Social Text 30:3 (112)

An issue of: Social Text

Social Text 30:3 (112)
Journal Issue Pages: 136 Volume 30, Number 3 Number: 112 Published: Fall 2012 An issue of Social Text


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p Hop from '48 Palestine: Youth, Music, and the Present/Absent

Maira, S., Shihade, M.

This essay explores hip hop produced by Palestinian youth within the 1948 borders of Israel, a site that reveals some of the most acute contradictions of nationalism, citizenship, and settler colonialism. It focuses primarily on the pioneering Palestinian hip-hop group DAM, from Lid, and also on Arapeyat from Akka, Saz from Ramleh, and Awlad el Hara from Nazareth. The article offers the concept of the "present absent" as a profound analytic lens for understanding the fundamental contradictions of the social, political, and cultural conditions created by specific histories of settler colonialism for ’48 Palestinians, who are simultaneously visible/invisible, indigenous/inauthentic, and absent/present. We argue that this new genre of rap reimagines the geography of the nation, linking the experiences of these "’48 Palestinians" to those in the West Bank, in Gaza, and in the diaspora, and producing an archive of censored histories. The article situates this music within a genealogy of artistic and protest movements by ’48 Palestinians, providing a historical context for the national and political identities articulated in the music of a new generation of ’48 Palestinians. There are three major aspects of the articulation of the present/absent in ’48 Palestinian hip hop that we discuss: the critique of official narratives and state policies that rupture Israeli mythologies of democracy and inclusion; the rewriting of the ambiguity and alienation of being Palestinians from "’48"; and the attempt to connect Palestinians "inside" and "outside."

Staging Palestine in France-Algeria: Popular Theater and the Politics of Transcolonial Comparison

Harrison, O. C.

The ongoing uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East require that we reassess the national and regional paradigms that still prevail in Maghreb and Mashreq studies. Taking the double anniversaries of Algerian independence and of the Arab uprisings as my starting point, I analyze a transcolonial identification that continues to capture Maghrebi and Mashreqi imaginaries today: the figure of Palestine. Focusing on a 1971 play by the Algerian writer Kateb Yacine and the popular theater troupe Workers’ Cultural Action, Mohamed Take Your Suitcase, I argue that this play co-opts a figure central to Algerian state discourse, Palestine, in popular languages (Algerian Arabic and Berber) and forms in order to effect a double critique. On the one hand, it ridicules the discourse of fraternity deployed by the state, and its exploitation of the memory of the Algerian war and popular solidarity with Palestine. Far from constituting a manifesto for pan-Arab or pan-Islamic solidarity along identitarian lines, Kateb’s play gives shape to a postcolonial imaginary of emancipation that foreshadows ongoing prodemocracy struggles. Yet it also reactivates anticolonial discourse, exposing the persistence of colonial racism in contemporary France, where metaphors of hospitality have effaced the fraught history of (post)colonial immigration. Placing Mohamed Take Your Suitcase in the context of post-1967 Maghrebi and Franco-Maghrebi pro-Palestinian activism, my reading shows that Franco-Algerian as well as Maghreb-Mashreq relations are intricately connected to the question of Palestine, raising the question of the limits and potential of transcolonial politics.

What Happened to the Motley Crew?: C. L. R. James, Helio Oiticica, and the Aesthetic Sociality of Blackness

Harris, L.

What happened to "the motley crew," the mobile, insurgent,

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