Conference Call for Papers (closing date 15th April 2012)


Insight Palestina: Images, Discourses, and the Image of Discourse

Conference Date: 7 June 2012

Conference Organisers:

Dr. Gil Pasternak (The University of Huddersfield)

Lior Libman (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; The University of Leeds)

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Griselda Pollock

Professor Sander Gilman

Dr Ihab Saloul

Click here for a PDF of Insight Palestina CFP

This one-day conference will focus on visual and textual images produced within, and in relation to, the circumstances of the Israel-Palestine struggle. Its aim is to explore and challenge a range of current research approaches to cinematic, documentary, literary, fine art and other media images. It will look into academic studies and patterns of interpretation which tend to solidify exclusive perceptions of politicised images.

While such explorations often evoke a belligerent discussion, in which challenging theoretical perspectives are commonly being buried, this conference will specifically focus on perceived relationships between politically-engaged academic investigations, and the political agendas represented by the objects of their inquiry.

Intending to embrace theoretical and political complexities, Insight Palestina will investigate the reciprocity between images and historical narratives in a context that exceeds formal state, non-reflective and non-self-critical historiography. In this respect, the organisers aim to explore modes of academic inquiry that are not removed from politicised discourses, while resisting the activation of tangential biased forces and demands.

How can academic research modify socio-cultural perceived norms and conventional understandings to materialise a platform which allows for critical distance from binary-oriented political debates? Can academic research open up a space which does not compromise critical theorisation, activism, and radicalism while avoiding the reiteration of biased ideologies? Do academic investigations of politically-loaded images always-already generate or reinforce existing perceptual regimes and opinionated dogmas? In other words, are academic researchers bound to using familiar methodologies in a manner reiterating and cementing political structures, constructions and divisions, even when intending to challenge or reconcile between them?

These are some of the relevant questions this conference wishes to explore through the examination of various case studies. This call for papers invites proposals that span the widest possible range of periods within Israeli and Palestinian history, historical accounts, theories, Israeli and Palestinian cultures, societies and modes of image-making, whether visual or textual, art-related, documentary, professional or vernacular.

Abstracts should be sent via email to Dr Gil Pasternak and to Lior Libman by 15th April 2012. Submissions should be of 300 words in Microsoft Word or PDF format, and should include your name, title, email address, academic position and affiliation. All proposals will be read by the Conference Advisory Board: Dr Verina Gfader, Catriona McAra and Dr Juliet Macdonald. Successful applications will be allotted 20 minutes to present their papers, followed by ten minutes for questions. Researchers, lecturers, practitioners and postgraduate students are all encouraged to apply.

Applicants must propose new and original research; selected speakers may be given the opportunity to extend their papers, and prepare them for academic publication – more details about it will be provided at a future date.

About the Organisers:

Lior Libman is Honorary Associate Scholar at the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Leeds. She is a Ph.D. Candidate at the department for Hebrew Literature at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, writing her dissertation on the representation of the Kibbutz in Israel, 1948-1954. Libman’s work engages critically with the relationship between historiographical and artistic images of history. She is a winner of The Hebrew University President Scholarship for Outstanding Research Students in the Humanities (2009-2013), and the Wolf Foundation Scholarship for Outstanding Doctoral Candidates (2012).

Dr Gil Pasternak is Senior Lecturer in Photography and the Photography Course Leader in the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield. He was awarded his Ph.D from the History of Art Department at University College London (UCL), specialising in the theory and history of photography in the context of fine art and visual cultures. Pasternak’s published research focuses on the participation of vernacular photography in the solidification and subversion of state policies, in the alteration of Middle-Eastern cultural historical topoi, and in acts of political violence.

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