[SydPhil] {Philosophy at UWS seminar] 22 October - Ronit Lentin: Israel/Palestine: State of Exception and Acts of Decolonisation

Philosophy@UWS Philosophy at uws.edu.au
Fri Oct 17 14:33:57 AEDT 2014

Philosophy at UWS presents A Research Seminar with
Ronit Lentin<http://www.uws.edu.au/philosophy/philosophy@uws/events/research_seminars/research_seminars_2014/ronit_lentin>
Israel/Palestine: State of Exception and Acts of Decolonisation
DATE/TIME: Wednesday, 22 October, 3.30pm-5.00pm

PLACE: University of Western Sydney, Bankstown Campus, Building 3, Room 3.G.27  [How to get to Bankstown Campus] http://www.uws.edu.au/campuses_structure/cas/campuses/bankstown
All welcome
ABSTRACT: Israel is variously theorised as a settler-colonial society, an apartheid state, an ethnocracy and a racial state. Following the most recent massacre of Gaza, this paper theorises the biopolitical regime prevalent in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in 1967, and within the state of Israel itself, as a settler-colonial racial state and a classical state of exception (Agamben, 2005).

The most relevant critique of theorising Israel/Palestine as state of exception is Svirsky and Bignall's (2012) argument that Agamben's project, firmly anchored in Western political thought, is conceived without reference to colonialism and anticolonialism, and ignores the critical interventions by colonised people engaged in acts of decolonisation.

This paper engages with this critique by re-examining the theorisation of Israel as state of exception and a settler-colonial racial state (Goldberg, 2009; Wolfe, 2006), and discussing Berda¹s (2012) analysis of the bureaucracy of the West Bank permit regime as constantly producing exceptions based on racial hierarchy and replicating colonial ruling systems.
Racism, according to Foucault (2003: 255), makes it possible to establish a relationship between my life and the death of the other. In Israel/Palestine such a relationship is enacted through a range of governmental technologies from the 1948 ethnic cleansing to current policies of land confiscations, West Bank permit regime and the ethnic cleansing of Israel¹s Bedouin citizens and Palestinian subjects, all establishing a relationship between Israel¹s Jewish citizens¹ life and the death of the Palestinian other.

This paper is as much a Fanonian as an Agambenian project; as Agamben does not fully address the potentialities of resistance to the state of exception, I draw on Shenhav's (2006) postcolonial reading of Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, to analyse the decolonial interventions enacted by Palestinians.

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Siobhain O'Leary
Administration Coordinator, Philosophy Research Initiative
University of Western Sydney
Bankstown Campus Building 5
Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751
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