Gaza in Context: A Collaborative Teach-In Series — Session 19
Colonial Zionism and Shattering an Age of Coexistence
Teach-In Session 19
There is no such thing as a clash of civilizations. Instead, there was a complex, and now obscured, culture of coexistence in the Middle East that was subjected to a relentless late Western colonialism inaugurated after WWI. No single modern ideology and political project has done more damage to coexistence in the Arab East than Western-backed colonial Zionism. We explore why.
Gaza in Context Collaborative Teach-In Series
We are together experiencing a catastrophic unfolding of history as Gaza endures a massive invasion of genocidal proportions. This accompanies an incessant bombardment of a population increasingly bereft of the necessities of living in response to the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7. The context within which this takes place includes a well-coordinated campaign of misinformation and the unearthing of a multitude of essentialist and reductionist discursive tropes that dehumanize Palestinians as the culprits, despite a context of structural subjugation and Apartheid, now a matter of consensus in the human rights movement.
The co-organizers below are convening weekly teach-ins and conversations on a host of issues that introduce our common university communities, educators, researchers, and students to the history and present of Gaza, in context.
Co-Organizers: Arab Studies Institute, Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, George Mason University’s Middle East and Islamic Studies Program, Rutgers Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Birzeit University Museum, Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Brown University’s Center for Middle East Studies, University of Chicago’s Center for Contemporary Theory, Brown University’s New Directions in Palestinian Studies, Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies, Georgetown University-Qatar, American University of Cairo’s Alternative Policy Studies, Middle East Studies Association’s Global Academy, University of Chicago’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, CUNY’s Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center, University of Illinois Chicago’s Arab american cultural Center, George Mason University’s AbuSulayman’s Center for Global Islamic Studies, University of Illinois Chicago’s Critical Middle East Studies Working Group, George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies, Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies, New York University’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies
Ussama Makdisi is Professor of History and Chancellor’s Chair at the University of California Berkeley. He was previously Professor of History and the first holder of the Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies at Rice University in Houston. During AY 2019-2020, Professor Makdisi was a Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley in the Department of History. In 2012-2013, Makdisi was an invited Resident Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin). In April 2009, the Carnegie Corporation named Makdisi a 2009 Carnegie Scholar as part of its effort to promote original scholarship regarding Muslim societies and communities, both in the United States and abroad. Makdisi was awarded the Berlin Prize and spent the Spring 2018 semester as a Fellow at the American Academy of Berlin. Professor Makdisi’s most recent book Age of Coexistence: The Ecumenical Frame and the Making of the Modern Arab World was published in 2019 by the University of California Press.
Makdisi is also the author of Faith Misplaced: the Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001 (Public Affairs, 2010). His previous books include Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East (Cornell University Press, 2008), which was the winner of the 2008 Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association, the 2009 John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, and a co-winner of the 2009 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize given by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.
Makdisi is also the author of The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon (University of California Press, 2000) and co-editor of Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa (Indiana University Press, 2006). He has published widely on Ottoman and Arab history as well as on U.S.-Arab relations and U.S. missionary work in the Middle East. Among his major articles are “Anti-Americanism in the Arab World: An Interpretation of Brief History” which appeared in the Journal of American History and “Ottoman Orientalism” and “Reclaiming the Land of the Bible: Missionaries, Secularism, and Evangelical Modernity” both of which appeared in the American Historical Review. Professor Makdisi has also published in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and in the Middle East Report.
Bassam Haddad (Moderator) is Founding Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011) and co-editor of A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2021). Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute. He serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal and the Knowledge Production Project. He is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the acclaimed series Arabs and Terrorism. Bassam serves on the Board of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and is Executive Producer of Status Audio Magazine and Director of the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI). He received MESA's Jere L. Bacharach Service Award in 2017 for his service to the profession. Currently, Bassam is working on his second Syria book titled Understanding the Syrian Calamity: Regime, Opposition, Outsiders (forthcoming, Stanford University Press).