Humanitarian Time and Refugee Presence: On Palestinian Lives in Extended Displacement


Prof. Ilana Feldman, George Washington University

Tuesday, 4th July 2023, 18:00-19:30 (CEST)
Gerhard-Mercator-Haus, Lotharstraße 57, 47057 Duisburg

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Humanitarian assistance regimes, displacement experiences, and life in refugee camps create disruptions in temporality. The repetitive aspects of humanitarian assistance, the monotony of life in a refugee camp, and the ways that displacement
cuts people off from the experiences of their past and denies them opportunities to imagine their futures, all seem to reduce life to an unending present. But, even as disruptions in time are real, humanitarian temporalities are quite variegated. Life in
humanitarianism is not a singular present, but layers of multiple, often quite different presents. Considering the case of Palestinian refugees, who have been displaced for more than seventy years, this talk explores the varieties of
humanitarian times. Particularly, it takes up how people have lived in, and sometimes against, humanitarian time. It investigates how refugees make claims, take action, and get-by over years and decades of displacement. This keynote lecture is part of the Third Annual International Seminar in Historical Refugee Studies. More information here.

Ilana Feldman

Ilana Feldman is Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs at George Washington University. Her research focuses on the Palestinian experience, both inside and outside of historic Palestine, examining practices of government, humanitarianism, policing, displacement, and citizenship. She is the author of Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917-67, Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza under Egyptian Rule, Life Lived in Relief: Humanitarian Predicaments and Palestinian Refugee Politics; and co-editor (with Miriam Ticktin) of In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care.

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