George Hartley, associate professor of English, and Loren Lybarger, assistant professor of Classics and World Religions, will present perspectives on the recent Israeli siege and bombardment of Gaza during the International Studies Forum at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, in Walter Hall 135.
The lecture, titled “Disfiguring Gaza: The ‘Discourse of Parity’ and its Distortions in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” will pose the following questions:
• With Palestinians having suffered disproportionate casualties and destruction in the recent clash, can Israel’s actions be justified?
• By what process is one group identified as the victim and the other the aggressor?
• To what extent do media representations emerge from and influence this process?
Hartley and Lybarger will employ a comparative approach to draw out underlying politics and symbolic logic that contribute to the narrative and symbolic constitution of ‘victims’ and ‘aggressors.’ Parallel examples will include Indigenous America, Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovar and Darfur, and the Jewish Holocaust.
Hartley and Lybarger seek to probe the limits on what is permissible to say or not say regarding different groups that have experienced intended or actual genocidal violence.
“Our hope,” Lybarger said, “is that by examining the categories of ‘victim’ and ‘aggressor’ and the unacknowledged ways in which we deploy these labels, we might develop empathy for actual victims who have been transformed into reviled ‘others’ and redress the injustices they have suffered.”
Lybarger lived in the West Bank from 1986-1989 and work in Gaza from 1991-1993. He is author of “Identity and Religion in Palestine: The Struggle between Islamism and Secularism in the Occupied Territories” (Princeton 2007).
The academic lecture is free and open to the public. Audio or video recordings of the presentation will not be permitted.
--By Karla Schneider