Film, Media, and the Radical ImaginationGreg Burris
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
"In his book The Palestinian Idea , Burris insists that politics needs a stage and film is the political object that disseminates its dynamics.... (He) explores film and documentaries as responses to trauma and as contestations of Zionist narratives."
— Middle East Monitor
" Greg Burris’s The Palestinian Idea is an extremely well researched work. It is undoubtedly subjective, but this is a subject on which subjective views on the other side of the argument have been plenty. Burris is concise in his analysis and puts forward his arguments with clarity and historical references. For those interested in the political-sociological-cultural analysis of the Palestinian struggles, hardships and resistance, from a well informed and researched Palestinian angle, this book serves as a great compendium of all the important and relevant issues."
— Film International
"The Palestinian Idea is based on the premise that colonial oppression involves not just control over land but control over the minds of subjugated people.... The author advocates for the development of political alliances between Palestinians and African Americans as a means of furthering the decolonization of both groups, and he devotes considerable discussion to this project. The book is extensively researched and extremely accessible, and it includes an array of innovative links between theories, contexts, and realms of social engagement. Readers with interests in film, cultural studies, ethnicity and race, postcolonialism, and transnational social movements will find The Palestinian Idea informative. Summing Up: Recommended."
"(G)roundbreaking.... The Palestinian Idea is a rich, multi-layered study of Palestinian popular culture that adds a new insight to the Palestine Question. Written in a lucid, accessible style, the book would be beneficial to students and scholars of Palestine/Israel, Middle East, cultural and communication studies, as well as conflict resolution and peace studies."
— Arab Studies Quarterly
" Burris argues that through film and media hope can occasionally emerge amidst hopelessness, emancipation amidst oppression, freedom amidst apartheid.... Graduate students, scholars, and professionals interested in Palestinian film and media, cultural studies and Palestine in general, will find this book to be great for research."
— Communication Booknotes Quarterly
“The Palestinian Idea is a rich and multifaceted work that significantly adds to the understanding of Palestinian identity through popular culture. It is an excellent examination of the Palestine question introduced eloquently and passionately through an analysis of contemporary media, with special attention given to film…. Burris provides a thoughtful and compelling look at the notion of Palestinian identity.”
—Journal of Religion & Film
"Burris astutely points out the importance of unshackling our imaginations from the tired rhetoric swirling around all things, including Palestine, to avoid creating and subscribing to false binaries (such as Jew/Arab, White/Black), and to see solidarity between sister struggles.... What this book reaffirms is the necessity of imagination in creating new systems to serve the interests of equity, parity, and justice for the oppressed, with all the dismantling that such a project entails. It offers an important contribution to scholarship on Palestine as it intersects with cultural studies and continental philosophy."
—Journal of Palestine Studies
"The Palestinian Idea gets as close as it gets to telling the story behind the Palestinian idea in a novel deluge of persuasive tactics pulling at films, history, and philosophy, doing a broad sweep of Palestinian filmmakers, writers, artists, and locating the lost territory within the matrix of global revolutionary movements.... Despite calling itself a ‘radical reimagination’ the book offers a balanced read that navigates between protest and self-determination to chalk out the path that leads into the idea of Palestine as a reality of the future, a persuasive rhetoric of utopia."
—Communication Booknotes Quarterly (Critical Reviews)
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.