CLIFFORD GEERTZ COMMEMORATIVE LECTURE
Following in Geertz’ footsteps by thinking comparatively, Abu-Lughod will reflect on Palestine’s apparent political impasses in relation to the experiences of other colonized places and peoples. This reflection is inspired specifically by the current ferment in critical indigenous and native studies about settler colonialism in places like Australia and North America. And now Palestine. New imaginations of sovereignty and self-determination are emerging in indigenous activism, whether enabled by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People or the politics of refusal of liberal “recognition.” The journey goes to a variety of museums and ritual spaces of recognition and ends with questions about how to judge the efflorescence of recent Palestinian cultural projects like the new Palestinian Museum. The infatuation with the framework of settler colonialism in Palestinian studies is, however contested and even problematic, productive precisely because of the way it generates comparisons and solidarities that burst open exhausted political imaginations and bring together the political, material, and moral.