Philosophies of History continues developing a cross-border seminar series in Israel and Palestine. The meetings are intended to be held Jerusalem and Ramallah, with plans for the future to meet also in Bethlehem. The aim is to bring together students, scholars and publics from the diverse communities, and scholarly traditions, that encompass this beautiful and complicated land. History here is always a volatile subject. It takes many forms, religious and secular, communal and urban, collective or social and capital. This could be said of others places in the world as well. History is paramount to identities, ideologies and expressed beliefs. Here, though, history is worn openly. Historical discourses are passed on from generations, invented by political and religious bodies, defended for reasons well beyond academic. Students enter secondary and higher education often unable to separate their own identities from historical narratives, to reflect on them critically or even to see their relation to and justification of experience. Historical narrative here meets representation head on, and experience tends to reinforce narration.
Philosophies of History has been invested in the situations of Israel and Palestine since its inception. Its aim is not to turn a blind eye, or a deaf ear, to any imagined 'side', or, even worse, make a wholesale move to close off dialogue with individuals and communities, especially without having first-hand knowledge of situations on the ground. As elsewhere, Philosophies of History is grassroots in Israel and Palestine. Existing across borders, organizing discussions between those of competing institutions, the aim is to develop critical history inside of academia as well as within the communities that are effected by it on a daily basis, sometimes in physically violent ways, sometimes in psychologically troubling conditions. Academic institutions here are deeply part of life, and their output entangled in dangerous ways with the actions of individuals, families, elected bodies and even militaries.
Furthermore, Philosophies of History is committed to not particularising this or any other situation. What is happening here is part of broader issues, in History the field, history as discourse and of course politics, that are beyond the local environment. It is not uncommon that historically-rooted conflict is fuelled by personal, familial and other interests from abroad. We encourage exploration into the uses of history everywhere. The discourses developed here will, it is hoped, be only one example of the harsh, critical reflection needed about history and its role in personal, public and scholarly life in sites of historical conflict elsewhere, from Ireland to the Balkans, West Africa to Brazil, Columbia and Venezuela to the Miami Nation.
Due to the sensitive nature of the information pertaining to activities in the area we do not publish specific details about meetings. For information, please contact us directly and we will answer accordingly.