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Humanitarian Predicaments: Protracted Displacement and Palestinian Refugee Politics

  • Room 313, School of Law Queen Mary University of London E1 4NS (map)

Palestinian refugees have lived in displacement, and with humanitarian assistance, for seventy years. Drawing on archival and ethnographic research, this talk considers refugee lives and politics across the length and much of the breadth of Palestinian exile. The talk focus on the geography of near displacement—Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, the five fields of United Nations Relief and Works Agency [UNRWA] operations in the Middle East. It explores the intersecting, but not identical, experiences of both providers and recipients. And its tracks both the politics of humanitarianism—how it shapes subjects, alters societies, and enforces or disrupts geopolitical inequities—and politics inhumanitarianism—how people living inside this system seek to change their circumstances, make claims of various kinds, and lead their lives in ways in which they and their community see value.