The Palestinian Idea

Film, Media, and the Radical Imagination

Greg Burris
Book Cover

PB: $32.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1674-2
Publication: Mar 19

HC: $104.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1673-5
Publication: Mar 19

Ebook: $32.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1675-9
Publication: Mar 19

270 pages
6 x 9
8 halftones

A window into the Palestinian freedom struggle, drawing on an analysis of Palestinian film and media

Read the Introduction (pdf).


Is there a link between the colonization of Palestinian lands and the enclosing of Palestinian minds? The Palestinian Idea argues that it is precisely through film and media that hope can occasionally emerge amidst hopelessness, emancipation amidst oppression, freedom amidst apartheid. Greg Burris employs the work of Edward W. Said, Jacques Rancière, and Cedric J. Robinson in order to locate Palestinian utopia in the heart of the Zionist present.

He analyzes the films of prominent directors Annemarie Jacir ( Salt of This Sea, When I Saw You) and Hany Abu-Assad ( Paradise Now) to investigate the emergence and formation of Palestinian identity. Looking at Mais Darwazah’s documentary My Love Awaits Me by the Sea, Burris considers the counterhistories that make up the Palestinian experience—stories and memories that have otherwise been obscured or denied. He also examines Palestinian (in)visibility in the global media landscape, and how issues of Black-Palestinian transnational solidarity are illustrated through social media, staged news spectacles, and hip hop music.


“A deeply felt, brilliantly conceived, meticulously crafted book, The Palestinian Idea breaks new ground in how we understand vision, space, and identity. Greg Burris’s work is an important contribution to Arab and global media studies.
Marwan M. Kraidy, Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative Insurgency in the Arab World

“Greg Burris has written the book so many people have been waiting for—and he’s done it in sharp and readable prose. Situating Palestine in relation to various global revolutionary movements and animating Palestine’s own revolutionary identity, Burris has managed the rare feat of producing scholarship that is both timeless and topical. By so thoroughly and imaginatively exploring the idea of Palestine, he illuminates exactly how real Palestine is.”
Steven Salaita, author of Israel’s Dead Soul

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

1. The Palestinian Idea
2. Plastic Palestine: Part One
3. Plastic Palestine: Part Two
4. Hollow Time
5. Equality under Surveillance
6. Palestine in Black and White


About the Author(s)

Greg Burris is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Media Studies at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. His writings on race, film, and cultural theory have appeared in such publications as CineAction, Cinema Journal, Electronic Intifada, Jadaliyya, and Quarterly Review of Film and Video and in the edited collections Futures of Black Radicalism and Global Raciality: Empire, PostColoniality, DeColoniality.


In the Series

  • Insubordinate Spaces edited by George Lipsitz

    The Insubordinate Spaces series, edited by George Lipsitz, is a home for books that resist and rethink the increasingly outsized power market forces wield over public and private life and over the rules and assumptions of scholarly investigation and discourse. The series seeks to explore the origins and evolution of these contemporary and historical subordinating institutions and practices, as well as emergent insubordinate social spaces and institutions crafted to resist market imperatives and provide alternatives to them in the form of new publics, new polities, and new politics.