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Session C5031 ("Teaching Palestine: Pedagogical Praxis and the Indivisibility of Justice" al Commitment"), 2017
My contribution to the “Teaching Palestine” panel is to build on the analysis and observations that I contributed to a Thematic Conversation at MESA in 2016 on Academia and Activism and also my participation in Feminists for Justice in/for Palestine. At MESA, I presented a reflection titled, “The Indivisibility of Justice: Joining Activism and Academia, Joining Struggles,” where I focused on where activism and academia intersect and using examples from my experiences to think about how academic work and struggles for justice cannot be separated.

Building on this conversation and what emerged from it, as well as others, in this year’s intervention and I will extend and expand my contribution by focusing specifically on these issues in discussing strategies and approaches to teaching Palestine. I borrow the concept of “indivisibility” here from Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous articulation of the indivisibility of justice, but here discuss this as a way to approach teaching.

Though I teach Palestine and related material in almost all of my classes, I will focus on two semesters of a First Year Seminar on Arabic literature in translation that I have taught regularly with the title, “Narrations of the Middle East” with two different subtitles and framings: “Narrations of Gaza,” (Fall 2014) and “Migration, War and Refugees” (Fall 2016). I will contextualize my teaching at a university in the academic/political and cultural setting I work within in Canada. Then I will discuss and compare how specifically I have taught Palestine in the course, and analyze my political and pedagogical approaches. This includes the choice of material, building the syllabus, the organization and framing of the course, and ways in which politics and activism were included and not included within it and the classes. I will also touch upon how I ran seminar discussions in relation to these questions. In the comparison between the two iterations of the course, I will reflect upon some of what I think were more and less effective in drawing together pedagogy and politics.