics of resistance, counterpoising co-memorative practices by internally displaced Israeli Palestinians with Israeli Jewish discourses of the Palestinian right of return, and questions whether return narratives by Israeli Jews, courageous as they may seem, are ultimately about Israeli Jewish self-healing rather than justice for Palestine.
1. Introduction: Living in the shadow
2. Memory sites, postmemory, co-memory
3. Memory and melancholia
4. The fall of Haifa: Telling autoethnographic stories
5. The road to Damascus
6. Historicising the Nakba: Contested Nakba narratives as an ongoing process
7. Zochrot: Nakba co-memory as performance
8. Conclusion: Melancholia, Nakba co-memory and the politics of return
Ronit Lenit is Lecturer in Sociology and Director of the MPhil in Race, Ethnicity, Conflict at the department of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin.
Trinity College Dublin, a course by Ronit Lentin
About the Course
The MPhil in Ethnic and Racial Studies was a unique postgraduate programme offering specialist theoretical training in issues relating to race, immigration, ethnicity and conflict in Irish, European and global contexts. It was established by the Department of Sociology in Trinity College in 1997. The timing was good: Ireland’s long-running ethno-national conflict was about to end, and in the same moment Ireland, traditionally a country of emigration, was about to become an immigration destination. Ethnic conflict and its management was part of the programme from the outset and we have now changed the programme’s title to reflect that: MPhil in Race, Ethnicity, Conflict. We do not plan radical changes to the programme, but courses will reflect recent research by staff, taking in more case studies; including Northern Ireland, Israel-Palestine and the Middle East, the Balkans, as well as the racialisation in the Irish context of migrants and indigenous ethnic minorities, such as Travellers, black-Irish people and Jews,
The MPhil is run by the Department of Sociology whose members have extensive publishing record in this area. Upon successful completion, this full-time programme grants students a postgraduate degree of Masters of Philosophy in Race, Ethnicity, Conflict. The 12-months programme begins in September each year, and consists of two full-year core courses, several elective modules and a dissertation. Students are also free to select modules from the Department’s other Masters programme, the MSc in European Employment Studies. In addition, the programme hosts seminar series, workshops and international conferences.
The programme attracts an ethnically diverse international student body and our graduates play key roles in research and policy organisations in Ireland and globally; many have continued to PhD research.
“In my view this is the best course of its kind on offer in Europe and perhaps even the world. Dr Ronit Lentin and the staff do an extraordinary job delivering a high quality programme”
Prof Les Back, Goldsmith College London- External Examiner 2003-7
“This outstanding programme gives students a real opportunity to face the diversity of immigrant experience and the reality of globalism that challenges the narrow nationalism and racism of our modern societies”
Prof John Jackson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, TCD
Over the years the programme has hosted many key scholars in this area, including Prof Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds; Prof David Theo Goldberg, University of California; Prof Philomena Essed, University of Amsterdam; Prof Noel Ignatiev, Massachussetts College of Art; Prof Luke Gibbons, University of Notre Dame, Prof Howard Winant, University of California, Santa Barbara; Robbie McVeigh, Derry.
“This is the first and only course of its kind in Ireland; it is excellently organised and caters for a wide variety of students from within and outside Ireland”
Prof Nira Yuval-Davis, University of East London, External Examiner 1997-2000
APPLICATIONS AND DEADLINES: Rolling deadline from 10 December 2009 to 30 June 2010. All applications to Graduate Admissions online through www.pac.ie/tcd
FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Ronit Lentin, Course coordinator, Department of Sociology, TCD. Tel: 353 1 8962702. email: firstname.lastname@example.org