Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Kelly (PhD, 2015), whose article “Asymmetrical Itineraries: Militarism, Tourism, and Solidarity in Occupied Palestine” has been published in the most recent issue of American Quarterly. We’ve got an excerpt for you, below, and you can read the rest here:
I begin with Bousac’s map because it asks us to consider the fragmented archipelago that the West Bank has become. Like Bousac’s map, I too want to chart out the post-Oslo fragmentation of the West Bank and ask when and how those landmasses in between seas of checkpoints and military roads become navigable, and for whom. In this essay, I explore what happens when subjects under occupation attempt to circumvent the archipelagic logic that divides them. What possibilities are both made available and made impossible when tourism, militarism, and anti-occupation activism occupy the same space? In what follows, I show how, in the context of ever-shrinking Palestinian access to their land, Palestinian tour guides and organizers are using tourism, despite its limitations, to expose the fragmented terrain they have inherited and to attempt to stay anchored to the land they still have. I trace how the Oslo I and II Accords, and the attendant establishment of the Palestinian Authority and its Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, both changed the parameters of what was possible in terms of Palestinian-led tourism in the West Bank and also fragmented Palestinian land, ushered in a period of expanding settlements, and entrenched an aid-based Palestinian economy. Drawing from interviews with Palestinian tour guides, many of whom have been organizing tours of occupied Palestine since the first intifada, I detail how what began as informal, impromptu tours of the West Bank to supporters of the Palestinian struggle has mushroomed into an income-generating, if somewhat provisional, enterprise. I also focus on the deeply and, I argue, deliberately asymmetrical nature of solidarity tourism in Palestine: Palestinian tour guides are guiding tourists through spaces that, often, they themselves cannot go in an attempt to use tourist mobility to highlight their own immobility under military occupation. These guides and organizers have chosen to dedicate their energy to solidarity tourism, even when its role in movement building is difficult to delineate and its effects are shot through with contradictions, because they value its role in helping Palestinians, from shop owners to farmers, stay on their land in the face of forced exile. In this way, this essay focuses on the fragmentation of Palestinian land and the fraught ways in which Palestinian guides and organizers have sought to demonstrate, negotiate, and work against this fragmentation through the unlikely vehicle of tourism.
Today, at 5 PM in Batts 5.108, UT AMS grad Tevi Troy is giving a talk called “Shall We Wake the President”:
The history of presidential response to disasters shows that ideology has little to do with how presidents deal with the unexpected. Tevi Troy looks at the evolving role of the President in dealing with disasters, and how our presidents have handled disasters throughout history. He also looks at the likelihood of similar disasters befalling modern America and details how smart policies today can help us avoid or better respond to future crises.
Dr. Troy is the author of the book What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House, makes frequent radio and television appearances, and is the President of the American Health Policy Institute. You can read one of his recent articles, on the myth of the 3 AM phone call, at his site. If you’d like to RSVP for today’s talk, you can do so here.
Novelist Marlon James, author of the Booker Prize–winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, talks about why he writes TONIGHT, Thursday, September 22, at 6:30 p.m. at Jessen Auditorium in Homer Rainey Hall. New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani described A Brief History of Seven Killings as “epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting.” James’s other novels include John Crow’s Devil and The Book of Night Women.
Members of the Harry Ransom Center receive priority seating and complimentary parking. Signed books will be available for purchase at the event.
Doors open at 5:50 p.m. for members and at 6 p.m. for the general public. Members must present their membership cards for priority entry; one seat per membership card. Members arriving after 6 p.m. will join the general queue. Complimentary parking for members is available at the University Co-op garage at 23rd and San Antonio streets.
If you want to sample some of James’s writing, you can read his essay “From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself,” here.
UT AMS grad student Julie Kantor has three poems in translation featured in a Ukrainian anthology of young American poets. The book, titled Anthology of Young Poetry of the U.S.A, was largely “assembled, compiled, and translated by Taras Malkovych, a young Ukrainian poet who lived in NYC researching young U.S. poets as a Fulbright Scholarship holder.”
Julie was also recently featured on The Conversant, in conversation with poet Jesse Nathan.
Below, we’ve included 1 of 2)W/Out Trees, one of Julie’s poems from the Anthology of Young American Poets:
Sun stuck in leaf-thick tops buried-in so close they adjoin at once separate ends, not knowing space right above we feel blood the vital force of the body, what I give what I can will become yours; the enclosure from sky opens up as 24th street doesn’t end but is interrupted by the 101. You do not talk back to me. What I give, what I can and doesn’t become, and you do what you want with it. I still remember now I didn’t understand, I called it useless, the day you ripped out the tree, you said it had to go.
Tomorrow, September 20th, at noon, Dr. Natalia Molina, Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities, and Professor of History, at the University of California, San Diego, will give a talk based on her recent book, How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts, which examines Mexican immigration–from 1924 when immigration acts drastically reduced immigration to the U.S. to 1965 when many quotas were abolished–to understand how broad themes of race and citizenship are constructed. These years shaped the emergence of what Professor Molina describes as an immigration regime that defined the racial categories that continue to influence perceptions in the U.S. about Mexican Americans, race, and ethnicity. Through the use of a relational lens her work demonstrates that racial scripts are easily adopted and adapted to apply to different racial groups.
Dr. Molina’s talk, which will be in GWB 2.206, is part of the MALS lecture series and is free and open to the public.
UT AMS grad and faculty member Dr. Jeanette Vaught has published an article on Cultrual Compass, the Harry Ransom Center blog, about her work with AMS grad and HRC Instructional Services Coordinator Dr. Andi Gustavson to use Ransom Center resources to help teach Intro To American Studies. We’ve included a excerpt of the article, which you can read in full here, below:
“When I had the opportunity to design my Introduction to American Studies: Cyborg Americans course, I knew I wanted to tackle a challenge: exposing over 100 undergraduates to archival holdings on campus. To me, one of the most important tasks that faces an instructor in the humanities is guiding students to the actual work of research, which often happens only once students are in smaller seminar settings. With the help of the Harry Ransom Center’s new Instructional Services Coordinator, Dr. Andi Gustavson, I knew it would be possible to design an assignment that could work in a large-format survey course and bring students to the Center. Wanting to make use of the rich pedagogical benefits of this on-campus cultural institution depended on Andi’s expertise and guidance as we navigated the process of designing and implementing this course from the beginning.”
Summer’s here, which means that the latest issue of The End of Austin, has been published. Here’s what editor and American Studies professor Randy Lewis had to say about this issue:
The big summer issue of our award-winning website is here: hipster hate, disappearing bees, unaffordable housing, exploited sex workers, weird slogans, dreams deferred, the fate of Barton Springs, rapidly changing neighborhoods, festival blues, documentary photography, Borges in Austin, and much more. The new issue features 25 original pieces from writers, photographers, and activists who are talking about life in the fastest growing city in the US. Check it out and share us on social media (nothing helps us more than that simple act).
For more information, check The End of Austin on Facebook and on Twitter.