Call for Participation in the International Workshop and Conference
Benjamin in Palestine: On the Place and Non-Place of Radical Thought
Ramallah/Palestine, Dec. 6-11, 2015
Venue: Goethe Institute Ramallah and other venues in Ramallah (tbd)
Talking about Walter Benjamin in today’s Palestine is a political act. The international conference and workshop “Who Owns Walter Benjamin?” is part of the attempt to break the de facto cultural and academic boycott of Palestine, implemented and enforced by the occupation regime and its multi-layered web of checkpoints, territorial zones and other juridical-administrative measures. If in Benjamin’s heterodox Marxism the different strands of Jewish messianic and libertarian-utopian thought form a relationship of “elective affinity” (Michael Löwy), his name and legacy invoke a constant appeal against the arrogance of any state power and representations of victors’ history. In this vein, Benjamin’s texts speak not only to the international community of Benjamin scholars and critical theorists but also to political struggles in Palestine.
This initiative is comprised of three events: an opening event on Benjamin’s thought and life (Dec. 6), a workshop on key texts of Benjamin (Dec. 7-9), and an international conference (Dec. 10/11).
All three events will be free of charge and open to members of the public. If you would like to join us for the workshop, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org before July 31, 2015, indicating what you would like to speak about and which text by Benjamin you plan to discuss. Please also include a short biographical sketch (three lines). Those who are interested in attending the workshop without introducing a specific text or theme can also write to us with a brief description of their interest. In order to facilitate engaged discussion on the part of all participants, we plan to begin each day with brief introductory remarks by one or several scholars with expertise on the selected text, and we hope that all participants will have an opportunity to share prepared thoughts on the texts and questions that they are most invested in. We will get back to you by mid August to confirm your participation and ask you to prepare a short introduction or intervention (10-15 minutes) on the Benjamin text that you have chosen, to be presented during the workshop (Dec. 7-9).
The organizational committee
Udi Aloni, Kelly Gawel, Sarah Kamens, Lara Khaldi, Yazan Khalili, Sami Khatib, Paula Schwebel