[click here to read op-eds on the connection between the Occupation of Palestine and Middlebury College]
Back by popular demand, Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University Joseph Massad visited Middlebury two years ago and greatly impacted the trajectory of discussions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The first lecture (Thursday 4/11 4:30 pm Dana Auditorium), “Re-Turning Rights,” will discuss Palestine, Apartheid, Zionism, and BDS.
The second lecture (Friday 4/12 12:30 pm Axinn 229), “How Not to Study Gender in the Arab World,” will be on Professor Massad’s research on gender and sexuality.
“Israel’s attempt to rebrand itself as a just and egalitarian society comes up against its actual and stark racist reality. Its opposition to the Palestinian BDS movement is often framed as an opposition to all boycotts as a form of struggle. But as the historical record shows, this is not a time-honoured Zionist position. As they have done throughout their history, Zionism and Israel will continue to support any boycott that seeks to institutionalise racism and racial separatism and will denounce any boycott that seeks to end racism and racial separatism. Their campaign and that of Obama against BDS should be understood in this context of their commitment to apartheid as a principle of organising human life.”
From Massad’s work on gender:
“The point of my work is not to remind us that ‘sexuality’ is experienced differently in different historical or geographical contexts, and that it has distinct ‘cultural’ interpretations that shape it. Rather, what I insist on is that ‘sexuality’ itself…is a product of specific Euro-American histories and social formations, that it is a Euro-American ‘cultural’ category that is not universal or necessarily universalizable”
“John D’Emilio argued many years ago that ‘gay men and lesbians have not always existed. Instead, they are a product of history, and have come into existence in a specific historical era…associated with the relations of capitalism.’ We must add that this equally applies to heterosexual and straight men and women”
“What these organizations want to impose as part of the Gay International is a regime of sexuality predicated on a recent western ontology, wherein one’s sexual desires become the TRUTH of one, of one’s identity, of who one is”
“So what we see then is an export of Western cultural wars, wherein both sides are equally racist and colonialist, and they both have one joint major imperial export, namely the hetero-homo binarization of the world, which will essentially bring about the massive heterosexualization of non-Europeans who heed the call of the binary by accepting heterosexuality, and the minoritization of those among them who heed the call by accepting homosexuality and gayness or fail to heed the call by refusing to accept the binary, wherein they both become targets of another western export, namely homophobia”
If these quotes intrigue, provoke, confuse, astound, or in some way make you curious please come and listen!
The link to the full interview is: http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/10461/the-empire-of-sexuality_an-interview-with-joseph-m